Day Trippin’

Here are some views from my favorite day trips

Girona

Park Güell

Tibidabo

Camp Nou

Montserrat

Montjuïc

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Falling in Love with Paris

Paris was one of the most amazing cities I’ve seen so far. When I first arrived, I was unprepared for how large the city actually was. After living in Barcelona, I thought Paris would be of similar size, maybe slightly larger. But of course, I was wrong. I can’t even begin to explain how large Paris is, but for example, I took a 3 hour tour and still only saw about half of the city. Even though the city is large, I feel like it’s still pretty manageable and there are definitely a lot of amazing sites to see.

My trip to Paris was roughly 3 days long. A friend and I caught an early flight from Barcelona and arrived in Paris around 11am and left the following Sunday around 8pm. It was nice to arrive early on Friday because it gave us plenty of daylight time to explore, the only downside was we were exhausted. When we first arrived in Paris we were starving and we had no idea where to go for food, so after stumbling around for 45 minutes or so we found a small restaurant called Le GOÛ-THÉ on Rue Surcouf. We got extremely lucky with our server, who spoke English and was extremely nice, and the food was amazing. If you ever find yourself in Paris, I highly recommend it!

Even though my friend and I were only in Paris for a short time, we were determined to see as much of the city as possible. Most of what we saw of the city was by tour. I had done some research before about recommended excursions (I use TripAdvisor religiously) and I had come across a tour called Midnight In Paris. This was by far my favorite part of the trip. I had reserved a time slot for 2 hours on Friday night, which was to start at 9. The tour started with Nicolas, our driver, picking us up at our hotel. When reading reviews of this tour, many people commented on the car, I could understand 12042705_10207742128383995_3162763777821804180_nwhy when Nicolas picked us up. The car was amazing, old fashion, and had a clear roof so when inside, one could see all the buildings above. I don’t know much about cars, but this one definitely left a lasting impression. Once inside the car, we took off. Nicolas knew all the side streets, the hidden charms of the city and he knew a lot about the history as well. His driving was pretty reckless, we knew it would be an interesting drive when he asked us if we enjoyed roller coasters (my answer was yes, of course!). Nicolas showed us around as much of the city as he could. We went from the Gothic area, to around the river, to famous historic spots as well and some of the large tourist attractions. He knew the history of every spot we went to as well as a lot of little facts along the way. I really admired how much knowledge he had about the city. Nicolas also let us get out at whichever stop we wanted and he was more than willing to take pictures for us.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetOne of our last stops was to his favorite Gelato parlor which also happens to be the oldest in the city. We didn’t end up getting back to our hotel until 12:30 am, an hour and a half past the original 2 hour slot I had booked but Nicolas kept wanting to show us more and we were more than happy to see everything possible! Overall it was an amazing experience (did I mention you get a bottle of champagne for the trip?) and I highly recommend taking this tour if you ever get to Paris!

The next day my friend and I explored more in the daylight. Luckily I was able to figure out the metro system and we bought 3 day passes, which was much cheaper in the long run. I’m used to the metro in Barcelona so it wasn’t too hard to figure out. Our day consisted of a lot of walking though (comfortable shoes advised). We started at the Arc de Triomphe and from there walked down the famous Ave des Champs-Élysées. This long stretch of shops was pretty impressive. The only places we stopped were Starbucks and H&M, but the other stores, which I can’t afford, were very beautiful. I could only gawk at the size and beauty of the Louis Vuitton store.

The two places I really enjoyed walking, and where we ended our day, was the gardens around the Louvre and the Notre Dame. It was very peaceful in the gardens and it was nice to stroll along the paths. There also happened to be a fashion week event being held so it was amazing to see all the different styles and designs that people were DSCN0227wearing as they were leaving the area. The gardens were also nice because it offered a quick escape from the hustle and noise of the busy streets. No one was pushing to get past you and there weren’t any cars to look out for. The Louvre itself is amazing as well. Even though we didn’t go in, the old palace offers a lot of spectacular architecture, not to mention it’s massive. We were told that one could spend a week inside looking at all the art and you still wouldn’t have seen everything. Last on our walk was the Notre Dame. The church on the outside is very beautiful and even though it looks repetitive, Nicolas told us that none of the sculptires are the same on either tower or anywhere on the outside, which is pretty impressive. DSCN0239We went later in the day and there were still a lot of people outside the church. It was free to enter, which was nice, and the inside was even more amazing than I thought. There was a lot of intricate stained glass windows and many murals with vibrant colors. Even though the inside of the church was relatively dark, there was a sense of peace and tranquility.As we were getting ready to leave a procession started and we were able to stay and watch for some of it. I found it really interesting, even though I couldn’t understand what was being said.

