10 Photos That Will Make You Wanna Visit London

London is one of my favorite of all the cities I have been to. Simply because of its captivating vibe and picturesque streets. When we think of London, we think of the London Eye, The Big Ben, The Tower Bridge, etc. But let’s skip those for now. In this blogpost, I will be sharing 10 unique photos that will make you wanna visit the English Capital.

Covent Garden is one of the most beautiful districts in London. I spent half-day exploring this gem when I was in London. Definitely a place I would like to explore again when I will visit London soon.

After a day of exploring, a pint of beer is the best idea! So why not head to Cafe Brood. I found this gem while exploring Borough Market on my second day in London.

If you’re looking for the best backdrop for your instagram photos, head over to the Southbank Skate Space, here you can find stunning graffitis and other street arts. Or if you simply wanna skate, then this is the best place for you.

I visited St. James Park on my second day in London. The views are breathtaking even though most trees didn’t have any leaves mainly because it was winter during that time. What mostly caught my attention though are the squirrels. They’re very cute and they seem to be really tamed, maybe because they got used with people giving them food.

If you’re visiting Greenwich in London, make sure to include the The Old Royal Naval College in your list. The Old Royal Naval College is an architectural center piece in Maritime Greenwich, a World Heritage Site in Greenwich, London. Definitely a must-visit for architecture lovers.

The Old Royal Naval College
Advertisements

If you wanna travel back in time or simply want to admire a great piece of architecture, then Churchill War Rooms is the best place for you to go. The Churchill War Rooms is a museum in London the museum comprises the Cabinet War Rooms, a historic underground complex that housed a British government command centre throughout the Second World War, and the Churchill Museum, a biographical museum exploring the life of British statesman Winston Churchill.

reference: Wikipedia

Churchill War Rooms

I visited Columbia Road Flower Market on my third day in London. It was a Sunday and it is the only day where the market is open, so take note of that. Columbia Road Flower Market is located in Bethnal Green in London. But aside from flowers, you can also witness amazing street performers showing their respective crafts here.

‘People Watching’ is definitely one of the most therapeutic activities out there. Have you ever tried picking up on idiosyncrasies like language, expressions, clothing and activities to try to guess at another person’s story? Well, I always do and it’s pretty relaxing haha. Anyway, I took this photo between St. Pauls Church and the Millennium Bridge. I though it would be nice to add at here.

Advertisements

Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, London | The Ultimate Europe Itinerary

Ever since I started my international travels, Europe was one of the continents which I always wanted to visit. But as a third-world country passport holder, I needed to have a visa before I can enter Europe. The visa we need to be able to enter Europe is called the ‘Schengen Visa’- which is basically one of the hardest visas to obtain, especially if your country has a really bad reputation of overstaying in another territory. Fortunately, when I applied for a Schengen Visa, I was granted one. Hence, the moment I received my passport back with a Schengen-Visa stamped on it, I instantly planned my itinerary and came up with this. 

Applying For A Schengen Visa- A Complete Guide

It was around February when I flew from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam. I always travel solo, but since It’s my first time to travel to Europe, this was one of the most nerve-racking trip I took. The flight took roughly seven hours. After landing and going through passport-control I went straight to the bus station to catch my bus to the city center. 

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. Two of the major languages of the Netherlands are Dutch and English. I stayed for a total of four days in this beautiful city. As a budget traveler, I always try to stay in cheap accommodations so basically I stayed in a youth hostel, located in Amsterdam’s Ledseplein District. 

Amsterdam is famous for tulips, picturesque canals and being the home of some of the greatest artists ever lived. Marijuana and prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, but despite this, this Dutch country ranks as one of the happiest and safest countries to live in. I guess, it makes a huge difference when people have discipline. 

Advertisements

There are tons of things to do in Amsterdam. For me, I just wandered around, and there, I was able to discover some hidden gems in the city. 

When you visit Amsterdam, just keep in mind that coffee shops there are unlike any other coffee shops in the world. So if you are craving for a coffee, just go to Starbucks haha. 

