All posts tagged: Travel

5️⃣🏘🇮🇹

Today is the first day of NaBloPoMo/NanoPoblano aka National Blog Posting Month! I’m going to (attempt to) make a post each day in the month of November!!since I’m on vacation for a few days and only have my phone to post, here’s a little sneak peek of a post I’ll probably expand on this month. Can you figure out what I did today based on the emoji?? 🚊💺😴🎟🔜1️⃣        ℹ️💁🚶‍↗️↗️↗️🌞⛪️📸↘️↘️↘️😰🍞😋 🏞🚷😕 🚉🔜2️⃣        ℹ💁🚶‍↪️👀🏘⤴️👀🚤⤵️📸☕️🍷😍😍😍📸🌞 🚉🔜3️⃣🤔❌4⃣        🚶‍↘️➡️↗️↘️↪️🏖↩️👀🍦🍋🍯😍😋🌤        🚶‍⤴️↗️↗️⬆️⬆️☀️😳😰😩💦🆙🚶‍➡️➡️➡️🌅😍📸➡️➡️↘️↘️⤵️➡️🤗5⃣🔚 👀🍕🍝🍷🇮🇹 🕗😳🏃‍🚊🔙 🌧😊😴💤👍 ❂

Thanks / No Thanks

Well, all of a sudden I’ve been in France for a full month! Boy has it flown by or what?! Little by little I’ve been settling into Marseille, into my new job, into different expectations and realities, with help from so many people (and in despite of some others…) Thanks to my mom who dropped me off at the airport. No thanks to my 25kg suitcase (plus 2 other bags). Thanks to the AirFrance employee who let the extra 2 kilos slide with no fee. No thanks to the diva in front of me in the ridiculously congested customs line at Charles de Gaulle airport who yelled at me for apparently cutting her in line when I was merely trying to take the outside lane on a turn, rather than bottleneck all 3048302 of us through the inside curve. Thanks to whatever caused a ten minute delay of my TGV that allowed me to make it on with a few minutes to spare! No thanks to metros without escalators, train platforms with large gaps, cobblestones and sidewalks full of dog …

the gratte-frog

The four of us piled into our Airbnb apartment in Montpellier, France. As my friends began to change into their pajamas and brush their teeth, I examined the bookshelves: A full set of hardback Harry Potter books; several shelves of paperbacks, their titles written upside-down as is the way with French publishers; a small CD collection and an unplugged stereo; three little wooden frogs, decreasing in size. I now know these small wooden figures are called Frog Rasps, or güiros, a type of Latin American percussion instrument. But at the time, I just thought they were funny. Because we are hilarious, Julia and I decided to play a prank on Hannah and Rachel, who were quietly reading in the bed they were sharing in the other room. We waited until it was absolutely. quiet. and then… brrrrrrr-ap! , brrrrrrr-ap! the sound of the mallet stroking the frog’s bumpy back. “What the hell was that?!” we heard from the other side of the curtain that separated the rooms. We had already dissolved into giggles. Because apparently we are 12. …

sensing scents

These days, I have been looking just about everywhere for inspiration : scrolling through my old photos on Flickr, listening in on conversations in the hallways, eating dinner, reflecting on my habits or daily experiences. Today I found it in an old crumpled up bottle of lotion on my dresser. I don’t use it that often anymore because it’s almost completely used up, and I have bigger, newer bottles to try. But I haven’t thrown it away yet because it’s a French brand that isn’t widely available in the US and I can be a little bit of a hoarder when it comes to nostalgic memorabilia. Plus, it’s still got a few good uses left. I originally bought it sometime last February or March to use during travel. The bigger bottles I already had were too cumbersome to pack and not allowed in carry-ons due to their size. This little bottle was not only the perfect portable size, but also multi-purpose: it’s extra light formula was perfect as both a body and face lotion! When I reached for …

the ultimate throwback thursday

In 1999, my family spent several weeks of our summer vacation in Spain. We used a family friend’s tiny guest apartment in Madrid as a “home base” to travel all around the country. At 7 years old, I can’t pretend that I remember much about the trip beyond some sporadic memories, but a big photo album full of shots from the trip helps. Some of my favorite pictures were taken in a small town just outside of Madrid called Segovia. Its massive Roman aqueduct that cuts through the center of the town and the XII century Alcázar have led to Segovia being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. What I remember most from visiting Segovia is seeing dozens of cows lounging underneath the immense arches of the aqueduct and a roomful of real suits of armor filling the Alcázar, which was like something out of a storybook or movie! I have looked at these photos countless times, and (with the exception of the acqueduct photo) I had never had a single clue where they were taken. We spent …

I’m basically famous now

Several months ago, I published this post about everything I love about my adopted French hometown of Chambéry, following a National Geographic Intelligent Travel questionnaire. After revamping my answers a few months ago and sending it in to be considered for the site, I got word yesterday that Intelligent Travel decided to publish my post as part of their weekly “I Heart My City” feature!! They made a few edits to make it more consistent with their questions, and they added a bunch of flickr photos, some of which I don’t even recognize where they were taken….but hey! It’s still pretty cool. I hope that this highlight will encourage people to consider visiting this little corner of the world 🙂 And I hope some of you will also be encouraged to publish similar pieces on your own blogs, and to share them with National Geographic. Then maybe you, too, will feel as famous as I do today !! ❂

Postcard from London

Once upon a time, many moons ago, I went to London. I had originally planned to go way back in February to see a play my friend Natalia directed, but it ended up not working out. Still, I couldn’t leave the continent without visiting the theatre capital of Europe, so I planned a few days’ visit in between moving out of Chambéry and hopping on my flight back to DC. After a 5am wake up call to lug my hundreds of pounds of luggage across cobblestones, onto two different trains, through the airport, and across Paris to catch the Eurostar, I was 100% exhausted, and in a very strange mood…leaving my French home probably forever, saying goodbye to dear friends, and suddenly being thrust back into an English-speaking country (who know how disorienting that would be?!). So I wanted to keep my plans as uncomplicated as possible. The universe must have picked up on some of those karmic vibrations or something, because after being in London for less than one day, it helped my trip become simple in a way …