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Friday, October 5, 2007

EUROPE: The Grand Continent

When I was still in my fourth grade, my father brought home a glossy, life size calendar featuring some of the best european countries. My 10-year-old mind glued on the breathtaking sight of Veyvey,which I found out, a milk dominated farm in Eastern Switzerland (home base of Nestle Food Company better known as Societe de Produits Nestle in their local tongue). The magnificent sight features cows and sheeps placidly gnawing green grass on the scallop mountain.It was a childhood fascination that triggered my innocent mind to discover the other side of the planet, well, EUROPE in particular. I started clipping articles, pictures or anything I found in my father's desk (much to his fury)featuring the elegant continent.The rocky mountains of Switzerland, the mystical region of Burgundy in France and the romantic scenery of Monaco seems like a great escape. When I became of age, this fascination (of traveling to europe) continued with the help of modern technology.

London is an exciting city, I supposed, with all its splendor and sophistication it's hardly a boring place to visit in.The Big Ben, Buckingham palace, British Museum and the Tower of London are just few of England's enthralling landmarks, STONEHENGE in Wiltshire, across the Salisbury plains is a breathtaking ancient wonders. Windor Castle, which Samuel Pepys (a 17th century diarist)described as the most romantic castle that is in the world,is a cobbled fortress located at the Royal Berkshire above the placid Thames river, it's an ancient symbol of British Monarchy and a weekend residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the current head of the Royal House of Windsor. Across the English Channel lies France, Paris, its capital, is said to be the most romantic city in the world (I'm yet to discover why)as the old adage goes:come to Paris and discover romance, is a lingering phrase and a great attraction to the present generation.

Routing on the southern most part there's Monaco, a tiny principality ruled by His Serene Highness Prince Albert II on the meditteranean coast,it is often a fave honeymoon destination of the rich and the famous, the privilege and the glamorous cavorting to the classy resort of Cote de Azur.Well, considering the high price (a whopping 6 digit figures in euro)you'll spend by taking a single step there, it's a bit challenging-financially.Why not take on the nearest border, Italy, of course, still romantic as Monaco.The province of Tuscany is just as captivating as Burgundy with its vast winery vineyard overlooking the artistic city of Florence.Venice in the northern part is famous for Gondola, many exciting couples eagerly waiting for a dreamy vacation, find a boat ride in the venetian wide canal, a worthwhile experience. Traveling to Scandinavian peninsula maybe not a perfect idea, but Norway in particular is a sort of paradise, known to jetsetters as the land of midnight sun, it's a place rarely visited by Diana or Artemis or Apollo.Fjord in the countryside is refreshing as the English Lake District, Grasmere(home of the poet William Wordsworth)where beautifully cultivated Hangerias sprouted.

Above all, I still consider Scotland,in the British isle, as the best place to explore where pageantry and history blended regally. The ancient castles of the early scottish royals still imposing. The Culloden Moor (the last battle ground of English & Scottish wars where the Bonnie King Charlie Stuart defeated by the advancing army of the English King, Edward II),offers scenic views of the historical ground of Fort William and Loch Ness, where hunting expedition of european aristocrats usually held. Isle of Skye in Oarkney Island is a spectacular boating and fishing destination that would not be missed.Glasgow (Scotland's biggest city)is the most orderly and beautifully governed city in the world(according to Compton Encyclopedia),hardly no beggars, street children and sidewalk vendors. Lifestlye in Glasgow, is far from radical or liberated.Scotland,I think is more safe than England.Terrorist might think twice in detonating bombs in the hinterlands which comprises most of Scot(they'll not spend a huge amount anyway if only geese and bushes are the only victims!).

Philippines is still a paradise country to live, but isn't it a wonderful lifetime journey if we could, even once, visit another land, not to work (and endure the rant of bully employers),but to taste the life of just being there,sipping champagne, rubbing elbows with fellow travelers and the good feeling of experiencing life itself.When I reached the pearl age of 30,it was as if I was deprived of everything,I could not even relate to the very basic foundation of the so called romance, where almost all people claim as the most exciting part of our existence (is it?I wonder, because at 33 it's ridiculous to think that I've not gone yet for my first date).The number 30 figure alone horrifies me,as if I saw a serial killer and I'm his next victim, but I get on with it because life is a journey, and there's more than paying attention to the stupid idea of aging. Traveling, as what others claim it, is a way of curing boredom,depression, resentment, anxiety(even paranoia)and rejection. It's a good breather and best outlet of self-fulfillment.


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