Thursday, December 8, 2016

A trip to Neuschwanstein Castle

Fairy tales, king, and queens you named it, all of these describe our impressions of the Neuschwanstein Castle. The castle is located in the mountains of Hohenschwangau near Füssen Bavaria in Germany. It is one of the famous and most visited castles in Europe.

Neuschwanstein Castle was commissioned by the late king Ludwig of Bavaria. With the castles picturesque beauty, it has been told that it was the inspiration of Walt Disney in creating the Sleeping Beauty.

In this article, I will be sharing my epic trip to the castle, discoveries and all the crazy things I've undergone on this trip so be sure to read it till the end.

The trip started in Munich which was my first stop going to the castle and after arriving from my eastern European leg of my euro trip. I was very excited to explore the Bavarian side of Germany where it is home to the best beers and beers and beers and beers. I arrived in Munich bus station and checked-in to my hostel and hurriedly went to Munich main train station to meet a friend who was also doing her Eurotrip.

Meeting my friend in Muenchen Hauptbahnhof
After meeting a friend, I went straight to the tourist assistance center in the station and asked more details on how to get to the castle ( the fastest and the cheapest way possible as I was on a tight budget and on a day trip only). They advised me to get a Bayern Ticket( going to Füssen) which cost around 26 euros for the round trip tickets( I save  a lot of money with this). I also decided not to buy the castle ticket(tickets to tour inside the castle) as I heard lots of reviews from fellow travelers  that it is not worth the money.  I bought the ticket in the machine and I am set.

I waited for my train and it was around 10am when my train arrived and ready for boarding(remember to check the platform number and  your destination, which is Füssen). The trip was around 2hrs and the views and sceneries were stunning. I remember we had to change another train( I forgot which town we change train) going to Füssen. Füssen is the last stop for this train route so all passenger are going to disembark (during my visit there were lots of construction to this station).

Scenic view from the train

After the 2hrs trip, I arrived at Füssen. I hopped into the Bus going to Hohenschwangau which was just across the train station. Be sure to secure a spot on the bus as all of the passengers from the train are for sure a traveler wanting to see the castle. 

Lucky to secure a seat on the bus

The castle from afar
After a few minutes, I arrived in the town of Hohenschwangau. On the side of the road, I saw a small fountain which locals informed us that the water flowing from those fountains were drinkable and purely mineral water straight from Bavarian Alps. I indulge in it, take a sip and store some in my water bottle. It was refreshing and cold. They also told us that those waters were the key ingredients why bavarian beers taste good.

Welcome to Hohenschwangau 

It was lunch time when I arrived in the town and decided to take a lunch. I went straight to the restaurant that I saw first as I was really hungry. I ordered a traditional German Curry Wurst mit Pommes (Curry Sausage with Fries). Inside the restaurant, there were lots of paper money posted on the ceiling from different travelers who visited the restaurant. I also posted a Philippine Money to go with the tradition.

Restaurant in Hohenschwangau 
Paper bills from travelers around the world

After having my lunch, I went straight ahead and notice a flock of travelers lining up. Curious about it, I check them and found out that this was the place where they exchange/claim their castle tickets. Since I am not interested in checking what is inside the castle, I skip this and went further straight and found another queue, this time it was a bit longer. There were 2 possible ways to get to the castle. First by bus and the other one is by foot. It was an uphill hike so I decided to take a bus going up and take a walk going down so I can save energy and time.

The queue in the bus going to the castle

After reaching the hill, we were greeted with signs that the Queen Mary's Bridge (Marienbrucke) was closed for renovation. It was the perfect location to view the castle. Even though the bridge was unavailable, there were lots of things to see though it was a really a bummer that the bright was closed.

The barricade and warnings of the renovation of the bridge

A map of the area

There were signs around the area and maps so you wouldn't be lost along the way. I saw a traditional bavarian musician in action. Postcard - perfect views and stunning sceneries awaits you upon walking through the road going to the castle.

