Life update from Spain! (Family visit and Paris)
So here I am again, rejoining the blogosphere after what seems like a decade of experiences that should have been documented… but alas, laziness got the best of me. But I’m finally ready to sum up the past two months of my life, for anyone who is interested in reading. Mainly family, I’m assuming.
So here goes.
December started off with a nice trip to Italy (See Italia post), and then a week and a half of class that seemingly flew by, followed by a wonderful visit from my family and Robert (12/19-12/28). And also a tattoo appointment :) Already posted the pic somewhere in here…
Anyways, having my mom, dad, brother, and boyfriend here was wonderful! I loved playing tour guide and showing them the things I do here on a weekly basis. It was great for them to see my surrounding area, and to now have a picture in their heads when I talk about a particular area around town is really refreshing. They also (I hope) enjoyed the food, the sights, and the culture here. Although, the jet lag did get the best of them, but thank goodness for siestas!
I think this just about sums it up…
On Christmas Eve, we missed out on making reservations and didn’t get the memo that every restaurant in Granada was going to be unnecessarily rude and turn us away…so we settled for some kebabs at a sit-down place, and we ate next to some family smoking hookah. Needless to say, it was a very fun and…different Christmas Eve. For Christmas dinner, mom and I made eggplant parmesan and pasta and salad, and I also made my first successful pumpkin pie! We Skyped the rest of the family back at home, and it was almost like being together…almost. But thats what happens, life happens. Traditions come and go. You just have to adapt and keep living :)
After a tear-filled goodbye with my parents and Max, and then Robert the next day (12/29/11), I was off, by myself, to Paris. I hadn’t traveled by myself since I came to Spain, and I was quite nervous, especially considering that I do not speak a word of French. At the airport, I met some Spanish girls that were very kind, and we found the ticket booth for the bus to the center of the city. On this very rainy, very windy and verryyyy cold night, I was sincerely lost, and had no directions to the hotel. After getting to the city center, I parted ways with the Spanish girls, and had to make it on my own from there. I texted Kelsey, who was at the hotel with her sister, and was advised to take 2 different metros, and then walk to the hotel which was in an unspecified direction from the metro stop. Brilliant! But with much coaching from Kelsey, I finally made it and our Parisian adventure began. Or I guess it began up there, didn’t it? Anyways…
On our first day (12/30/11) we had a lovely little metro party, riding it bak and forth until we eventually got it right and found our stop, and settled in a nice little cafe (Cafe Fleuri) for lunch which was just closing right as we got in. My impression was that they were a little impatient with us, but I could have been wrong. I got what I made out to be a chicken, tomato and butter sandwich on an amazingly fresh baguette, and a plum pastry for dessert. Then we walked, through the light drizzle, towards the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, which provided great panoramic views of the city. Then we had another metro party on our way to the Notre Dame, stopped for some hot chocolate (at the place I had found in Barcelona with the ice cream-filled focaccia bread!). At that point, it seemed like it was around 8 PM, but it was only around 4 or 5. Paris baffled me with how extremely dark it was in the late afternoon. Notre Dame had such a long line to get inside that we decided to bail and check out the Louvre, which had free admission that night before 6 PM. So we walked around that very intricate maze of a museum, seeing Mona Lisa, Venus, Winged Victory, etc, until we were ready to chop our feet off, and then we head towards the crepe cafe (Breizh Cafe) we had seen reviews for online. We trekked back to this crepe place, only to find that you need reservations. So we had a very nice dinner at a cafe, which we had to backtrack to, and reserved a spot for dessert at this famous, upscale crepe cafe. We ordered cider, a strawberry rhubarb jam and ice cream crepe, and a pear and chocolate crepe. Yummy!! I freakin love crepes!! (And they’re actually quite simple to make; I’ve since made them on 3 separate occasions). But this place was just top notch. After washing down the crepes with some cider, we head back to sleep.
Parc des Buttes-Chaumontes
Note Dame all dressed up for Christmas still :)
Gotta LOUVRE it. GET IT? :D
Nom nom nom, hello there, rhubarb jam.
The next day (12/31/11), we went on a bus tour, which we decided was a way better use of our time, especially considering how tired we were, and ESPECIALLY especially considering the rain. We feared most restaurants being closed on New Year’s Eve, so we went to the grocery store near our hotel and bought baguettes, butter, and cheese, and made sandwiches. (A tasty and simple combination that I am kind of craving right now??)… Oh, I also killed my camera on the way back from the metro, because I was taking a picture with my mittens on, it slipped, and the lens broke! All pictures of travels are now taken with my crappy iPhone camera…meh. But I digress. After we ate, Emily (Kelsey’s sister) and I went to buy champagne from the store and were horrified to find that they had closed. So we went to a fruit stand across the street where a man was selling overly-priced bottles of champagne, and pretty cheap bottles of rose and sparkling rose…which one did you think we went for? So we spent our New Year’s Eve in Paris popping sparkling rosé instead of champagne? Who the heck cares? There weren’t even FIREWORKS anyways…. cheap french government!! Only on Bastille Day from now on?? What IS that?? Seriously. -_- So as you can probably tell, I wasn’t too psyched about my New Year’s in Paris, after the fact. The metro was crowded and uncomfortable, we were followed by creepy men, and there weren’t even any fireworks. But I had good company, and the events following, which I will not mention in detail, were pretty hilarious. All that matters is I had fun, even if I was absolutely freezing my buns off and Paris shut down the metro system because it was too crowded….
La Grande Roue
Literally, the best picture of the Eiffel Tower I could get for the entire trip
The creepy picture that cursed and killed my camera!
On January 1, 2012, I slept in the latest I hope to ever sleep in for the rest of 2012. We slept till about 2 or 3 I believe, rallied, and set out for our walking tour of the Montmartre district. Saw the Moulin Rouge (kinda lackluster, anyone? Definitely not like the movie!), the Montmartre district, Saint Pierre de Montmartre, and the homes and studios of Van Gogh, Modigliani, and Picasso. We ended the tour having a nice creme brûlée and hot chocolate at the Cafe des deux Moulins, in which Amelie was filmed, bought a baguette for dinner and my first french eclair for dessert! Then we head back to pack for the trip home (and for Kelsey and Emily—to a different part of France).
Voulez-vous—-nahhhh, you’re too expensive.
I do like this part of Paris.
Cafe des deux Moulins- really capitalizing on the whole Amelie thing
Nom nom nom chocolate :)
On Jan 2, 2012, I left Paris the same way I had first encountered it: cold, and in a rainy haze. In my 5 AM taxi, I was chilly and uncomfortable, unsure of which airport I was actually going to, and couldn’t communicate with the taxi driver. My time in Paris was great, and I will remember that New Years as one of the…most interesting…of my life, probably. But Paris, for some reason, did not wow me. Before you accuse me of painting a completely negative picture of the city of lights, you must remember that I had just come from Spain, after the holidays, where I had said goodbye to my family and my boyfriend. So in comparison, it was kind of dull. To add, I just don’t think that the Paris weather and lifestyle is conducive to my sun-loving nature. That being said, I had a lovely time, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to travel there. I hope that Paris and I (and maybe other cities in France) can have a better relationship in the future; maybe one day I will be fortunate enough to go there again.
Also, I wrote a side note at 6 AM while waiting for my flight in the Paris airport:
1/2/12 6:13 AM
” *sigh of relief* hearing Spanish in the airport :D “
Going away had made me realize, in that moment, that Spain felt like home. And that, my friends, is what I think really matters :)