After a weekend of Vegas Strip life, it was nice to wind down and drive to Red Rock Canyon. I went with a few friends and enjoyed endless laughs as we hiked our way to the top. I would recommend hiking, as you get a better view of the canyon and a great excercise to work off all of those Vegas buffets. The scenery was breathtaking, so peaceful and calm. It was a great way to do Sunday Funday!
I will try my best to be as neutral as possible when telling you about Milan. But, I did live here, so its a little hard to not be biased. I love Milan. haha.
Milan maintains its connections with ancient Italy by preserving its respect for traditions all while welcoming new ones. Its a great city to visit and is a great base for traveling within Europe. Not to mention, its the fashion capital of the world! So yes, I love Milan. You can spend hours staring at the Duomo Cathedral or shopping in the Galeria. If you can’t decide, you can do both as they are placed right beside each other. For nightlife the Navigli area houses many options that will appeal to all. If you’re looking for a scene different from bars or great aperitivo, head to Brera,Parco Sempione, or il centro (downtown) and you can choose from Armani Prive, Just Cavalli, and more!
My time in Milan was great. I loved being in Europe and having access to American amenities. It was perfect for my transition, because I’m a city girl and there are certain things that I just can’t do without. Visit Milan, you wont regret it!
There are not enough words to describe Barcelona.
Fooling around in Amsterdam, and trying to squeeze in a museum visit made me miss my flight to Barcelona! Rookie mistake, I know… Luckily, I was able to grab a seat on the earliest flight available for the next day… Which also gave me time to properly prepare for the upcoming trip, instead of winging it like I usually do, also to catch up on some z’s and deep condition my hair!
My friend and I stayed at TWO Hotel Barcelona by Axel, a chic gay hotel (straight friendly), in the Eixample neighborhood. The neighborhood was extremely central and well connected to various means of transportation that can get you around the city, and is walking distance to many shops, banks and markets. Speaking of markets, La Boqueria Mercat is a must see when in town! We were introduced to the market when we took a cooking class Saturday evening to learn how to make traditional Spanish paella & sangria.(details on the class can be at the end of the article.) The market welcomes tourist and locals and provides you with a variety of fresh vegetables, meat, fish, fruit and other mouth watering edibles :). Just thinking back on it makes me so hungry!
Even with some of our days planned, for the most part it was just based off recommendations from our friends, and random tinder meet ups, haha. We walked around a lot and tried to blend in as locals with our high school level espanol. We missed out on visiting the Picasso museum, they only accept a certain amount on Sunday, so get there early if you want to see it! We did visit the outside of la Sagrada Familia Basilica, which should be on your list, especially if you are a fan of Gaudi’s work.
Parts of the city had an extremely rustic feel to it, while others gave you more of a city vibe. Our nights were spent walking around the city, venturing off onto random streets, viewing the yachts parked at the docks, and drinking in intervals I’m ashamed to admit. Overall, I had a great time and would definitely plan to visit again..
Cooking class info: We reserved a spot in the cooking class by visiting Travel Bar. Our chef, Fernando, was a great teacher and created a really fun cooking environment for us! Highly recommend using Travel Bar for your cooking class in Barcelona.
With my arrival only a few days after Christmas, the Christmas market, a popular scene in Vienna were packed to capacity! This town is famous for its Christmas market, and the season brings a plethora of tourist from all over the world. Upon departing the airport, Vienna received its first snowfall of the season and as a Chicagoan, I was neither elated nor sad about the change in climate. Although when thinking ahead to my NYE wardrobe, I was slightly disappointed that my new suede open-toed strappy heels would have to be debuted at a later date! Ha. The locals, however, could not contain their excitement! While walking around the neighborhood, I witnessed kids playing in the snow, couples taking picturesque strolls through the park, and neighbors talking amongst one another while cleaning off their cars. I remember dining at Pizzeria Mafioso ( which you should definitely try if you’re in the area!) and the guest next to our table told us how lucky we are to enjoy the city with snow and all its festivities. If only Chicagoans were this enthused about snow!
Vienna is a relatively small city, so on this stop of our 13 day tour, 4 days was more than enough. Especially considering that we arrived on a Sunday, and most places were closed for the day. Schönbrunn Palace is a must see! Plan to be in awe during the tour and transported back to an earlier age. Silly me, we didn’t plan to take the tour on the day that we did, so my camera was back at the hotel, and my phone died before the tour began. We can blame it on being jet-lagged! But take my word for it, spend a day at the Palace and feel like royalty!
Here are a few pictures of the 3rd district shopping markets, where you can find anything from Louis Vuitton to Forever 21.
Bonjour mon ami!
Welcome to the City of Lights, City of Love, City of my home for the week!
In comparison to my arrival in Vienna, I felt much more at home once I landed at Charles De Gualle Airport. Which I took as sign that this trip would surpass any expectations I had for it. Although I was a little apprehensive how I was going to fit Paris into one week, especially seeing how I am usually a leisure spirited traveller opposed to the “touristy agenda objective” traveller. But with the week promising neutral temperatures in the 30s & 40s ( mind you, we’re in January) I was able to fit a lot of popular sites in one day, just keep in mind that you will do A LOT of WALKING.
The Love Lock Bridge ; No lover this year for me, so my friend and I locked down our love for each other… Best friends are like boyfriends anyway, right?!
Opera de Paris
Sacre Couer – Marks the highest point in Paris. The church itself, is just as beautiful as the view of Paris. For respect of the Church’s wishes, I did not take any photos while inside, but please be sure to visit. If not for religious reasons, go for the view. On a sunny day, you can even spot the Eiffel Tower.