Overall Paris was an amazing city. I could go on and on about the small shops, the great food and recommendations. I would definitely go back to Paris, and this time I would stay longer. I still feel there is so much I wasn’t able to see. One thing is for sure though, in the city of love, my heart was definitely stolen.

 

The Stella Tote

Official name: Stella McCartney Falabella Tote Bag in Black

Price: $1,295 USD

If you’re anything like me, you’re looking at this price and falling out of your chair. How can a black tote bag with some chains on it cost so much! I could make that myself! Okay, probably not, my sewing abilities are little to none, but still, you get the point. This bag though has become extremely popular, especially in Europe. There are many different varieties and colors and most of the collection can be found on the Neiman Marcus website. But, all of the Stella bags come with the high price. But don’t cry too much, there is hope for those who don’t want to sell their soul in pursuit of the latest bag.

Here are some other options that don’t break the bank:

stella1

From: Shoptiques.com

Price: $49 USD

Find it here: Chain Tote

stella2

From: Jessica Simpson collection

Price: $118 USD

Find it here: Lizzie Tote

stella3

From: Michael Kors

Price: $223 USD

Find it here: Jet Set Large Chain Tote

 

One other option:

Steve Madden came out with a strikingly similar bag. He’s currently out of stock (and possibly being sued by Stella) but he may restock so it’s worth occasionally checking the website.

Picking that Special Person

I know what you’re thinking…that special person…but I’m not talking about love here, not in the typical sense at least. I’m talking about a travel partner. I’ve had some experience in this department while studying abroad and it’s not as easy as it seems. When you go abroad, especially alone like I did, you’re meeting a ton of new people, some of which you may end up traveling with. This of course was the first thing on my mind when I arrived, who will I travel with, I don’t want to go alone! But a lot of what I learned applies to traveling in general and hopefully my advice will help you find that “special person”.

Planning a trip can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be if you have someone, or multiple people helping you. You may be tempted to choose a close friend or a boyfriend to travel with and this is 100% okay! But if you don’t know the person as well, you want to make sure they are just as interested in the trip as you are. It’s never fun to bring someone along who isn’t interested and thus you are stuck dragging them along. If you aren’t sure if they’re interested in the trip, ask them what they plan on doing when they arrive or what they’re interested in seeing and if they answer with “I don’t care” or “I don’t know”, then they either haven’t done their research or they aren’t truly interested.

If you bring someone along for the trip, you want make sure they are going to be helpful in planning. It’s never fun to be the only one planning adventures and activities and always doing the research. I guarantee after awhile you will feel like a tour guide who only has half the attention of their audience. Ask whomever you are traveling with to get an idea of an excursion or tour they want to do while on the trip before you leave and ask them to figure out the cost, times, ect. and if they come back with very limited information and few details, you may be headed for trouble.

Overall I’ve found these are the two key traits you want in a travel partner; interest in the trip and willingness to help plan and organize. I can admit I don’t love to plan everything ahead of time but doing research and looking up things to do can save a ton of time during your adventure and also money. It’s always fun to travel with loved ones and close friends and it can still be fun even if you don’t know the person as well. But hopefully with this advice you can really find that “special person”.

Hello, Hola, Bonjour!

The first post…such a daunting task, or maybe I’m thinking too much. If you have stumbled upon my blog, welcome! My inspiration for this blog, as well as many other actions in my life, was of course my mom. She had the idea that I start writing about my adventures and experiences online and of course, being the twenty-something I am, shrugged off the idea as impossible. But the idea stuck and soon I was thinking about article titles and advice columns. Actually starting the blog was a different task though, I could barely decide on a name, let alone what theme or font to choose. But, alas, I made my decision on the title. Passports and coffee…I thought it was pretty catchy and easy to remember. Why did I choose this? Well, first because I love to travel, I hope one day to fill my passport with stamps from multiple countries. I will also be giving advice and writing about my experiences while studying abroad. Second, coffee and I have a love affair like no other. In other words, I’m addicted to coffee. Every country differs in their coffee selection and I plan on trying all of them…Okay maybe not all of them but pretty close. Along with traveling and coffee, I also dabble in the style department. I try and follow the trends, I may not be able to afford some of the very expensive ones (I’m looking at you Michael Kors and Karl Lagerfeld) but what I can do is offer some less expensive alternatives. Again I’ve learned from the best (my mother) on how to bargain shop, but I also know how to splurge every once in while. Overall I hope you find some of my advice and experiences to be helpful and possibly even entertaining. So..how does one end a blog post? I’m still working on that one…