Archive | October, 2012

L’alsace et La Allemagne

24 Oct

This past weekend was an excursion planned by CEA. We woke up bright and early Saturday morning to get to the train station by 7:45.. Um..At least that was the time we were supposed to show up. We ended up arriving around 8:05. Oops! At least we only had to wait 20 minutes for the train. First stop: Strasbourg!

The train ride there only took a little over two hours. When we got there, we had a bit of free time for lunch, where Shayla and I went off to explore and ate in a restaurant. We got tarte flambees, which are like flat breads baked with a creme fraiche sauce on top. Mine had garlicy vegetables on top and Shayla opted for the pest salmon. Delicious with our demi-carafe of white wine! After lunch, we met up with the group for a walking town of the town. We saw the main square area around Notre Dame de Strasbourg and La Petite France. So adorable! Afterwards, we took a boat tour down the river. It was nice and relaxing after a day of traveling. Towards the end of the hour and a half long tour, I definitely decided it was time to take off my headphones and just simply enjoy the view. I usually like taking in all the information, but I felt at peace. I wanted to take it in.

After more free time and scoring on some goodies (i.e. Cute mister ginger bread man, cookies, and a tarte linzer… Trying the local goodies, definitely a must), we met back up with the group for dinner. To our surprise, the starter was another tarte flambee! Then the vegetarian option entree was a big plate of steamed veggies. People thought I’d be disappointed, but it’s funny at years of eating like that, even the simplest ways of using veggies makes me happy! And dessert, creme brulee! (If you know me, you know how happy I was.) I think it was slightly spiced with cinnamon because the taste sure was different..

We spent the night walking around Strasbourg after dinner. And when I say around Strasbourg, I mean ALL around. I never realized how hard it can be to find a bar in some places.. Word to the wise: Never settle with stopping in a place called Waikiki. Just turn around and go home. Shayla ordered a bloody mary. I think it was just a glass of V8, plus the “bartender” handed her the tobasco and celery salt. What talent he had! 😉

The next morning we were up early again to head off to Germany. We stopped in two towns. One was named Titisee, which was our lunch destination. Spaetzel and Apple Streusel… Yes please! This town was tiny and adorable. Apparently it’s a place that German people go to do a little outdoorsy and touristy vacation in their own country. It reminded me of a little skiing town.

We headed back on the bus to Freiburg, where we got another walking tour of the city. And also went into the cathedral, Munster. It was fun going into a cathedral outside of France because although the figurines on the cathedral used to be painted, France did not keep them up in order to show the complexities inside the sculpting. In Germany, the figurines were still painted.. I can definitely say I like unpainted better, but it was so interesting to see how they would have looked in the past! A little more exploring apart from the group, and it was time to head off to the last leg of our journey: The little village of Barr for wine tasting!

It was amazing. The wine was great. It’s fun to go to different places that specialize in different wines. Alsace typically only specializes in white wines. In fact, the one red grape Klipfel grew were Pinot Noir, yet he said they make theirs so light that it actually should be served chilled, like a white wine. My favorite of the day was the Riesling… Amazing!

Afterwards, we hopped back on the bus. A 40 drive to make it to Strasbourg for the over two hour train ride back to Paris. I am so grateful that I got to see everything I did on the short two day trip, but I have to admit, they jam packed too many locations in such a short amount of time… I wish I could have had more time to enjoy each place for everything they had to offer…


Je sais, je sais, je sais…

19 Oct

I know I’ve been slacking with keeping you guys updated, but I have been doing the same things (school, going out, socializing…you know the drill) over and over!

This past weekend, Shayla’s French cousin took the train to come celebrate his 19 birthday with us! We made dinner at home and then took him out to our regular bar where our good friend, Gyzmo, works. It was a blast!

Oh, and I also found good, decent priced Mexican food! SCORE. And it’s right down the street from our apartment, next to the bar. DOUBLE SCORE!

Most nights look a little something like this. Naturally, I’m loving life. (Except midterms next week, not loving those. At least a week off comes after midterms..)

Off to Germany for two days tomorrow! My life is so tough…

Barcelone… Toujours une fete!

10 Oct

After making our way across the city on the metro, spending fifteen Euro on a two hours bus ride outside of the city, and having a heart attack when we had to make it through security within fifteen minutes, Shayla and I were on our flight to Barcelona, baby!

