Euro Trip 2010: In Bruges

Pau at Bruges' Grote Markt

After learning that I will be sent by my company to see Belgium, I set out to look for what could Belgium offer.  And one of the most recommended destination in the country is Bruges, northwest of BrusselsBruges or locally known as Brugge has been known to be a fairy tale type of town for being the most preserved medieval town in western Europe.Also during my research about the town, I had stumbled upon this movie that came out in 2008 entitled In Bruges that starred Colin Farrel.  The story mainly plotted around this old and charming town giving me a good picture of how it looked liked.  And I’d say I was pretty much pleased to have actually set foot into this town.

And so on the 24th of October on my second day in Belgium, together with 3 other friends I drove about an hour and a half to the north to Bruges.  We made our way there and parked beside the train station for the park and ride facility.  And so for 2.50 for parking, we got a free bus ticket for the four of us into the center of town.

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Conquering the Great Wall

PauTravels Standing on the Great Wall of China

As part of my side trip to Beijing in August of 2005, I had the memorable opportunity of hiking up one of the most important and recognizable landmarks in the world, which is the Great Wall of China.  And this happened the day after I had the chance to walk into the Forbidden City which once have been exclusive to people of royal blood.

I had the opportunity to visit China through the Xiamen where I supported SIT testing for Dell for 2 weeks.  And with my colleague Lucy, we booked a trip to Beijing where we spent additional 2 days.  I’ve detailed our first day in Beijing in my earlier blog.

We came in to Beijing with only hotel booking in one of the hutong areas in the city.  When we concluded our first day of roaming around the city, we had the opportunity to purchase a packaged tour to the Great Wall at the Grand Beijing Hotel near Wangfujing Street.  If I remember it right, we got a $50 worth package to the Ming Tombs, The Great Wall, to a jade factory, and for lunch.

It was the day after my birthday and we made ourselves to the the Grand Beijing Hotel lobby at 8am to catch our tour.  We boarded a coaster van where we join other tourists for the tour.  We were around 9 that day including some Aussies, Americans, Japanese, and Europeans.

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Historical Trip to Corregidor

PauTravels on board a tram in Corregidor Island

At the mouth of the Manila Bay lies one of the most historically-rich island in the Philippines. And I was very glad to be able to set foot on this tadpole shaped island that had once become Manila’s last stand during the World War II. It is the ‘Rock’ on Manila Bay, Corregidor.

Corregidor, or the ‘corrector’ in Spanish, served as the first stop for galleon ships seeking entry to Manila. Trader’s had to aboard the island to have their cargoes checked before being allowed to dock the port of Manila. Since then this island had become an important first line of defense for Manila. In the early 1900s, the island was used by the American forces as one of their army posts in defense of this region in Asia specially during the WWII.

On June 18 of 2006, I together with two other colleagues and an American client and friend was given the opportunity of visiting this historic place. It was our tradition in our office to take time to tour our American visitors to different destinations near Manila. And, I was always asked to come as I was the most organized in the group to arrange trips. Maybe because I love to travel.

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Walking Through the Forbidden City

PauTravels looking at the Forbidden City from above

I had a rare opportunity of entering a city that was once limited for people of royal blood, known to be the Forbidden City.  On August of 2005, along with a colleague, we flew to the capital city of the sleeping dragon, Beijing, China.

With a business trip to the industrial port city of Xiamen, we have decided to take this once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Beijing.  This is one of the best side trips that I’ve took though it lasted only 2 days.  With the help Travellerspoint, we were able to find a cheap hotel located in one of Beijing’s hutong areas called the Jingshan Hotel.  And from our hotel in Xiamen, Sofitel, we were able to purchase our round trip plane tickets to Beijing and back to Xiamen to catch our flight back to Manila.

On my birthday, we fly to Beijing early in the morning and was picked up by our hotel.  The hotel is situated near the Jingshan Park and arrived there before noon.  To save our stay in Beijing, we decided to take a walk as soon as we’ve settled our things.

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