All posts by mariadam

"Pinay" is slang for a woman.born in the Philippines. I have been living in France for the last 12 years and taking photos is my passion. My husband and I move a lot, travelling and sometimes living from one European city to another. We live in Paris at the moment. I have been to so many cities but the City of Romance is still my favorite. I love to capture the everyday life of Europe particularly Paris and through this blog I would like to share my visual experiences with you. Enjoy and feel free to ask questions about the pictures.

Theme: Markets

Traditional markets, mini-markets, flea markets, food kiosks …these are all  places that are worth adding to your travel itinerary!

It’s not only the food, shopping and bric-a-bracs but they also represent the little folies and idiosyncracies of the community, hence, a very interesting theme for this week is Markets.


Boqueria Market, Barcelona

market2.jpg  market3.jpg 

San Remo Market, Italy


Spice shop, Dubai


Dried fish market, Cebu, Philippines


Village shop, Castelvittorio, Italy              


Suffolk, England

Photos of the Day

Ludwig van Beethoven

One of the greatest musical genius of all time! Despite his deafness, he came out with such magnificent symphonies, sonatas and concertos!


his house, the pink one on the left, is one of Bonn’s tourist attractions


his face and name are being used in all forms such as this advertising on the same street where his house is.
There’s also a Beethoven Hotel, a Beethoven parking lot, Beethoven Boat….


Images of Bonn’s famous sons and daughters are displayed on
Bonngasse road, on the walkway itself, probably to serve as night lighting or some form of
reminder to a first-time tourist that he/she is now treading on Beethoven grounds.
This is the road where our musical genius walked and played more than 200 years ago

Sex in the City


advertising even in rubbish bins (sorry, i have to cover something..)


this shop is actually in the center of Bonn’s old town! There was not even an attempt to hide those “gadgets”!

To wrap up….

Overall, Cologne is not what we have expected it to be.
It’s not a city where we would like to go back unless we want to see the lit-up Cathedral at night and maybe start our ferry excursion to the Rhine from that point.
The interiors of the DOM is definitely the most magnificent I have ever seen… and the sheer size of the structure is staggering! It’s the second tallest cathedral in the world at 157 meters, second only to Ulm, another German Cathedral.Thank heavens, it was not bombarded to pieces in WWII, such work of art deserves to be enjoyed and absorbed by future generations. It’s an outstanding witness to many centuries of European history. It is on the list of Unesco’s World Heritage Sites.

In fairness to Cologne, there is a reason why they don’t have much of the stuff other European cities are made of….medieval architecture….
The city was completely bombarded by the Allies. Only the cathedral was spared because it was so large and easily recognizable, it actually helped Allied pilots to orientate themselves when flying over.

Cologne is a city heavily industrialized. The outskirts are dotted with power plants, oil refinery, chemical factories, car manufacturing plants including the Japanese brands Toyota and Nissan. But progress has its price. There is that heavy smog permanently hanging over the city making the air heavily polluted, reeking of coal and chemical fumes. The whole time we were driving, we were covering our noses so we don’t inhale the unhealthy fumes. A wealthy residential area is just a few minutes drive away, we wondered, how could they live a good quality of life, despite the high standards of their houses, if they are eternally breathing in pollution.

We found ourselves driving there, on the lookout for a good German restaurant and later, a good place to park and rest for the night. But the terrible fumes was so alarming we had to quickly return to the autobahn and decided to drive straight to Bonn, which is a mere 24 kms away.gare.jpggare2.jpg

Bonn Train Station


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827) .. Bonn’s famous son
His statue infront of the Bonn Post Office


Facade of the DB…..Die Bahn or the German National Railways


Munster Cathedral, Bonn..(Romanesque style) built between the 11th and 13th century


Rathaus.. or the town hall


University of Bonn, founded in 1818 by King Wilhelm II. Now one of the biggest universities in Germany welcoming thousands of students from around the world

Shopping and Cologne

Cologne is a shopping paradise……It’s shop till you drop!!!! There are two shopping streets almost parallel to each other, agonizingly long…. as long as your feet can walk! And when your feet cannot take it anymore and you are dying to sit down, don’t even think of looking for benches as they intentionally did not put them there so you are forced yet again to spend money for the privilege of sitting and drinking tasteless coffee at a coffeehouse. We have accepted the fact that the Germans don’t know how to make coffee! But they sell high-tech coffeemakers, mind you… Tip: If you want real good coffee, go to Italy or France! So now, you are sitting in a coffeehouse and you suddenly feel the urge to go to the toilet, i have to warn you that toilets in Germany are not free! yes, they are treated as business! they install counters on toilet entrances so you cannot avoid getting past a German woman who will charge you from 25 to 50 centimes and directs you to go either to the “Herren” for women (remember: Hers)… and “Damen” for men (remember: the MEN) depending on how she thinks which sex you belong to. Hubby says, it must be costing the establishment more to put a toilet manager into their payroll than what they actually earn as Toilet Income! Heck! even in petrol stations in the autobahn, there are toilet managers! Anyway, if you don’t mind eating standing (and toilet is not a problem), there are many stalls selling “wurst”. Currywurst is especially popular and we thought we should try it before leaving the Fatherland, but everytime we passed by one, we just didn’t feel hungry or it was not yet mealtime. (hence, we lost the opportunity!) Germans seem to be eating all day long. All food establishments have people eating at anytime of the day. Even at lunchtime, you can still order breakfast! here is the breakfast menu we had at 12 noon!


A typical Fruhstück.. (breakfast)
1 kännchen kaffee……………a pot of coffee
2 brötchen…………….two bread rolls
3 scheiben wurst oder….supposed to be some sausage but they ran out and so we were given sliced ham instead
kase, konfitüre, butter …cheese, jam, butter

All these at 4.50euros… not bad considering that we were able to combine breakfast and lunch for one meal!!! A money-saving tip! hehehe!!

In the centre of Cologne, we noticed three branches of Starbucks and several outlets of McDonalds. But we never go to these places. We’d rather eat wurst than American burgers, drink coffee from German coffeehouses even if they are, as i said, tasteless!

Madonna’s billboards that time were all over the place, she was promoting her new fashion line for H&M. Gosh! the lady is anorexically thin, like Victoria Beckham!


Germany is renowned for making wooden dolls/puppets


a shopping mall


A stall selling bread. Just one of this bread will last you for days!


St Apolsten or the Church of the Holy Apostles (Romanesque style) . This church is the converging point of the two main shopping streets. The famous Neumarkt Passage next to it is a subway (city rail) station incorporating a shopping mall.

We also noticed a proliferation of camera shops selling, not German-made cameras but Japanese brands! These camera shops are as many as cigarette machines which you see everywhere! We are really wondering what is it about the Germans’ obsession with the camera?

Germany is the smoking capital of Europe so be warned!
If you are allergic to cigarette smoke, then this is not the country for you. No one is spared and everyone is forced to be a passive smoker. Even while walking on the streets, you can still inhale the smoke of someone puffing a kilometer away. This is where we get so distressed when inside a food establishment. Even if the food is awesome, it gets ruined by the wanton disregard of these smokers to the well-being of those who do not smoke. At one time, we were in an enclosed room supposedly a “no-smoking area”. But the smoke emanating from the smoking area was coming through the gaps on the door and there was not a single exhaust to be found. It was like, i was inhaling in every bit of smoke particles which was already causing me migraine. I couldn’t take it any longer so i just left the place without finishing my food, leaving the hubby paying our bill in the counter!

It is also very common to see tourists (we saw them, japanese!) , entering a restaurant, only to come out a split of a second later because they were greeted by smoke at the entrance!