We decided to do a weekend trip there because two of her best friend, Lizzy and Kate, are studying there and it was Lizzy’s birthday on Wednesday. What a better way to celebrate than with a weekend of visitors? Those two girls did an amazing job showing us a good time in Barcelona, but holy crap, that city does not stop.. Except for siesta… Don’t expect to go to any shops between 2:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon.

During the day, we did many touristy things. Saw all the sites. Went to the Picasso museum. Looked at different Gaudi architecture (amazing)! And then at night, it was time to party!.. All night. None stop. Apparently sleeping was not on the agenda. It was an amazing trip, but it also helped me realize that Paris is the place for me. Once the weekend was over, I was ready to go back. Unfortunately we had a fight for 5:50 in the morning on Sunday, so we had to catch a taxi to the airport around 4:00 in the morning after a night of going out. We were exhausted, and we got pulled off the plane for “security measures” where they places everyone in a singled-out room, put our bags in the middle of the floor, and brought drug dogs in to search them all. After four hours, they didn’t bother to tell us what was going on but they did eventually let us back on the plane. When we were supposed to be back home in Paris (after another hour and a half bus ride back to Paris after the flight) at 9:00 in the morning, we didn’t arrive home until 1:00 in the afternoon. Thanks for sucking, Ryanair! At least you were cheap…

Unfortunately, the weekend was a whirlwind and a recap is the last thing I feel like doing, but you know I’ll leave you with some photos!

Le Week-End Dernier

4 Oct

As I get more and more settled into my life here in Paris, time just seems to keep going by faster. I could have sworn that last weekend just happened, but this weekend has already arrived!

Last Saturday, Shayla and I took the time to do a touristy activity, like we’ve been meaning to do. It was the perfect day to hike our way up the stairs to the top of the Arc de Triomphe!













And the only reason that I really love being a student… Free entrance in many places!















This is my favorite view in all of Paris. It doesn’t get much more perfect… (Even though Montmartre and the top of La Tour Eiffel are almost as great!)













Speaking of Montmartre, we decided to head over to that area after we made our way down from the touristy views. We both haven’t spent much time in that area. In fact, I had only been once at night for some wine on the steps of the Sacre Coeur and Shayla hadn’t gone on this trip yet… Or maybe ever? I’m not sure.
Chocolate stop was 100% necessary in the “chocolate museum”!













As was a tomato and egg crepe… I’ve never had better “street food” than in Paris. You can find crepes anywhere at anytime… Freaking yum!













After exploring, it was time to head back home. We stayed in for the night so that we could wake up early on Sunday morning for the beautiful outdoor market in Bastille! We are making this into our new Sunday routine.. Seeing as we got some much beautiful food that lasted us all week for such great prices, it was be stupid not to do this regularly.













We took all of the loot back home, then Shayla and I decided to go exploring… And to get another falafel. We’ve been eating a good amount of those, and I don’t mind it one bit. We ended up wandering around after eating when all the sudden we ran into thousands of people standing around Bastille.. We had to figure out what was going on! Suddenly we were given a program… and condoms? These French sure are open. Turns out it’s the yearly fundraiser for AIDS with moving concerts of over 30 different artists. They play on giant moving stages between two different start and end locations in the city. People will just follow the trucks that they want to hear more of the music for. It was kind of awesome! And I’m pretty sure it was an excuse for all the high schoolers in the city to have an excuse to party on a Sunday.. Plus other people too, but I think that’s the most high school ages kids I’ve seen in Paris!





































Once we finally found a way to escape from the masses, we ended up running into another gathering… As if one wasn’t enough for one day! This time is was a protest of some sort. We didn’t know exactly what was being protested, but somehow Shayla and I accidentally ended up walking with the giant group for fifteen minutes. Then we realized it might be a good idea to separate ourselves from them until it was clear to us of what the topic was.













I totally preferred going to get a white chocolate raspberry cookie anyways.





















And that concludes our last weekend adventures! (Minus the going out at night, but there’s really nothing new to talk about with that!)

Oh, and a bit of advice… Avoid falling asleep at 7:00 in the morning on the metro when you’re trying to get home. And when you fall asleep on the metro like I told you not to, really avoid running through the metro like a mad woman when you need to change lines… I guess I fell harder than I thought. Oops!













Yes, Chrissy. I am still the same old spastic Nicole!