@Europe - day 31 (08.07.18)

My very last day in Europe - @Paris, France.

Stayed in Berlin for a few days, met very nice people there and had wonderful meetings - sharing, exchange, understanding, discussion. I love the sidewalk cafes there, and the pace of the city. In some way, it seems like the 'layback' type as in California (though without the sunshine as in California). Yet, ON TOP, I could feel the "internal" energy from people working in Berlin, the ideas - the space - the room to think & explore - the environment. All making the city with a mix of silent calmness + vibrant dynamics.

Actually, I have been to Berlin for a very very short stay in 2005. In three years' time, I found there are a lot of "changes" going on there in Berlin. "Changes" in the way of "globalization" - turning the city more "world-like".

Interesting as well was the weather! I was there in the middle of SUMMER - July, but the weather was like in Autumn/Winter as it was in March/ April. Plus, it was raining... ><"

Leaving Berlin, I took the night train to Paris. My beloved Paris. I could not really figure out the reason why I like this place so much - that I don't mind going there again and again... and still I chose this place as my "last destination" for my Europe trip - the second time indeed.

I arrived at Gare du Nord (the North Train Terminal in Paris) in the early morning. First thing I did - had a coffee at sidewalk cafe and back to my writing [which I kind of stopped since I left Poland because of the meetings I had in Berlin]. Then I re-visited Pompidu Centre, Montmartre & Sacre-Coeur. Finally got the chance to go to the cementary in Montmartre. Yes, cementary. There resting in peace quite some renowned people who have influences on people's mind throughout centuries... TRIBUTE TO ALL.

On my second day of stay in Paris, which meant also my last day in Europe for this trip. I didn't go around here and there - no more interest & energy for doing that. So, I just headed direct to Champs-Elysees to complete my last two 'missions' - bought the CDs at the Virgin Megastore there for my friend, AND got my lovely macarons from my favorite store LADUREE. I just couldn't resist the tempatation from those tiny colorful sweet biscuits at all.

At the time of writing this, I am already back in HONG KONG - where I come from.

Leaving HONG KONG for such a trip seemed like a beginning of a journey.
Yet, it seemed also like an end of my life journey so far so forth...

And the end of my Europe journey, probably symbolized another beginning of my life journey.

[to be continued]


@Europe - day 25 (08.07.12)

My 25th day - came to the countdown, ending my trip. I would be back HOME to HONG KONG very soon. Arrival HKG 08.07.19 17:xx.


Since I left BUDAPEST, I have been to TOKAJ & EGER in HUNGARY - two famous wine regions. TOKAJ was just lovely, a little village - and the people there all enjoy wines so much. The "natural" cellars there are cute too, and it seems like every family has that in their backyard or somewhere nearby home. Happened to try some wines from "private cellars" free of charge - in fact, just pass by one of those houses, and got invited to see underground there... and tried some sweet TOKAJ.

EGER - another funny place. I arrived there quite late in the afternoon time, and realized that the pension I booked was actually up on the hill. Then, my HIGHLIGHT of this place became 'view of EGER from hilltop'... plus, just 10minutes after I left the pension - wanna go to the town centre... STORM came!! STORM on the HILL... got me so wet... then I couldn't really walk anywhere, just found a bar - stayed there at the bench outside the bar, having a bottle of beer, watching the storm there... seeing the STORM come and go... Ended up, I toured around the centre for around 3 hours the next day before I took the train to my next destination...

"Next destination" - originally was KRAKOW, where I thought I would go directly from EGER. Yet, last minute - I changed my mind. I would like to drop by SLOVAKIA.

Very much interested seeing this place after I realized that SLOVAKIA will be the next country starting to use EURO (from Jan 2009). Therefore, quite curious how this country is.

I didn't pick the capital this time, instead - I chose KOSICE - which is closer to EGER where I last stayed, and closer to the destination after in POLAND.

KOSICE - a fairy tale town. If you have ever seen photos of Disneyland, or have been to Disneyland, you might be able to imagine how this town looks like. The centre of the town is like the MAIN STREET in Disneyland - yet, REAL stuff though.. not that artificially built like Disneyland - got the colorful houses and no-longer-operating tramway along the long street, got a musical fountain there - music on all day long at the park, where there is the fountain with different water splash pattern.. so lovely..

