Saturday, July 27, 2013


Usually, when people go to Europe, they already have a well-planned itinerary for them to visit all the highlights in many countries usually visiting historical spots, museums, cathedrals and castles.

Just after my 16 year old son's high school graduation, I invited him and my husband to join me in my trip to Germany. (not necessarily a graduation gift!) My son wasn't that interested, but, I guess what is in his mind is castles and old places. Being with his friends "for the last time" seemed a way better choice!

So, I asked him, what would interest you to go to Germany? He said, " I am interested in Ferrari!" 

"What! Ferrari is so far away!" was my reply.

I know how he loves German cars! So I tried to google for car museums in the Germany area and found Mercedes Benz and Porsche museum in Stuttgart, which is less than an hour from Heidelberg, where we intend to stay! 

Then, by a twist of fate, our friend, Lani is from Bologna, Italy which is just about 30 minutes from Maranello, the land of Ferrari... and incidentally, is also the land of Lamborghini and Ducati!

I guess now he really is getting excited about the trip...

And in the end of the Auto trip, he also found Hockenheim, so close to Heidelberg which is a motor racing course which hosts the Formula One German Grand Prix races since the 1970s. At the time of our visit, the season of the races was open (imagine the timing!) so I guess, he really had a very comprehensive tour!

Here is the itinerary of the Transport Tour.
       1) Sinsheim Auto and Technik Museum, 22 km southeast of Heidelberg, Germany
    While we were in Heidelberg, this place was suggested to us. This is a real transport museum including tanks and airplanes! 
      2) Harley Davidson Store in Frankfurt, Germany

         3) Volkswagen in Frankfurt

        4) Mini Cooper in Frankfurt
Mini Countryman
     5) Mercedes Benz Museum and Showroom in Stuttgart, Germany is the MUST-SEE Museum of them all... not only old cars but matched with World's History as well as complemented by a showroom where you can actually sit in the whole range of Mercedes Benz's Class A, B, C, D, E, F, G and etc., including the newest and flashiest models!
         6) Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany
           7) Museo Ferrari in Maranello, Italy
Thanks to Lani and the Lombardi family for taking care of my family in Italy.
           8) Ferrucio Lamborghini Museum in Ferrara, Italy
meeting Fabio Lamborghini in Ferrucio Lamborghini Museum!

          By the way, there is the newer Lamborghini Museum also in Bologna.
       9) Ducati Factory Outlet in Bologna, Italy = they reached the place, only it happened to be closed for the day. 

         10) Hockenheimring in Hockenheim, Germany which is the home of the Formula One German Grand Prix races since the 1970s.

From Bologna, they took the train to Heidelberg but passing by Hockenheim first and this was on our last day in Germany!

This really completed the trip since the races happens in season. Fortunately, from May 3 to 5, 2013, the racetracks in Hockenheimring were alive!

By the way, using the Eurail train pass is so helpful and relatively cheaper! Relatively as in relatively since the ticket is still expensive but the more trips you take, the greater savings it is! 

You just have to choose how many countries you intend to visit for the price to be determined. They took a three country pass (Germany-Switzerland-Italy) for a seven day trip. You can get it online and they mail the tickets to the country of origin, but we were able to avail of it in the German train station.

If you plan at least three places to go to, all the rest will be considered free! 

I will still share with you a bit more about some of these places in other blogposts....

It is not everyone who is given the chance to make an itinerary such as this! I feel this was really a great trip for my car enthusiasts! 

Monday, July 22, 2013


I was given by my friend, Mimi from Holland a huge CHOCOLATE EGG!

This egg is large but this is hollow inside!

I guess this is similar to the giant Chocolate Letters the Dutch are known for.

I didn't eat the Chocolate egg because it was too nice (and too large) to bite!

So, I brought it all the way from Holland to the Philippines via bus...  then train...  then airplane!

The egg kept its form during the whole trip!

However, when I arrived in the Philippines, it was sad to note that from the airport to the house by car, there were cracks in the egg... I guess, I should have held it in my lap.

I realized that the Philippine weather wasn't exactly the chocolate's friend.

When I woke up the next day, gone was the egg and all I can see is a blob!
So much for the Chocolate egg!

Kaye and Mimi calls it now the ALIEN EGG!!!

But, most important is the heart of the giver... thank you, Mimi and family!

And... we still enjoyed eating the Chocolate egg even if it was deformed!!!


My friend, Francis said, he really visits all the Mc Donald's store whenever he is on a tour outside of the Philippines.

I'd like to share with you some of my visits to European Mc Donald stores!
Basically, a Mc Donald store would have a typical look from the outside and have the usual counter with large neon display for the menu.
Even if the Mc Donald stores have similar neon displays inside the store, you will find different choices....

This Mc Donald Store is along the Champs Elysees.

As we enter the Mc Donald store, we are greeted by Mc Cafe.  And interestingly, they sell  macarons here.

Note the display.  Doesn't it have the Parisian flair? They have the usual cheeseburgers as well as chicken burgers. But they also have the Mc Wrap and the Mc Baguette which caters to the French taste.
And this is how the seats are arranged. The love for art is evident in the French Mc Donald store.

This is my order.

This store is in the EUR (Mussolini) part of Rome.

