» Recounting my Adventures Part 1: London to Paris
  • Recounting my Adventures Part 1: London to Paris

    May 22nd • Posted in food, love, personal, travel

    I started this post at the end of my trip.

    But here’s a huge post to recount my adventures. With some pictures. Just some.

    Camden is fucking pretty.

    I spent around a week in London, kind of just futzing around and spending some time with my friend, Erica, who I haven’t seen in half a year and realized was studying abroad. I was pretty mopey the entire time I was in London, partially because I was adjusting to travelling solo, and partially because I was adjusting to moving out of Chicago. However, shit kicked in when I went to Camden Town, and I finally saw a bit of London that I really enjoyed. Partially this was also because I was really, really drunk the entire time.

    I’m a hot mess that photobombed this picture of Erica (in the blue crop top) and our friend from Montana, Teague.

     

    We met up with another traveller at our hostel and went on a pub crawl. It was convenient enough for us as the pub crawl’s second stop was at our hostel. Here is where I learned the importance of pacing yourself– because I sure as hell didn’t. At the first stop, I probably had around 3 or 4 drinks, including that nasty free liquorice tasting shot that we got. By the time we reached Proud, I was already drunk. I could tell because Erica didn’t receive a shot SO I BOUGHT AN ENTIRE ROUND OF NEW SHOTS TO MAKE UP FOR IT. Yiiiikes. In any case, I made friends with the photographer, a cute Ginger– who I talked to the entire night and I bought a drink for. We also made friends with a cute group of German ladies from Braunschweig (or Brunswick) in Germany. They were chill as fuck. Our last stop was Koko, which is this HUGE music venue and nightclub. I think we caught a bit of the show that night because they were amazing– Americans, if you can believe it or not. Made me realize how much I need to get back into music again. My CouchSurfing hosts didn’t work out the right way, so I got a hotel room. I ended up meeting a guy, so he came over and we hung out. He was chill as hell, but I’m not going to write about it here. Just know that I’ll eventually write about it with a password protected blog post wink Other than that, London was mainly a jumping point to start off. I was supposed to go to Paris, and then perhaps Belgium or Amsterdam and then Bonn after this– but at the last minute, Erica invited me to go to Barcelona.

    Placa del Rei, Barcelona. Where lots of crazy shit happened. BCN, you CRAY.

    So I flew to Barcelona on a late EasyJet flight and we ended up staying at a really cool hostel. It was small, kind of intimate– but I found it really hard to meet people. We didn’t really meet people until one of our last nights, which sucked. However, we’re friends now so that’s cool.  And we ended up breaking the rules and drank some beers in our hostel room and stayed up to talk. (Thanks for the beer, Deemer.) In any case, I spent approximately a week in Barcelona: mainly sightseeing, getting day drunk, napping, and eating. We spent the first days mainly sight seeing on our walking tour, drinking and eating tapas– mainly because I’m a fucking lush. I saw a lot of Gaudi things, which begs the question: how was this guy not high on hallucinogens the entire time he was creating? This could  most likely spark a spirited debate, but we don’t have time for that. I was in awe of La Sagrada Familia– until I realized that the line for tickets was about 3 1/2 hours long. Luckily, I had gotten into the habit of just grabbing a new SIM card whilst in every country, so I was able to buy us tickets online and there wasn’t even a wait. (Lucky me, yay!)

    Me inside the La Sagrada Familia. I know, I know. It’s crazy beautiful. This does not do it ANY justice.

    If you’re going to see a couple Gaudi things and spend the money on them– make them Parc Guell and La Sagrada Familia. Casa Battlo and Casa Mila look great, but once you see La Sagrada Familia, everything else is underwhelming. I don’t think I have to provide the history for La Sagrada Familia, but safe to say that it’s still not finished. However, it is almost done, which is surprising because when we talked about it throughout high school it was interesting to hear what all my teachers had to say about it. The inside of LSF (I’m going to abbreviate it now) was beautiful and exactly as our tour guide from the walking tour, Billie, described. The poles of La Sagrada Familia branch off, so when you’re staring up, it feels like you’re in a beautiful forest. In the day time, the light shines through the colorful stained glass, and I felt like a psychadelic Little Red riding Hood making her way through the forest to grandmother’s house. After that, we rested and hit up Parc Guell– which is also absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, the part of Parc Guell that we wanted to see costs money, but we forked it up adn went in anyway. Personally, I think it was worth the money– but we can agree to disagree.

