France, Day 5: Musée d’Orsay

Hands down! Musée D’Orsay was the best museum we visited especially with their collection of Monet and Renoir paintings. But first, we started off our trip with sculptures and paintings in the second floor – some were by Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin.

MAY 2, 2019

Hands down! MUSÉE D’ORSAY was the best museum we visited especially with their collection of Monet and Renoir paintings. But first, we started off our trip with sculptures and paintings in the second floor – some were by Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin.

The museum is housed in the former Gare d’Orsay…

Some more art we passed by before we reached the topmost floor with most works from Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet. Below were my favorites… I even bought a postcard with Monet’s “Essai De Figure En Plein Air Vers La Gauche” (Woman With A Parasol, Facing Left).

We had lunch afterwards at LE PROCOPE, which is the oldest café in Paris (1686). Famous icons visited this café during their lifetime such as Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. All of us ordered the Procope Menu for lunch which was a 3-course meal (starter, main course, dessert).

France, Day 4: More Paris Sights

Just like in PH, France celebrates its Labor Day on May 1. We took a chance to see if we can visit Palais Garnier but it was closed on that day. Some train stations were also closed because of areas where the rallies were concentrated.

MAY 1, 2019

Just like in PH, France celebrates its Labor Day on May 1. We took a chance to see if we can visit Palais Garnier but it was closed on that day. Some train stations were also closed because of areas where the rallies were concentrated.

We ate lunch at M’s favorite Thai restaurant while I also bought a pack of fresh strawberries as baon.

M suggested we go to Montmartre instead and visit Sacré-Cœur, which he was sure was open despite the holiday. No surprise though that there were a lot of locals and tourists when we got there.

SACRÉ-CŒUR (Sacred Heart) is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is currently the 2nd highest point in Paris so you can be sure that it offers a good view of the city. Photography is not allowed inside so I have no picture of the interior.

We took the funicular going down and in spite of the long line, the waiting time was short because it could accommodate a lot of people.

We dropped by outside MOULIN ROUGE

…then went to PIERRE HERMÉ for macarons. M recommended this place because he prefers it over Laduree. Not that I know their difference but Pierre Hermé’s macarons tasted good.

Our last stop was CATHÉDRALE NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS. It was so devastating to hear the news of the big fire while we were in Rome. A part of me wished that we had Paris first in our itinerary but that would not work out for our plans. The place was off limits and guarded by the police to make sure no one would attempt to enter.

To cap off our day, we had dinner at CHEZ GLADINES. M and I ordered the same dish – duck confit – while my sister got the chicken simmered in red sauce.

France, Day 2: Panthéon

Last stop for this day was Panthéon, where prominent French figures were buried such as Marie & Pierre Curie, Louis Braille, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, and Voltaire. It was previously a church designed to honor St. Genevieve.

APRIL 29, 2019

Last stop for this day was PANTHÉON, where prominent French figures were buried such as Marie & Pierre Curie, Louis Braille, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, and Voltaire. It was previously a church designed to honor St. Genevieve.

After going around the crypt floor, we went upstairs where they had massive wall paintings and sculptures.

We had our dinner in IPPUDO afterwards and the taste was different than PH/Japan.

France, Day 2: Paris Sights

M had to drop by his workplace so my sister and I explored a bit of Paris on our own. We first went to Arc de Triomphe, one of the famous landmarks in Paris. This monument honors the people who fought and died during the French Revolution and Napoleon Wars, with names of all the generals inscribed on the walls / pillars.

APRIL 29, 2019

M had to drop by his workplace so my sister and I explored a bit of Paris on our own. We first went to ARC DE TRIOMPHE, one of the famous landmarks in Paris. This monument honors the people who fought and died during the French Revolution and Napoleon Wars, with names of all the generals inscribed on the walls / pillars.

There was an option for us to go up the arc to see a panoramic view of Paris but the line was long so we did not bother. We checked out AVENUE DES CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES, which was very near. The street was lined mostly with shops and a few restaurants. We did not stay here for long since it was about our meet-up time with M.

We had lunch at BAPTORI, a Korean restaurant with bibimbap as its specialty. We went to a bakery afterwards to get a quick dessert.