Brussels

Brussels is the capital of Belgium as well as being the capital of the European Union. French is one of the official languages of Belgium, hence most people speak French here. But the same with in the Netherlands, people here are so fluent in English. So you don’t have to worry about any language barriers when you intend to visit Belgium. 

I arrived in Brussels from Amsterdam through train. The train ride took around two and a half hours which is not bad. I booked my train ride through OMIO.COM (Formerly GoEuro). Top Tip: Book your train in advance to avail further discount!

The Belgian Capital of Brussels is famous for its gothic structures. My favorite place is the Grand Palace, it is the central square of Brussels. It is surrounded by opulent guildhalls and two larger edifices, the city’s Town Hall, and the King’s House or Breadhouse. Definitely one of the best places to visit and photograph in this city. 

Brussels or Belgium in general is also famous for its beers, waffles and chocolates. So whenever you are in Belgium, don’t ever forget to try all of it.- trust me, I tasted the best waffle and chocolates here! 

Read also: Exploring Brussels, Top Things to see in this Belgian City

Paris

Paris is the capital of France, it is also dubbed as the City of Love, Light and Fashion. Well, obviously, the official language is French. Unlike Amsterdam and Brussels, people here doesn’t like to speak english that much, not because they don’t know how to speak the language but they just don’t want to for some reason, and I don’t know why. 

I arrived in Paris from Brussels through Flixbus. The bus ride took around four-hours, which is endurable. The bus has several stops, so you don’t have to worry about sitting for four hours straight. Most couch also has bathrooms inside so you don’t have to worry when you feel like you need to use the bathroom along the way. 

Paris is home to some of the biggest brands in Fashion. Louis Vuitton and Chanel are just some of the few. But overall, Paris is famous for its historic landmarks; the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, The louvre, Versailles palace and many more. 

Paris is one of the easiest city to explore- thanks to its very organized train lines. When in Paris, don’t forget to try their local food, their cuisines are to die for! 

You can also check my article about Paris:

Visit Paris, Experience The City Of Love

London

London is basically one of my favorite stops in this itinerary. This city is huge! But thank goodness, you can pretty much go everywhere using their subways. 

I arrived in London from Paris through FlixBus. The trip took almost 8-hours! Quite long but I was able to befriend my seat mate on the bus, so we killed time together talking about life. 

Arthur, my seat mate on the bus.

Please note that some Passports need a separate visa for the United Kingdom. So basically, I was holding two visas, one for Schengen and one for the UK. Make sure to see if you need one or not, just to avoid some conflict when going through passport control at the border. 

Read: How to Apply for a UK Visa

I stayed for a total of four days in this English City. But for me, I think it is ideal to spend more than four days if we intend to see all sites this city has to offer. So far, I was able to visit most of it during my stay. 

Make sure to try an authentic English breakfast- I tasted a lot of English Breakfast elsewhere, but tasting it in its origin is totally different! You can pretty much taste authenticity!

When we think about London, we think of the Tower Bridge, the Big Ben and of course The Royal Family! But there is so much more that this city can offer aside from the ones mentioned above. For that I can’t wait to visit London again and explore more of the city! 

Thanks for reading!

New to the blog? Click here to get to know me more. 😀

What’s Inside My Camera Bag | My Ultimate Travel-Photography Equipments

For the past days, ever since I posted my first post on this blog, I’ve been thinking of writing about the essentials I bring whenever I travel since a lot of people has been asking what camera body and lens I use- I’m not an influencer! There really are several people who have asked me this, lol. So here is what I came up with. But first, let me start with what camera bag I use.

Advertisements

National Geographic Rucksack

I instantly fell in love with the design of this bag. It has a lot of compartments including a laptop compartment and several pockets which is ideal for photographers who has a lot of accessories. It’s comfortable and fashionable to carry around and It can accommodate one big DSLR Body with up to three standard-size lenses plus a 13-inch MacBook computer as well as one speed light together with other accessories. I have this bag for a year now, so far it’s still in-tack despite being used all the time and carrying almost 12 kilograms of weight each time. I can say that it will still last for the coming years. 

