• Europe,  France,  Travel

    Nice, La Belle

    In my recent post about Monaco, I mentioned that it is an easy day-trip from Nice! It only seemed natural then to write about Nice as well.  Nice is a beautiful coastal town in Côte d’Azur, the French Riviera. There is so much to do and see in Nice, from it’s pebbled beach up to the Monastère de Cimiez!   This is the first place that I ever took a solo overnight trip!  There are cheap TGV tickets using Ouigo if booking ahead of time with flexible dates.  Throughout my stay, I met many generous and kind locals who gave me great advice and directions! Here are some of the highlights…

  • Europe,  Travel

    Top Two Can’t-Miss Sites in Monaco

    The Principality of Monaco is the second-smallest country in the world – behind Vatican City!  The country is in the French Riviera, along the Mediterranean Sea.  I popped over to Monaco for a day while spending a long weekend in Nice, France.  Monaco is a very quick (and scenic) train-ride from Nice.  Most people associate Monaco with the Monte Carlo Casino and the Grand Prix, but the destination has a lot more to offer.  It’s like visiting a city, but you get to add a whole new country to your list!  If you’re short on time, I recommend visiting two highlights – Le Palais des Princes and Jardin Exotique de Monaco.…

  • Europe,  Spain,  Travel

    Day Trip to Girona and Figueres, Spain

    I always recommend visiting local Tourist Offices when traveling.  They offer a lot of great resources, including (free!) maps and advice.  I like to take a look at the available tours to nearby destinations for ideas and suggestions.  Sometimes I book day-trips through tourist offices, but a lot of times I use the tours as an idea to plan a trip myself! At the Barcelona Tourist Office, I noticed tours for day-trips to Girona and Figueres.  I took a pamphlet with me, did a little research myself, and I found it was easy to book train tickets and visit the cities by myself.  Figueres is a popular destination due to the Teatre-Museu…

  • Europe,  Spain,  Travel

    Exploring Barcelona in 72 Hours

    Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, the Northeastern region in Spain.  This city has so much to offer between the art, architecture, delicious food, and the beach!  To this day, Barcelona is one of my top favorite cities that I have visited.  Here are the Can’t Miss spots when visiting Barcelona: Barri Gòtic – Gothic Quarter The Gothic Quarter is incredibly charming.  The narrow streets are filled with cathedrals, restaurants, and clubs.  It is a stark contrast to La Rambla which is quite open.  The roads make up a myriad and it is fun to guess what is waiting around the next corner.  One of my favorite meals was in Barri Gotic. …

  • Europe,  France,  Travel

    Lille, Ma Ville

    I lived in Lille, France for 8 months between 2016-2017 while I was a Teaching Assistant.  Lille is the capital of Hauts-de-France, the northernmost region of France. This region is relatively new, combining the two former regions of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy.  Lille is specifically located in French Flanders, close to the France/Belgium border.   When applying to the TAPIF program, candidates select three of their top choices of regions where they hope to be assigned.  Luckily for me, I wasn’t assigned to any of my choices!  I was assigned to the Lille region, and I immediately fell in love with it!  The city has so much charm!  There is a…

  • Europe,  France,  Travel

    An Afternoon in Honfleur, France

    When I visited Étretat last month, we rented an Airbnb in Le Havre.  Apparently, my landlady grew up in that town! During an afternoon apéritif with my family at their home next door, she recommended that we stop in Honfleur! She said it was a beautiful and historic french town.  It turned out to be great advice, as Honfleur is only ten minutes out of the way driving from Le Havre to Paris.  We decided to spend a quick afternoon there, before heading to Paris for the weekend. Honfleur is in the French Department of Calvados.  It sits right at the estuary that connects the Seine to the English Channel, just…

  • Europe,  France,  Travel

    Returning to Étretat

    When I was 16 years old, I had an opportunity to go on a ten day trip to Northern France through my high school! Though I feel like I wasn’t old/mature enough to truly appreciate it, the trip was amazing.  We went to Paris (of course!) and then proceeded to other areas in the north.  There are bits that I remember more vividly than others. The one town that absolutely stuck out to me was Étretat! In this town we had a lot of free time.  I broke off from the group with a couple friends and we climbed up to the top of one of the falaises and explored!…

  • Europe,  Travel

    A Tour of Prague, Czech Republic

    Following my visits to the capitals of Hungary and Austria, I finished my February holiday with several days in Prague!  Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and is nicknamed “The City of a Hundred Spires.”  I was actually surprised at how small the historic center was!  Though it is a large city, it has a small town feel with very well preserved architecture. Prague is a beautiful city with lots of history.  Of course, I went on a walking tour as soon as I arrived (shocker!).  There are Sandemans Free Tours in Prague, unlike in Vienna.  This walking tour was one of the longest I’ve been on (3 hours),…

  • Europe,  Travel

    My Visit to Vienna, Austria

    Vienna is the capital of Austria, but I might describe it as the cultural capital of Eastern Europe.  I’ve never had such a culture-filled visit!  There are so many amazing things to do and see in Vienna.  The only downside is that it’s a pretty expensive city!  The prices seemed especially daunting after visiting Budapest, where one euro is 300 Hungarian forint! Heurige Vienna was so fun to visit!  During my February holiday, I was traveling solo.  However, I happened to overlap a day in Vienna with a friend who knew someone living in Wien so we met up for a nice lunch!  We met in the city and rode the…

  • Europe,  Hungary,  Travel

    My Visit to the Labyrinth at Castle Hill

    Before arriving in Budapest, I read briefly about the Labyrinth under Castle Hill.  There are caves and underground tunnels that you can access with tickets or private tours.  The caves sounded super interesting and I wanted to visit at least one of them while in town. After getting to know the city for a couple days, I was a bit jumbled up.  I stopped at a tourist stand to ask how to get to the caves or the labyrinth.  The guide gave me directions to two different underground tunnels available to tourists.  He described “Hospital of the Rock” which was used as a hospital at one time, and a wine…