Posts Tagged With: bus

Paris: Day One

Arriving in Paris I’m ashamed to admit that I wasn’t as in awe as I probably would have been due to lack of sleep, heavy backpacks, and a little bit of nausea. We got off the plane, made our way to the bus that we rode nearly two hours to the train station, and then we purchased ticket to Versailles and took a nice long train ride to the beautiful palace of Versailles. We got there, bought our tickets, and then realized that there was a three hour cue just to get INTO the palace, and promptly decided that there were not enough hours in the day to do that. We found two woman about our age, handed them our tickets and found our way back to the train station to head to the centre of Paris.

By the time we got there I was going back and forth between nausea and starvation, dehydration, and just general exhaustion. Our goal was mainly to find food, and then forget all of plans for museums and wandering and take a nap as soon as possible. That being the case, and the fact that it was Sunday, we found nothing open that was even remotely close to our price range, so we settled for something not horribly expensive and just tried not to think about the cost too much. Then we finished our meal, found a metro station, and checked into our hostel as soon as we could, which was the best decision we could have made because two hours later when we left  to meet our friends we were much happier and ready to experience Paris.

Night time in paris is really the most wonderful thing. It isn’t called the City of Lights for nothing. It is actually amazing to me how beautiful twilight in Paris could be. Two of our good friends also happened to be in Paris for a few days, and also happened to be newly engaged which just made seeing them for the first time in months even more fun. we met them under the eiffel tower which I stood in front of and pictures like the tourist I am with no shame. It was actually a lovely movie moment. Best friend and I saw them across the square and we ran to each other and hugged, and exclaimed, and oohed and awed over the ring. Then we took a picture, and went in search of a Parisian cafe to spend more Euro in.

We settled on this lovely little cafe and a table for four outside, luckily under a heater because as gorgeous fall in paris is, it is also awfully cold. We ate onion soup and creme brulee, and had a wonderful time catching up and continually freaking out over the fact that we were together. In Paris.

When we parted that night and went back to our hostel to catch some sleep, I already knew I was going to love Paris, if only for the food.

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Sitges, Land of Golden Mermaids and Empty Beaches

In between our morning at the Picasso museum and the Gothic Quarter, (Which you can read about HERE) we took a train ride up to Sitges Spain to spend the rainy afternoon on the beaches there.

Sitges is my favorite place that I’ve been so far in Spain. The first time I went we got down to the beach and it was practically empty. There were maybe five people scattered up and down the sand. It was a warm day and the water was pleasant. It was so still you float on the top with no worry of having waves crashed on top of you. It was the perfect beach, a nice change from the drunk college tourist filled beaches of Barcelona. Though they were equally beautiful, there is just something about sitting on a beach with no one but your family and just soaking it all in.

The second time I went was last week with Best Friend. We had gotten to Barcelona and realized that everything was expensive and there wasn’t much to do, so we decided we would go see Picasso, and then hop the next train to Sitges. unfortunately it was rainy that day, but that didn’t deter us in the least. we figured if we can’t swim we can at least go to the beach and see the water. So we get to the main station in Barcelona, Sants and we scoured the train time tables until we finally found one going to Sitges. We got downstairs (I should mention that we used one T-ten for each of us on this trip and it only ran out on our last ride to the airport so buy one, it’s so much cheaper) and we wait for the train and we get on.

The ride was pretty uneventful and about thirty minutes long so we just chatted and looked at the scenery which, as in most places around the city, was mostly farm land. But then, suddenly, we catch a glimpse of the ocean and it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I don’t know quite why this stormy ocean landscape took our breath away like it did, but truly it was a sight to see.

We get off the train at Sitges and to be honest I have no idea where we are. When I cam last we came by bus and were let up closer to the center of the city where as the train is more on the seaside end of things. I am glad that that is where we ended up though because being in tis part of town just solidified my love for Sitges.

As you walk through the streets every alleyway is like the gothic quarter just old and beautiful. Most of the shops are little organic cafes or hipster coffee shops, and everything has an air of laid back contentedness. All you need to do to get to the beach is follow the signs and walk downhill and eventually you’ll see a little blue through the buildings and trees ahead of you.

