exploring Holland

A glimpse of Europe

About one and a half year ago, I had the opportunity to get a glimpse of Europe. Team T&T went there to be part of the biggest gathering of underwater hockey (uwh) fanatics around the globe- the UWH World Championships (Worlds). I didn’t make the cut for the Philippine team but I didn’t let the chance for me to see awesome games go. After all, I could be a supportive girlfriend cheering for T and his masters’ team.

Flying there for about 13 hours from the little red dot, we decided we can’t just play uwh… we had to go around and travel. T was keen to show me his homeland and the places he’s been to and explore some that we both hadn’t been to.

We started our journey with a 20- minute wait at the Amsterdam Immigration… blame the Philippine passport holder here. Then we had dinner with T’s family where we met his 6- month old nephew for the first time.

From there, we started our 14-hour roadtrip to Eger, Hungary; we had to stop somewhere in Germany to rest for the night and continued early the following day. Although it was a good learning opportunity for me to learn more about uwh, at one point during the eliminations round I got bored (or maybe even got envious that everyone was playing and I was just a mere spectator). Not wanting to lose the fitness I had developed, I started running around Eger. The planned short runs became a bit longer and I had the chance to explore the town beyond what the tourists see.

From top: On the road to Hungary, Images of Eger, Hungary

From top: On the road to Hungary, Images of Eger, Hungary

One day, I decided to visit Budapest. It was about 1.5 hours’ drive from Eger. I initially planned to go by myself but eventually got a lovely company in the form of the Dutch team manager.

One rainy day in Budapest

One rainy day in Budapest

After Worlds, team T&T started the journey for a glimpse of Europe. We spent a night in Vienna. The following day we were on our way to Italy.

Our first stop was one of the most romantic places portrayed in films, however I was completely disillusioned in Venice. After spending a full day in this touristy area we moved a bit to the south and passed by San Marino. And then we explored Tuscany and enjoyed the warm weather there.

Getting lost... and grumpy in touristy Venice

Getting lost… and grumpy in touristy Venice

Our next stop was not on our initial itinerary but on a whim, we decided to skip another city and went to a UNESCO heritage site, Cinque Terre.

Getting Awed at Cinque Terre

Getting awed at Cinque Terre

From the warm weather, we moved back up towards France and went through the Alps. T was keen to see the winter sports place in summer. And we were surprised to see a ghost town in summer. He told me that in winter the whole place will be crowded of keen wintersport enthusiasts.

Our journey continued through France. I wouldn’t leave Europe without seeing Paris! There I met a dear friend who flew all the way from Ireland to meet me for coffee in Paris… isn’t it amazing to have friends around the globe?!

Montmartre, the Eiffel Tower, at the Louvre, love locks in one of the bridges, bells at Notre Dame, Place de l'Étoile, meeting with a dear friend.

From left, clockwise: Montmartre, the Eiffel Tower, at the Louvre, love locks in one of the bridges, bells at Notre Dame, Place de l’Étoile, meeting with a dear friend.

From Paris we drove to Ghent, Belgium and then back to the T’s country… no, I didn’t have to wait another 20 minutes at the immigration. 🙂

It was a good glimpse of Europe and of our idiosyncratic ways. We saw how each would throw tantrums when tired and then finding ourselves later laughing about it. At the end of that trip, we were welcomed by the news that my application to reside in middle earth was approved… and almost a year after that we moved here and now painting a new adventure that is definitely taking our breaths away.


Watch out for more detailed posts of this trip as I dig my notes and photos.