And happened that the pension where I stayed got a window-ceiling... so I was there looking at the sky turning from deep blue... to darkness... to sunshine the next morning...

After KOSICE, I ended up in POLAND.

Dropped by KRAKOW first for two days, then here in WARSAW. KRAKOW was such a nice place, with many bars and cafes around. Feel like even if I live there, I just could not have a chance to check out most of them... the atmosphere there was good too - with all the mix of history & modern times, with all the mix of vintage architecture & contemporary arts stuff...

On FRIDAY night, happened there was the STREET THEATRE FESTIVAL going on. Shows going on here and there... drama performance, breakdance... all sorts of performing arts...

Back hostel early though, shared with my new friend a bottle of HUNGARIAN wine I bought -- a semi-sweet OLASZRIZLING 2001. Lovely...

Now in WARSAW - arrived Sat afternoon. As suggested by many friends - very true that KRAKOW is more preferred as destination than WARSAW. Once I went outside the Central railway station - I knew why.. and I agreed.

After all, WARSAW is the capital city of POLAND, and probably the heart of all the trade/ business/ finance... so it is more like a commercial place to me.

Unfortunately, it was raining quite heavy outside, and I just didn't have to mood to go out and see around... so I just stayed in my hostel and cooked my dinner there... with some reading...

I do think I would like to come WARSAW again - so no hurry to go to all those so-called "MUST SEE" spots...

POLAND is one of my favorite destinations during this trip - especially KRAKOW. Though for some reason, I did not really like it for the fact about history - about the JEWISH... so gloomy and heavy...

Anyhow, time flies, everyone has to move on, and live with the history. Just good example to show here, and for people to learn something from history (if ever anyone is learning...)

So, after WARSAW, I am going BERLIN on Sunday. 6.5-hour train ride. I would be there until 08.07.16... then I would go direct to PARIS - my beloved PARIS.... from there, I would fly back HOME...

[to be continued]


@Europe - day 15 (08.07.02)

Got pretty mad in love with CROATIA. What a wonderful country indeed. For I have visited just two cities - SPLIT and ZAGREB - and staying in these places for just 4 days... I do believe that I wanna come here to ZAGREB, and CROATIA again.

People here in CRO are so friendly, and happened that I met really nice people here... a lady bought me raspberry at the market, the reception at hostel gave me a free gift... then I met Hong Kong new friends here.. and Japanese friends... and then an artist in Gallery... so brilliant!!!

Not to forget.. friends from Hungary and US I met in SPLIT. And thanks for the guys treating me WHISKY at hostel, plus the very nice chat with new friend who worked in BOSNIA EU office before... and the one about AMSTERDAM!!


Today, I took a morning train from ZAGREB to BUDAPEST. Yea.. finally I got here at BUDAPEST! Was about to come here 3 years ago with my friend, but because of the tight schedule, we had to drop that.. NOW I AM HERE!

It took me from 7am till 3pm - altogether 8 hours - to get here. I did not take a night train this time for I wanna see the LAKE BALATON during daytime. That is one of the biggest lake in Europe, yet I could't make it to stay there this time... hopefully, I can make it one day to come again...

Then after settled down here at the AMAZING HOSTEL, I got out to enjoy a wonderful meal with very nice atmosphere - plus great lively piano music. Also, enjoyed great food, from the typical Hungarian "beef soup", to appetizer sampler (got goose liver coated with white chocolate + toast with eggplant cream & sun-dried tomato + beef tartar), to Hungarian white wine, to Hungarian dessert + cappucino... then got another red wine with some salami at hostel to accompany my writing here...

Gosh... real good appetite... for having all such wonderful food and wine. Gotta go market to get some fresh stuff tomorrow to cook by myself @hostel... so funny, they got a real fully equipped kitchen. I could find wine glasses here!! (P.S. very good deal indeed... staying here 3 nights... less than 30EUR in total...)

Tentatively, I am staying here in BUDAPEST for 3 days.. then wanna move the wine region - EGER and TOKAJ - and stay there for another 3 days.

After Hungary... next stop gonna be POLAND!! Yea... finally decided I wanna make it there this time too! Will do KRAKOW and WARSAW.

Anyhow... do think I will make it to Eastern Europe again sooner or later.. I just love it really...

[ to be continued ]