Travel

Europe Trip – Amsterdam city pass

Amsterdam is bursting with so many museums, art galleries and attractions. To make your visit easier and cheaper, have a look at those offered discount cards include: Amsterdam City Pass, I Amsterdam Card, Holland Pass and Museumkaart. Yeh, I know so many, it’s gonna give you a hard time to consider which one to get. So here is my conclusion about them:

Amsterdam City PassIt’s basically the discount card. You will get 20% of museums, attractions, canal cruises and excursions. You can skip the line to to the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum (only these two museums). It can be used for an unlimited amount of time, within Amsterdam city. More details here.

I Amsterdam Card : This is an everything-in-one card. You will get access to all places and have discount on the restaurants, day tours, etc..It’s offering you everything but time. You have to purchase the card for 24, 48, 72 or 96 hours of using and this is also the most expensive discount cards among them. Amsterdam city using only.

Museumkaart : Here is the museum card. Which means no discount for attractions, restaurants, canal tours, etc..The card will expire in 31 days except Dutch residents can use it for one whole year. You have the access to all the museums in Netherlands.

Holland Pass This pass is come in Small, Medium and Large size, means the number of free entrance tickets that it contains is different. Besides it also has a discount card. No time limit. Get discount for museums, attractions, tours, restaurants etc..and available in other cities except Amsterdam too.

I chose was the Holland Large Pass, contains 3 gold free entrance tickets (big museums/ attractions) and 3 silver free entrance tickets (small museums/ attractions) with a discount card (percentage of discount amount depends on specific places, you can check them online or in the guide book include). The original price for Large Pass is €75, and sometimes it has promotion 10% off so no need to purchase this too early.

What card is most suitable for you? It’s better that you listed out all of the places you intend to visit, activities you want to do, ticket prices, how many days you have…to calculate, compare and yeh, decide. 🙂

Here is how I used my pass and the calculation of saving :

Pass ticket type Places Entrance price
Gold Amsterdam Dungeon € 22
Gold Rijksmuseum € 17.50
Gold Van Gogh Museum € 17
Silver Bodyworlds museum € 20
Silver Marco museum € 12.50
Silver Museum of Prostitution € 8
Total € 97

And I also went to Heineken Experience, using the discount card to get 20% off. So you see, money saving :D.

Most of the places will offer discount price when you book ticket online, but because I’m not the type who always follow the plan so I prefer to have the flexibility in decision by using the pass.

** Card pictures from internet.

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Travel

Europe Trip – Summer and Sun rash


Yup, as what I said in the title, I have sun rash. I don’t know how common this term is but here is the explanation of it :

Sun rash is Sun allergy : an immune system reaction to sunlight, most often, an itchy red rash. Sun allergies are triggered by changes that occur in sun-exposed skin. It is not clear why the body develops this reaction.However, the immune system recognizes some components of the sun-altered skin as “foreign,” and the body activates its immune defenses against them. This produces an allergic reaction that takes the form of a rash, tiny blisters or, rarely, some other type of skin eruption. 

*source : internet

I went to EU in the beginning of summer time, in my mind always think that EU definitely not tropical countries so sunlight can’t be so strong. But, a very big BUT that I was wrong! Summer time means days longer than nights, and also mean that you will live under the sun from 9AM to 9PM and it’s hot.

To protect ourselves from the sun, those who have this allergy are advised to wear long sleeves shirt and long pants, and it sucks cause all the trendy, lovely summer outfits you see? say bye bye.

So I didn’t bring my medicated lotion for sun allergy along with me in the trip. After 4 days, I kinda have serious red rashes on both my arms and hands, it’s showing up more and more and itchy like hell. And surprisingly, I couldn’t find my lotion in all the pharmacies I’ve been to in France. This is my medicated lotion :

Caladryl Lotion with Calamine + Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride. This one will help reduce the itchiness and let all the rashes become dry then peel off.

Caladryl lotione2480d6f-8e52-4c3c-8ae4-a51000f7196a

>>> not available in France. Usually they only have the after sun lotion/cream/gel and these products are not gonna help you with this allergy. I also bought the Avene Cicalfate SkinRepair Emulsion to try but not helpful.

