It’s been a little over a week since I came back from my 17-days long vacation. I’ve been crazy busy with piles of work after I came back (200+ work emails that I ‘ignored’ during those 17 days), have been packing to move, and just a lot of things happened and I admit, I was just too lazy to upload my blog…Nevertheless, here is my first post! Since I was away for 17 days I guess this will be a long 17-posts series of this wonderful vacation.

On June 28th, I went into work in the morning and left after lunch for my flight which was at 4pm. I had to see my new landlord to sign some papers before I left, so I was in a hurry to finish everything. Long story short, I got to the airport on time, and this was my first time taking KLM so I was quite excited about that. And indeed – I think KLM was the best airline I’ve ever used in my life. I have been on not that many, but quite a few airlines – American Airlines, Delta, West Jet, United, Alaska Airlines, Air Canada, Korean Air, Asiana Air,Air Asia, Lufthanza, and Iceland Air. KLM adds onto my European airline list, and now I know which airline I’m going to be flying with for my next Europe trip. Services were great, food AMAZING (for on-flight food), free alcohol, and comfy seats! I think that’s more than you can ask for from an airline these days, so I was very glad that I decided to go with KLM. And the wrappers for their main food has Dutch paintings on it, which was the cherry on top for me!IMG_6403

After about 9 hours of flying, I arrived in Amsterdam at Schiphol airport for my next flight to Paris. I was excited to stop over at Schiphol because I heard so many good things about this airport, and I was actually reading this book Art of Travel by Alain de Botton, and he describes this airport in comparison to Heathrow, which I found very interesting (I highly suggest de Botton’s books to everyone so my opinion might be a little biased). With Dutch tulip stands and everything, you can really tell you are in the Netherlands. IMG_6404

After a short flight from Amsterdam to Paris, I finally arrived in Paris around 1:30pm. I had booked a shared van service before I left Paris, so after I picked up my luggage I found the van driver to drive me to my hotel. I always try to book a shared van service when I go traveling to a city where I know that my place of stay and the airport is quite far away. And aren’t I glad I booked it this time; The day I arrived in Paris, it was their gay parade day so the city blocked off a lot of streets. In Vancouver, on Pride Parade days they only block off one street in downtown (at least when I lived in West End they only blocked off Davie street) but PARIS!!! They blocked off a whole lot of streets so it took my driver more than 3 hours to drop me off at my hotel which should’ve only taken 1.5 hrs at the most. At the beginning I thought I would take a cab from the airport to the hotel because on Google map it said 40 min cab ride – if I actually ended up taking a cab, I would’ve spent 1/5 of my trip budget on one single cab ride. So do look into booking a shared van, because it only cost me 28 euros for this 3 hr long ride.

Anyhow, this ride changed my plan for the day completely. I thought I would arrive at my hotel around 2pm, then I would head out right away for at least one of the museums that I was going to go, but I actually arrived after 4pm and all the museums were closing at 6pm. Then I figured I wasn’t going to pay the entrance fee to only to stay there for half an hour, so I messaged my friend in Paris that I was going to meet up the day after. We changed the plans and we decided to meet up for dinner. As soon as I had everything arranged with my friend, I headed out because I wanted to walk from my hotel to Pont Marie, which would take me about 40 minutes of walking. I love walking in good weather, so with my camera I started walking. Oh, I stayed at Best Western Le Patio Saint Antoine, which is near Nation station.

I walked and walked along La Seine, and it was beautiful, sparkling with tiny reflections of the sun –

Then I met up with my friend David, and he took me to this famous ice cream place in Paris called Berthillon and I had hazelnut and chocolate ice creams – yummmm

From there, we walked around Paris and had dinner. By this point it was getting a bit chilly and I was wearing shorts, so David suggested that we go back to my hotel first so I can get changed and then head to the Eiffel tower. Oh, one thing I forgot to mention – David has a scooter!! So from Chatlet I hopped on his scooter back to the hotel, which was just AMAZING; I felt like I was in one of those Disney/Nickelodeon movies where the girl meets a boy in some kind of an European city and the boy gives her a ride around the city.
(CLICK to see my video of this scooter ride in Paris at sunset <3)

We arrive at Eiffel tower in Champ de Mars, and it looked so much different than the last time I was there. Last time it was freezing cold, and we couldn’t sit on the grass as our butts would freeze off with the grass; but this time the grass was green, a lot of people chilling out to see the tower light up at night. Since I didn’t get to see the tower all lit up, we decided to stay there to see it this time. 

We were there from around 9:50pm to 11:30pm, but the tower didn’t light up!! I was quite disappointed, but it got too cold so we decided to leave. David gave me a ride back to my hotel, and said à bientôt!

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Europe, France, Travel

Paris, France 2013: Day 1

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