Ah, the City of Love. To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of Paris before going there. I mean, I would want to go but it wasn’t on top of the countries-I-want-to-visit list. I always thought it was a cliché, what with all forms of art always depicting something about Paris — from music, movies, paintings, photographs..
But we were taught not to believe in something that we have no evidence for. After seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle during our second night, I was in love. It’s like the city pulled me into its heart and made me see and feel and experience its beauty and splendor. I was enchanted, even more so on our second visit the year after but that’s for another post.
I was able to squeeze in a trip to Versailles with my parents and a few friends before our second concert. Two things I wish we did: went earlier and took more photos. Since it was a Saturday, there were even more visitors! But the beauty of Versailles couldn’t dampen our spirits.
Short history: Versailles became the seat of power when Louis XIV moved there from Paris. It became known as the symbol of absolute monarchy in France, where the reigning monarchs showered themselves with luxuries while the people of France were living in squalor. It’s very evident until today that nothing was too expensive or too much in designing and creating the whole château.
On our way to Versailles!
Another super throwback post: Paris at the end of May 2011 with the ACGC. We were about to hit our two-month mark in Europe when we arrived in Paris. We were on the road nearing the city centre itself and everyone was suddenly wide awake staring outside despite the traffic. How can anyone be not excited about visiting Paris for first time?!
There are so many things to cover about our Paris stop for both the 2011 and 2012 tours that for the 2011 one, I decided to have 3 posts including this one. This one will be all about the activities of the ACGC in the city 🙂
Every time anyone saw a sign that said “Paris”, someone would shout. Haha! We were that excited 🙂
Another travel post from one of our stops during the ACGC 2012 European tour — the picturesque Venezia!
We were here from April 25-27, coming from Koper, Slovenia. We only had two days to explore and breathe in the air of the “Floating City.” Venice was a powerful city during Middle Ages and Renaissance, as it was the place known for art and commerce. Its command of the water made it a force to be reckoned with during those times. Today, millions of people travel to the city a year, and Fr. Luigi, our host during our stay, told us that the city has more tourists than locals! It’s also famous for its glass-work in Murano, housing different glass factories, the Carnival of Venice using the popular Venetian masks, and of course the gondolas and its use of water transportation!
We had to take this short train ride from the bus station to go to Venice. I thought it meant going straight to the heart of Venice but I was so very wrong..
Back in 2011, the ACGC competed at the 47th Montreux Choral Competition. This was towards the end of April and it was our second competition (our first was in Maribor, Slovenia for the 11th International Choral Competition where we won 2nd place!). We were on an 81-day concert-competition tour and Day 26 to 30 was spent in lovely Montreux.
This is one of the most memorable stops for me in our 2011 tour because we lived in a bunker that used to be an underground bomb shelter. It was also when we actually had to cook our own meals and clean the place where we stayed. Unlike in our other stops, we had hosts that helped us or we stayed in a hotel. We were put into 3 groups that had a rotation of chores: cleaning the kitchen (including all the kitchenware and dishes), cleaning the bathroom, and cleaning the rooms. We also had our cooking club, which was in charge of cooking all 3 meals per day plus our snacks, especially when we went to the other towns during our stay. We were 37 people that time, so you can just imagine the mess and the clean up we all had to do!
The only entrance and exit of our bunker. Yup, there was only one key so anyone who left had to tell Will or Irvs that they were leaving or else no one will know that someone’s locked out!
Since we had a very busy and tiring day in Disneyland, we all slept in except for Dom. Haha! All of us woke up at around 10AM and leisurely took our time getting ready. We planned on going to Lantau Island that day but Miggi, Yorro, Dom and Liz wanted to shop while Gorby and I wanted to finish the itinerary we made for Day 1. So we decided to make it a free day and off Gorby and I went to Hau Wong Temple, Kowloon Walled City Park and Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin before our 5:30PM meet up back to the hotel.
We went to our first stop, Hau Wong Temple.