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    Wednesday, April 25, 2007
    birthday trip
    thanks so much for those who remembered and greeted me on my birthday, appreciate it!

    being in central europe gives you an excuse to celebrate your birthday in neighboring countries... and this year, our first major out of the country trip started a day before my birthday(we had two minor ones - 1 day in Yvoire, France and another in Kontanz, Germany)... and that is in Paris, France, the city of lights, the city of love, the city of great gastronomy.. among others. the city, specifically Gare de Lyon, 12th Arrondissement of Paris is 4 hours away from our place in Switzerland.

    the trip was planned about 6 weeks before the date, and boy did i have a migraine for a full week because of all the research on where to stay, how to spend the days, booking trips - and so did hubby, since i ask him if this or that is ok, if this will be better than that for at least three times in a day... you know, you want to have the best deal and peace of mind!

    i guess we had good deals - first, the train ticket, i booked this at the time we thought we finalized the date (even if hubby hasn't been approved of his leave yet!). this we got 1/2 priced because TGV had a two-for-one promo during the period i was researching. and then the hotel in Eurodisney, Holiday Inn, we got the 2 weeks advanced booking special which is much cheaper than their rack rate (is that what it's called? :p), we also got the paris combo-tour for a special price.... so the trip was really "special"

    first stop was Disneyland Paris, which was a 35-minute trip from Gare de Lyon, we headed straight to the hotel upon reaching the station, left our luggage and then went straight to Disney Village where we went around and just enjoyed the place, then shopped for souvenir items (immediately, to save time the next day) and then had dinner. after that, we went back to Holiday Inn, bought our 2-parks-1-day pass, went around the hotel and then went back to our room at around 10pm to hopefully be up and about and be in Disneyland by 10am, sharp! and we were right on time, we were all up by 7a.m., watched some tv, eveverybody took a shower and went down at 9a.m. for breakfast and caught the 9:45am bus to the park. we first went to Disney Studios where we watch Animagic, took the Tram Tour, went to the Art of Animation, went around some more and of course, met the "stars". too bad, the Cars attraction wasn't ready yet, so kuya FL just had to be contented with posing by the billboards and posters. we went out of Disney Studios by 1pm and went straight to Disneyland Park, here we had sandwiches for lunch, watched the parade, went to Pirates of the Caribbean, Buzz Lightyear, It's A Small World, Peter Pan attractions, Main Street USA, Sleeping Beauty Castle, FL & hubby rode the rocket ship (dunno what it's called, actually) and watched the Lion King play and Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. and then just went around the park again to marvel at the beautiful works. we went out of the park at closing time, which is 8p.m. then went back to the Village for my birthday dinner at Planet Hollywood, food was great! :). We went back to the hotel at around 10:30.

    The next day, checkout was at 11am and then we headed to the train that will take us back to the city, we checked-in at our Paris hotel at 1pm. Hotel was nice, actually. We had a good deal on this one as well. I actually booked about 2 weeks before, and then about two days before our trip, I decided to checkout my booking as well and check the rates. To my surprise, the rates were EUR10.- cheaper, so I decided to book again and cancel my original booking, it saved me a total of EUR25... that's enough for one adult's meal, already! :) On our first day in Paris, we took the river cruise, went down to the Louvre Museum and walked around the city. We saw the Eiffel, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Hotel de Ville. Paris is just amazing, the buildings were so detailed and the city was clean. We never got tired of looking... and that's mostly what we did, on our standards, the photos we shot were much less than what one would expect of us, we only had almost 800 shots of the whole trip, when we were expecting more than a 1000... it's because you just get caught up with looking at the monument than see it behind the lens :). The next day, we went up to Montmartre, where the Sacre Coeur stands, from there, you have a panoramic view of the whole city of Paris. We also saw the Opera, Moulin Rouge and the surrounding cabarets, the Lafayette Galleries and the Opera Boulevard. We capped the day by catching the boat again to Eiffel Tower and stayed there to witness Eiffel Tower at night... and boy did we have a treat! We just literally just stared at the massiveness of the tower, but this time we had to have photos! :) At around 10pm, we decided to go back and take the metro back to the hotel. Our last day, we heard the multi-lingual mass in Notre Dame, primarily in French, but the priests spoke English, German and Spanish, as well.. another different experience! We were even ushered to good seats by the well-dressed elderly ushers :). After Notre Dame, we took the boat again, and went to Champs Elysees for some photos. Our train departs at 2:54, and we were still on the road at 2pm. so, we just grabbed some sandwiches and crepe and drinks and off we went and took a cab! And the cab ride was another experience... our cab was hit by another car, just a slight brush, but the two drivers argued.. and we were pressed for time, mind you! So you can just imagine how it feels :). But after about two minutes, they finished their rift and went back to the road. The lady cab-driver did apologize for the incident and we were just glad we got to the train station on time :) So we bid Paris farewell, until we return... hopefully soon! And off we went for the 4-hr pleasant train trip to back home.

