Herculaneum (Ercolano) Part I

August 24, 2016

When I googled what to see & do in Naples, one of the first thing that popped up was visiting Pompeii but after speaking to a friend who traveled there before, she recommended visiting Herculaneum instead. She has been to both archeological site before so she surely knows which one is better. I was glad that I listened to her advice and visited Herculaneum instead of Pompeii.
It is better preserved than Pompeii. It's smaller than Pompeii so you can spend half a day or full day here and really take your time visiting each space. The site itself is located besides a residential area. Truly amazing site! And the bonus part is it's not as busy because tour buses are not allowed here! 
This is one of the kitchen ruins that we saw.
The site is smaller than Pompeii but you are still walking a lot and you have to watch your steps all the time. And remember to bring a hat especially on a really hot day and water!
Original wood ceiling. I can't believe it's so well preserved.
This was really amazing to see as well. The frescoes are beautifully preserved. The colours are stunning and you can see all the details from the figures.
And this mosaic too was just unreal!

Travel ailment: Food Poisoning

August 17, 2016

I've always been adventurous when it comes to food so when I booked my trip to Thailand in 2009, I knew I was in for a treat. My friends are all food enthusiasts so we talked about what I should eat in Bangkok. 

When I got to Bangkok; the heat was unbearable. It was so hot outside. I had to stay inside the hotel during the day to avoid the heat.

When I ventured out, I could smell the barbeque from every street corner so I would stop and buy whatever they were cooking and eat on the spot. I didn't go to crazy in Bangkok with street food until I got to Krabi.

Krabi was very laid back. I spent most of the time at the beach. Lunch and snacks were always street food from the vendors near the beach. I ate a lot of fried seafood, delicious steamed clams, and my all time favourite fried won ton skewers. I ate it all the time so it's no wonder on my last day there, I set myself a schedule of eating all day. After going to the beach, I went back to the street vendors and ordered all my favourite items. For snacks, I eat green mangoes with chilies. I was really full and happy.

On my way to the airport to fly back to Bangkok, I started feeling queasy. I thought I was just tired so I tried to sleep. The flight was only an hour so I was back in Bangkok in no time. Immediately, after entering my hotel room, I threw up. I felt better but then few minutes later, I was back...and it lasted until 6am.

I felt so weak and tired. I was also running a fever and I felt horrible to say the least. Thankfully, my travel companion was there for me. He made me stay hydrated and took care of me by feeding me plain rice so I can have something in my stomach. I was very worried that I was not going to make my flight back to the Philippines. Thankfully, my fever broke and I was strong enough to fly back.

When I got back to Canada, I immediately visited my family doctor and I got a check up. Everything was fine but my stomach was never the same again. I had stomach pains all the time and I could not eat properly. I had to get a lot of tests done and the results were fine so I saw a gastroenterologist specialists and that didn't help either.
Finally, I was at the end of my rope. I was very stressed out about my stomach pains that I ultimately gave up on Western medicine and went to a Naturopath doctor. On my first visit, the doctor immediately gave me a list of foods that I could eat; everything else was a no-no. It was really hard to go on a strict diet for two weeks. It was a torture. I had to cut out everything. He told me I had gluten allergy so I could not eat any products with wheat (bread, pasta, beer!!!). After two weeks on being on a very strict diet, I started feeling better. I went on a trip to Cuba for a week and broke my diet. I ate carbs, lots and lots of it! I didn't care, it was my birthday week and I indulged. Thankfully, I didn't get sick.

When I came home, I watched my diet but I pretty much ate what I wanted. After more than one year of pain, I finally started to feel better. I try to eat more healthy but I started introducing the "bad foods" on my list and making notes of what still makes me sick.

My food poisoning experience has not stopped me from enjoying and eating different cuisines but I am more cautious on what I eat especially while on a trip. I try to avoid shellfish as much as possible and anything spicy.

Have you ever had food poisoning? Have you experienced travel ailments?

Nativity street in Naples

August 3, 2016

All I bought was one of these fridge magnets. They are sold all over Naples!
Look at the details in those nativity!
This is a really elaborate design.
I wonder how long it takes to create one set of these. Look at those tiny meats and veggies!
This made me laugh so hard!
The celebrity figurines for your non-traditional nativity!
Can you believe that there is a whole street in Naples dedicated to selling Christmas nativity? Via San Gregorio Armeno is where to find this Christmas market. Shop after shop selling nativity trinkets. They sell everything! From small trinkets to over the top displays. I couldn't believe it! 

It was so much fun to walk around and visit each shops. You can even watch the artisans making them. A lot of work goes into creating each figurine. It's so detailed and almost too real! 
And I love that each shop has a different theme. It's not your average nativity set. I love the different themes and how they add humor to some of the pieces.
I wanted to buy everything but the problem was I was too scared it was going to get crushed inside my suitcase. I ended up just taking photos as a souvenir instead of hauling them inside my suitcase.  

The shops are open all year long so you don't have to just visit during the Christmas holidays but I'm sure that would be more fun if you do! I can only imagine what this street looks like during Christmas season. 

Doria Pamphilj Gallery

July 25, 2016

This is my favourite gallery in Rome. I saw a picture of Mimi Thorrison on instagram visiting Doria Pamphilj and I knew I had to go there as well.
I like my galleries grandiose! The more dramatic, the better! The Doria Pamphilj Gallery is a privately owned gallery by the Pamphilj family (super rich and famous!). 
The gallery contains medieval and Byzantine art including masterpieces by Raphael, Caravaggio, and Velázquez.  I love the fact that this gallery is not crowded. It's not part of the tourist card so you won't have a big crowd bumping you while you browse the collections. I found it very peaceful amidst the sometimes chaotic Rome.
I took my time exploring each room. There is a lot to see. The only problem here is that most paintings do not have descriptions so I highly recommend getting the audio guide (it's free when you buy your ticket) to accompany you on your exploration inside the gallery. Prince Jonathan Doria Pamphilj narrates his family story on the audio guide. He narrates his family history and provides tidbits about the collection. 
The Gallery of Mirrors was designed by Gabriele Valvassori. This is my favourite part of the gallery. It is lined with mirrors, statues, and chandeliers. And not to mention the frescoes on the ceiling.
Wall to wall of paintings!
The gallery has gone through renovations as parts of the building has been damaged. This is one of the rooms that has been recently renovated.