Je t’adore big guns and Chanel…
We gave up trying to go up to the Eiffel Tower. The lines were too long.
And we were also unfortunate enough to Versailles on a holiday. It was Ascension Thursday. Every nation and the French decided to spend the day there.
For all its grandiosity and pretentious pomp, the architect left out one essential room in Versailles–BATHROOMS. According to our tour guide, Versailles’ inhabitants just came and relieved their bladders wherever they pleased. It slightly tarnished my first impressions of the Palace. It is a work of art, really. One just has to overlook its unhygenic provisions. Hmmm….
Sunday in Paris. Still Asian and still lost…
This is how the city looks from Notre Dame’s towers. I believe this is the city where I have climbed more than 4 high points just to see top views in all angles.
We were nearly late for the Sunday service because we got lost. Some of the streets have their signs hung on the corners in tiny signs. In addition, there was the language barrier. We couldn’t ask anyone to give us detailed directions to the cathedral. Fortunately, we made it in time and got relatively good seats.
Asian lost in Paris…
It would be redundant, borderline ridiculous to say that Paris is a beautiful city. It’d take around a five minute walk from our hotel to see this at 10:30 PM, just a little after sunset. After nearly a week’s stay in London, I still got disoriented because of the time difference. In my “world” the sun sets at 6:00 PM. Anyway…
More museums and the obligatory food post…
This is the entrance of the Natural History Museum. We got free entrance, as with most of the museums, thanks to our London Pass. The exhibits here were targeted for a younger audience. I got bored actually because it was elementary biology. I did learn a thing or two on modern museum interiors.
The museum was first opened to the public in 1881. But the collections first started when Sir Hans Sloane (physician and collector of natural curiosities) donated his collection in 1753. (Source: Natural History Museum UK)
I forgot to mention that my favorite parts of the collection were the dinosaur and whale skeleton exhibit.
These two bridges here connect the exhibits, giving the interior layout a maze-like feel.
This is “the Cocoon” in the Darwin Centre designed by C F Møller Architects. I wasn’t able to go inside though, so check out more pictures of it here, Darwin Centre Architectural Highlights. We had another stop to visit.
More sights from the City Bus Tour – St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, President Obama…
St. Paul’s Cathedral, the largest Anglican Church equivalent to the St. Peter’s Basilica of the Roman Catholics. We weren’t allowed to take pictures here. I found out as the trip progressed that photographing was generally forbidden inside places of worship.
This is the fifth building of the cathedral which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1669 and officially completed in 1711. The first three cathedrals existed before the year 1000 A.D. and were burned down. The fourth cathedral was constructed after the fire in 1087 that destroyed the third cathedral. The ceiling and roof were made of wood which led to its eventual decay. The construction of the fifth version experienced a lot of interruptions during the Civil War.
The style is a mix between Gothic and Baroque styles. The Baroque is evident in the dome (and inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica) and the arched ceilings. The Gothic is present in the spires as seen in the photo above. The design received mixed reactions from the public. If I remember my Art Studies correctly, the architecture in mainland Europe developed closely alongside each other. Proximity made it easier for architects and craftsmen to travel around mainland Europe–France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Flanders–and see which architectural styles were in fashion. Britain, located away from the mainland, caught on the trends at a later time and was (generally) considered not part of the cool group.
A view of the St. Paul Memorial from the Golden Gallery, the topmost area on the dome that is accessible to the public.
Getting our bearings and acclimatizing…
I got disoriented upon touchdown in London. We arrived at the hotel at around 9:30 PM. The sun was still UP, and I forgot that, “Oh, right. We’re way up in the Northern hemisphere.” We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Kensington, an affluent and densely populated neighborhood.
Excuse our amusement and narcissicism, as it is one of the few occasions that I wear more than one layer of clothing when going outside.
I’ll keep it short for now. I have hundreds of pictures that I have to filter out. :)
Notre Dame. We heard Mass here this morning.
La Conciergerie, a royal palace and prison which is part of a larger complex, the Palais de Justice. Presently it is used for the law courts. Side trivia, Marie Antoinette was imprisoned here. Its other name is the “Antechamber to the Guillotine”. The picture above is the Hall of the Guards.
The plaza outisde Palais de Justice. The main entrance, which is not open to the public is at the far end.
I haven’t organized my photos in chronological order yet. But here are some of my memorable stops of the trip so far. The full account will come after Paris, and after the entire trip.
[I couldn’t take photographs of the interiors of the churches and castles we visited as they all had a “no photography” policy for security and conservation reasons. Understandable, but booooo….]
The Darwin Center at the Museum of Natural History
The London Eye
West End (where we watched Les Miserables).
Starting point: Pinatubo Day Spa located in Capas, Tarlac
Last Saturday, I went with my Dad, sister, and a high school friend on a trip to Mt. Pinatubo. We left the house at around 4:30 AM. My family had a good night’s rest. I didn’t. (I hit the sheets at around 3:00 AM.)
(Photocredits: my sister and Dad!)
We left the car at the Pinatubo Day Spa. Got on a 4×4–yeah! kickass!–to travel the rest of the way. The other companions for this excursion were my Dad’s officemates.
4x4 that had to be pulled out
The terrain of Pinatubo is an altogether alien landscape. I have gone hiking on fieldtrips and other family excursions, so naturally, I expected to see lush greenery. After the main entrance to the Pinatubo hiking site (first picture), the jeep had to traverse a vast stretch of lahar. There are streams from Mt. Pinatubo’s natural springs that break the sandy expanse.
Sauron's tropical domain?
At this point, we were going up Pinatubo’s slope. At the next stop, we were supposed to disembark from the jeeps then go down–how far, I don’t know–into the crater. Based on our surroundings, I couldn’t pinpoint where we were exactly on Pinatubo. On the way there, I was vaguely reminded of Mordor, minus Gollum lurking among the rocks.