Paris, Day 3

TNA shirt; J Brand jeggings; Levi’s denim jacket; Daniel Wellington classic watch; Tiffany & Co. silver bead bracelet; Coach court bag; Birkenstock sandals

By Day 3, we were still jet lagged. Again, we woke up at 5 am and we hit the streets at 7 am. It’s actually quite chilly during the morning, which is why I’m wearing pants and a denim jacket in the middle of July. I wanted to take the metro to the Louvre while Jon wanted to walk. I compromised ’cause I figured we’d see more of the city on foot.

The lineup was super long (see above), but luckily, we got there fairly early and they push people through pretty quickly, so we only waited half an hour in total. Normally at these kinds of places, you have to spend all day to make the wait worth it or to get your money’s worth. However, we set a two hour limit, because after awhile, you just can’t take in any more art. When I took art history back in first year, our prof would talk about paintings being the size of the lecture screen/wall, and back then, I could barely grasp the magnitude of such paintings. Then seeing it up close, it was still beyond my comprehension. Besides the Mona Lisa, it was really cool to see Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix and Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault.

They say you can’t get close to the Mona Lisa, but here I am at the front taking a selfie. After the Louvre, we had lunch nearby and somehow mustered up the strength to walk to the Arc de Triomphe. We made it about 3/4 of the way before I hailed a taxi. By this point, my feet were killing me and I was dying from the heat. However, Jon was still in good spirits. Nonetheless, we caught a taxi back to our hostel to reset. We ended up taking another nap and then went out for a really late dinner. For no good reason, I wanted to see the Eiffel Tower at night, so we did. Then we decided to walk to the Arc de Triomphe AGAIN because it was such a good idea the first time. The last thing we did in Paris was eat street crepes by Moulin Rouge.

All in all, we had an amazing time. Paris has always been one of my top cities to travel, and now that I’ve been, I can say I’ve fallen in love with the city. It’s so cliché to love Paris, but honestly, it’s a magnificent city. From the exquisite building architecture to flowers flowing beautifully along iron cast balcony railings to giant Parisian style doors in every color. Everywhere you look, there’s a charming sight to behold. I could eat croissants every day and sit for hours at a cafe/restaurant until the sun goes down. I could also eat cheese, cured meat, and baguettes for every meal.

Bad thing about it all is that I don’t speak French (but luckily, Jon does), everything is crazy expensive, and the weather makes no sense. We didn’t have any trouble with pick pocketing and most people were really friendly. We also didn’t visit the Lover’s Bridge or buy any macaroons. My advice for traveling Paris, or any city for that matter, is to simply do what you enjoy and see what you want. Don’t put pressure on yourself to do this and that because it sucks the fun out of traveling. There’s something for everyone, so make every trip your own.

Lastly, here’s a picture of me the morning we left for Amsterdam. Honestly, traveling is so unglamorous. I remember feeling completely bagged from lack of sleep. Even though I look awful, I wanted to share this picture because I think the early morning light is so beautiful in Paris. Also, it reminds me of Vietnam.


Paris, Day 2

ASOS dress; Levi’s denim jacket; Daniel Wellington classic watch; Coach court bag; Birkenstock sandals

The next morning, we both woke up at 5 am while the city was still sound asleep. I can’t even remember what we did to kill time, but we eventually started our day at 7 am. Most cafes serve croissants with coffee for breakfast, but we decided to buy our own at a bakery and eat it with our espresso at a cafe. It makes no sense, but no one seemed to care or think it was weird. By the way, when I say coffee, what I’m really referring to is espresso.

Musée du Louvre

Our plan for Day 2 was to visit the Louvre and see the Eiffel Tower. My vision for our time in Paris involved a lot of strolling, so we thought it would be a good idea to walk from our hostel. The 3km walk was supposed to take half an hour, but it took more like two half hours because we were constantly distracted by all the beautiful sights and sounds. When we got to the Louvre, we learned that it’s closed on Tuesday. So we took a couple of pictures and proceeded to walk to the Eiffel Tower. On the way, we walked through the Jardin des Tuileries and the Place de la Concorde.

Jardin des Tuileries

Pont Alexandre III

I’ve always been captivated by the romance of the Eiffel Tower, especially in pictures, but seeing it up close was a pretty awe-inspiring experience. The structural design is just beyond comprehension, which I think makes it a truly magnificent monument. However, the area is WAY too touristy. Also, we didn’t climb the stairs, because the lineups were insane. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Since we were running on little sleep, we took a late afternoon nap to recharge. Later that evening, we had a really nice dinner at this one restaurant that had the most incredible street view. I really love the concept of sidewalk restaurants. The tables are very small and chairs are tightly packed together. When it’s busy, it can get a little uncomfortable sitting so close to the person next to you, but you just have to embrace the experience. For the most part, people sit directly across from each other, but you’ll also find chairs set up side-by-side for two people, which I really like. Plus, eating outside is simply the best. If I could eat all my meals outside, I would. Although I could do without the secondhand smoking.

Is this real life?

We walked to Sacré Coeur afterwards and hung out on the steps. Even though the place is crowded and there’s always someone trying to sell you beer by the bottle, the view overlooking the city is totally worth it (see below). We also caught some good live music at a nearby cafe. We ended the night with a bottle of wine and talked until the cafe closed at 2 am.


the view at Sacré Coeur

Paris, Day 1

Our trip started off on a strong note with our first destination being Paris. I would describe my traveling style as low fuss, while Husband would describe his as extreme comfort (I’ll explain more later). As seasoned travelers, we hate connecting flights, and we would rather spend the extra money for a direct flight. Hence, our flight to Paris was swift and painless.