The signages show the typical hamburgers and with variants with lots of layers. But they also had salads and chicken nuggets.

And for their collection, these are glasses for UEFA EURO 2012.

This is our order... the typical cheeseburger with a Milk Shake! I remember this cheeseburger cost 1 Euro!
This Mc Donald store is close to the Heidelberg Hauptbanhof.

This is the store with the choices already displayed in the doors and windows. so even in the outside, you can decide if you want to get a Mc Donald.

And this is their counter...

The signage shows this 1 Euro Mc Donald burger which is a great deal. Interesting is the flavor of the burger is Western style of the United States. They also had Chicken nuggets. But no, they did not serve German suasage in the Mc Donald stores! 

I guess even if we want to try the cuisine distinct of the European place, we often resort to fast food which we are comfortable with... especially, those who are not so adventurous with their palate... AND... those, who are on a budget!

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Finally, I am in Heidelberg, Germany. I stayed in the NH Heidelberg.

Heidelberg is a beautiful romantic town by the Neckar River and since the place is so full of history and interesting spots, many tourists visit Heidelberg. 

The NH Hotel also had a historic touch with an old brewery as part of the hotel, and with a newer glass part attached to it.
This is sort of a business hotel and is quite well situated, somewhere halfway between the Heidelberg Hauftbahnhof, the train station for out of town trips and the Bismarcplatz, which is the center of the city including the shopping and tourist area!

I'd like to share some pictures of the place!

The hotel had an interesting ambience since it was partly an old brewery and of course, updated with a modern glass extension. Flavored water with fresh apple or orange is available at the front desk and may drink as soon as you arrive.

Elevator and hallway to room.

So fortunate that this is a really huge room, with a desk, a bar area with microwave and ref and with a large closet.
The room is large, with a large comfortable kingsize bed with a working desk, which I always look for . Aside from this, there is a bar area with a microwave and refrigerator.

Bathroom and closet.
The walk-in closet is also very big and two large luggages can be placed on top of the platform, so I don't need to bend down to open the bags, nor do we need to use our own beds for it.

Food is the same everyday but with lots of the way, Asians don't look for rice!

One of the most important amenities our family looks for is Wi-fi! Before, we left, my son googled about wi-fi in Germany, and the answer was: In Germany, the Germans let you pay for everything!

Fortunately, they did have vouchers for free wi-fi! They gave a note saying that if you need faster wi-fi speed, you can pay a fee for it. So far, we didn't need to do so and we were able to use the wi-fi quite well.

We had a very fine stay in NH Hotel!


Going to Heidelberg isn't exactly an easy trip from the Philippines. 

You can choose any of the International Airlines to reach Germany about 14 hours from Manila.  At the time, I chose KLM because I had plans of passing by Amsterdam, too. From Amsterdam, we had to fly to Frankfurt and from Frankfurt, either by train or by car to heidelberg.  At the time, we rode the hired van and reached Heidelberg in about an hour.

My son didn't want to ride KLM. He heard Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airlines are among the best... and he thought, KLM meant Kuala Lumpur Malaysia! Personally, I wanted to try out KLM and the KLM flight was fine.

Upon arrival at Schipol Airport in The Netherlands, we rode the KLM Cityhopper to reach the Frankfurt Airport. This seemed like a domestic trip (even if it was from Amsterdam to Frankfurt)  since we also just go down the plane and ride the bus to bring us to the Terminal. I realized our practice is not necessarily "primitive".
One thing I can say, though, is that the Asian flight stewardesses are generally more charming and gracious than those of the  KLM Cityhopper. Asian airlines gladly introduce the flight attendants by name, with a more visible badge... and smile when their photos are taken... maybe, because they know they gave their services well and they are a proud epitome of their company... just like the iconic Singapore girl! 

In my experience with the KLM Cityhoppers, one attendant was so aloof and she pointed her finger at me with a mean look when I took a picture of the scene of them demonstrating the flight instructions(not necessarily her!). Then, she approached me as if I made the gravest crime in my life and demanded me to erase the picture.

I wouldn't want to say that it is a Cultural thing because the other Dutch or Germans I've met are really so very nice including the KLM staff. I am hoping this is an isolated situation and only one person, though.

I felt bad, because I would expected a better treatment in a hospitality and service industry and since I felt from the KLM website that Customer Service is of utmost importance.
I would have expected her to smile and request that she prefer not having her picture taken and have it deleted, rather than point her finger at me while giving the instructions. I would have praised her for that.

I felt bad but my husband was fuming... luckily, we didn't make a scene. He actually, really wanted me to complain to KLM Customer Service about it but at that time, I wasn't able to do so and by the time, I was back , the Customer service feedback of KLM already lapsed.
He also recommend that they do not serve with their backs to us. The attendant was pushing the trolley from the back, thus, gave the food with their backs to us and definitely, not pleasing to see if she bended to get some things, which she did.

Their name badges were so small and when I asked her colleagues, they were so afraid to give her name... so defensive as if they know that I might complain about them. This is, of course, anecdotal (just one experience) but I felt the whole team just automatically answered, "We cannot give you her name! as a company policy"... so much so for Customer Service!

I am still hoping to fly by KLM in the future because I want to visit Amsterdam again, though, not so excited to fly the KLM Cityhopper again!