Travel Thursdays: A weekend in Paris

BON JOUR! Image

 

Yes exactly.  Paris = Eiffel Tower!

It was very glamorous at night.  However, in the daytime – it’s rather disappointing.  I’d suggest to see it at night first, otherwise your disappointment might leave a bad taste in your mouth.  And perhaps even a quattro formaggi pizza would not be the cure. 

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Yes – it does not reflect the image often shown in movies. LOL!  

We had gone to Paris for our first weekend being married.  Our weekend – mini honeymoon! What a romantic surprise by my husband!  The perks of living in London is that Europe is just a stone away.  We were unable to go for a lengthy honeymoon like most couples as my husband was still new in his job and leave was a problem!  Oh well – when life throws you lemons – you take them along to Paris and drink lemonade over the weekend! 😉  I was disappointed at the time, but what can we do!

We stayed in Novotel, which worked out really well as it was a 10 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower.  Highly recommend the hotel as you can’t go wrong with Novotel!

Things to do in Paris over 2 days:

  • See the Eiffel tower at NIGHT 
  • Go on the top of the tower (pre-book to avoid having to queue up!) 
  • Take a cruise along Seine River to view all the major sights
  • Go to the Louvre (the actual Mona Lisa is a bit disappointing)
  • Walk at Gallery Lafayette and you might bump into a friend from Singapore like I did (I was beyond stunned when I heard my name being shouted across the mall.  When you have such a unique name – you know its YOU when you hear it!)
  • Stroll around Champs Elysees and learn to pronounce it too!  Quite a challenge!
  • Eat 4 cheese pizza – it’s a good excuse for a cheat cheesy day!!

ImageA Little Cafe opposite the Eiffel Tower!  I just love my cheese. Yum!!  🙂

ImageGallery Lafayette.. Beautiful architecture and many shops!  If you’re going with your husband/boyfriend make sure you’re extra nice to him before… Then you might end up with many gifts 😉 HAHAHA!  

Au Revoir!

xx

B

 

 

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Travel Thursdays – Plights of Flights

Cover of "Bon Voyage!"

Cover of Bon Voyage!

This week instead of a country review or my wanderlust adventures – I’ve decided to post some travelling tips which I find very helpful.  These tips address the plights that arise with flights. Combat problems associated with flying, yes, truly a first world problem.

Tips for future globe trotters:

  1. Sleep enough before a long flight.  Jet-lag is inevitable so try to combat tiredness before boarding the flight.
  2. Your skin tends to get very dry on long haul flights (I tend to break out) -moisturize yourself in the plane.  A spritz spray might be a good idea.  I use Jane Iredale Antioxidant Hydration.  It works well for me.  I order it online from Beauty Time Therapist (it’s cheaper with free delivery!)  Spray your bare skin a few times during the flight.  If you have make-up on, I’d suggest mineral make-up to ensure you don’t clog your pores.  In addition, the Hydration spray is suited for mineral make up and is able to penetrate through your make-up to your skin.
  3. Keep a packing list saved on your computer.  Or print one out everytime you travel.  It relives stress and the problem of forgetting to pack something is eradicated.
  4. Keep a bit of different currencies with you.  You never know when you need it, and you won’t lose out on exchange rate.  I’m not saying 100s of dollars, but keep the petty cash after a trip and don’t convert it back.  This is exceptionally true for my Europe trips.
  5. Keep a ziplock that contains your liquids (less than 100ml) in your handbag.  It’s easier than having to search through your bag prior to security.  You know its waiting to happen so be prepared.
  6. When shopping abroad, use your debit card.  The exchange rate is the best rate on it.  I’ve come to realise it’s better than exchanging money.  However, if living in the UK make sure to alert your bank that you are travelling – otherwise your card gets flagged for fraud. This will leave you stranded!
  7. Overcome jetlag by trying not to sleep on the plane even if it “your night”.  Try from the first day to fit the new clock.  That’s the only way to maximise your trip!
  8. Be consistent with Multi-Vitamins.  It’s essential.  Stay hydrated on the plane.  Walk in the plane and make frequent trips to the toilet.  it all sounds logical but it’s imperative.  Not doing so causes DVT and other illnesses.
  9. Travel with a laptop.  Transfer pictures of your holiday daily.  Memory cards get lost/damaged – be pro-active!  To be honest, I’ve learnt this from my husband as he’s in control of photography, photos and technology.
  10. Turn 3G/Roaming off.  The bill will kill you even before your shopping bills arrive.  If you go to a certain country often, getting a local pre-paid sim card would be practica.  You could top up to retain the number from online.  Find out from the provider. Save money where you can!

These are my golden 10 rules of travel.  You can add to my list from your experience! 🙂

Happy Travelling!  Bon Voyage! X

Travel Thursdays – Barcelona, Spain

Hello everyone!  Hope you all have been wonderful.  I had a great day yesterday – reconnected with a friend that I haven’t met in 13 years.  Geet was a school friend from Singapore, one which I spoke to every single day for a few hours as I sat next to her in class.  She’s in London for two days and through technology, namely FACEBOOK she messaged me for a meetup.  Was heartwarming.  It’s always so nice to see people from the past in the present who then make it to your future (well if you want that is).

