live slow, love nature, be adventurous

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Our Scotland Itinerary Part I

About a year from now, we set out on our journey to Scotland. I have written tons about this trip already and this is likely going to be the last post on this country in a while, so I thought it was about time to share the itinerary of our travels. We had quite an ambitious and sometimes stressful plan, but I am so happy that we got to experience all of our adventures. Today, I am going to share the first week of our journey and the second week is going to come up soon.

Day 1: Aberdeen

 photo 01_AberdeenBeachSunset_zpsc0cec0aa.jpg

 

We left Germany in the early morning hours and flew to Aberdeen. After checking into our hotel, we went to the beach where my camera died on me and continued to walk through the city, exploring the university grounds and some of the local museums. We went back to the beach at night with a charged camera and I took some of my favorite photographs of the trip. Aberdeen is not a must-visit destination in Scotland, in my opinion, but if this is the airport you’re arriving at, it might be worth it to spend a couple of hours there.

 

Day 2: Glen Grant Distillery

 photo 02_GlenGrantWhiskyDistilleryScotlandElgin_zps0817c566.jpg

 

On our second day, we took the train from Aberdeen to Elgin and visited Glen Grant Distillery where we got introduced into the mystery of Scottish Whisky. Because we happened to be the only people visiting at the time, we ended up having a private tour by default. Glen Grant Distillery also had a beautiful garden where we went for a walk, before we headed back to Elgin and got on the train to Inverness, our base for the next couple of days.

 

Day 3: Culloden Battlefield & Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle

 photo 04_CullodenBattlefieldInvernessScotland_zps491a52a0.jpg

 

Early in the morning, we left Inverness to visit Culloden Battlefield, the ground of Scotland’s most iconic battle. The visitor centre had a very interesting historical museum (yes, that’s possible) and the audio-guide over the battlefield made us understand the battle in a more profound way. If you’re interested in history and especially military history, you shouldn’t skip out on this place.

 photo 03_LochNessUrquhartCastleScotland_zps4438c6ac.jpg

 

In the afternoon, we took a bus to Scotland’s most famous tourist attraction, Loch Ness. We didn’t catch a glimpse of Nessie, but spent the rest of the day walking around the ruins of Urquhart Castle, right at the shores of Loch Ness. Urquhart Castle looks exactly how you would an old Scottish castle to look like and its unique location definitely makes for a stunning vista!

 

Day 4: The Cairngorms

 photo 05_CairngormsNationalParkHikingView_zps2326b3a7.jpg

 

On the fourth day, we set out to the Cairngorms National Park to do some hiking. We took the bus from Inverness to Aviemore (a town I really want to visit in winter as well!) and then another up the mountains to the Cairngorm Mountain Railway. We hiked up to the summit of the mountain from which we had a wonderful view of the surrounding landscape, but also froze our butts off. I was certainly happy to have bought a scarf at Primark earlier that day.

 

Day 5: Dunrobin Castle

 photo 06_DunrobinCastleScotland_zpsf94cadd5.jpg

 

The next day, we headed up north to Dunrobin Castle that still holds a spot in my heart as my favorite castle. It is located on a hill right by sea and has a gorgeous green garden. The highlight of the visit for us was the bird show that is held twice a day – it was such a great experience! Afterwards, my boyfriend decided it was time for him to get a falcon, whereas I was ready to embrace my inner Harry Potter and get an owl.

 

Day 6: Isle of Lewis

 photo 07_UllapooltoStornowayFerryLink_zps9e0e3538.jpg

 

We left Inverness the next day and went to Ullapool from where we took the ferry to the Isle of Lewis on the Outer Hebrides. It was a whirlwind adventure because we only had 24 hours on this archipelago and I wished we could have stayed longer. We saw the Stone Circle of Callanish and drove around the island by bus. We spent our night at a beautiful B&B on the Isle of Harris.