                                                            A short entertainment 
Stunning view of the small town

Road going to the castle

Upon reaching the castle, there were lots of travelers resting. Most of them opted not to take a peak of what is inside of the castle itself. You can still at least go to some part of what is inside of it but it is limited.

Tourist outside the castle with a stunning view 

At the entrance of the castle
Inside the castle which is accessible by everyone

Inside the castle
The castle from outside

Going further down under were some spots where you see a different angle of the castle. It was also where the souvenir shops were located and some small restaurant.

I spent around 3hrs roaming around the area, enjoying the views around it until I decided to go back to the town center. The path going down was not that bad, there were cemented roads with signage and wonderful trees and animals you can look around and meet around.

Path going down to the town center
The visit was over for me and headed to the town center. In Hohenschwangau, you can take the same bus going to Füssen and the same train going to Munich.

Upon reaching Füssen I opted to explore the area for a few hours before heading back to Munich.

On this trip, I learn a lot about the history, interesting facts and legend about this castle from the locals I met along the way. I opted not to share it with you on this blog so you will not be spoiled(if you are visiting soon). It is best for you to discover when you are there.

It was not that of an easy trip but It is doable. I was lost several times and language barrier was one of the problems I encounter even though I can understand and speak a little german.

Was it worth the visit? 
For me, it is a big yes although I wasn't able to check what the actual view would have been at the Marienbrucke, I still enjoy the sights and everything I experience and did on this Bavarian trip. 

Have you been  to Neuschwanstein Castle? Share your stories and comments below.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

[Pokemon] First trainer level cap in the Cebu [Philippines]

After the game was released in the Philippines almost 4 months ago, trainers around the country had been busy catching and leveling up. Although the Philippines was a bit late compared to the US and Australia with regards to the launching  of the game,  some Pinoy trainers had managed to cope up with this loss.

The current trainer max level of the game is 40. It took me almost two months to get to level 30(didn't bought any pokecoins via real money) and it seems level 40 is  just a dream for me and it would take me forever to achieve this.

In Cebu City, where there is a huge fanbase of the game, each trainer is striving to be the very best and help one another in every way possible.  One trainer stand unique among of us, Michael Uy whose trainer level recently turned 40. He is the first known legit Pokemon player in Cebu or maybe on the entire Philippines who reached the max level.

I met Michael(Mic) in a Lure Event in Marcelo Fernan Bridge(a Pokemon hot spot in Cebu). I was then level 25 and he was already 33. At first, we had suspected him of using any hacks and cheat since we are skeptical of him reaching that far whereas the game has just launched. So we started asking him questions about his technique and turns out he is legit and plainly an addict of the game.

Mic (Mic888x) actually turn  Lvl 40 at around Nov 26, 2016 5:45pm PH time( Nov 26, 2016 9:45am UTC).

Here are his few tricks:

Spam those Lucky Eggs

God knows how many lucky eggs was used by Mic in order to reach the max level. Every time he  normally catches a Pokemon or spins a poke stop, a lucky egg is always activated. It seems to me that he is laying eggs (kidding mic). He was telling us that he was getting more or less 100k XP per day.

Gotta Catch Em All

As the game slogan says 'Gotta Catch em all'. Mic literally catches every pokemon on its sightings and leave no one including his favorite ratatas and pidgeys. While other trainers are sitting ducks on lures, he is busy roaming around and catching those pokemons in his sightings. When his done catching those in his sightings and on those on the lure, he then evolves some pokemons on his list making every second of his lucky egg count.

Get more connections

Mic was a member of different chat groups from different teams and from different hot spot locations(we have chat group for every hotspot location). He can easily get information if some teams or locations are having lure parties or doing Jimmy's Loop. And in every event, he is always there and will always be( never missing any event). He had been to almost all of the hot spot locations in the metro making friends from each of this spots and becoming famous everywhere.

Play like there is no tomorrow

There are those times that there were no lure parties and events,  Mic didn't think of this as a downtime instead he simply roams around the metro with a car and spin and catches every poke stop and Pokemon along his way. The only downtime he has is when he rest and work. He plays beyond 8hrs everyday.