    Even when it was really hot and there was just a lot, and i mean so many, people, we had a great time and did enjoy the trip. We plan to do it again! Oh, we have managed to take photos... so click here to check it out :)

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    Tuesday, April 10, 2007
    easter weekend
    easter weekend means long weekend here. good friday and easter monday are public holidays... so, best way to take advantage of it is to go out of town and visit beautiful places. and that we did!

    good friday was spent with my sister and her family, that being their last day of vacationing here and we went to Mt. Pilatus. we (my family) drove for about 2 hours to Lucerne where we will meet them (my sis' family) so we can go up together. so that's more or less 5 hrs driving for hubby that day. we had snacks - lots of french fries - on the viewing deck and then dinner was along the chapel bridge in the city proper of Lucerne.

    the next day, they will need to be at the airport at 5am, since their flight is at 7am... so that means, we (me, too since i have to bid them farewell) have to be up latest 4am - that is after we went to bed at 12am. and that also means, 1 hrs driving from our place to the airport and back - equals additional 2 hrs driving for hubby.

    he got back to the house around 6:00am and got back to bed, because we will again be on the road for another 3hr drive to St. Gallen, where we spent Black Saturday and the morning of Easter Sunday. we left the house at 11am, so we got to SG at about 2pm, since weather was good and the sun was shining, we decided to just go around town after we checked-in in our hotel. and boy, did we have a blast! the place was just awesome!!! :-) we toured the city, took pictures, and just marveled at the beautiful place. we had dinner at a really great restaurant, recommended by my French language teacher, they served authentic swiss cuisine and yes, the food did exceed our expectations :)

    by the time we got back to the hotel we were exhausted, but we have to be up by 7am to hopefully take part on the easter egg hunt. so, after breakfast, shower and dressing up, we all went out, this time, weather was not so good. it was freezing! we walked around, saw the hunters with their eggs in the bags, unfortunately it looks like we went out a bit late, we didn't find any eggs anymore... but the good thing is we were "handed" an egg by one of the organizers, they gave the egg to baby SA, since he sure won't be able to go hunting by himself. :) it was fun, still, and FL had a blast. we will definitely do it again :)

    after the egg hunt, we went back to the hotel - that's around 9:30am and FL had his breakfast, after breakfast, we checked out and attended the 11am mass in the Cathedral. after that, we went off again to our next destination: the Rheinfalls, the biggest waterfalls in Switzerland (or Europe, is it?).

    we capped the day with another long drive, that' 3 hrs from Neuehaussen, CH. this time, we were already struggling, we were so tired from the last two days, but having had a good time, we were able to ignore it. and since Monday is another non-working holiday, we just stayed home and rested the whole day... until our next trip... which is due in 2 weeks time! :) can hardly wait! :D

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    Monday, April 9, 2007
    the last two weeks
    last saturday, my sister and her family left switzerland after a two-week holiday. it was short but sweet, indeed. they toured switzerland and had a day trip in milan, italy. the first day they came here, we showed them around our place, vevey, left the house at 3pm and walked along the beautiful lakeside to attend the 6pm mass in french.

    they went to zurich, bern, Lucerne, interlaken and lugano. we could not be able to join them in their tour of CH since we just came back from our PH holidays and we've an upcoming one for Paris, in a few weeks' time. but we were able to join them during the weekends where we went to Yvoire, France - less than 2-hr drive from our place, we drove to there while they took the train and the ferry.

    on their last weekend, we went to Pilatus, one of the alps of Lucerne, it was, again a lovely sight. we went around town and spent the whole afternoon at the summit.

    it was a fun two weeks, most especially for franco, since he had "in-house" playmates in his cousins. here are some photos of the boys while watching and having a quiet time.

    they left the house while franco was sleeping, so naturally, when he woke up, he was looking for his cousins nicky and alex... he said: "where's alex and nicky and auntie cely and uncle peng?" and we would say: "they're back home, in america." and from then on he would say: "i want to go to america to see alex and nicky and auntie cely and uncle peng".... unfortunately, my son, that won't happen this year yet... hopefully next year, when our schedule and frequent flyer miles allow! :p

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