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Category:Europe

A Day Trip To Toledo

Toledo taught me that those charming cobblestone streets are torture for feet if you’re walking on it all day.

 

The Cathedral of #Toledo, the most popular attraction in town. #Spain #Europe #Travel #latergram

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

I jumped out of bed at 9:50 AM and scrambled around like Speedy Gonzalez. With my eyes barely opened, I was out the door in 20 minutes to catch a train at Atocha Station.

Running around like a chicken without its head, I rushed passed a tropical garden in the center of Atocha Station and didn’t even get a chance to appreciate it. I boarded with five minutes to spare and ended up sitting next to three French ladies who could NOT stop yapping. When the train pulled into the station, I ran as fast as I could.

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Parque de Retiro, Museo del Prado & Museo Reina Sofia In One Day

Before going to Museo del Prado, map out the pieces of work you want to see to avoid the masses and to make the most of your time.

 

Sunny days and blue skies at the Parque de Retiro in #Madrid. #Travel #Spain

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

The first thing I ate after landing in Madrid was a burger and fries from Burger King. I was hungry and didn’t want to waste time having a sit down meal. Feeling guilty, I took a long stroll through the Parque del Retiro, the most popular park in Madrid. It’s dotted with beautiful fountains and filled with lush green gardens. It even has an artificial lake, called the Estanque del Retiro, street performers for the children and rowboats, which can be rented during the weekends.

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Unmet Expectations At The Topkapi Palace

I had really high expectations of the Topkapi Palace, but the heat and hoards of tourists did not make it as pleasant as I thought it would be.

 

Look at all that gold at the #TopkapiPalace! #Istanbul #Turkey #Travel

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

The Topkapi Palace is a museum filled with a collection of the Ottoman empire’s porcelains, weapons, armors, calligraphic manuscripts and it’s most prized treasure and jewelry. It should have taken my breath away, but it didn’t. The grandeur and the opulence was expected. The long lines were, as usual, an annoyance.

I bought my entrance tickets and proceeded through the Imperial Gate. It was covered in marble and written with gilded inscriptions. The Imperial Council, with it’s illuminating gilded exterior, instantly caught my eye. The porch and floor was made entirely of marble. The white and green wooden ceiling was decorated in gold.  The exterior walls and entrance was plastered in gold. No other building in the Topkapi Palace matched up to the lavishness of this one.

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