We're back from Egypt

Posted by Analyse at 6:26 PM

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Here's an appetizer.

Guess who's riding the camel.

More kwentos next week. I'll be leaving for Milan tomorrow for work. Need to pack my stuffs. Ciao!

I opted for B&B

Posted by Analyse at 6:20 PM

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Julie’s comment on my recent post made me smile (tho I didn’t get what R and R is, lol).

Ana, this seems to be exciting. Ok ang problema mo, where you would spend your vacation. Well, you work hard and you definitely deserve R and R.

Indeed, I’ve got a good problem and I’m not complaining. I have been hiding behind my computer lately, discrete, invisible, no sign of life – no blogging nor bloghopping (sorry for that). I am in fact lurking around the net, reading travel forums and blogs, comparing hotels and prices and checking for great destinations.

Our May vacation has finally been defined. It will be a road trip around the Tuscany region up to Rome. Ok, I know, I have already been there but that was like 5 years ago and we’ve changed the Pope eversince. That’s a whole lot of difference, ain’t it? And we’re planning to do more than visiting big cities. We’re thinking of checking on cooking lessons Italian style, take a walk in small, typical villages, observe wine or olive oil making, stay in a farm..

If only I was rich and I could spend without thinking, I could have reserved whatever is there (or ask somebody to reserve for me) without looking at the € sign. But no, I don’t have that luxury.. and luckily, because I enjoy reading those comments, bargain with prices and plan the itinerary myself.

My objective is to finish all the reservations this week. I have booked for Florence and Rome – both in Bed and Breakfast (Chambre d’Hôtes in France). And I’m definitely booking B&B for our stay in the Tuscany region.

Why B&B? I don’t know. I’m probably and unconsciously fed up with hotels (reminds me of work!). Let me tell you why I love B&Bs.

- Welcome is personalized. You get to be greeted by the owner of the house like you’re a long lost friend.
- If you’ve chosen your B&B well enough, you could have yourself served with marmalades made of fresh fruits from the owner’s backyard. (well, this could not be the case in big cities like Rome and Florence but it will be another experience altogether).
- You could take your breakfast without meeting hundreds of faces without anybody greeting you good morning.
- Rooms are decorated with a touch of personalization and not for commercial purposes only.

Prices are comparable to hotels and sometimes, even more expensive. But you get first-class accommodation. I have tried a lot of B&Bs in France and all of them got my two thumbs up. I also tried B&Bs in England and in Wales (oh, they’re expensive!), but I tell you, for the same price, I would go to B&Bs rather than hotels without hesitation! Now, Italy, it’s your turn.

*There are some other types of accommodations which I find exciting but in the impossibility to do so. Couch surfing and home switching. They’re both internet-based and free. All you need to do is register in some available sites, create your profile and off you go.

Couch surfing is easy (mainly for students lol), you check for the city you plan to visit, surf for members with an available sofa (or even a little space on the floor!), and ask for permission. If it’s ok, then you visit the city without paying for accommodation. And if you’re lucky enough, you get a free tourist guide too.

Home switching is kinda different. The owners should be on vacation too while you invade their abode. I’ve heard that you could even borrow their cars! Cool, huh?

What about you? Are you ready for such kinds of travel accommodation adventures or are you the no-risk traditional traveller?

*Bed & breakfast is a term, originating in the UK, but now also used in North America, for a place that offers bed accommodation, and breakfast in return for payment, but usually does not offer other meals. Typically, especially in the UK, bed and breakfasts are private homes with only one or two bedrooms available for commercial use.

A boarding house is different from and has a longer history than a bed & breakfast. The boarding house was for longer term stays, bed and breakfast was for people travelling through the area on short stays.

Source: Wikipedia

Did I hear it right? My daughter is correcting me!

Posted by Analyse at 7:20 PM

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Maman: Louna, fini ton verre, s'il te plait. (Louna, please finish your glass).
Louna: Non, non, non (while shaking her head). Ca, c'est lait. (No, no, no. This is milk.)

Well, okay. How in the world could I ask her to finish her glass?

Continue reading.

The Art Of Vacationing

Posted by Analyse at 6:20 PM

Sunday, February 03, 2008

It was a lazy weekend. Though it was sunny the whole Saturday and Sunday, the below-freezing temperature outside was not inciting enough to prevent us from being couch potatoes. So couch potatoes, we were.

Another reason of not going out was that, I'm quite worried that Louna catch any sickness outside. I initially planned to go to Jura, the mountains, to catch a bit of snow. But we will be leaving for a week-long getaway to a country we've never been so I'm taking all necessary and not-so-necessary precautions. Maman's instinct maybe, but better be careful than sorry.

So the whole weekend was focused on preparing for our next vacations. And I'm not talking solely about our vacation this February, we also talked about the Labor Day weekend this coming May and our summer vacation.

Summer Vacation

I have received travel/vacation catalogs at home early this year and have already bookmarked some interesting offers for our summer vacation. Like the past two years, we will again book for a week stay in a Villages Vacances where meal is served from breakfast to dinner and a multitude of daily activities are organized by TOs (travel organizers). (We normally take 3 weeks - the other 2 weeks will be spent at the seaside with my inlaws).