M brought us to a park where we could get a good vantage point of the EIFFEL TOWER. He told us that we were lucky that the park was not jampacked during our visit.

After taking a rest in the park, our next stop was PLACE DE LA CONCORDE. It was previously known as the square for public beheadings by guillotine during the French Revolution. During the 18th century, the Egypt government gifted France with an obelisk and was placed in the middle of the square.

Nearby was JARDIN DES TUILERIES where we took a quick break after seeing other people just relaxing around the fountain.

Last stop was APÉGO where my sister and M grabbed some coffee before our last mission for the day.

France, Day 1: Avengers Assemble

Nothing much really on this day because half of it was spent for our train travel from Cologne to Paris. My friend, M, had a later time schedule so we waited for him at the station.

APRIL 28, 2019

Nothing much really on this day because half of it was spent for our train travel from Cologne to Paris. My friend, M, had a later time schedule so we waited for him at the station.

We took some rest in M’s place then decided to watch Avengers: Infinity War Part II. Thankfully, there were cinemas in Paris that showed non-dubbed version. We had crepe for dinner in one of M’s favorite creperies.

Germany, Day 6: Charming Cologne

Next stop was St. Gereon’s Basilica. There were only a few people around when we visited so the atmosphere was peaceful. I particularly liked the area where the organ was placed – the sun shone on the stained glass windows, giving a pink light vibe.

APRIL 27, 2019

Next stop was ST. GEREON’S BASILICA. There were only a few people around when we visited so the atmosphere was peaceful. I particularly liked the area where the organ was placed – the sun shone on the stained glass windows, giving a pink light vibe.

We did not have anything to do in the afternoon so we went to MOXXA CAFFE to grab warm coffee and stay indoors.

We really wanted to go to BEI OMA KLEINMANN to try their famous schnitzel but we were not able to make any reservation. So what we did was we went there before their opening hour (17:00) and checked if we would be accommodated as walk-in guests. Fortunately, they did but they told us we need to leave before 18:30 because guests with reservations would start to pour in. My sister and I shared one order of schnitzel with gravy sauce because it was huge.

After our early dinner, we went to KÖLN TRIANGLE, one of the famous viewing spots in the city. What I liked about this place was that it offered 360 panoramic view of the city. They even placed icons in some parts of the glass to indicate that in that direction, you could spot a certain famous landmark or area.

We wanted to see the HOHENZOLLERN BRIDGE with lights on but the wind was really strong that the other people around started to retreat. We just snapped some pictures then decided to head home early.

Germany, Day 6: Cologne Cathedral

Our last city to visit in Germany! I was so excited to see Cologne Cathedral in person because even with just pictures, both the exterior and interior were beautiful.

APRIL 27, 2019

Our last city to visit in Germany! I was so excited to see Cologne Cathedral in person because even with just pictures, both the exterior and interior were beautiful.

I requested my sister to braid my hair for a change in hairstyle during this trip. Hehe.

COLOGNE CATHEDRAL is a display of Gothic architecture and considered as a UNESCO Heritage Site. Its two towers make it an icon both for the church and for the city. Also, Cologne Cathedral survived the bombing during WWII even if it sustained some damage.

I was trying to get a good shot of the whole cathedral just like this picture from TripSavvy…

However, it was raining and it was so cold that day that I could not bear to stay too long outside. I also tried putting far distance but my camera could not just capture it.

Here are some of my favorites inside the cathedral:

We had brunch in FRÜH AM DOM, which was just walking distance from Cologne Cathedral. All of us ordered the same thing – sausage and Kölsch, which is a style of beer unique to Cologne. Not that I can taste the difference but I must say, Kölsch tasted good.

Before we continued our itinerary, we went back to our Airbnb to put on additional layers of clothing because the temperature dropped to winter-like (below 5C).

Germany, Day 5: More Berlin Sights

There was not much in our itinerary so we decided to wake up late and start with a Curry 36 brunch. The place is famous for its currywurst, which is my sister’s favorite. I ordered one serving but ended up ordering another one because it was good and I was really hungry.

