30 March 2015
So it has come to the day that I am most looking forward to blog about, because it’s my favourite place (and I bet my brother’s too) for this entire Europe trip! And of course, it’s also yours truly’s birthday 😛
We had the whole day catered for Cinque Terre because Nad highly-recommended this place to us. Since we did not manage to go for the Bath tour in London which she also recommended, I told Bro that I can’t miss this. SQ girls know the best where to visit! Haha!
We decided to skip Pisa because it’s just a leaning tower to me, and both Pisa and Cinque Terre are a distance away. In fact, Cinque Terre is further, if I’m not wrong, but I think we made a terrific choice to choose that over Pisa! It’s like a mini Santorini (my next dream vacation!!!) and despite the 2-hour plus train ride, it was all worthwhile!
That long train ride wasn’t that comfortable because I remember sitting opposite this angmoh dude with really long legs. He doesn’t look very friendly so I was afraid to fall asleep and accidentally kick his leg or something…Zzzzz. Furthermore it’s just not safe to fall asleep in Europe trains; might get mugged anytime kind.
Yea so after enduring that 2-hour plus, we finally arrived at the beautiful CINQUE TERRE! Cinque Terre means “5 lands“, because there are a total of 5 villages there to visit. Each belongs to one train stop, or you can do it by foot I think, which is why it’s also a popular place for hikers.
But that is also when you do not have a train to catch at night, unlike us~ We did not wanna get back too late or miss any train, and since it’s gonna take us another 2-hour plus to get back, we bought the return train tickets for 6+ pm. That left us with really limited time to finish Cinque Terre, but Nad had already told us that it’s quite impossible to finish in a day, hence she had recommended some of the must-go villages to me!
The village that she highly-recommended me to visit was Manarola (village #2), and I vaguely remember reading her message saying that “you can see colourful horses when you walk further in“. Yea so when I went to the visitor centre to get a map, I actually asked the staff which is the area with colourful horses. The staff got really confused the more I explained, and she said she has never known of such a place here, which I felt absurd, like how can she not know! But the mystery was revealed later ._.
There were quite a lot of stairs to climb there I remember, but all the views are definitely worth the climb, so we just kept going and going. Bro was so amazed by the place that he even wanted to explore some adventurous hiking route, but I told him we have very limited time if we wanna visit more village -_-”
We kept walking further and further in, but I still did not see the horses! By then I had kinda given up hope, since even the staff said she has not seen before! I really imagine them to be like unicorns you know, cause COLOURFUL HORSES mah! And then it was only when I was leaving Cinque Terre (and I kept thinking about my unicorns!) then I finally figured it out and quickly took out my phone to re-read the message…
I mis-read it and came up with my own unicorn fantasy! Zzzzzz! I hope the staff never ever figure that out, if not she would probably think that I am some delusional unicorn-fanatic, or a crazy horse-abuser who fantasizes about dyeing horses into different colours -____-
So here are the beautiful and colourful HOUSES that Nad actually meant and they are featured on the cover of the Cinque Terre guide book that she lent me. What the hell was I even thinking, seriously? But even though I did not see my unicorns, seeing these pretty houses from the book to right in front of my eyes is just wowwwww~!!! Like a little girl finally seeing Disney princess in real life! Hahaha!
Even the dirty bear couldn’t resist taking a photo with the scenery >.> Yes, le pig brother brought his black dirty smelly bear along for the trip and even brought it out in his bag everyday! Imagine all the embarrassing bag-check moments at the attraction sites…Zzzzzz.
Spammed lots of selfies with my selfie stick because workaholic brother was recording sound of the sea waves for work purposes…Zzzzzz. Yes, he actually brought his recording device there and recorded sound of trains, sound of this and that! #lifeofasoundengineer
We actually only had time for these 2 villages, but we really couldn’t bear to just visit 2 out of 5 villages! We could risk visiting 1 more village on our way back to the main train station, but the local train between the villages has got fixed interval, so missing this train would mean you gotta wait another 30 minutes or so for the next. And if we catch that local train that is 30 minutes later, we would only arrive a few minutes before our 6+pm train back to Florence!
So we pondered over whether to take the risk and visit 1 more village using that 30 minutes, or to just reach the main train station 30 minutes earlier and wait there. In the end, we decided to fuck it and explore 1 more village – Riomaggiore (village #1)! Just gotta constantly do a time-check and catch that train by hook or by crook! Because every bit of Cinque Terre is worth the risk, I would say (:
Riomaggiore is a bit similar to Manarola, with sea view and colourful houses! But of course we did not regret a bit for dropping by~ It’s still beautiful and you just can’t get enough of the beauty! Did I mention that I love watching sea waves too? The sea waves constantly crashing down, so strong and invincible!
Definitely a memorable and beautiful 26th birthday! I’m so glad that I spent it here, with my favourite sea, sun, breeze and scenery ❤
Took the long train ride back to Florence again and I remember Bro was famished by then~ He was desperate for food but everywhere was closed, except some Indian restaurant. After looking at the prices, the thrifty brother decided to buy some snacks from the vending machine I think? Or we managed to buy some cake or what from the thrift shop nearby just before it closed. Cannot quite recall, but I remember it was quite 狼狈 and pathetic meal…hahaha!
