LYON & GENEVA w/ DAD

Last week marked the visit of my first guest here in Lyon, my dad. My mum will be the second, a week today and Roz, my third on 18th May! Although I love the idea of exploring new places and even old ones by myself, a lot of the time I do wish I had somebody with me. I think that you see places completely differently depending on your company. For example, my dad is a walker. So, although I have now been in Lyon for 2 whole months, by walking different routes last week I gained a totally new perspective and mental mapping out of the city. We also took one of those sight-seeing city buses on the rainiest day of his visit which again allowed me to see Lyon much differently than before. You miss so much by being lazy and taking the metro everywhere. I’ve been trying harder recently to look up and around rather than down at the ground or my Apple Maps – though it can prove a little tricky when you know how much dog poo is around. For me, having somebody visiting also forces me out of my room in which I feel so comfortable. That’s a good thing too because I always have a good day once I’m out and about.

17 / 3 / 2018 GENEVA

 

 

On Saturday, we visited Geneva. We took the Flixbus from Lyon Perrache station, it only took a couple of hours. The weather wasn’t great and unfortunately visibility was low . It was bitterly cold but we had come wrapped up and prepared. We took a little walk along the lake to see the famous Jet d’Eau and then headed to the town centre, past the windows of very expensive shops and through some of the old streets. We tried out some Swiss Easter chocolate and took a ride on the little solar-powered electric train along some of the lake, before heading lakeside in the other direction towards a very photogenic lighthouse and another great view of the Jet d’Eau before dinner.

 

18 / 3 / 2018 VIEUX LYON & BASILICA OF NOTRE-DAME DE FOURVIÈRE

 

 

Sunday was my dad’s last day in Lyon and we had already planned to visit Vieux Lyon and climb up to the Notre-Dame de Fourvière. Again, the weather didn’t treat us too well but it didn’t rain so that’s a plus and the views were vast and pretty spectacular regardless (I look forward to another hike up there with you Mum, we all know how much you love a church on holiday). The old town of Lyon is really beautiful, with all of its wonky buildings and ochre palette. It’s so typically a European old town and almost feels like a movie set. A living, breathing (if kinda tourist-y) step back in time which is always one of my favourite parts of cities and holidays. We grabbed lunch from a beautiful little bakery right in the heart of Vieux Lyon, in the form of two sandwiches and a HUGE pastry. I had no idea what the pastry was when I added it to the order but it was bloody delicious. I’ve since researched and it was an allumette (a lyonnais speciality apparently, as seen below) made from pink pralines – how exotic! We finished the day with an episode of the Crown and an Indian takeaway (#BritsAbroad).

 

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P.S. To my dad, thank you so much (again, again!) for visiting me, for the day trip to Geneva and for all of the (mainly edible) treats.

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IN PARIS WITH YOU

Last weekend I visited one of my best friends in Paris, where she is now living and working for the second half of her year abroad. I think it’s pretty self-evident that my experience in Paris would have been far different and let’s face it, so much better had our terms in Paris coincided. One of the main problems that I faced in Paris was loneliness, making friends and even having enough confidence to leave my room some days. I can say without a doubt that having the bubbly, sociable butterfly that is Roz Farr there with me would have fixed all of these troubles and Paris would have been much more successful for me in different ways than it perhaps was. Anyway, enough of that and let’s get onto my little weekend break and how Paris compares as a tourist to as a demi-resident / billy-no-mates who can’t afford anything after a weekly shop and a takeout coffee nor can they really communicate very well with anybody, not that there’s anybody to communicate with etc, etc.

10 / 3 / 2018

So here’s a little about my cheeky weekend away in the city of lurrve with my best mate. I arrived at 15.30 on Saturday 10th March after a 6 hour Flixbus from Lyon. After a little miscommunication, we were finally reunited (hurrah!) and headed straight to take some cute pics on the most instagrammable street I’ve ever seen in my life, Rue Crémieux.

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Roz @ Rue Crémieux
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Dream Home

This was swiftly followed by a quick stop at the Bastille en route to a pre-dinner freshen up. We had already chosen our supper destination based on Trip Advisor reviews and mouth-watering instragrams under #eastmamma and #bigmammagroup. Nothing was exaggerated, the truffle pasta was indeed to die for and we shared a lovely bottle of wine. Get there early, especially if you’re headed there on a Saturday like us because you will have to queue to be seated or even to be put on the bookings for later that evening.

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Roz w/ food & wine @ East Mamma

 

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Me w/ wine @ East Mamma
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LA PÂTE À LA TRUFFE  @ EAST MAMMA

11 / 3 / 2018

We used Sunday as our main tourist-y day and set out to see the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, perfect photo opportunities on a sunny day (it’s got to be done) and the Parc du Champ-de-Mars being an ideal lunch spot for a little Sunday picnic.