It seems these are the top things we get and observe from him. We also notice a few things that make him the very best, his gears which he carries or wears every time he is farming or hunting. Here are the list:


Like other players, we notice that on his sling bag, he always brought with him a minimum of 2 powerbanks fully charged with chargers making him enjoy all day and all night farming and power leveling without any interuptions. More power more fun for him.


He always carries with him an umbrella in case it will rain and if there are rare Pokemon which needs to be chased. He is unstoppable by this time.

Running Shoes

We always saw him on running shoes everytime he is farming or leveling. This is to easily manuver incase a rare pokemon is within a walking distance or even on a running distance, he is always up for it and is ready to take a marathon. He can easily chase the pokemon with this. I remember when he was about to go home and already walked around 200m away from the lures when suddenly some rare pokemon pops out in the lure. Some trainers posted it quickly on the chat groups and luckily Mic was able to notice it and hurriedly  run back to the spot and was able to catch it.

Below was the actual video of him popping up Lvl 40 with the help of Goldeen. :)

We also ask him what's next after reaching the max level and he replied with "its Hunt time both for rare Pokemon and Gyms raids".

Congrats Mic, where are our beers?

Have you reach the max level as well? Share your stories in the comment section below.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Roam in Rome

Rome, the capital of Italy, is a cosmopolitan city with globally influential culture and history. It had been tag as the eternal city and one of the top destination for tourists worldwide. It had been featured in many documentaries and movies around the world.

For me, Rome is somewhat a big museum, every part and places you will go are traces of history and culture. There are stories in each one of them. If only those stone walls can speak about its past for sure it will need all the time in this world. Just like any other cities, beware of potential scams around you.

If you are visiting Rome soon, here are some things you need to know and places you need  to see.

Things you need to know about ROME

Walking is the best mode of transport

In order to know more about a city, one must walk. Walking had been the most efficient way to see and explore a city. There are things which you can only see by walking and is not visible when riding a train or bus. Rome is not that big of a city and every famous landmark is close to each other which makes walking a more efficient option. Aside from saving a few bucks, you also did yourself a healthy exercise.

Walking with other tourists

Water in the fountains are drinkable

Most of the fountains in Rome are still from the old Ancient Rome which is still used up to this day. It had the same water connection from before. The water here is safe to drink as vouched by locals and authorities. The only thing you do is just bring a container and you're good to go for sure you need a lot of this after a long sightseeing.  This will surely save you tons of money as there are lots of fountains scattered around the city.

Me filling up my container in Spanish Steps(also photobombing hahaha)

Get a Roma Pass

Roma Pass entitles you to a queue-less entry to a museum of your choice, unlimited use of transport and discounts to establishments or tickets. The pass was designed especially for tourists. The pass has 2 variant, the 72hrs pass, and the 48hrs which cost around 38Euro and 28Euro respectively. The 72hrs pass entitles you to 2 free museums of your choice while the 48hrs is for 1.  I myself bought the 72hrs pass for the sole purpose of skipping the queue in the museum/attractions I am interested in (I already learn a lesson from my Eiffel Tower trip here). I haven't really maximized the usage of the unlimited transport as I did walking most of the time and just do it when I am really tired. If you do the math, buying 2 regular tickets of 2 different museums of your choice is somewhat almost similar to the price of the 72hrs Pass without the privilege on skipping the queue (which is important for me), the unlimited transport and discounts. The pass is really a good deal and I highly recommend. For more info about Roma Pass click here.

My Roma Pass with my friend's foot

Take a Free Walking Tours 

Free walking tours are famous in every city in Europe. Mostly, these are in cooperation with the tourism agency of the city. These tours are running by tip base and the tour guides are students who knew the place very well. Most of the time the meeting place are on  the famous landmark of the city. For the Free walking tours in Rome, the predominant meeting area is in the Spanish Steps and will commence at the Vatican. The tour usually takes around 1-2 hrs. You can opt out anytime along the way if you think you don't like it anymore. To give you an idea, usually if I like the way the tour was handled, I am tipping around 1-2 Euros (yeah I am on a budget) but if not I just walk away.