 

 photo 08_CallanishOuterHebridesStoneCircle_zps2a9c3508.jpg

 

Day 7: Isle of Skye – Getting Lost

 photo 09_IsleofHarrisSunrise_zps6cda29a8.jpg

 

After going for a walk on the Isle of Harris in the early morning hours, we left the Outer Hebrides for the famous Isle of Skye. We went hiking in the Quiraing, got lost, missed our bus and then met a super friendly Scottish couple that saved the day. Skye was beautiful, but this day was probably are lowlight of our journey, where it now for the friendliness we encountered that day.

 

 photo 10_ScotlandIsleofSkyeQuiraing_zps5cd7477c.jpg

 

Our second week is coming up soon! Get ready for Glen Coe, Loch Lomond, Stirling and Edinburgh!

 

 photo Untitled.png

 

 

A Compass Rose

I’m linking up with Belinda and Bonnie Rose for Travel Tuesday!

Share:

Monday, July 22, 2013

Weekly Wishes #5 – Change Is Good

 photo WeeklyWishesNectarCollective_zps84c8738c.png

 

I feel like I should change the name of this series from ‚Weekly Wishes‘ to ‚Melanie goes to Norway and crazy in the process‘ because looking at my latest posts and my current state of mind, this seems a more adequate title. I’m leaving Germany at the end of this week and I can’t believe this has come up so fast! I actually feel a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of living in another country soon – much more overwhelmed than when I went to Canada. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited, but at the same time oh so nervous.

My goal for last week was to savor my time in Germany and I don’t know if I’ve done such a good job at that. I spent lots of time with Samuel, but apart from that I feel like all I ever do is run around preparing things for my upcoming move. I don’t really have time to just stop and rest for a moment. I fear that I am missing out on something and frankly, it’s just stressing me out.

So, this week my goal is to worry and stress out less about my move. I know it’s yet another abstract wish, but something that I really, really hope to accomplish this week. Every time I feel overwhelmed by things, I will take a step back and a deep breath and tell myself that everything will be fine. After all, I already decided that this year is going to be fabulous – I just need to remind myself of that more often.

I think this feeling is completely natural, when you’re standing at the beginning of a new chapter, whether it’s moving abroad, starting a new job or changing schools. Change is scary, because we don’t know what’s coming next, but at the same time change is also essential for a to move forward. Life should never be stagnant. Life should always be moving and every once in a while, that’s going to require us to be nervous and unsure of things.

But in the end, our fears from now will seem silly, the change that we were so nervous about will have become a comfortable routine and we will wonder how we have lived before.

 

How do you deal with change?

 

 photo Untitled.png

 

I’m linking up with Melyssa from The Nectar Collective for Weekly Wishes.

Share:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

4 Things I Learned In My First Month Of Blogging

 photo WhatIlearned_zpsa08386df.png

 

I know that my blog has technically been around for a lot longer than just a month, but as far as I’m concerned I only really started blogging in Mid-June. Before that I was only posting sporadically and I wasn’t connecting with other people and actively trying to get my blog out there. Instead I was an island in blogging land and therefore didn’t really consider myself to be a blogger.

Since then, it’s like a switch on a light bulb has finally been turned on: I’ve gotten really into blogging and all it entails and I haven’t looked back since. In this last month, I have learned a lot of things about blogging and realized some things that I wasn’t aware of before and today I wanted to share some of these epiphanies with you.


If you’ve been blogging for a while already, you may not consider these things to be special, but as a blogging newbie, I’m in awe that I didn’t know these things before!

1. It’s all about connecting

In my opinion, your blog is a success when you love what you’re doing. Blogging is not a chore – it’s an fun activity. And the thing that makes it so fun is connecting and networking with other bloggers. We may all have our own little blogs, but in the end, blogging really is just one big community. In my short time of blogging, I have already met so many interesting and inspiring women and I’m so looking forward to getting to know more people and deepening the relationships I have already developed.

