Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Au revoir Paris, 你好台灣

Au revoir Paris, 你好台灣 (Goodbye Paris, Hello Taiwan)

Wow, six months go by fast. It doesn't seem that long ago that we were arriving in Paris trying to get our bearings, and now in 24 hours we'll be on a plane, flying back to Taiwan.

Today I went to my favorite place in Paris for the last time, Notre Dame. I'm not a religious person, although today I did sit through an entire mass (hard to brush off 12 years of Catholic school I guess). To me it isn't a spiritual thing, it's just the most peaceful, serene place I've been to in all of Paris. It was always a great place to go to "center" myself. What a privilege to have had that opportunity.

I had no "souvenirs" from Paris so on my walk back from Notre Dame, I saw a store and broke down and bought my one and only Parisian souvenir. I tiny pewter replica of Notre Dame. As irritating as the church bells ringing at all hours of the day was...I'm really going to miss them.

Au revoir Paris!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Last European really!!!

OK, we are leaving Paris in two weeks so this has to be the last European trip. By my "normal" standards, this is nothing special, just two cities over a period of one week: Barcelona, Spain and Venice, Italy. Two weeks from now we'll be back in Taiwan, so why not?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dracula's Castle - Poenari Fortress

Well I made it to the "real" Dracula's Castle, "Poenari Fortress" in Transylvania, Romania (thanks to my Romanian friends Gabriel and Ana). The drive from Bucharest took almost 3 hours, and we had to climb all 1480 stairs, but how can you go to Romania, without visiting a place where Vlad "the Impaler" Tepes once lived?

Here's a short video I shot at the top inside the ruins of Poenari Fortress:

I was even able to pick up a bottle of some Prince Tepes wine...Merlot, red wine of course.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Up next...Vienna, Austria - Bratislava, Slovakia & Bucharest, Romania

Tomorrow I will be leaving for probably my last European trip of this journey. I'll be visiting my friend in Bucharest, Romania for a few days, but also wanted to throw in a few other countries on the short trip. Traveling from Paris to Romania is not the easiest thing to do, so after a few days, I finally figured out the least expensive and most interesting trip for one week of travel:

- Vienna, Austria (1 day)
- Bratislava, Slovakia (1 day)
- Bucharest, Romania ( 4 days)

I told Mihnea, that I would visit him in Romania, on one condition, "I want to see Dracula's castle", he replied, "No problem, but it's not that Hollywood vampire shit, he was a real person." Point taken.

The "real" Dracula's Castle, Vlad "the Impaler" Tepes' Poenari Fortress, can only be reached by climbing 1480 stairs and is a day trip from Bucharest. I don't mind the stairs, I just hope I can find a willing partner to escort me there. There is another "Dracula's Castle" (Bran Castle) but he never lived there, and it's just kind of a tourist trap. Hopefully I can work something out to see the real castle.