Livin’ La Vida Roma (Rome)

Rome was the last stop of my 3-week trip to Europe.

I chose a hostel just 10 minutes away by foot from Roma Termini, so finding it was not a problem. I was surprised though that the neighborhood is filled with Filipino-run establishments. There’s even a Pinoy restaurant beside the building of our hostel.

Anyway, the hostel’s reception was manned by a guy who’s a dead ringer for Liev Schreiber. 😀 After going through the usual check-in procedure, we squeezed ourselves into a tiny old school elevator just a bit wider than a refrigerator. I don’t know how we managed to fit ourselves in plus my luggage and backpack, but that was the first and last time I used the lift. Never mind if my dorm was on the fourth floor of the building.

I arrived early evening, so there was not much for me to do anymore. I just strolled the area, and booked my Colosseum and Vatican Museum tickets online, so I don’t have to waste my time falling in line for hours.

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The iconic Colosseum or Flavian Amphitheater is the largest amphitheater in the Roman empire.

After grabbing a simple breakfast of cappuccino and sfogliatella from the hostel’s kitchen, I was ready to conquer Rome! LOL

First order of business: The Colosseum.

Getting to the Colosseum, or most of the popular tourist attractions in Rome, is pretty easy. The metro may not be the cleanest, most comfortable, and most efficient in Europe, but I appreciate they take out the guesswork of where to get off because the attractions’ names are written next to metro stops e.g. you can see Fontana di Trevi written next to the metro stop, Barberini.

Anyway, as expected, there’s already a throng of tourists outside the Colosseum even though it’s still early in the day. I’m glad I saved myself the hassle of lining up.

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The Colosseum’s south side collapsed due to earthquakes
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Underneath the Colosseum are rooms and tunnels that housed gladiators and wild animals.

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Everland Resort | South Korea

We went to Everland Resort, South Korea’s largest theme park, on our fourth day.

Just like Petite France and Nami Island, it is located outside of Seoul, so we availed a shuttle service. I was originally looking at Klook’s Everland shuttle bus service, but since they don’t have pick up in Myeong-dong, I went with Daesung Tour instead.

When we arrived at the park’s public parking lot, we just transferred to Everland’s own shuttle, and within 10 minutes, arrived at the theme park. I presented the Klook e-vouchers on my phone, and the staff just scanned the bar codes and issued our tickets.

everlandIt had been sunny the first 3 days we were in Korea, but it was gloomy the whole time we were in Everland, which was fine because it complemented the Halloween theme.

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We decided to explore Zootopia first.

From Global Fair, we rode the gondola called ‘Human Sky’. Its operation was temporarily suspended later on in the day because it was raining.

We really enjoyed our ‘safari’ ride at Lost Valley. We rode an amphibious vehicle and got to see camels, elephants, flamingos, zebras, and giraffes among others. It was a really fun experience! See video below.

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Wandering Seoul | Korea – Days 1 & 2

Seoul is such a big city. So big that 5 days and one trip to Korea is not enough. Still, we tried our best to visit the ‘usual’ tourist spots that first-time visitors to Korea must see.

If it’s your first time too, try to study the city’s layout so you can see which attractions are close to each other. That way, you can maximize your time and not worry too much about getting from Point A to Point B.

DAY 1

GWANGHwAMUN SQUARE

Gwanghwamun Square is just across Gyeongbokgung so you can go here before or after visiting the palace.

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Statue of King Sejong – father of the Korean alphabet, Hangul

It’s a public space, so various events and activities are held throughout the year. When we went, they had a Public Art Festival where artists designed book benches and created chalk art directly on the ground. You can see it in the video at the end of this section. 🙂

GYEONGBOKGUNG

We arrived on a weekend, so I scheduled the palace visits during this time. Gyeongbokgung is closed on Tuesdays while Changdeokgung is closed on Mondays.

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Gwanghwamun Gate – the main gate of Gyeongbokgung

Too bad we didn’t make it in time for the changing of the guards ceremony.

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Hyeungyemun Gate is the first gate inside the palace walls.

The palace complex is huge. You can explore it on your own (so you can take more pictures :p) or join free scheduled guided tours available in 4 languages.

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Geunjeongjeon Hall

Geunjeongjeon Hall or throne hall is where coronations, receptions of foreign envoys, and the king’s affairs of state were held.

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The throne inside Geungjeongjeon
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Gyeonghoeru Pavilion is located on a pond west of the living quarters.

Gyeonghoeru was where the king threw formal banquets for foreign envoys. To its east are Gangnyeongjeon and Gyotaejeon which are the king and queen’s living quarters, respectively. Continue reading “Wandering Seoul | Korea – Days 1 & 2”