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2014 Travel, The Paris Edit

13 Aug

I’ve made it to 28 years of life living in England, and I have never experienced Paris. Despite this, it has always been a thing of dreams to me; a city entwined with romance and cloaked in illusion. I can’t help but think of the Chanel advert with Nicole Kidman, where she disappears off into the Parisian night, or alternatively (another Nicole Kidman related daydream) Moulin Rouge, and for this and many other reasons, the city has always been on my list of places I needed to see.


So last weekend, the boy and I packed a bag and headed off for a birthday weekend (his) in Paris. In all honesty I can think of a whole host of other cities he would have rather spent his birthday weekend, but seeing as we couldn’t go for mine he graciously gave his. Because he’s good like that.

Window display in Laduree, home of the French macaron

Window display in Laduree, home of the French macaron

My experience of Paris was slightly different to where it had been positioned in my dreams. It involved food poisoning, closed establishments, delayed flights (both ways) and end of the world style rain. But hey ho, these things happen, and mainly to me. Despite all these things that I feel like were designed to make me giggle rather than cause problems, we had a fantastic weekend. We ate cheese (he) drank wine and coffee, and we moseyed along beautiful streets with stunning architecture, wondering what it would be like if we were Parisian and lived in such a wonderous city.

L'Arc de Triomphe on a grey Saturday

L’Arc de Triomphe on a grey Saturday

Has my opinion changed? No. the boy made a comment when we were walking around that the internet has ruined travel. He thinks that you have seen all these places before, so when you arrive its underwhelming and gone is the sense of surprise you experience when you see something for the first time. I see it from the flip side; I think that the internet has given you the option to choose, allowing you to whittle down the list of places you want to visit until you have an ultimate power bucket list, ready to hit hard and explore.

L'Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France

L’Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France

We were in the city in time to see the parade through the Arc de Triomphe to celebrate 100 years since the start of the war, so were privy to the pomp and circumstance of the army march. They lit the flames and laid the poppies, and then we watched as the canons were fired. It was a real privilege to be there for this occasion, and purely accidently too.

The Eiffel Tower itself

The Eiffel Tower itself

As well as the beautiful postcard ready sights Paris has to offer, the hotel was pretty special. We booked a night in the Hotel Splendor, which was magic themed. The highlight was the staircase, with magician’s hats adorning the banisters. Very unusual!

Notre Dame, sans Hunchback

Notre Dame, sans Hunchback

We also had time to visit Laduree, the winner in French macarons and my inspiration to take a macaron making class. A friend of mine bought me a box of the delightfully coloured marvels when we moved into our old house, and I savoured them like I had never eaten before. Thus began my affair with the macaron, so I was pleased to get in line to view the rows of brilliantly covered sweet treats.

Saint Chappelle, before the end of the world rain began

Saint Chappelle, before the end of the world rain began

Paris, even in the rain and grey still had mystery for me. We visited the Arc de Triomph, The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Saint Chappelle and the Champs Elysees, but didn’t get time to see Montmartre, the Sacre Couer or any of the Bastille.

The Money Shot

The Money Shot

Eiffel Tower | Paris | France

Eiffel Tower | Paris | France

But next time, as in the words of Howard Koch, “We’ll always have Paris”.

Crazy stairwell in our hotel

Crazy stairwell in our hotel

Have you been to Paris? What was your favourite part?

Why Is It ALWAYS Monday??

6 Jun

Point Loma

5 May

A few days ago we went to Point Loma. Its the furthest most western point of California and therefore was a major part of the war effort, and the place where they watched for the Japanese in the First World War after the attack on Pearl Harbor. As you drive up the hill all you can see is rows and rows of military graves, and I couldn’t help but think if you had to be buried somewhere then buried watching out over such beautiful ocean wouldn’t be half bad.

You can stop half way up the hill and go down to sea level; we did and played around in the rock pools. We waded out to the rocks and played around in the water, it was so lovely to be the only three people in such a quiet and thought provoking place. We stayed there for about an hour; me and my Auntie perched on the side of a rock and my sister fishing in the rock pools for crabs, fish and other interesting creatures.

It was so pretty and the rocks looked like they’re designed by some clever interior designer, not faded from decades of the wind and water hitting the surfaces to shave it into tiny little shelves; layers of sandstone and intricate horizontal lines.

The lighthouse at Point Loma was interesting too; before the war effort it was manned by one solitary family who kept animals and used the rain water for drinking. They had two little children whose lives were spent carving wooden toys from logs to keep them occupied, and the family dedicated their live to ensuring that ships were guided easily into the by and sailors didn’t lose their lives on the treacherous rocks.