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Roz & Tour Eiffel
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The 80s called and they’d like my denim suit back. Tant pis!
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Very happy Roz w/ picnic
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Me w/ picnic

Our picnic spot was also the sight of my first ever real-life encounter with the well known, French cliché “c’est la vie”, though it was under slightly different circumstances than one might expect. The gentleman’s dog had decided that our picnic spot was better suited as his toilet.

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Roz w/ Arc de Triomphe
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Me @ Arc de Triomphe
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And again.
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Roz @ Arc de Triomphe 2.0
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Looking like a Cool Coffee Mom

We spent the early evening at a café listening to some very cool jazz and got Chinese food a little later on (an experience in itself), before heading back to bed and booking a holiday to Palermo with our dear friend Emma! Although I’m  feeling that holiday hangover / weekend blues on this Tuesday evening before an early start tomorrow, I had an absolute blast this weekend AND my dad is visiting me this week! We’re even off to Geneva on Saturday, so deffo stay tuned for that – I hear it’s great.

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!!)

 

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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LUNCH at MADAME FROMAGE

Having wanted to lunch at ‘Madame Fromage’ since starting university in Cardiff back in September, I finally got round to going last week and I have to say it did not disappoint. Located in one of the pretty Cardiff arcades, it makes for the perfect lunching spot.

Upon arrival, we were told that there would be up to a half hour wait for food which we didn’t mind and proceeded to take a table for two (the food only actually took 15-20 minutes to arrive). We were super hungry as we had been saving ourselves for a big late lunch, so we ordered the large cheeseboard and a Welsh Rarebit to share, as seen below.

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The large cheeseboard shown above consisted of more than 10 cheeses to sample, walnuts, gherkins, apple slices, some pickle, a large mixed salad and was served with a selection of bread, and butter (the board was much bigger than it looks in these photos and we had to do some rearranging to fit it onto the table). It also comes in a mini version, more suitable for one. The selection of cheeses was delightful and I have to say there wasn’t one that did not please. As for the Welsh Rarebit, this was just as delicious and we could have definitely managed another slice, I’m sure.

IMG_0848The Specials Board (12/2/16)

We were so impressed by all of the yummy cheesy goodies on offer, that we are already planning the next lunch at ‘Madame Fromage’.

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FEATURED IMAGE TAKEN FROM http://www.visitcardiff.com/eatdrink/madame-fromage/ (Because mine looked rubbish)

Unfortunately, all of the photos for this post were taken on my iPhone 5 rather than my DSLR so I must apologise for the photo quality this time and promise to take my camera with me more often!

ATHENS TRILOGY | FOOD & DRINK

Just a quick disclaimer before I begin; the plan was to eat as authentically Greek as possible and we did in fact stick to this plan as much as the limited selection of photos may beg to differ. However, unfortunately some of the local delicacies are not the most photogenic of dishes, despite being delicious and therefore will not be making an appearance.

IMG_4944A Greek coffee and Greek yogurt with honey and walnut topping at Fresko after the first trip to the Acropolis Museum.

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One pork and one vegetarian souvlaki from the highly recommended Kalyvas (http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g189400-d9458162-Reviews-Kalyvas-Athens_Attica.htmlwhich lived up to its recommendations.

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It would be impossible to talk about the food we ate in Athens without mentioning the unbelievable price. For under €30 we had three courses and wine/beer on two occasions. By sticking to our Air B&B host’s recommendations we economically ate like royalty for the entirety of our trip, constantly considering what the price may have been on a city break in other European capital cities.

IMG_5314One of many delights purchased from the ‘local’ bakery, a spinach and feta pastry.

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IMG_5152Accidentally oversized snack-stop at Fish Café

The following links are to the recommended eateries we were particularly impressed by:

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g189400-d6721199-Reviews-Dio_Dekares_I_Oka-Athens_Attica.html

The service here was second to none, the waitress’ English was flawless and she took time to speak to us at great length. We ordered bread and tzatsiki, two traditional hot Greek mains, four crispy chocolate wafery things filled with chocolate creme and a bottle of white wine and the bill came to less than €30! The food was undoubtedly really yummy, but it was blown out of the water by the last meal of our trip.

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g189400-d4106733-Reviews-Olympiou_Amalthia-Athens_Attica.html

Again, the service here was superb and the waitress was super lovely! This time however, the food was just sublime. The dishes came out individually making them perfect for sharing and we were even given a starter (‘Greek Ratatouille’) and a little pudding (Greek yogurt and honey) that we hadn’t ordered, on the house! What we did order was bread, octopus and pickled veg, battered zucchini balls and tzatsiki, sausages and mustard (for Tom), sardines (for me), a litre of beer and a lemonade – a real feast, again for under €30.

IMG_5475Delicious homemade (not by me) Greek salad and tzatziki … and some chocolate milk.

The link to the Air B&B apartment which was also really great: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/6515130