I could write a whole post just on how to connect with other bloggers, but it all comes down to two things: Twitter and comments. I would even argue that Twitter is the most important tool you have when you first start out blogging. Follow your favorite bloggers, respond to their tweets and don’t be shy – if people didn’t want to talk on Twitter, they wouldn’t have an account.

Leaving meaningful comments on other blogs that interact with the content of the post and sharing your own feeling and experiences with the other blogger is another good way to connect with other people. I have almost always received a response when I left a thoughtful comment on another blog and even managed to build up some great blogging friendships. (I’m looking at you Erika!)

Likewise, make sure you respond to as many comments you receive as possible. I know it can be hard (my blog is so small and I still often don’t manage to respond to every single comment), but do your best to acknowledge your readers. Meeting other people makes your blogging experience richer, but you can’t just sit back and wait for other people to reach out to you. You need to take the first step yourself, but other bloggers are generally super welcoming people.

 

 photo GreecePatrasSea_zpse99beefa.jpg

 

2. It’s an investment

Blogging requires you to make an investment. It’s a financial investment, if you want to get a custom domain, have someone design the blog for you and sponsor another blog. You can easily control the amount of money you spend on blog, but chances are you will spend some.

I knew that I would probably invest some money in my blog, but what I wasn’t quite prepared to at first was the amount of time I would spend on blogging each week. My boyfriend once asked me how I manage to write as much as I write right now – it’s not like I don’t have anything else to do. And yes, blogging does take a lot of time. Between writing my posts,editing pictures, responding to comments and being active on Social Media, I don’t even want to know how much time I invest into blogging. And a lot of bloggers probably spend much more time doing their thing than I do!

The truth is: If you really want to make something happen, you will find a way to do so. This might obviously not be feasible for every single one of us, but if you want to post multiple times a week, you sometimes have to make yourself sit down and just work. I enjoy what I am doing, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. I don’t believe that good things come to those who wait – I think they came to those who are patient, while still working hard.

3. It’s an emotional drain

Yes, blogging is fun. I love it. But running a blog can also result in a big emotional drain.

My blog is constantly on mind. I think about how I can improve my content, how I can my blog more attractive for readers and about what I am going to write next week. And I wonder if people are enjoying what they’re reading. My blog is my baby. And I want other people to love my baby as much as I do. I’m emotionally invested.

I think it’s a good thing that I feel so connected to my blog, because it makes me want to go the extra mile. It makes me take this seriously. But at the same time it’s a slippery slope to walk: It’s easy to start comparing one’s blog with other blog’s that have been around for a much longer time and to wonder how other bloggers manage to bring out great content, while still managing their personal and professional lives and an active presence on Social Media.

But in the end, it all just is a learning process. You learn to deal with those feelings and you learn to concentrate on the things that are really important. In the end, for most of us blogging is a hobby. It doesn’t have to be butterflies all the time, but your blog shouldn’t stress you out or make you feel inadequate. Take it one step at a time!

 

 photo GreekSea_zpsfbd719df.jpg

 

4. It’s the best thing to do

But the biggest – and most surprising – thing that I learned this month is that I really, really love it! Blogging allows me to do so many things – I write, I take photographs and edit them, I meet awesome people. For now, I really don’t see an end to this. Is it hard at times? Heck, yes! But there’s also nothing as rewarding as seeing people react well with your content.

I don’t know where this blog will take me in the future. But I’m excited about the journey and can’t wait to share more with you soon. It may not last for ever, but I want to make sure that while the passion is there, I am going to make the most of it! Are you coming along?

 

What were some things you didn’t know before you started blogging?

 

 photo Untitled.png

Share:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Best Kept Secret of Versailles: Le Petit Trianon

 photo 01_TempleDAmourPetitTrianonVersailles_zps6f9f08c1.jpg

 

My favorite part of the Chateau de Versailles just outside of Paris is not the palace itself. It’s also not the vast French garden with its fountains and high hedges. Instead, it’s an unassuming place just outside the palace grounds called Le Petit Trianon, also known as Marie Antoinette’s estate. The former Queen of France was gifted this place by her husband Louis XVI. and this was were she would go to when she wanted to escape the rigid protocol of the court.

