21 May 2011

Tandem Paragliding in Austria's Hopfgarten

I don't really have much to share about Austria because my stay there was mostly spent on one activity - Tandem Paragliding. If you're having second thoughts about it, you shouldn't. The only skill you need is running fast prior to take off because you will have a pilot with you. 

I did mine in Hopfgarten, Austria for Eur100 (Php6.3k). Though it seems expensive, I found it worth it because it's a once in a lifetime experience and the views include the Austrian Alps. I didn't get scared at all because I was too busy taking pictures and videos. 

Stunning view on the way to the top of the mountain

The area where we had to run as fast as we could so that we can take off properly

Views while paragliding

Video a few seconds before landing

A tandem paraglider about to land

Pilots converged after everyone in the group landed

After paragliding, our group got hungry and decided to eat in a quaint family-run restaurant in the village

Raviolini with cheese and herbs for EUR7.50 (Php470)

I forgot how it's called but it tasted like noodle soup with sausages

After eating, we also dropped by the a neighborhood grocery where I found this interesting item among the shelves:

We then decided to walk back to our Gasthof (guesthouse) and got the chance to savor the town's picturesque charm.

One of the structures in the village that caught my attention

Staying in Hopfgarten, Austria was an experience I will always cherish because I got the chance to feel how it was to live in a European countryside and appreciate the serenity and charm it offers. 

15 May 2011

What You'll See in Venice (The destination where you'll feel you're really "The Tourist")

Related posts:

When I was still choosing the cities which I'll visit during my first time in Europe, Venice wasn't in the priority list. I thought there was nothing special about having water all around you and thought that the water might be smelly (it's totally not). However, the moment I set foot in Venice, I realized that I was wrong. It was the place where I felt like a tourist the most... I felt like I was transported into a different world (or should I say Water World)... perhaps because I knew that it was only in Venice where I can experience such surroundings:

Venetian Masks - When I saw the masks abound the streets of Venice, the thought of having a masquerade party entered my mind and I began to understand why there were people who hosts such parties. There were so much variety for all ages and personalities.

Gondolas - What would Venice be without its gondolas? I was surprised to find out that gondola seats were elegantly decorated (as shown in the pictures below). Unfortunately I didn't have enough time to ride one as I had to spend the morning outside the town proper to replace my camera which gave up the night before I roamed around Venice.  


Piazza San Marco - I liked the ambiance of this place even if it was full of people. The architecture was a marvel to look at, and the view of the sea was a welcome match. Though this piazza is famous for its pigeons, I just realized I didn't have pictures with them. 



"Water World" views - The views featured below made me realize that it is only in Venice where I can see such sights. They made me feel that I was indeed a tourist... no wonder the movie "The Tourist", which was shot in Venice, was named as such.

Water Avenues and Mini Bridges - These adds appeal to the beauty of Venice. They will make you feel that it is only in Venice where you'll witness such charm.

Doge's Palace - One of my favorite palace/castle sights because of the elaborately decorated ceilings, the displayed knighthood items, and the chance to experience being in a dungeon.



Rialto - Venice's most famous bridge!


Open water views - There's just something special about the views of the Grand Canal. I find it dramatic and special... possibly because of combined views of the parked boats, the architectural sights, and the vastness of the canal.

Strolling along the streets - The streets of Venice (both main streets and side streets) are just so charming that you will enjoy just walking through them. I tried to get lost and enjoyed the adventure!

Food - Although there are people who say that the food in Venice may not be good because it is touristy, I believe otherwise. There are hidden gems around which gives you a good taste of what Italy has to offer.

Spaghetti alle Vongole (Eur10/Php700) - one of my favorite pasta dishes!

Fragola, Bacio, and Crema del Doge Gelato

Surprise Piazzas - One of the things that I liked about Venice is being surprisely greeted by Piazzas after a walk along narrow streets. Each piazza has its own unique charm!

Other interesting shots - Some other interesting shots which I want to share.

Ambulance - Venetian style!

The bridge leading to Venice!

How about getting a boat ride to get to the airport?

I hope you get to visit Venice yourself (hopefully before it sinks) to personally experience what I've been trying to describe because words and pictures are not enough. Definitely one for the priority list!