WHEN MUM CAME TO VISIT

WHEN MUM CAME TO VISIT

I’m a little behind on blog post plans due to my 21st birthday (belated, celebratory post coming soon), attempts at studying and working towards my TEFL (also to be discussed soon), and general laziness in all honesty. So let’s throw it back to the beginning of the month . . .

After a lovely and much needed break at home, mum flew back with me to Paris. I had been desperate to visit Versailles, so used this as the perfect opportunity to drag somebody along with me (she was more than compliant really). However, Versailles is more of a full-day / Saturday outing so on the afternoon and evening of our arrival we had a wander, and some food and wine . . . naturally. When in Rome and whatnot.

3/11/2017: MONTMARTRE WANDER & DINNER @ AMÉLIE CAFÉ

Montmartre has now twice been my go-to tourist spot to take my visitors here in Paris. We got off the métro at Pigalle, had a quick look at the Moulin Rouge and headed up to the Sacré-Cœur (mum loves a church / cathedral on holiday, it’s a well known family fact). After looking around for somewhere to eat, I suggested we check out the Amélie café as another hint that mum should watch one of my favourite films / at least one of my many viewing suggestions. We headed there and had a cheese board, chips and wine along to some lovely unexpected live music.

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Moulin Rouge

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Mumma @ Café de 2 Moulins

4/11/2017: CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES

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Versailles was incredible. To the extent in some rooms that I really was speechless. No photo will do justice to just how absolutely huge and totally grand the Château de Versailles truly is. It’s bloody massive. Having recently rewatched the first series of the BBC’s “Versailles” and binge-watched the second, I was pining to see where all that drama, those sordid tales and the infamous wild soirées of Louis XIV went down, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Let’s allow the snaps to do the talking.

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La chapelle royale / The absolutely magnificent Royal Chapel

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La Galerie des Glaces / The Hall of Mirrors

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Le Grand Appartement du roi / The King’s Appartments

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The Gardens

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Getting those IGs ft. new The Great Frog rings, Vans from my besties and nails a lot fresher than they are now.

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Mum looking all windswept and interesting (hope you had a great time visiting me!!)

 

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VACAY IN VALENCIA

VACAY IN VALENCIA

Another Spanish city break. Another girly getaway. This time Valencia was calling . . .

We’re going back a while now but in celebration of the end of exams and thus, the end of my second year at Cardiff university / reaching the half way point in my degree etc. (who needs excuses anyway yada yada), two of my housemates and I booked an urban girly retreat to Valencia, Spain. Having all acclimatised to the matte skies of Cardiff, the Spanish sun was most definitely calling. Be warned, this is a photo heavy post! 

Day one was for exploring (and papping each other it seems)

9/6/2017

Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències / Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias / The City of Arts and Sciences

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Day two, I will be honest with you, was a hungover right off.

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We were kindly invited along to a (boozy) Erasmus Pool Party @ Tumbao Beach Club which was so much fun. 

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Our last day was a tan topping (burning) beach day at Playa de la Malvarrosa. After cycling there, we rewarded ourselves with loads of obligatory paella and lazed around by the sea all day. Absolute bliss.

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YEAR ABROAD : UPON ARRIVAL À PARIS

YEAR ABROAD : UPON ARRIVAL À PARIS

As a Modern Foreign Languages student, my degree involves an Erasmus year abroad study or work placement in this, my third year. I have just arrived in Paris and quite frankly, that’s both so very exciting and absolutely terrifying all at the same time. Until very recently my year abroad has seemed like a distant, abstract idea. It has done for years.

But now it’s here and let’s face it, shit got real.

When I started the application process from Cardiff earlier this year, I felt a shift in my apprehension surrounding the move. I had been utterly petrified for months, but it started to seem a bit silly fearing something that I’d not only signed myself up for but something that is ultimately, by all accounts, set to be the best year of my life. However, in all honesty this positivity didn’t last for long and I dreaded it again all summer long.

Over the course of last Autumn semester we had several presentations on the subject of our year abroad from financing to destination choices and I subsequently sent in my preference form for approval and consideration. My first choice had been Lyon, my second was Paris and my third, Belgium. I had chosen to study. After all, the rest of my life is for proper work, eh? After a meeting regarding my choices, I was placed in Paris for the Autumn semester (September – December 2017) and Lyon for the Spring semester (January – May 2018). Although I only study one language and should therefore only have one placement, I am super happy that I get to switch it up a bit post Christmas like all my dual-honours, two language buddies.

Anyway, I thought I’d touch base in hopes of sharing the whole process from conception, and ultimately throughout its fruition. Let’s leave it for now with the motto used by the city of Paris for centuries; FLUCTUAT NEC MERGITUR which relates to the idea that she has been “tossed by the waves but does not sink”.  And hell, as Paris is surrounded by cliché let’s also hope that whatever kind of waves Paris has got in store for me that I don’t bloody sink either.

P.S. I can see the Eiffel Tower from my bed!

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BREAK IN BARÇA

BREAK IN BARÇA

I’m a sucker for a city break so when mumma suggested a girly Easter getaway, I was so down. We decided on Barcelona, having both wanted to visit for some time, and what a fabulous decision it was. Arriving on morning of the Tuesday 11th and flying home on the afternoon of Friday 14th April, we had 3 nights and plenty of daytime to wander around and explore the city. Let’s take a look at our mini adventure through photos!

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We stayed in the super central Praktik Rambla Hotel on the Rambla de Catalunya and it was so gorgeous! We had a twin room with fancy French doors onto a cute little balcony overlooking a bustling square of restaurants. The super comfy beds made for great afternoon siestas too (when in Rome and all that).

Touristing

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Our visit to the Picasso Museum was perhaps my favourite outing. Get there early to avoid humungous queues!