In the end, there was a pharmacist recommended me this one :

urgo-coups-de-soleil-spray-75ml

And happily it works *yay*

So anyone who get into the same situation as me, hope this blog will help you guys find a correct medicated lotion to use. 🙂

Travel

Europe Trip – Accommodation

Visiting EU is not cheap, especially when you come from Asia countries, therefore the more early you book , the better deal you will get and also have more choices to make. In my case, I finished all my bookings 4 or 5 months before the trip start and I’m satisfied with all the accommodations that I chose. So I’ll share with you guys those places here 🙂

I think these two websites Booking.com and AirBnB are very popular now, and they are also my favorite booking sites. This trip in total I changed my accommodations 5 times, keep moving around places to places lolz.

Amsterdam :

hotel2stay

I booked Hotel2stay in Booking site. It is an apartment-hotel, meaning that your room will include a small kitchen, with utensils, microwave, dish washer, etc..comfortable enough to stay.

Beyond that, this aparthotel is also near Sloterdijk P+R parking place and Sloterdijk station – a public transportation hub, only 2 mins walking. This station includes bus, railway, tram and metro stations. You only need to spend 5 mins on train and 1 stop to reach Central Station, very convenient.

Brugge :

brugge

I stayed at Hotel Salvators , located in the heart of historic Brugge, an old nice medieval style building. They don’t have a parking place but there is one public parking (Zilverpand) is just near by, around 3 mins walking.

Lille :

lille

I booked this apartment through Airbnb to stay in Lille. A small cosy studio with reasonable price. It is near metro station and super market, the surrounding area is quite and you can easily find a parking slot on the street just nearby :).

Cambrai:

chateau

We went to Cambrai to celebrate my dear friend wedding at Château De La Motte Fenelon for 2 days, so we decided to book a room here as well. Everything is nice, except the food was a bit pricy compare to outside.

Paris:

paris

I found this cute apartment in Airbnb and I like it at first sight. It’s well equip with nice decorations, clean and neat. The good thing is it’s in 1st floor which is super convenient for you because most of the building in Paris doesn’t have lift. More than that there are 2 metro stations can be easily reached within 5-7 mins walking.

Travel

Europe Trip – Car park

When you decide to rent a car then the next thing comes to your mind is : ok, where I’m gonna park my car? So here is what I find out ’bout parking

Amsterdam : 

Parking inside the Amsterdam Ring is expensive, even using car park or parking on the street, can cost you roughly 5€/ hour for street parking , and up to 20€ – 55€/ 24 hours depends on which car park you choose.

You can check the list of car park here: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/plan-your-trip/getting-around/parking/parking-in-amsterdam

But there is a cheap option that you can opt to : park your car in Park+Ride (P+R) parking place, a bit far from the city centre but you can park your car with the price: 1€/ 24 hours 😀 , amazing is it?

Here is the instruction how to use P+R: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting/plan-your-trip/getting-around/parking/park-and-ride. But when I read it I feel confused, don’t know what exactly to do..so I’m gonna re-write it here as simple as I can :

1€ / 24 hours is the discount price, 8.70€/ 24 hours is the regular price. So, how to get the discount? You need to use the P+R GVB card or using OV-chipkaart. I didn’t use this OV card because most of the places in centre can be reached by walking so I feel purchase a card is not necessary. Well, how it works :

  • After parking your car in the P+R parking, get the ticket, you look for a blue machine (very easy to recognize it ). This machine is selling P+R GVB card with discount price also. Depend on how many ppl travel with you, you need to buy 1 card/ person.

Price of P+R GVB cards:

  • 1 person: €5
  • 2 persons: €5
  • 3 persons: €5.90
  • 4 persons: €6.80
  • 5 persons: €7.70

Notice : this machine only accept debit card, no cash and you need to type in your card pin number

  • Scan your parking ticket, choose number of ppl going with you, put your card, type in password and get your GVB card. It will look like this :

  • This GVB card only can be used for those transportation under GVB company (tram, bus, metro etc…) and you can use it for 2 trips and have to use inside the city centre zone of Amsterdam.

Example : leaving P+R parking, go to the centre using GVB tram/bus or metro, counted 1st trip. You leave the tram/bus or metro, get in again will be your 2nd trip. Remember to check-in and check-out using the card when get in/out public transportation. After 2nd trip, your card is done using, keep it to get the discount when pick-up your car.

If near your P+R don’t have GVB, it’s ok just go to centre using any transportation then use the GVB card there.