It’s an oasis of peace and calmness faraway from the masses of people that pour into Versailles every single day. Where the Chateau is ostentatious, the Trianon is humble. Where the Gardens of the palace are constructed by strict geometric rules, these gardens give the appearance of having been left to nature. The Trianon is less formal, less stiff, but much more unique and that’s why I love this place so much.

 

 photo 02_PetitTrianonVersailles_zps8d0536b8.jpg

 

The Petit Trianon is a small building that is more reminiscent of a beautiful country mansion, than a royal palace. Many of the castle along the Loire are more grand than this building. It has a sister building called the Grand Trianon and both are located at the very end of the palace gardens. Leaving the chateau behind you, you head towards the Le Grand Canal where you leave the Palace Grounds (keep your ticket, so you can enter again later) and turn to the right. You’ll immediately leave behind the bustle of the chateau and enter the world of rural France.

The biggest attraction of Marie Antoinette’s estate is not the Trianon itself, though, but the adjacent gardens. I could spend hours there, because there are just so many things to discover. I greatly prefer the grounds of the Petit Trianon to the gardens of the chateau, simply because this one actually showcases nature.

 

  photo 03_TempleDAmourVersaillesPetitTrianon_zps8be14868.jpg  photo 05_thecouple_zps529b2c8f.jpg  photo 06_Swan_zpscd71e3db.jpg

 photo 07_HamelautMarieAntoinettePetitTrianonVersailles_zps8c906128.jpg

 

Marie Antoinette had a small village for herself and her children erected called Hameau de la Reine where she reenacted the simple rural life. I don’t have to mention that the farmers of France who would later in part be responsible for the French Revolution that cost Marie Antoinette her head didn’t live as lavishly as she did in her fairytale dream world.

 

 photo 08_Gardens_zpsfd72da3e.jpg  photo 09_GardensVersailles_zps0f968156.jpg  photo 09_HamelautVersailles_zps25be5fb1.jpg   photo 09_VegetableGardensVersailles_zps64be0a37.jpg  photo 10_GoatsVersailles_zps549b056b.jpg

 

One big attractions are all the animals that are living in Hameau de la Reine.There are goats, cows, chicken, donkeys and pigs and I really think this is how animals should be living: With plenty of space on their meadows.

 

 photo 11_Goat_zps10534d60.jpg  photo 12_Thisislife_zpsb1bd1010.jpg

 

This guy has understood what life is all about.

 

 photo 13_AnimalsinVersailles_zps65d9ed7f.jpg

 

If you want to see more of this place, you should also check out Jay’s recent post on Marie Antoinette’s Estate. And in case you’re going to Paris soon and want to know some of my favorite spots in the city, I posted my perfect day in Paris last Tuesday!

 

traveltueslinkup

 

Today I’m linking up with Bonnie and Belinda for Travel Tuesday again. Check out all the great other travel posts and get to know some fellow bloggers! 

What’s your favorite spot in Versailles?

 

 photo Untitled.png
Share:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Weekly Wishes #4 – Savoring my time in Germany

 photo WeeklyWishesNectarCollectiveMelanieFontaineflowers_zps7f793474.jpg

 

It’s time for Weekly Wishes again and I really cannot fathom how quickly this week has passed! I once again want to thank you all for the continued support and love I receive on these posts – it honestly takes my breath away! Melyssa really has build up the best and most encouraging community I could think of and I honestly don’t remember how life was before.

My goal for last week was to stay on top of my planning and to write a to-do list every night for the following day – on paper. I’m moving to Norway soon and there were still so many things I needed to do and I feared I would lose sight of everything. So how did I do? Well… good news first, I did almost all the things I needed to do. But I didn’t write a to-do-list every night. I tried, but soon realized that I was never checking that list anyway, so after a while I just didn’t bother anymore.

