Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Europe 2012 part IV - Konstanz and back to Paris!

I know, I know, more pictures :P I feel like I've done a lot of posts about the trip and I want to move on as well, but I'm almost done... So bear with me :) And enjoy the pictures!!

The last part of the trip was to join my dad's two friends on their vacation. When my dad reconnected with them to let them know we were coming to Germany, they already had their vacation planned - yes, they spend at least a week together each year :) Cute right? So my dad was a bit bumped till they told him to join LOL. So we did and drove to Konstanz from Stuttgart which is less than 2 hours away. Konstanz is another university city and gets its name because it's located at Lake Constance... To me, it felt a lot like Cape Cod, but minus the beaches LOL.

Ever heard that German highways don't have speed limits? Well it's true for some of them and as a result, my dad regularly got up to 160km/h!! Sometimes 200km/h, but not often because it stressed my mom LOL. But yeah, you'd drive and then see a car in your rearview mirror and before you knew it, it'd be on your tail!

My dad driving; up to 140km/h. 

Konstanz is the birthplace of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, constructor of the famous Zeppelin! So fun to see one!

The first thing we did when we got to Konstanz was to go to our hotel which was more a boarding house. Since we joined at the last minute, that was all that was available. We couldn't bunk with my dad's friends, because Germans are very strict on rental. If you say 4 people are staying to sleep, it has to be 4. Once we were hanging at my dad's friends' place and someone rang at the door and we had to "hide" even though we were not sleeping over. Ah well, but I have to say, the place they rented was soo pretty!

Our boarding house - it was cute; their place - first floor.

Views from their rented place

Views of the Rhine River

So the first day in Konstanz, we stayed in because it rained and also so my dad could catch up with his friends. We heard some very funny stories such as how my dad, when he just arrived to Germany, asked his friend to buy toothpaste. His friend asked why he didn't go himself and my dad replied that he did, but the kind he bought was so spicy. Turns out my dad bought mustard!! LOL. In Germany, some brands of mustard come into tubes just like toothpaste :P

The next day, we decided to visit Reichenau Island. This island is known for its agriculture, growing fruits and vegetables, and apparently, they supply a big part of Germany :) It also has three churches and some incredible views of the lake which is what we went to visit.

Plan of the island; Sankt Georg Kirche and a field of salad LOL; my mom bought some vegetables

Look how big that cauliflower!! Only 0.80€! And yes, that is the cash, help yourself LOL

Fresh walnut; they also have flowers :)

Lake Constance is actually surrounded by Germany, Switzerland and Austria. My sister and I really wanted to go to Switzerland, just so we could say we did LOL. Alas, it did not happen :(

Flags of the three countries; On the other side is Switzerland!! 


After Reichenau Island, we went back to downtown of Konstanz and then, the marina :)

Many buildings are painted.

Town hall and one of its window.

Fountain in the main place.

Downtown, walking to the marina; the Imperia; lighthouse?

View of Konstanz; view of the rented place from the other side :P

Konstanz Cathedral

So we ate near Konstanz Cathedral and when we walked near it, I swear, it felt unreal. I kept looking at it and it felt like a drawing was in front of me... Till I touched it. One of the reasons it looks so great is because it's been recently renovated. Just looks great.

So a lot of places in Europe still uses old keys... You know, the kind that is long and belongs to historical romance books? :P So this is a view of what you can see through the key hole. No wonder people could eavesdropped and look through!

Old key; key hole.

So we stayed two nights in Konstanz and then, it was time for us to go back to my aunt's place. To get back, it was faster to go through France, so I finally got my picture of "Welcome to Germany," yay!

Views on the way home.

Us in the car - couldn't get everyone ^_^;

However, once we got back to my aunt's place, my sister and I only stayed for another night. We had to go back to Paris to catch the plane and go home :( The cool thing is my cousin came home so we could spend the evening together... LOL, the thing is my cousin is not a bit talker... so it was more like me asking questions and him, answering LOL. Still, I appreciated that he came home to see us. Also, it allowed us to finally take family pictures!

Family pictures! Yes, my cousin is tall ^_^;

To go back to Paris, my sister and I were taking the train, since my parents were staying an extra week. So we headed to the train station. It was an awesome experience because we got to take the ICE (Inter City Express) which is basically the same as the TGV :P When we drove, it took us 4 hours to go from Paris to Saarbrücken... Saarbrücken to Paris on the ICE took us 1h48 minutes!!

Sad to go home, we don't wanna! At the train station.

Board indicating train, time and platform. Waiting at the platform.

On the train - had to squeeze in our suitcase.

Made it to France!!

Gare Paris Est!

So we made it to Paris on Tuesday at noon and were leaving to go home on Thursday. That left us 1.5 day :P  Guess what we did? Yes, walk in Paris!! Seriously, I don't think I'd ever get tired of walking around in Paris :) My sister actually had a friend traveling Europe this summer and she was in Paris that Tuesday, so we rushed to meet :) Got to see her an hour, but hey, my sister and her will be able to say they saw each other in Paris!

The next day, well it was souvenir hunt day LOL. My sister hadn't bought any souvenirs for her friends yet and there were a couple of mangas I wanted to look for. And I also was on a secret quest which will get its own post :P Stay tuned for it :P By the way, when we came back to Paris, the weather had changed drastically!! Sunny and very hot! LOL, after Tuesday, I was convinced... it's better to walk in cloudy and cooler weather :P

A sight we did not see before we left for Germany: Paris Plages. La Fontaine du Palmier in the Place du Châtelet

Porte Saint-Martin; Sideview of Centre Georges Pompidou; the Pantheon!

Place de la Sorbonne and Palais de Justice

Used bookstores on boulevard Saint-Michel

But you can also looks for used books in those stalls longing the Seine!

Different views from Notre-Dame Cathedral

After that, it was time to go home :(
Packing - jeez, I'm hot!

At the airport Charles-de-Gaulle Terminal 3

I did it!! 23kg on the dot... not once, but twice!!

Waiting to go home...

On the plane

And voilà, that was my summer trip to Europe! I had such a great time and so happy we went. All the stress beforehand was worth it LOL. 

So I have two more posts planned :) One will be of food for little alys! And just because it was so yummy LOL. The other will be my secret mission :P And then, I'm done, I promise! LOL.