When we got down to the beach there were maybe three people standing on it. The storm had made the water rough and choppy so no one was in it but a few children played along the edge. we turned to our left and there is this giant church on a hill overlooking the ocean so we think, why not? We walk over a set of stairs that lead to a platform that has a sculpture of a mermaid and a great view of the coastline. The waves are so rough that they are actually breaking onto the platform where we are standing, it was gorgeous. We walked up another set of stars and found ourselves face to face with this old seaside church, which turns out to be Church of Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla, better known as “La Punta” (according to wikitravel). In any event it was beautiful and the vie can’t be beat.

We walked a little further down more little streets until we found ourselves back on the beach. We took pictures, and stood in the waves, and finally we just sat down right in the sand and watched the waves crash upon the shore. It wasn’t super eventful day, but it was a beautiful on and I think Best Friend would agree that when we’re together and seeing new things, it doesn’t really matter if we’re partying all night long, or just sitting on a cold beach. It’s all about the adventures that we get to have together, and about getting to look at each other’s kids some day and say “This one time when me and your mom were in Spain…”

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Spain, where clothing is optional but Seafood is not

Last week we got the chance to go into Barcelona and go to the beach. As always, however, it was an adventure getting there.

We took the bus from Torrelles to Villa Franca, and then waited and took the bus from Villa Franca to Barcelona, then we walked about fifteen minutes until we realized that walking just wasn’t a practical way to go, so we got on another bus and took a very long bus ride down to the harbor where we walked the rest of the way to the beach.

The water was amazingly clear, and it was a nice warm day. The beach was incredibly crowded but that didn’t surprise me. The thing that DID catch me a bit off guard however was the fact that the beach was topless, which is totally fine, but one can never fully prepare oneself for the casual way woman will just sit around half naked. It was just a little weird, and I was and always will be perfectly happy keeping my clothes on.

As we were waling to and from the beach the thing I noticed was every single restaurant (and there were many) had a paella and sangria special. I had been told by a friend that this was a great combo and very popular in Spain but I had no idea to what extent. In fact seafood in general is such a huge industry. I mean you can buy calamari rings the same way you buy onion rings in the states. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me.

Other than that one outing life in Spain is pretty much just like life every where else. I work, I watch Netflix, I eat. Life is life everywhere you go.

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The Great Postage Stamp Journey

Germany doesn’t actually have postage stamps. It’s not like America where I can just go to the grocery store and buy a book of stamps…actually it might be exactly like that, but since I speak little to no German it’s not like that at all. They do, however have postage stamp dispensing machines, but they only take Euro coins and they are a dime a dozen in Frankfurt. Unless you know exactly where to look you’re out of luck. I have 15 postcards I need to send at some point, and  I have been trying to find stamps since we got here. Today I finally decided I was going to find some if it killed me, so I set out this afternoon prepared for anything. I first looked up where the closest dispenser was to me. I took the U one stop, walked to the bus stop, took the 35 one stop in the wrong direction, then walked about five minutes to find one going the right direction, then took that 35 five stops. Then I walked to where it should have been, and there was no postage to be found. So I had two options, I could give up and go home and sit in my hot apartment, or I could go across town to where I know I had seen one two weeks ago when we went out for dinner. I decided what the heck? I had nothing better to do anyway. So I hopped on the U and went six stops to the Hauptwache, then one stop to Konstablewache, then three stops to the Hauptbahnhof, where I got on the 16 bus and went five or six stops to where I knew there was a machine right across from the bus stop. I finally found it, and then discovered that I had enough Euro coins to buy exactly six stamps. So I did, and then bought myself a cheap lunch to celebrate my success. Then I took the U back to the Hauptwache, one stop back to Konstablewache, and then the 18 the two stops back to my apartment. In total this adventure took me almost three hours, and all I have to show for it is a full belly and six stamps. Please, no applause.

The one thing that did come out of this day (other than my stamps obviously) is that when I ordered lunch, I managed to get through an entire interaction without having to ask the man to speak in English, or speaking in English myself. Granted, there were times when I didn’t know exactly what he said, but I could infer enough to get through the conversation. It made me feel really great to be honest, to be able to interact, in German with someone. Because here is the thing, when you love to travel, and you love other cultures as much as I do, you want to immerse yourself as deeply as possible in each one you encounter. I don’t want to force Germans to speak English to me just because I’m too lazy or slow to pick up their language. I want to respect their home and try to adapt to it as much as possible.

Honestly I wish my whole life could be like this. Just blogging, and reading, and traveling, and filming. Maybe it will be someday.

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