And I don’t regret it either. Everybody has his own way of planning and organizing and physically writing down things just doesn’t cut it for me. In the end, the important thing is to get stuff done, tough, and not how you manage to do so. I like to note down things on my phone in the spur of the moment because it’s just the easiest and most convenient way for me and that’s okay.

Now what about this week? I don’t have a lot of time left in Germany. And as I’ve stated above, time just seems to fly right now! And while I’m excited to leave for Norway, there are still so many things I want to do in Germany. First and foremost, I still want to spend time with my family, friends and – of course – Samuel. I really want to concentrate on savoring my last weeks in Germany, instead of stressing out about the future.

What I need to do first is set up meetings with the friends I still want to see before leaving. Most of them don’t live in my town, so there’s some planning required. Samuel and me can be more spontaneous, but I still want to compile a list of things and activities for us to do before we part.

This goal – savoring my time in Germany – is a bit abstract, but so important for me at this time. I know I will be back in Germany before I know it, but I still want to say goodbye properly.

To all expats out there: What did you do in the weeks leading up to leaving your home country? How did you feel: Excited, nervous or a mixture of both?

 

 photo Untitled.png

 

I’m once again linking up with Melyssa from The Nectar Collective for Weekly Wishes

Share:

Saturday, July 13, 2013

How to travel Scotland with Public Transport

 photo 01_AberdeenCityGreybackground2_zpsd4d3aebb.png

 

Today, I’m excited to bring you the second installment of my ‘Travel Tips for Scotland’ series! Don’t forget to check out the first post ‘An Introduction to traveling Scotland’, in case you have missed it! This time, I will give you some tips on getting around Scotland without a car.

I should start out with a disclaimer: I love traveling by car. It is actually my favorite way of traveling. I love to be able to go wherever I want and whenever I want and there’s nothing like the luxury of stopping whenever there is something exciting to see. But here’s the thing: Samuel and me are in the beginning of our twenties. And that means we’re in the age group that companies really don’t want to hire cars to, because – statistically – we’re much more likely to drive recklessly and get into accidents. As a result there are supplemental fees for young drivers that make the expensive act of hiring a car even more expensive – and therefore we elected to use Public Transport instead.

If you’re concerned that you won’t get anywhere if you don’t travel by car, then don’t worry! Scotland has a surprisingly smooth and wide-spread system of Public Transport considering that big parts of the country aren’t densely populated: We were able to get everywhere we wanted by bus, train or ferry – even our B&B on the Isle of Harris in the middle of nowhere! Just keep these pointers and common sense in mind and you’ll be fine.

 

 photo Quiraingisleofskyescotland_zpsd4d1a67f.jpg

 

1. Be prepared and plan ahead

While you can get to pretty much every place on Scotland by Public Transport, you need to keep in mind that a lot of the connections only go a very limited amount of times a day – sometimes just once or twice! So do your homework, check the times and plan out your day. A great tool to do so is travelinescotland.com. You type in where you’re traveling from, to which destination and when and this website will give you all the possible connections. This is especially valuable considering that there are several bus companies serving different parts of the country and it saves you from having to navigate three different time-tables.

I would recommend writing down three connections before you set off in the morning: The connection you really want to take, one connection before that and one after. I cannot stress how important it is to always check that there’s a later connection that’s actually feasible, if you don’t want our Skye Fiasco happen to you!

2. Taking the train

We only took the train twice on our journey – once from Aberdeen to Inverness and then from Stirling to Edinburgh. There are not as many train as bus connections in Scotland and they’re usually only between the bigger towns. Taking the train is also more expensive then going by bus. We always bought our tickets on the train station the day we were going, but you can save some money by booking in advance on scotrail.co.uk.