    Me at Parc Guell.

    Later on in the evening, we decided to go clubbing. I don’t remember what day it is, all I remember is that I was cranky because I wanted to go to bed because I can’t keep up with the fucking Barcelonians. I am a straight up Midwestern drinker: go hard and then go home early. We went to a tapas tour where I felt kind of sick, so I didn’t want to go out. I took a nap though, so that’s a good thing. In any case, we went to this club called Razzmatazz– it’s known for being one of the best clubs in Barcelona: it has *apparently* 7 different rooms with different themed music. I think we came on a night where half of those rooms were occupied by private parties, but whatever. I had a lot of fun even though there were creepos left and right. It was 15 euro cover with a drink included– and those Spanish know how to POUR. I got a vodka lemonade and damn, that lady poured me a lot of vodka. Eventually, I was so cranky from not sleeping that I went home at around 4 or 4:30. Anyway, I was too tired to do shit the next couple of days, so Erica went on a walking tour and I got day drunk. Essentially, that is Barcelona.

    I left for Paris the next day in the early morning. However, my Couchsurfing host was at work– so I ended up just chilling around the train station, figuring shit out. I had a rough start in Paris, as I was sexually harrassed by a stranger on the train into Gare du Nord. Unfortunately, I was feeling very tired and a little flustered as the language barrier finally hit me in Paris. I didn’t understand a damn thing people were saying, and others did not understand what I was saying. Up until Paris, I had been able to speak and understand the languages in every city I had been to (in the case of Barcelona, I speak limited Spanish, and I understand it pretty well.)  It was really frustrating… and I also had to figure out how to load my SIM card into my phone. In any case, when I went on the train, I suppose making eye contact with others was a bad idea, as this guy sat next to me and started talking to me. On this trip, I made a pact to be open to people whilst travelling, as my parents have commented about how I can be standoffish with people at times. In any case, it started off as a friendly conversation in broken Spanish (I didn’t want to speak English as much as I could– so, for some reason, I spoke Spanish?) and he spoke to me in French. He taught me how to say some French phrases, and then moved onto teaching me how to say “I love you,” even though I didn’t realise it at the time. Then he started hitting on me, and I could feel the conversation change. He may have thought he was innocently hitting on me… however, I said ‘No’ a couple times, and I kept telling him in broken (yet perfectly accented– thanks for the vote of confidence, other people that I met on my trip) Spanish that I was “meeting up with my host,” and then “my friends” and finally I told him I was “meeting my boyfriend” (I wasn’t meeting my boyfriend, as I don’t have one) because he progressively became more and more aggressive. Then, he started placing his hand on my knee and rubbing it and moving upwards. THANKFULLY, the Gare du Nord stop was coming up and I jumped off and basically said, “Go away, fuck off, bye.” Not the best way to start off my day.

    My CS host, Alain, was very patient and understanding when I was a bit late– as my train ticket would not work on the metro either. I was already tired and frustrated by that time, so I had taken a cab to his place. Other than that, Alain was very kind and understanding and was full of knowledge about Paris. He showed me around his neighborhood, Belleville (the French chinatown) and we caught L’Tour Eiffel sparkling at night. Alain explained that there was another person staying with him, and I ended up meeting her– her name was Lydia and she was from South Korea. We had some deep talks and ended up going to L’Centre Pompidou together to check out the Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibit.

    Lydia and the view from L’Centre Pompidou

    I did some sightseeing– mostly waking up in time to grab some tea, doing minimal amount of casual, slow sightseeing, and then grabbing dinner before I went home. I did not feel comfortable enough going out at night, as I was alone. Normally, I like to feel at ease with some familiar people if I’m going out at night. Paris was about relaxing, slow sightseeing and eating! I enjoyed my stay in Paris, but I did not enjoy the expense. Yikes. Thanks to Alain again for hosting me. I wish I would have gotten to know him more, but we had a very intense, enlightening conversation about life. Alain taught me that life is too short to worry or fear anything. It made me feel more fearless about my time in Paris.

    Walking the Seine on the free walking tour.

    On my last night, I moved to a hotel, as it was closer to the train station– and as many of you know, I ended up meeting someone and hitting it off. I wrote about this on another blog post.

    I’ll write about more later smile heart