I found it really interesting to see how people lived their lives in centuries past and if you stood still enough you could almost feel the previous people around you; the hustle and bustle of soldiers moving equipment with the fear of the Japanese attack in the air, or previously the little children who made those quiet little rock pools their entertainment for the day. It was pretty humbling.

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

4 May


They weren’t wrong were they?

Old Town San Diego

3 May

Last year when we were here we didn’t make it into San Diego that much, so my sister wanted us to go to Old Town, which is now a national park, and ride thetrolley bus round the city.

The old town is really unusual; like stepping back into the past and exactly how I would imagine America when it was more desert and less powerhouse to the world.

Considered the birthplace of California (or at least the California that we know today) the town was the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement in California. It was the home of the first mission that became the central part of the colonisation of the west of America. At the base of the hill in 1820’s, a small Mexican community was formed and by 1835 had attained the status of El Pueblo de San Diego. In 1846, a U.S. Navy Lieutenant and a Marine Lieutenant, raised the American flag in the Old Town San Diego Plaza.

Above is one of the little shops in the town (all designed to be with the times) and there are grocery stores, churches and little market stalls all along the same lines.

The town’s saloon was covered in beautiful flowers and looked so pretty in the sun (above).

Couldn’t help but smile when I saw this in the window of a shop by where we ate. It wasn’t strictly in the Old Town as the trolley takes you round the Coronado and through Downtown San Diego, but it made me think of my friends.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Round

30 Apr

Torrey Pines State Reserve

25 Apr

Yesterday my sister decided it would be nice for us to go for (another!) walk at Torrey Pines State Reserve. Its about a ten minute drive from the house, and its a massive hill.

I felt duped. Yes, it was going to be gorgeous when we got to the top, but the ten minute walk that I had been promised was in fact a super steep incline, and it was HOT! it also took at least half an hour. To add to the insult, there were people running and cycling up the hill, looking effortless, while I wanted to die. They were also dressed in jackets and jumpers, while I struggled up the hill in my shorts and vest top. Damn them for making it look so easy!!

Once we got to the top though, the view was spectacular, and we then took the cliff walk down to the beach and walked back along the coast line. It was beautiful with the cliffs behind us and the waves to our left. There were people surfing and kids playing in the crash, but it was getting hot and we wanted lunch so we headed home.

Danielle had asked me to smile for this pic, but by this point we were only a third of the way up the mountain, and I was fed up.

(above) Little Bean on the beach, chasing the waves. (below) the view from the high point on the reserve.

La Jolla

24 Apr

La Jolla is one of my favourite places in the world. When the sun shines it is like paradise; these sparkles in the cove and you can watch the seals and sealions in the wild, mixing seamlessly with the people scuba diving off the shore.You can take a walk around the sea wall and get right out in the water, and although it can be a little cold with the wind coming off the water, its beautiful. It also gives you a completely different view on the stunning coast line, and is gorgeous.

My sister and I went climbing on the cliffs, and I managed to get stuck. Im pretty scared of heights, so I was dead proud that she was able to ake this pic of me with my leg hanging off the cliff (reckless, moi? Definitely not!!) I had to take a different route back because although i had managed to jump what was basically a third of a meter hole on the way over, I could see all the way down on the way back and was totally frozen. My sister was telling me she would hold her hand out and it was small, but I could just see myself falling to my death. In truth, I don’t think I would have even fit down the gap!

On the way back we were stopped at the lights with the roof down, and I remember thinking how lucky I was to be in the sun, with my family. I totally tempted fate, the next thing I knew a pelican pooped on me. I spent the twenty minute drive home cursing wildlife and wiping poop off myself. I got home and went straight in the shower. Thats the Laura luck!!

San Diego

22 Apr

I don’t have a lot of time today but I thought I would share with you some of the pictures I have taken in my first week in California. This week has just been chilled, but next week we are going to Los Angeles, and the week after we plan to camp in the Grand Canyon, so it will get a little more exciting! Right now Im just chilling out with my family and finding it increasingly difficult to be motivated to write every day!

The images above and below are at the Bluffs at Del Mar; as you drive down Del Mar Heights Road from our house you can see the ocean sparkling, its so beautiful. The Bluffs are the cliffs that run above the beach and along the train line, and its such a stunning walk to take.

The image below was taken on the dog beach at Del Mar; we weren’t there for long as one of the dogs got in a fight with someone elses and part of her ear got bitten off. It was quite distressing for everyone and Shade now has to wear a cone on her head to stop her from shaking here ears and opening the wound again. Her poor little ear!

Passionate about Portugal

30 Mar

The Algarve is a fantastic destination for some European sun, and I particularly like Tavira. My grandparents have had a house there for nearly ten years, but this isn’t why I keep going back. I love the people, the weather and the tiny little fishing villages that pepper the shores.

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