3. Going by bus

If you’re using Public Transport to travel through Scotland, chances are you’re going to be taking the bus a lot. It’s the cheapest and often the fastest way of getting from A to B and just so convenient. Usually, you will buy the tickets from the driver (have cash ready) when you get on the bus. If you’re going on an overland bus it may be worth to check online a couple of days earlier, though, because there sometimes are big discounts on some of the longer routes. We only paid 2 £ each for our tickets from Inverness to Ullapool and probably would have paid five times as much if we had just shown up on the bus station. It was the only time such a discount was available on one of our routes, but it can never hurt to check beforehand.

But the best thing about taking the bus is something completely unrelated to the price: Out in the country, the bus will stop everywhere along the road for you, if you ask the bus driver. And if a bus is passing you by, you can stop it by giving a hand sign and then get on. It took us at least a week until we figured out that bus stops were more of a suggestion than a necessity and until then we had always been a bit confused: Why is the bus stopping again? Where the heck are we anyway? But this system just makes so much sense. There are enough people who don’t live anywhere near a bus station and instead of having to worry about how to get to the station five miles down the road, they can just step out of their house and wave their hands. It’s barely an inconvenience to anyone who’s on the bus, but makes life so much easier for the people who live there. track.

 

4. What about the ferry?  photo FerryUllapoolStornowaysea_zpsbfa88918.jpg

 

You’re obviously not going to take the ferry unless you’re visiting the islands, but it’s an important part of traveling Scotland nonetheless. We took two ferry journeys: One from Ullapool to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis and one to get back from the Outer Hebrides to the Isle of Skye. The Isle of Skye is connected to the mainland by a bridge, so you won’t have to take the ferry.

Taking the ferry is relatively inexpensive if you don’t take a car and it’s such a serene way of traveling. You can show up at the ferry terminal an hour before the boat is going and purchase a ticket without problems. If you have a car, you should probably book your spot beforehand, though, especially if you’re traveling during the high season.

If you don’t want to take the ferry, you can get to a lot of the islands by plane as well, but it’s much more expensive, not to mention bad for the environment, so I would always recommend taking the ferry, if just for the experience.

~+~+~+~

Wow, that was one heck of a long post! I hope it was helpful to some of you and should you have any other questions on traveling Scotland, please do let me know!

Have you ever traveled through a country using only Public Transport?

 

 photo Untitled.png

Share:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Confusion with Language in Canada as an Exchange Student

 photo 01_WestEdmontonMallPirateShip_zps22708e33.jpg

 

I still can’t get over the fact that there’s a freakin’ Pirate Ship inside of West Edmonton Wall. And an indoor amusement-park. Welcome to North America!

Amanda from Living in another language just wrote a hilarious post about the difficulty of living in Korea without speaking Korean and it immediately made me think of my time as a Foreign Exchange student in Canada. I’ve wanted to write about this topic for a while and I took this as a sign that the time had finally come.

I know the majority of my readers have roots in English-speaking countries – and I don’t. I was born and raised in Germany and for the most part of my life, German was the only language I really spoke. I started studying English in Sixth Grade and was pretty good at it, but if you have ever learned a foreign language then you know that there’s a big difference between using a language in a class room and out on the street.

So when I went to Canada at sixteen, I had studied English for five years. I could read novels in English and watch movies and while I wouldn’t understand every single word, I understood enough to get by without problems. I knew that I wasn’t fluent, but I also knew that I wouldn’t feel totally lost upon arrival.

And while that proved to be right, it sure didn’t save me from making my fair share of mistakes! I have made so many during my time, but there are some that particularly stuck with me, because they were either too funny or strange and just really exemplify how you can only really learn a language in a country where it’s the native language.

#1 Receipt/ Recipe

I took me a long time to figure out that there was a difference between those two words. And with difference I mean that I had no clue the word ‘recipe’ even existed. I just assumed that receipt was used for both meanings. So every time I wanted to bake, I would ask my host mother for a receipt and in turn receive some strange look. The circumstances made it clear what I was talking about, but only during the baking time at Christmas did we figure out that my expression was due to not knowing that there were two different words. Once I knew that a recipe includes baking instructions while a receipt is something you receive at the Grocery Store, my world was a bit clearer.