31 March 2015
A very short post for this day because it was spent entirely on shopping! That was my main aim of visiting Florence, remember? 😛 Everyone said it’s a must to buy a Prada/Gucci/Miumiu when you visit Europe, because it’s dirt cheap when you compared to Singapore.
I did set aside a budget to get myself a good birthday present, but at the same time I did not wanna splurge too much on just one bag. For those who know me, I am very lazy to change bag, so I always carry the same bag that is usually only less than $12 kind ._. I just don’t see the need to spend a few K over ONE bag or ONE watch when I can use that money to buy SO MANY bags and SO MANY watches!
But of course if the price is still reasonable, I don’t mind owning 1 or 2 branded items (provided must be nice, if not no point spending so much). Yea so I was still hoping that I would find something that I like within the budget, but I also checked out the Prada boutique in Florence and was scared off by the price! Thought the outlet stores wouldn’t be much of a difference but still wanna check it out~
Went to SPACE first, which is the outlet shopping for Prada and Miu Miu. It’s super inaccessible there, so you can only take a cab from Montevarchi station. And the cab ride is not cheap because it’s quite a distance away, so people usually share it. We were lucky that there happened to be this guy and girl heading there as well, so we shared the cab! 😀
Coincidentally, they are also Singaporeans! Very good-looking and fashionable couple, so I actually sought advice from them when I couldn’t decide on my bag…HAHAHA. Bro was behaving just like any guy, sitting in the cafe next door waiting, giving me that kind of you decide yourself answer >.>
Anyway, I was damn happy and excited when I got there because even though there was only 1 bag that caught my eye in the entire store (the one I got in the end), it is definitely worth the trip! I wouldn’t say that the things there are CHEAP, because cheap is like my $12 bag, but the prices there are a HUGE discount from what I saw in the boutiques!!!!!!!!!
Almost unbelievable because my budget not only managed to get me a Prada bag, but also a Prada wallet! I actually don’t need the wallet (yet), but the price is just too worth it 😛 I won’t reveal how much I spent because I don’t wanna get judged, but at least I bought them with my own hard-earned money and of course birthday angbaos from my 2 dearest siblings! Hehe!
The next destination was another outlet mall – The Mall. I was contemplating whether to still spend the cab fare to go there or not, since I already got my bag. Bro was hoping that I would skip it because he wanted to go back to Cinque Terre to finish up the villages (he really loves the place!) -_- But that is 4 hours plus train ride to and fro and we only had half a day left!
In the end, I decided to go ahead to The Mall because the Singaporean couple that we befriended earlier on were heading there too and asked if we wanna share a cab again. Had a hard time getting one because this place is just way too ulu. The couple tried calling the same cab that took us here, but it just left for The Mall and would only arrive back at SPACE in an hour! Zzzzzz.
There are more brands available at The Mall – Ferragamo, Burberry, Balenciaga, Bottega and etc, but all are also a higher range kind of brands ._. I wasn’t expecting to get anything of course, because they are way over my budget and I also did not have much left after my SPACE spending.
I just window-shopped around randomly while Bro waited at the cafeteria again. It’s a huge place by the way, but I did not go into most shops because I know I can’t afford. Checked out Coach instead even though I have never been a fan of their designs (their classic CCCCCC design is damn ugly!), I was just trying to find a sling bag for Sis~
And then guess what, something caught my eyes! It’s a baby pink sling bag that I fell in love with right away! I figured that it may be too small for Sis, but I love it so much!!!!!! I actually love it more than my Prada! Hahahaha! But I had a hard time deciding whether to buy or not because I was short of around 20 bucks from my bag budget, and I did not wanna touch the money that I had set aside for Rome >.<
I really considered for a long, long time in the shop whether to get it or not. I know Bro’s gonna nag if I buy another bag, but my devil on my shoulder was telling the angel that the bag is for Sis, and it’s only if Sis doesn’t want it, then it would be mine! (In the end it was indeed too small for Sis! :P) Yea so I pondered and pondered for a long time, until I suddenly recalled something – TAX REFUND!!!
You can get your tax refund RIGHT AWAY at The Mall!!! There is a service centre there and their tax is pretty high by the way, which means you could get quite a bit from the refund! TEEHEE~! So after confirming with the staff, I figured that my plan would work! I would get the bag first using my remaining budget + another 20 bucks from my Rome fund, and then I would top it back after I got my tax refund! 😀
I was so, so, so happy after I got the bag! My plan was terrific and I even got back EVEN MORE money from what I “borrowed” from my Rome fund! The feeling was damn good, like the more you spend the more you get back…HAHAHAHAHA! Thank you, tax refund!!! Though the PRCs queuing there with bagssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss of Chanels, Gucci and etc are such pain in the ass. They really buy like it’s FREE and their poor boyfriends are at the side carrying even more bags! Damn kua zhang one!