Europe, An Early Promise
by Gilbert Joven
In April 2017 we embarked on our first trip to Europe as a family (see "Europe By Eurail" in the Travelogue of our International website). After our trip we promised ourselves that we shall return to Europe in 2020. But the travel bug hit us early this year. So in May 2019 we made our early promised trip to Europe, this time we stayed longer in the cities we visited as follows:
1. Amsterdam, Netherlands
2. Lucerne, Switzerland
3. Lake Como, Italy
4. Bellagio, Italy
5. Milan, Italy
6. Lausanne, Switzerland
7. Vevey, Switzerland
We flew on Singapore Airlines with a 4-hour stop over in the beautiful Changi airport. We left Singapore at 8PM and arrived at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam at 7AM the following day. We went straight to our hotel, Best Western, on their
1. AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
One of my favorite cities in Europe is Amsterdam. The capital of Netherlands known for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system and narrow houses in gabled facades. The best places to visit are the Amsterdam Central, the Red Light District, Keukenhof Gardens, the Museum District where the Van Gogh museum, the artworks by Rembrandt and Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House are located. Also, going around the city by Trams is quite exhilirating.
From Amsterdam, we took a 45-min plane trip to Zurich, Switzerland and a train ride to Lucerne.
2. LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND
Lucerne is the most populous city in Central Switzerland with 81,058 people (double the population of our Ayala Alabang Village). Lucerne has one of the city's famous landmarks, The Chapel Bridge, a wooden bridge erected in the 14th century with paintings on its ceiling vaults, spanning the River Reuss.
MOUNT PILATUS in Lucerne
Mount Pilatus is a mountain massif overlooking Lucerne. We took a cable car to reached the peak of Mount Pilatus, with an elevation of 2,128 meters.
From Lucerne we took the Eurail to Lake Como in Italy.
3. LAKE COMO, ITALY
Lake Como is an upscale resort area known for its dramatic scenery against the foothills of the Alps. Lake Como is one of the biggest lakes in Europe with a depth of 410 meters. It is also where the house of famous actor George Clooney is located along the lake. We saw his house but we did not see George Clooney. That's OK, as I already had coffee with George in Madame Tussaud in Amsterdam he, he, he.
We stayed at the Residence Santabbondio in Lake Como, a fully furnished 2-story apartel located in front of Duomo De Como Cathedral. The views on our top apartment are exhilirating.
On our second day we took the Como-Brunate Furnicular, to the mountain village of Brunate overlooking Lake Como. The views on top are breaktaking.
On our third day we took the ferry ride along the lake, going to Bellagio and back. We enjoyed the remarkable views along the lake as we pass each town with each own distinct cluster of buildings. Below is the route of the ferry ride from Como to Bellagio.
Bellagio is a village jutting out into Lake Como. It is known for its cobbled lanes, elegant buildings and Villa Serdelloni Park, an 18th century terraced garden with lake views. We did some shopping of Italian leather bags in Bellagio.
From Lake Como we took a day trip to Milan, only 33minutes by train.
Milan, a metropolis in Italy's northern lombardy region, is the global capital of fashion and design. The Gothic Duomo d Milano Cathedral is the most imposing and beautiful landmark of Milan. Leonardo da Vinci's mural of "The Last Supper" can also be found in Milan. The door of the Duomo d Milano features an intricate mural in bronze of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ.
The sculpture guarding the Duomo d Milano is that of King Victor Emmanuel 11 on his horse in the battle of San Martino. The sulpture is flanked by two lions, representing the Franco-Pietmontese troops during their entrance into Milan in 1859.
Lausanne is a city on Lake Geneva, a French speaking region of Vaud, Switzerland. It's the home of the International Olympic Committee, Olympic Museum and lakeshore Olympic park. It is also where the International Management Development (IMD) business school where Nestle sends its top executives for MBA, business executive courses, seminars and workshops. IMD is considered the best business school in Europe.
We visited the Nestle Center in Vevey, situated along Lac Leman or Lake Geneva. Lac Leman is a cresent-shaped lake shared between Switzerland and France overlooked by the Alps. The walk along the banks of Lac Leman is refreshing, it brings back good memories when I was with the Nestle Center. Don't miss the statue of the world famous swiss comedian Charlie Chaplin along the lake.
Going back home, we took the train from Laussane to Geneva where we flew to Schipol Airport in Amsterdam. We took the same Singapore Airlines back to the Philippines.
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