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Bruised like a peach in the land of the orange.

 

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La Sagrada Família

 

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Arc de Triomf

La Sagrada Família and the Arc de Triomf were spectacular. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get into the Sagrada as tickets were sold out but it was still great to walk around such a magnificent piece of architecture.

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Couldn’t resist a snap in front of the cutest floral-fronted abode in Barcelona.

Now, onto food . . . and drink!

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Obligatory holiday ice cream snap 🍨

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Naturally, tapas and sangria were on the menu of an evening.

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We were lucky enough to have a great tapas place literally on the doorstep of our hotel so naturally we took advantage of the fact and dined here two out of the three evenings of our stay, trying out different dishes each night.

Big thanks to mum for treating me to our girly Easter break! Barcelona was great fun and I’ll definitely be back.

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FORTNIGHT in NORMANDY

FORTNIGHT in NORMANDY

Having just arrived home from a wonderful fortnight in Normandy, I thought it about time I return to the blog having not posted since before my first set of university exams. So, before getting into talk about my travels, I should say that all went well. I finished my first year studying French at Cardiff University with 69%,  one frustrating percent from a 1st but delighted nevertheless.

After months of lazing around at university and taking my first year pretty easy, I was so ready for a break having done some real work again for a few weeks. Normandy was the absolute ticket and oh so relaxing.

Having been kindly invited along by Tom’s dad, we had been so looking forward to this trip for weeks! After my new passport finally arrived, we decided that I would drive to Portsmouth, we would catch the ferry to Cherbourg, (I would be brave) and drive to the château on the other side.

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The bulk of the holiday was spent in the beautiful château above, situated in the village of Fontenay-sur-mer, Normandy which lent itself to relaxation galore.

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Our absolutely gorgeous room was ever so grand with its alcove enclosed bed and chandelier.

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On the several days that weren’t entirely spent swimming, snoozing and sunbathing, we visited local villages and more notably the nearby World War II batteries (namely Batterie de Crisbecq & Batterie d’Azeville) and Utah Beach. These visits were extremely poignant and really help to add depth and a sense of context to the Normandy scenery.

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Although the holiday was absolutely amazing, Tom did unfortunately miss his graduation ceremony. Thankfully, and due to all of his hard work & brains, he graduated with a first class BA (hons) in Ancient History so we were able to use the holiday as a huge and well deserved celebration!

IMG_5878.JPGThe staged graduation shot

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After almost two years, we finally got a decent photograph together too.

ATHENS TRILOGY | SITES

ATHENS TRILOGY | SITES

Here it is, the ultimate post in the trilogy recounting my recent trip to Athens. I thought of no better way to build the anticipation than to leave the historical sites of ancient Athens until last. After all they are all quite something, in both feat and appearance.

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The Parthenon is quite simply the most amazing thing I have ever seen and I can only hope that these photographs of mine do it some justice. The sheer size of it was unbelievable and to see such a thing in real life was completely mind-blowing. I haven’t seen a photo yet that captures its enormity, but these are the best I’ve got.

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As intended, the Acropolis stands, still today, above Athens and reigns over the city. This results in fabulous views from each and every one of the central ancient sites as well as from the Acropolis Museum. I love how much of a focus the Acropolis is, and just how majestic it looks in the following shot. The moody tone of the composition only enhances all of that and it’s definitely one of my favourite shots of the trip.

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IMG_5342View of the Acropolis from the Ancient Greek Agora.

I really enjoyed wondering around the Agora as it brings everything back down to Earth. Yes, the temples and the artefacts and grandeur of all of that is incredible but for me there was something really human about the Agora. As a central meeting point, market and square full of taverns etc. the Agora was the centre of the city’s life and it therefore offered a sense of the everyday that I found really interesting.

IMG_5347 This is the Temple of Hephaestus which is incredibly well preserved and well worth a visit.

I’ve reached the end of the ‘Athens Trilogy’ now and all there is left to say is what a fantastic time I had on this trip and that I would most definitely return. Athens offers all you could ask for in a city break in my opinion and I have tried my best to capture what I find the most important aspects, in these three posts. The food was delicious and astonishingly cheap, the museums were modern and well designed and the ancient sites really were the most incredible things I have ever laid eyes on.

Thank you for sticking around until the end and reading about my holiday – hopefully there are many more adventures to come!

 

ATHENS TRILOGY | MUSEUMS

ATHENS TRILOGY | MUSEUMS

For me, no city break is complete without several visits to its greatest museums. They are central to any city and are the epicentre of identity for each and every one of them. The entire point of such trips is to gain from the culture of another country and learn from its history. There are very few other places that can open your eyes to and teach you these things in such a way as Athens.

IMG_5187National Archeological Museum

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The National Archeological Museum of Athens is a literal trove of the most amazing things you could ever lay eyes on. The mere idea that some of the objects in the vast collection are thousands of years old is mind-blowing and completely mesmerising. Gold, marble and bronze galore.

IMG_4931The Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum is so beautifully laid out and designed in such a modern and minimalistic way that the exhibits really stand out as they rightly should. They all stand alone and are uninterrupted in expansive, spacious and flowing rooms that are easy to direct.  The huge glass panels allow for glorious views of the Parthenon as seen in the photograph below.

IMG_4936I absolutely love this shot of the Parthenon from the Acropolis Museum. Visiting the museum first and witnessing this view just makes you 10 times more excited to get up there in the following days.

Two other museums that we visited were the Epigraphic Museum (situated next to the National Archeological Museum) and the Museum of the Ancient Agora, both also worth a visit.

As students from an EU country, all of our museum tickets were free of charge which was absolutely amazing as it allowed opportunity for multiple visits and meant no rushing.

http://www.theacropolismuseum.gr/en

http://www.namuseum.gr/wellcome-en.html