The Notre Dame
The Eiffel Tower ; Its more glamorous at night, but it’s not too shabby in the daytime either 😉
Be prepared to trek up & down the streets of Paris. Especially if you plan on going off of the beaten tourist path and visiting some really cool local spots. When this photo was taken, my friend and I were walking to lunch at our (now favorite) spot Chez Marie ( located in the Montmartre district)
Hello there beautiful 🙂
Couldn’t miss this photo-op at the Musee du Louvre ; On the first Sundays of the month, admission is free! So we lucked up and was able to see all the wonderful artworks including the Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
Im pretty sure all who visit California, loves California. Its a different setting for sure, which is nice if you live in an upbeat bustling city like I do. Each time I visit, Cali is more and more like all of its stereotypes. Its a little weird because it reminds me of those commercials with Arnold Schwarzenegger ( I cant believe I just spelled that without trying to google it first!) saying come visit California. But it does! And not being biased or anything but YOU should visit California…. Sidenote: Lets see how many times I can say California in one post, haha. Overkill much? On to a more serious note.
Los Angeles isn’t specifically just for the hippies, the artist, the bourgeois, the movie stars, the part time waitress/part time model. While all of those may inhabit its Sunny habitat, I get a feeling thats it more of a place where all walks of life just vibe together ( okay, that does sound hippy-ish).
Just to think; Ive only been to San Diego and the Los Angeles County area: Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, San Fernando Valley,Manhattan Beach, etc.
Here are a few pictures!
GOOD EATS: if you’re ever in the Manhattan Beach area make sure to check out Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant on Highland Avenue. When I tell you its soooo good; my go to dish was the Shrimp & Lobster Quesadilla. LOVE, in a quesadilla. ( you may even spot a celeb or two on your way there, I did. )
(The decor inside Pancho’s. Also, very good lighting for a selfie.)
I’m not going to lie, I was a bit skeptical about visiting Amsterdam. I thought that it was just a cannabis paradise without much to offer besides that. Was I wrong? Yes. I was pleasantly surprised by the large amount of museums the city was home to, as well as the often changing yet aesthetically pleasing displays of art around the city. On my walk to and from the Van Gogh Museum I was able to view an array of street art, historical buildings and art exhibitions taking place throughout the ‘dam. I may have spent the entire day at the Van Gogh Museum, when I walked in it was morning and I made my exit at night. A day well worth it in my opinion. While there was no shortage in activities for those visiting Amsterdam with a focus more on art, there was definitely a surplus of coffee shops for those wanting to indulge in this liberated city. And when in Amsterdam, go to a coffee shop. The only thing I can tell you is to not eat an entire space cake by yourself, seriously. Haha.
Welcome to the 6! Now where is Drake & all his woes??? Seriously, where are they? Well until they get here I’ll just wait for my “woe” to arrive. This was my first time flying across borders alone, and a little apprehensive at first, but all in all it wasn’t so bad. I arrived at YYZ around 2pm and anxiously waited at baggage claim to pick up my bag and explore the city. My friend wouldn’t be arriving until 9pm that night, so I had a lot of time to kill.
The first night of our 3 day getaway was spent at the Holiday Inn in Midtown. The remainder of our nights were reserved for the Intercontinental(tell you about that later). While waiting on my woe (I’ll be annoyed with woe by the end of this entry) I walked around the neighborhood and grabbed some grub. Midtown reminded me of a College town. I walked past hundred of college aged adults, Second Cups (which is like Toronto’s Starbucks), libraries, and a few universities… Safe to say it was a college town, and that put my mind at ease a little because I was around my peers. I ate at a Thai restaurant and I wish I could remember the name of it because it was pretty good.
I think it’s definitely possible to do Toronto in a weekend. So if you ever have a couple of days off I would suggest visiting this neighboring city. I would even go back, maybe in the spring or summer, that way I can experience Caribana ( that’s when all the locals told me to come back!) But for the fall it wasn’t so bad.
I would recommend obviously spending a sunny day to visit the CN Tower, it has a great view of the city, and is great backdrop for your instagram photo :). It was extremely windy on the day we visited, most tourist only stayed on the inside of the tower because of the high winds! We ventured out, even if only for a minute or two, it was so worth it! And I’d like to think our photo came out better than the “green screen” alternative that you were able to purchase inside!
I mean… Look at this super cool photo I snapped of my friend? No green screen could capture that!
And here are a few other pictures from our adventures from the weekend!
Oh, if you’re a museum queen like myself take a look around the Royal Ontario Museum! You can not miss it, the architectural design of the building is striking! We actually didn’t realize that it was a museum! We wandered in because of its design, and to our surprise,wala, a museum!
If you seriously could miss this, you may need your eyes checked!
Really cool exhibit on ancient Egyptians… I thought she was super cool because she looks like me when I’m getting dressed in the morning. Maybe I’m a descendant of an Egyptian Goddess? Who knows!
We decided against the Niagara Falls since we didn’t really have a great amount of time. But next time I will be sure to visit and tell you all about it 🙂
Before officially moving to Milan, I will be spending a week in between Courmayeur and Mont Blanc. Its located in Northern Italy, and is about an hour away from the France and Switzerland border. A lot of Milanese families own homes here and often spend their weekends in the north to enjoy the winter festivities while they can. I have not skied since I was a little girl, so I’m mainly spending my time watching the other skiers and taking in the breathtaking view of the mountains.