Anyways, over scrumptious lunch at Cafe Concerto (which I highly recommend to all shoppers at Westfield,London) we were talking about our 13 years.  Inevitably, being a person I could connect with, I shared my sorrows and my joys.  My joys included my travels.  Traveling is the joy of my life.  Well one of, but a great joy definitely.

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Beautiful Barcelona! The lights of the city definitely add sparkle to my little bubble.  I loved soaking in every bit of it.  🙂

Where I went & what I recommend there:

WALK WALK & WALK SOME MORE.  I recommend that highly in all my Europe trips.  Have a very comfortable pair of shoes, as your feet are going to need it.  You will never come across the small artisan shops in alleys by any other means of transport.  Thankfully, I did not sprain my ankle or anything (sounds absurd, but I sprained it in New York last year.  It was tragic but at least it didn’t stop me from exploring.  I rented a wheel chair as I could not move.  I will blog about that soon, as it gave me a different perspective to life).  But anyways, buy a day tripper, or 3 day tripper for the metro, grab a map and begin your journey.  It’s the only way. Really.

-Walk to Gaudi sites. Gaudi was a famous architect that has splashed his work all around Barcelona.  It’s gorgeous.  If you are not an architect enthusiast (like me), I’d suggest doing all the “free sites”.  My husband and I went to Park Guell which has Guadi’s old home in it.  His mosaic type of architecture can be seen throughout the park. It was very nice for photos! (I love photos for their memory and aesthetic value).

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Sagrada Famila– a Gaudi site that is very famous.  So much so that the metro station that is located there has the same name!  It is permanently in construction.  However, we just saw it from the outside as we were not interested to go inside. So I can’t comment on the inside but the outside was not very appealing to me. We walked to Casa Batllo and appreciated its beauty from the outside as well.  Being a smart traveler is about choosing where your money goes.  Don’t spend for the sake of it – then you’ll never travel for God’s Sake 😉  Travel on a budget – then you’ll end up seeing more of the world.

Magic Fountain.  Another FREE site.  Basically a rule of travel is being thrifty.  If you are too lavish, chances are you will not travel frequently as it will burn an enormous hole in your pocket.  I usually research on TripAdvisor as it gives a realistic view of the country through travelers’ eyes.  The Magic Fountain was magical, ipso facto.  The Fountain danced to the music and it was all so glamorous. I loved it.

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– Pappabubble located in the gothic area.  A candy artisan shop that demonstrates how candy is made!  Another free event which is really interesting to watch and eat (you get samples at the end!) Warning:  Shop is very tempting and no matter how much you restraint you will end up buying a bag of artisan candy which is far too sweet.  We ate only half in the next month and discarded the rest in fear of diabetes, just FYI.Image

Yeap!  It’s really that beautiful.  The candies in the shop were so colorful and attractive.  The high ratings online were justified.  Our long walk in the Gothic area to get to a little candy shop all made sense.  I loved it!  The foodie in me was excited and thrilled at the same time.  🙂

-We went to Barcelona FC.  I’m not a fan and uninterested in football, as a result I can’t say much!

EAT CHURROS with HOT CHOCOLATE.  It’s more important than eating TAPAS in Spain.  Do not leave Barcelona without it!  They can be found almost in any small cafe.  Cost about 3-4 Euros for heaven in your mouth.  You must.  If you could eat one thing, it should be churros.

Vegeterians – always find a Hard Rock. Their burgers are yummy and you really can’t go wrong with nachos and potato skins.  In addition, I’m a hard rock fan and I collect their tees.  So every country I go to, I buy a Tee.

– Shop at Desigual.  It’s originated in Spain – it can’t get cheaper.  If you find the fashion weird then obviously don’t.  It’s a bit strange, but that’s why I like it.  Though, I can’t do too many colors at one go but I do like some of their fashion range.  I ended up buying a beautiful overcoat!

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Yes! I kept admiring it, I couldn’t help myself.

– Go to a Spanish Beach.  I love beaches. Enjoy Spanish Music while sitting in a beach. We got off at the Barceloneta Station and walked around 20 minutes (my point about walking re-emphasized!) and there it was.  It was a pleasant day and we enjoyed the weather sitting, talking, and eating while listening to Spanish music.

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This reminded me of a scene from a movie!  🙂

– Lastly, I’d say walk the streets of La Ramblas. And walk some more!  Walk in fruit markets. Watch live dances on the street (very entertaining, the performer while spinning on his head removed his shirt) Talented way of stripping, I must say! If you are Sikh (like me, there’s a gurdwara in La Ramblas itself. Make sure to stop by!)

Enjoy being a traveler while you wander streets of Barcelona!  That’s it for now.

X

B

  • Spain (malwinatomaszewska.wordpress.com)
  • Barcelona (rebekahfmccann.wordpress.com)