Click here for the latest price of the National Geographic Racksack

Camera Body Nikon D850

This is my main workhorse as of the moment and basically the best camera body I’ve ever used. Prior to this, I have been using a Nikon D610. The Nikon D610 is a great machine, its just that I needed to let it go since it’s so difficult to be bringing two full-frame camera bodies when traveling(just imagine the weight of the Nikon D850 and the Nikon D610 combined) and I don’t think I would ever need to use two camera bodies in my travels, only maybe when I have some gigs like an event or a wedding to avoid changing lenses all the time.

Click here for the latest price of the NIKON D850

Going back to the Nikon D850, I had this camera for almost a year now. So far I never had any complaints with it, basically living up to its name as the best DSLR camera in the market. If ever I would reach its shutter expectancy, I think I would still opt for the same model. 

Camera Lenses | Sigma 35 and 85 Art | Tamron 24-70 G2

Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art

Sharp, fast and just the perfect focal coverage. The Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM is a state of the art lens designed for full frame cameras but can also be used with APS-C sensors as well. It is also my very first ever full-frame lens. It accounts to most of the photos of my travels. Definitely one of my favorite lenses for Travel, portraiture, etc. 

Click here to check the current price of this lens.

Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art

As a portrait  and travel photographer, this lens is definitely one hell of a beast! Ultra-sharp, fast and beautifully designed. The Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art is an ideal lens for a variety of photographic subjects, particularly portrait photography, both in-studio and on-location. For me, I use it mostly outdoors and I’m always impress by the way it performs. The only issue I have is the weight of the lens, plus most of the time, it’s mounted on my Nikon D850 which is already a very heavy camera body.- So imagine my neck and my shoulders at the end of the day. Those are only minor issues, as long as I’m happy with the images I take with it, then I can endure the pain. haha

Click here for the latest price of the Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art Lens

Tamron 24-70 f2.8 G2

 I bought this lens to solve my problems of changing lenses all the time when I’m covering events. It looks amazing when it’s mounted on the Nikon D850. Performance wise, it doesn’t disappoint. It’s widest angle coverage is great for landscapes and interior photography. The highest zoom coverage can deliver sharply focused subjects with amazingly blurred background. Definitely a must-have lens for Travel and event Photographers.

Click here for the current price of the Tamron 24-70 f2.8 G2 Lens

See full technical specs here. 

Gopro Hero 5

I have this action camera for like almost three years now. I needed to have it since I have been traveling solo most of the time before, and you can conveniently take wide angle selfies with the Gopro attached to a GoPro stick. 

So far I’m not planning to upgrade it anytime soon, I’m still happy with the quality of the images it provides- not much of a difference from the latest model. 

Click here for the latest price of the Gopro Hero 5 Black

Tripod

Vanguard VEO 235AB Aluminum Travel Tripod 

Light, compact and heavy duty, basically one of the best tripods I ever owned. I always bring it when I travel as it is so portable and doesn’t add much weight on my luggage. It also comes with a very nice bag. A must for every travel photographer. 

Click here for the latest price of the Vanguard VEO 235 AB Aluminum Travel Tripod

Computer

Macbook Pro 13 2017 without touch-bar. 

I opt in with the 13-inch version since it’s more portable when traveling. I process pretty much all my images here through Lightroom and photoshop. I have this for almost two years now and I haven’t had any issues of it lagging, just overheating a bit- but that’s only when I run several application at once or deal with really high data media files, just like a normal computer which overheats when running multiple applications. I highly suggest that if you plan to buy an apple computer, better buy this than the latest Macbook Air. Though it has been released few years back, it still performs better than the new MacBook Air. 

Click here for the latest price of the MacBook Pro 2017 without touchbar

Accessories

128 GB SanDisk Extreme Memory Cards

I have three of these ultra-fast memory cards. It’s a necessity to have ultra-fast memory cards to keep up with  huge file sizes of DSLR images nowadays. As a photographer, we cannot let any delays to happen, especially when we are photographing crucial moments. 