Meetup for the Free walking tours

A must see in Rome

Spanish Steps

The "Scalina Spagna" or Spanish Steps is a great example of Roman Baroque Style. It’s a great place to just sit down and enjoy the atmosphere and views of the Eternal City. Near this place is the Spanish Embassy in Rome. Most of the Free walking tours started here.

Tip: Do enjoy the jamming in this place during the night where acoustic songs in Italian, Spanish or English are played while eating Pasta or Gelato.

Spanish Steps at Night
Spanish Steps at daytime

The Pantheon

Pantheon was once called a house where pagans worship their Gods. After all the word Pantheon is a Greek adjective meaning “honor all Gods”.  The spectacular design, proportions, elegance and harmony are a striking reminder of the architecture of the great Roman Empire. The most fascinating part of the Pantheon is its giant dome, with its famous hole in the top (The eye of the Pantheon, or oculus) which sprouts a lightning effect that can be viewed every April 21, the midday sun strikes a metal grille above the doorway, saturating the courtyard outside with light. It also contains the tombs of famous Italian personalities. It is one my favorite structure in Rome.

Tip: Check the center sphere on the dome and the tombs that were laid here.

The Pantheon
Eye of  the Pantheon

The Vatican

Although the Vatican is not part of Rome it is just a few minutes away so might as well check it. You know that you are in the Vatican by looking at a line that separates the two cities. The Vatican is the smallest city in the world and also one of the holiest places in the world. It is the home of the leader of the Catholic Faith, the Pope.

Tip: If you are planning on visiting St. Peters Basilica, the best time is in the afternoon so the queue is not that long. If you want to see the Pope, the best way is to get a Papal Audience ticket and will only  happen on a Wednesday. If you want to visit the Sistine Chapel, you need to book a ticket in advance to avoid the line.

The Vatican
Inside St. Peters Basilica

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain is one of the famous fountains in the world. Upon visiting(last summer 2015) it  was still on construction and renovation. Legend has it that if you throw some coins towards your back using your right hand onto your left shoulder something will happen to you as follows: 1 coin means going back to Rome, 2 coins for marriage and 3 coins for divorce, the higher the value of the coin means greater success rate no wonder according to our free walking tour guide the roman government used to collect approx. 3000 euro of coins per day and is going to charity.

Tip: Beware of pick-pockets here as it tends to be lots of them. Also be sure to land the coin thrown in the water(any currency will do hahaha).

Renovation of Trevi Fountain 

Castel Sant'Angelo

A mausoleum for the  Roman Emperor Hadrian. It was once a papal fortress and as well as the papal prison (the Borgia pope was once imprisoned here). It is relatively near the Vatican City and was told that there were tunnels that link both buildings. Legend holds that the Archangel Michael appeared atop the mausoleum, sheathing his sword as a sign of the end of the plague of 590, thus lending the castle its present name.

Tip: Be sure to visit the underground tunnel that used to link this castle and the Vatican.

View from the top the Castle overlooking the Vatican
Statue of Archangel Michael on top of the Castle

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum is a huge area of ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. It used to be the center of public life in ancient Rome. The ruins are located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills and just a few meters walk from the Colosseum.

Tip: Ticket pass for Colosseum can also be used here in the Roman Forum and vice versa. Roma Pass can be used here. If you are not planning to buy the Roma Pass, you can visit here in the afternoon so there will be no queues, and next day does the Colosseum or Vice-versa.

Going to the Roman Forum
The Ruins in the Roman Forum

The Colosseum

The Colosseum or Coliseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre is a famous landmark in Rome. It serves as an iconic structure in Rome. It used to hold 50,000 - 80,000 people and separated by social class. It was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles. It is divided into three levels; the level that was closest to the arena floor was reserved for the senators, emperor and the rich. The majority of people sat in the second level. The last level was at the top of the amphitheater, and furthest from the arena floor, the slaves, and the women stood up here. There were no seats for these people. Blood and Sands!