  • When getting your car out of the car park, go to the blue machine again, scan your ticket, your GVB card, using your debit card to pay for the parking fee and once again, need your card password. So please do remember your pin number to prepare for this. (and usually I don’t lolz)

Brugge :

Parking on the street in Brugge is not recommended, and you can only park maximum 2 hours on the street so if you have plan to stay there, better park your car in a proper parking place. There is some info about the parking: http://www.car-parking.eu/belgium/bruges

For me, since I stay inside the city center so I chose to park at the car park near my hotel, and it cost maximum 8.70€/ 24 hours. Website for you to check the parking around the city and its price: http://www.interparking.be/en/

Lille & Cambrai :

Nobody will tell you this but the truth is you can easily park your car on the street in the residence area and it’s free. Except Lille city centre, where you have maximum 4 hours on street parking at the price 6.80€. Buy a ticket for the period required and place it behind your windscreen where it can be seen by a warden.

For more information, you can check this out: http://www.car-parking.eu/france/lille

Travel

Europe Trip – Car Rental

So, I’ve just came back from a 2 weeks trip in EU, I went to Amsterdam (Netherlands), Brugge (Belgium), Lille, Cambrai & Paris (France).

I spent around 6 months to prepare for the trip, read lots of blogs and travel websites, forums. It took me lots of time so I decided to write a blog about the tips I found out, what to do, what to buy, where to stay etc..then maybe it will help you guys saving time on planning a trip to visit these countries 🙂

If you plan on moving around many places, have big luggages, lazy to carry them around and don’t want to rush or be at the mercy of the train/bus/flight schedules, then renting a car is a best way for you. And that’s what my bf and I decided.

When searching for a rental car company, you will see quite lots of options to choose. Third party website such as : Expedia, Autoeurope etc…there are also direct rental car companies like : Europcar, Budget, Sixt, Hertz, etc..We chose Expedia because you can reserve it, offers free cancellation and the price is cheaper. For me, I need a visa to go to visit EU, so I tried not to risk as much as I could before my visa gets approved.

You can choose the place to pick-up/ return the car, time to pick-up/ return. If the destination for pick-up and return are not at the same place, then it might cost a bit extra depending on the location. It’s recommended to buy insurance for the rental car, to help cover any accidents or thefts.

There are two ways for you to purchase the insurance :

  • First, purchase it after booking the car, like us purchased in Expedia. This option is cheap but if things happened on the way, you have to pay first for the damage then claim back from Expedia.
  • Second, purchase it when pick-up the car. This option is more expensive but since you buy directly from the car company so they will pay for everything.

One more rule is when returning the car, it has to be full fuel. Therefore the staff also try to sell you package of “return car and no need to fill up fuel” but what I think is don’t buy this, it more expensive than you fill up yourself.

And that’s it. Done for the renting car 🙂

 

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Latin phrases

alis grave nil — nothing is heavy to those who have wings

alis volat propris — she flies with her own wings

audax at fidelis — bold but faithful

carpe noctem — seize the night

cogito ergo sum — I think therefore I am

credo quia absurdum est — I believe it because it is absurd

dum vita est, spes est — while there is life, there is hope

esse quam videri — to be, rather than to seem

luceat lux vestra — let your light shine

luctor et emergo — I struggle and emerge

non ducor duco — I am not led; I lead

semper ad meliora — always towards better things

sic itur ad astra — thus you shall go to the stars

temet nosce — know thyself

veni, vidi, vici — I came, I saw, I conquere

veritas lux mea — truth is my light

vincit qui se vincit — he conquers who conquers himself

vive ut vivas — live so that you may live

verba volant, scripta manent — words fly away, writings remain

valeo valui valiturus — to be strong, have power, be well

amor vincit omnia – love conquers all

crede quod habes, et habes – believe that you have it, and you do

consilio et animis – by wisdom and courage

constantia et virtute – by firmness and courage

candor dat viribus alas – sincerity gives wings to strength

perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim – be patient and tough; some day this pain will be useful to you

possunt quia posse videntur – they can because they think they can do it

ut sementem feeceris – you reap what you sow

tempus edax rerums – time devours all things

ventis secundis, tene cursum – go with the flow

Una in perpetuum – together forever

Amor caecus est – love is blind

Quos amor verus tenuit, tenebit – true love will hold on to those whom it has held

Te valde amo ac semper amabo – I love you very much, and always will forever

Etiam in morte, superest amor  in death, love survives

Illis quos amo deserviam – for those I love I will sacrifice

In aeternum te amabo – I will love you for all eternity

Si vis amari, ama  if you wish to be loved, love

**********