4TB WD Passport Hardrives

I have two of these external hard-drives. I have been using them for almost a year now, and believe it or not, I think I will be needing another one soon. I love the portability 

Camera Flash V860II

An external flash like no other. Easy to carry along my travels. I use it most of the time when I’m covering events when the ambient light is not sufficient. I love its performance, I have been using it for a year now and no complaints so far. 

X1T TTL Wireless Flash Trigger

One of the most used accessories I have- I use this to trigger my flashgun wirelessly when I’m trying to be creative with the lighting. The same as my comment on the Godox Flashgun, It’s easy to bring when I’m traveling and I have been using it for like a year now and I have no complaints so far. 

So what are your travel essentials? Share it with us through the comment section below. 

New to this blog? Click here to get to know me. 

How to apply for a UK Visa for Philippine Passport Holders

Recently, I have applied for a Short-term UK Visa in Abu Dhabi upon my intention to visit my friend who lives in the UK. Before my application, I have read tons of websites and blogs. Upon checking, I just let a big sigh upon seeing all the list of requirements that you need to acquire and submit. I know it’s hard to be Filipino sometimes!

So one month before my application, I started to collect all the documents needed. I started with requesting a Certificate of Employment from my employer then requesting a Bank Statement from my Bank. Upon completing all my documents, I went to the UKVI website to book an appointment and paid 141.00USD online and received a confirmation booking for their office in Khalidiya. You need to print the confirmation letter before going to the application center, otherwise they won’t let you in the Visa Application Center without it.

Advertisements
Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

So on my appointment day, I went to the VFS Global Office which is located on the 25th floor of Shining Towers in Khalidiya, went for security checks then submitted all my documents to the agent. Upon verifying all of it I paid an extra 10aed for SMS and Email Tracking, he then asked me to proceed to the biometrics room for my photograph and fingerprints collection. The whole process only took about 14-minutes or less, so quick! They then informed me that the visa processing time will take up to 3 weeks.

To be honest, I was so nervous that my visa might get denied because I’ve read some blog posts from applicants who have been denied because they only have stayed here in the UAE for not so long, and since I’m only 20 years old and has only been staying here in the UAE for a year, the fear of getting denied is real! But after 8 working days, I received my passport anxiously praying and hoping to see a UK Visa stamped on it while browsing all my passport pages, Thank God! They gave me a multiple visa valid for six months! One of the happiest days of my freaking life! See you next year UK!

You should not worry about your application as long as you’ve provided all the required documents and that you’re completely honest with your intention of visiting the UK.  In my scenario, I got a letter of invitation from my friend who lives in the UK. It’s stated in the letter that I will be staying at his place most of the time and that he will make sure that I will exit from the UK before the Visa expires. And I also stated in my cover letter that I will only go there purely for tourism purposes and that I have no intention of looking for a job in the UK.

I hope this experience will help a lot of you, especially Filipino expats here in the UAE who are applying for a UK Visa for the first time.

Advertisements

Documents required

Letter of sponsorship from sponsor/s

Cover Letter Addressed to the Embassy of UK in Abu Dhabi

Passport copy of sponsor/s

Statement of Account of sponsor/s

Six month pay slip of sponsor/s

Itinerary plans with Budget

Your Passport Copy

Residence Visa Copy

Employment Certificate showing your annual income and Approved Leave dates

Bank Statements For The Last Six Months

Application form, duly dated and signed 

Advertisements

Frequently asked questions:

I’m in the UAE as a tourist, can I apply for a UK visa in any of the emirate?

-No, unfortunately most of the UK Visa application center only accepts applicant with a visa enabling the applicant to stay in a country/ territory for more than six months and in this case, UAE tourist visa is only valid for 3 months max.

Will the UKVI Accepts Scanned copy of the documents of my sponsor/s?

-Yes! They do, so you don’t need to ask your sponsor to courier all the original documents.

Should I have a confirmed return flight tickets before applying?

-No, not necessarily.

Thanks for reading!