APRIL 26, 2019

There was not much in our itinerary so we decided to wake up late and start with a CURRY 36 brunch. The place is famous for its currywurst, which is my sister’s favorite. I ordered one serving but ended up ordering another one because it was good and I was really hungry.

First stop was CHECKPOINT CHARLIE, a former border crossing during the Cold War and division of Berlin.

Next stop was EAST SIDE GALLERY, a more than 1-km remnant of the Berlin Wall with series of murals painted on it. One of the prominent themes in the murals is the call for peace.

We still had time before leaving for Cologne so we went to DER EISLADEN IN BERLIN MITTE. My sister got her favorite coffee drink in Germany, Eiskaffee while I got the Apfelstrudel.

Germany, Day 4: Berlin Sights

We first visited Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate), especially because the other locations we want to visit were walking distance from there. It was originally a symbol of the division during Cold War but now, it has become a national symbol of peace and unity.

APRIL 25, 2019

We first visited BRANDENBURGER TOR (Brandenburg Gate), especially because the other locations we want to visit were walking distance from there. It was originally a symbol of the division during Cold War but now, it has become a national symbol of peace and unity.

A short walk from there was the MEMORIAL TO THE MURDERED JEWS OF EUROPE. It was constructed as a memorial for the Holocaust victims but at the same time a grim warning to not repeat the mistakes of the past.

I was annoyed though by a few tourists who kept on taking pictures of themselves with the place – either selfies or IG/blogger pose. Talk about being insensitive.

While passing by the Tiergarten going to Reicstag Building, we saw the MEMORIAL TO THE SINTI AND ROMA OF EUROPE MURDERED UNDER NATIONAL SOCIALISM. The stones on the ground had every concentration camp carved into each. There was also a pool at the center where the triangular-shaped stone symbolized the badge worn by prisoners. According to articles online, a fresh flower is placed on the stone everyday.

When we reached REICHSTAG BUILDING, we found out that there were no more open time slot to visit the dome even for the next day. If you want to visit it, I highly suggest that you reserve online months before your visit.

We went to MUSTAFA’S GEMÜSE KEBAP for lunch and we were lucky that there were just 2 customers when we visited. My sister got the chicken döner while I ordered the chicken dürüm. The only difference was that she got it in a sandwich-like format while mine resembled a shawarma (pita bread).

Our last stop for the day was BERLINER DOM (Berlin Cathedral).

The exterior was being renovated at that time and we could see that some of the statues were already worn out. However, when we got inside, we couldn’t help but be in awe on how grand it looked like. The most striking part for me was the altar and the dome above it. The area with the organ was also majestic.

After we explored up until 2nd floor, we found an exhibit dedicated to Johann Sebastian Bach. We stayed there for quite some time to listen to the musical pieces highlighted in the exhibit.

There was an option to climb about 400 steps to reach the rooftop and we took on that challenge. By the latter half, my legs were shaking seeing the steps and imagining how high we were already. The view though was so rewarding that I eventually forgot my fear.

We went back to our Airbnb to rest then had dinner at SAHARA IMBISS, as recommended by M’s friend. I ordered the chicken and falafel sandwich, and it was delicious!

Germany, Day 3: More München Moments

I was excited to see MUNICH RESIDENZ as it is the formal royal palace of House of Wittelsbach and it is considered as the largest city palace in Germany. My favorite part in the palace is seeing all rooms lavishly decorated with gold and chandeliers.

APRIL 24, 2019

We took some time trying to find the entrance to Munich Residenz because of the pin in Google Maps but that allowed us to explore this area nearby…

Apparently, we already passed by the entrance the previous day during the free walking tour. I was excited to see MUNICH RESIDENZ as it is the formal royal palace of House of Wittelsbach and it is considered as the largest city palace in Germany. My favorite part in the palace is seeing all rooms lavishly decorated with gold and chandeliers.

Before getting our luggage from J’s place, we grabbed some lunch at STEINHEIL 16. My sister and I shared one order of schnitzel and one order of Käsespätzle. Good decision because the serving size was too big for just one of us to finish. Both were really delicious and sad to say, I haven’t found any schnitzel or Käsespätzle in PH that can rival Steinheil 16’s.

Off to our next stop – Berlin, Germany!