Tip: Ticket pass for Roman Forum can also be used here in the Colosseum and vice versa. Roma Pass can be used here. If you are not planning to buy the Roma Pass, you can visit here in the late afternoon so there will be no queues, and next day do the Roman Forum or Vice-versa.

The Colosseum
Inside The Colosseum

It was a history knowledge overload when I visited Rome for almost a week and enjoying every minute of it. For a history fan like me, time is short and there were still lots of things I need to visit and learn. It was a great visit. Till next time Rome!

Have you been to Rome? Share your stories and experiences below

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Food Trip in Brussels

If you want to eat and want to try every famous food a country or place can offer then this article is for you. Brussels is one of the busy metropolia in Europe and is tag as the capital of  Europe as most of the EU offices/building are all in it. French and Dutch are the most common spoken language here. Brussels are home to famous food and dishes that we are still enjoying. Below are some of the famous food which originated in Brussels or Belgium as a whole.

These foods are a must-try when in Brussels.

Belgian Waffles

Waffles are sweet, soft and tasty snack which basically composed of dough and is cooked between two plates. Belgian Waffles are fluffy and light making them one of the favorite in the world. In Brussels, there are lots of stores that sell authentic Belgian Waffles though some of them added their own twist on it. 

According to a local Belgian I met in Brussels, Locals tend to buy plain waffles as the one with lots of toppings(customized) are made for tourist. Usually, the plain waffle cost 1 Euro and the customized one will go up till 5 euros depending on the toppings you are adding in. The tip is to buy to a shop that there are lots of people queuing, it means one thing their product must be delicious( Tried this most of the time and it never fails me). I did try both the plain and the customized one and would prefer the plain over the customized as the latter tends to be very sweet due to all the toppings it has. For me, the sweetness doesn't equate to delicious.

Local Waffle Shop
More Tasty Waffle shop

Belgian Chocolates

Who doesn't like Chocolates? Chocolates are famous in Belgium and are one of the best in the world. 
Belgian Chocolates became famous upon the invention of the praline, a chocolate shell with a soft center. The man who came up with the idea, Jean Neuhaus, is often referred to as Belgium's most famous chocolatier, although he was born in Switzerland.

Chocolates in Brussels are sold in fancy shops either by a pack, piece or by grams. Everywhere in Brussels, you can find chocolate shops but the two famous areas are near the La Grand-Place and in the Galerie de la Reine (Galeries St-Hubert). Famous chocolate shops are, Neuhaus(creator of Praline), Leonidas, Belvas, Elizabeth and much more.
Inside the Galerie de la Reine
The trick here is to go to every shop and get a glimpse of their product and try their free samples. (imagine how many shops offer a free sample, sounds like a plan right?). I did try every free sample in the shop that I visited and there were some that make me wanna try for more, one of this is the chocolates from Neuhaus(which by the way is the best chocolates I every tasted) so I bought a lot from them.
Chocolate Shop near La Grand Place
Chocolate shop Inside the Galerie de la Reine
Chocolate shop Inside the Galerie de la Reine
Chocolate shop Inside the Galerie de la Reine
Chocolate shop Inside the Galerie de la Reine
Chocolate shop Inside the Galerie de la Reine
Organic Chocolate shop  near La Grand Place

Chocolates I bought from different shop which cost around 10 Euro

Belgian Frites (French Fries)

Who would have thought French Fries in Belgium? Frites or French Fries originally came from Belgium(I just knew it as well when I was in Brussels on the Free Walking tours). The Story of Frites, er French Fries, begins in Belgium, not France.  It was during World War I that US GI's were served frites for the first time.  Not knowing exactly where they were, but being in a French speaking part of Europe, they named the yummy fried potatoes French Fries.  But they were actually in Belgium and eating Belgium Fries or Frites which is the french word for fries. I was then fooled for so long thinking that french fries originated in France.
Belgian Frites
Enjoy your snack here
Have you been to a food trip in Brussels? Share your stories and experiences below.