I know, I know. You might think that we're lazy and we lack adventure and such vacations are reserved only to oldies. But I tell you, after a day of canyoning, kayaking or hiking, you would certainly wow the comfort. Pre-Louna time, we were the the kind who wouldn't even mind reserving a hotel:

- we once planted our tent somewhere in the middle of Corsica because it was already late and we haven't finished our hike yet. Unfortunately, we couldn't continue the hike because .. we forgot our flashlights. And yes, we've done this in almost all corners of France for divers and various reasons, lol.
- we slept in cheap motels on our way from Death Valley to San Francisco.
- We slept in tents at the Yosemite National Park and the Grand Canyon because we wanted to start a hike at the first hour of the morning.
- we stayed in a Youth Hostel in Barcelona (oh that was great! we felt young again!)

So you see, we've been to an enormous change already - we're responsible parents. Yey!

I'm eyeing on a Villages Vacances somewhere in The Alps where activities range from water sports to, well of course, mountain hiking. Facilities include sauna, hammam, heated pool for adults and kids... - a great reward after a day of physical activity. And since rates vary per month, I think I'll book for the month of June - Louna is not going to school yet anyway, so we have no constraint.

Labor Day Weekend (May 1)

I have invited my friend's sister to spend this weekend with us. After knowing how much moolah she spent for a one-day-one-night stay in Paris, I thought, I have to take charge of this little girl (Jean, wag mo ng pagalitan, babatukan ko na lang pag nagkita kami, lol). I willl have to show her how to get the most out of her hard-earned money. Why pay more when you could pay less, right? Right. Apir.

I have a problem though. I still don't have any destination in mind. Any proposal of an exotic destination within the Schengen states, do-able in a 4-day weekend?

Winter Vacation

The nanny asked for a one-week vacation this February. Her family will ski in The Alps. The first question we had in mind was What will we do with Louna? If you're a regular reader of this blog, you would know that the nearest family we have lives a long 6-hour drive from our place. But since we still have a lot of paid vacation to take this year, we thought, Why not take our vacation too? *ting! light bulb switched on*

Frenchguy: So were will we go?
Me: Hmmm, what about somewhere in the Schengen States?
Frenchguy: What about Egypt?
Me (after searching the net): I need a visa. But to get it, I need to go to Paris and release date is unfortunately, the next day. Don't you have any other destination in mind?
Frenchguy: I'll take my plane on Monday. Before heading to the airport, I could submit your visa application. What do you think?
Me: Great. I need to go to Paris on Tuesday. I could then take my passport back. That's good timing.

So there you go. Our vacation was planned and scheduled just like that. Without too much ado.

We're responsible parents, but not quite. After booking everything online, I started to read travel forums and it seems that visits start too early in the morning and this and that. I have a list of what to bring now: from mosquito repellent to drinking water. But if you have any tips on what to expect from a toddler on a river cruise and how to explain what a pharaon is, that would surely be appreciated.

Photo credit here.

Tag: Recent Movie the Family Enjoyed

Posted by Analyse at 6:48 PM

Friday, February 01, 2008

Lovelyn started a family-oriented tag which is pretty interesting because you get a good and personalized review of kid-friendly films. And that's all I need for now. I start to run out of film ideas and this sure would help me out.

My family has been overly indulging into Dora the Explorer, Noddy (Oui-Oui), Tom and Jerry and Finding Nemo. Louna would normally start with Dora, then minutes later, she would take our DVD case and would look for Noddy, and so on and so forth. She still has a limited concentration span so we never finished a whole film in one day.

Louna wiping the tears of Little Star, then seconds later, she's already asking for Oui-Oui

We've been introducing english DVDs to Louna for her to be able to capture and learn the English language early on in life. I have other girly DVDs like Cinderella or the Little Mermaid but she's not into the princess thing yet. She would prefer to see the car of Noddy bumping into a dog, or Swiper following Dora and Boots all the time or even Tom and Jerry chasing each other.

I have a Tagalog Song DVD which I would surely show to Louna later on. Who knows, she might learn to sing Sampung mga Daliri and Bahay Kubo, right?

So now I'm asking these kids to ask their mom to do the tag: Basti and Mimi, Annika and Deye. Syempre yung mga ka-age ng anak ko, lol.

Rules Of This Tag:

1. Link back the person who tagged you and write what was the movie his/her family enjoyed watching recently.

2. Now your turn to tell about the movie your family had just watched.

3. Tell something about the movie and spoilers are accepted (hehehee).

4. Lastly, write anything that has something to do with movies: Trivia, your top choice or favorites and why, your family's story about your favorite motion pictures, the first film you watched with your husband, any traditional film the family 's been keeping etc...etc...

5. (Ooopps, I almost forgot) Copy and paste the rules of this meme on your blog and pass the tag to as many friends, bloggers and movie lovers you want. Don't forget to tell them they're tagged and leave a comment here if you're done with the task.