While planning for the trip, Jon was determined to pack only a carry on, and as per his buy-it-for-life philosophy, he purchased this Tom Bihn bag. Initially, I wasn’t pleased as I wanted him to carry a large backpacking bag so I could offset some of my stuff on him. Eventually, he sold me on the bag. In my research, I learned how expensive backpacking bags actually costs, so instead of buying brand new, I asked our friend, Jackson, if I could borrow his.

Since Central European Time is 8 hours ahead, we arrived the next day around 11 am. When we landed, we waited an hour for my bag while Jon continued to build his case for only carry-on luggage. He prefers to just grab and go. No wait time. No lost luggage. No stolen items. Whereas for me, I like to check my bag because carrying it around is so cumbersome. During that hour, Jon effectively convinced me to carry-on my bag moving forward. Honestly, for a two and half week trip, Jon and I did an impressive job of packing light; basically, two carry-ons and my L.L.Bean tote bag. Although we saved a lot of time, there were some inconveniences that I’ll highlight later on.

When you touch down in a new city, the first thing you want to do is settle into your accommodations. We didn’t want to bother with learning how to take the metro into the city, so we took a taxi instead. It’s expensive, but it’s something we factored into transportation costs when traveling. We stayed at the Plug Inn Hostel located in the heart of Montmartre district. Special thanks to Jenn for the recommendation.

We settled into our hostel room with the most charming view. After a short nap, we were hungry for dinner. Choosing a place to eat in Paris can be overwhelming. Fortunately, rue des Abbesses is lined with amazing restaurants, cafes, and bakeries. For most of our stay in Paris, we didn’t have to look or go very far to find great food. We enjoyed our first meal at Cafe Bruant, where we meet another Canadian who was traveling the world for the past year. We hit it off instantly and ended up hanging out that night. Then we met more solo travelers at the hostel, and the night continued to develop. Let’s just say we slept at 2 am and our first night in Paris was a blast.


We’ll leave our footprints all over the world

Jon and I arrived home last Wednesday. Once I got home, I immediately unpacked, did laundry, and packed my bags again for a girlfriend’s bachelorette party in Whitefish, Montana this past weekend. Thus, I’ve been living out of a backpack for the past three weeks. Now it’s back to real life.

I have so much I want to share about our trip, but it’s going to take some time. Since getting back, I’ve been crazy busy. With what? Unpacking, chores, emails, paperwork, errands, and job hunting. I also have a lot of preparation to do for grad school before it starts in September.

In other news, I still can’t believe Robin Williams is gone. While most people remember him for his humour, I remember him for his moving performance as Dr. Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting. His character inspired me to keep pursuing counselling while I was still in University. Even after all this time, the movie still moves me to tears. I feel a deep sense of sadness that Williams had to resort to taking his own life, but I know all too well, personally and professionally, the hopelessness of depression.

On a lighter note, here are some pictures from the girl’s trip. My dear friend, Joce, who I’ve known since elementary is getting married this Fall and I couldn’t be happier for her. There’s nothing I love more than celebrating those I love.


Europe is always a good idea

We’re off to Europe today for 18 days and hitting up 5 major cities. It’s always been my dream to travel Europe, however the reality seemed so far off in the distance because of cost. As you know, we started saving for a down payment, but then Jon got a new job and I got accepted into grad school. Basically, the worst position to be in to a buy a place.

We both really wanted to go to Tomorrowland; Jon for the music and me for the experience. So that got us talking about doing a big Europe trip. Plus, if I got into grad school, this would my last summer to travel somewhere far for the next three years. When tickets to Tomorrowland fell through (we had three people trying to buy for us ’cause we were at Winter Camp, but still no luck), we decided to wait until I heard about grad school. The day I received my acceptance letter, we purchased two one-way tickets to Paris. From there, we planned the rest of our trip.

First, we compiled a list of major cities we wanted to visit. To maximize our travel, we chose cities based on location. For example, we decided against Spain and Greece because it was out of the way; I would still love to visit Greece one day. Another factor that influenced our decision was that our landlord, who lives in Europe, offered us accommodation in Austria and Croatia. Jon wanted to travel for two weeks, while I wanted to travel for three; we settled on two and half weeks. So with everything in mind, we narrowed it down to 5 cities: Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna, Premantura (Croatia), and Berlin. Then flying home from Frankfurt.

I really wanted to visit Rome, but it would have compromised our entire trip, so we eliminated it from the list. Instead, we’ll do a separate trip in the future and travel all of Italy: Rome, Milan, Florence, and Venice. We also want to travel England, Ireland, and Scotland eventually in life.

To save time, we’re flying to every location, except Frankfurt. We’ll be taking a four hour train ride from Berlin to Frankfurt on our last day. Although taking the train is usually cheaper, you can lose an entire day in your trip, and since our time is already limited, we wanted to make the most of our travel. Two hour flight versus eighteen hours on a train? You decide. We also saved up enough money so that we could travel relatively comfortably, but to keep the trip low maintenance, we’re going to be backpacking, which means I’m leaving my makeup bag at home.

This is a pretty big trip for us. Traveling Europe is expensive, so having the funds to do so, I think, is a pretty big deal. Especially, when we could or “should” be spending it on other things. But life is all about experiences and opportunities, and this one came at the right time. Will elaborate more in another post when I get back.

Unfortunately, I will be taking another break. However, if I find time to blog, I will definitely update you guys. I’ll leave you with some of my favourite photographs of Paris by 8 Rue Caffarelli.