 

#2 Grocery Store/ Supermarket

 photo 02_StreetEdmonton_zps3a93b9c0.jpg

 

Speaking of Grocery Stores… before I came to Canada I had never heard this word before. When you learn English in Germany, you usually learn British English. And while I knew that the accent in North America was different, I wasn’t really aware that the difference in language also persisted in the vocabulary. Therefore, I would say that I would go to the Supermarket and not the Grocery Store and probably confuse my little host brother.

By now, it feels unnatural for me to say supermarket. Just as unnatural as it feels for me to say trousers or cinema. It’s funny how quickly you can get used to a certain way of talking and I wonder what would happen now if I were to stay in England for a year.

#3 Breast/Chest

I once unwillingly mad all the girls in my class laugh, when I refered to some guy’s chest hair as breast hair. (By the way, please don’t ask why we talked about this – I’m pretty sure the guy wore a very strange shirt.) I had a bad feeling about this while I was saying the words – it just sounded strange – but went with it anyway, because I had no idea how else to get my point across. The laughter that followed quickly showed me that my gut had been right, but you know what? I just laughed, too. My English might be strange, but at least I can make everybody laugh!

 

#4 Elk/Moose

 photo 03_ElkCanadaJasperNationalPark_zpsc1fc843b.jpg

 

By the time I had figured this out (one year after arriving in Canada), I was already fluent in English and you wouldn’t have known that I was German by the way I was chattering about. And I had been wondering what the heck the difference between an elk and a moose was for a long, long time. Here’s the problem: The German word for moose is Elch. Do you see where my confusion comes from?

I finally learned the difference when my parents and me were visiting Banff National Park. Underneath a model of an elk, there was a sign in German that described the animal as a Waikiki-Hirsch. People will probably not comprehend, but for me it was an eye-opening experience.

~+~+~

So what can you take from my experience? Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The most crucial part in becoming fluent in a foreigner language is to open one’s mouth and to start talking. Will you make mistakes? Probably. But it doesn’t matter. I know that it can be scary to walk on new territory, but it can be done and if experience has shown me one thing then it’s how helpful people are when they realize you want to learn their language.

 

Do you have any funny experiences using a foreign language?

 

 photo Untitled.png

I’m linking up with Amanda for Friday Funnies today!

Share:

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

If I Only Had One Day In Paris

 photo 01_ParisOperaLafayettes_zps0a552734.jpg
 
Paris is little more than three hours away by train from where I live in Germany and it’s a shame that I don’t make it over more often. Not that I have much of an excuse not to, but since I don’t have a Paris trip coming up in the immediate future, I have to resign to day dreaming.
I spent two summers in Paris studying French and used that time to explore as many different sited of the city as possible. And I have found places that will forever leave memories with me and that I will want to go back to for a very long time. The temptation of jumping on a train to Paris for a day is definitely there. But what would I do?
10am – Arrival

Since I’m coming from Germany, I arrive at the Gare de l’Est. I make my way down to the Metro, purchase a ticket and then get on Line 4 in the direction Porte d’Orleans. I get out a few stops later at Les Halles.
10.30 am – Centre Pompidou
 

 photo 031_zps6ef4efa1.jpg  
I walk towards the Centre Pompidou. It’s not exactly a pretty building from the outside, but I have come to appreciate it more over the years. I love Modern and Contemporary Art and no visit to Paris is complete without going to the Pompidou. I get a free ticket, because I am a European Citizen between the age of 18 and 25 and head up the stairs to the collections. The first floor is dedicated to more recent works: It was here that I first understood that Contemporary Art isn’t just crazy, but that there is a special meaning hidden behind it. The second floor showcases the big masters of Modern Art: Picasso, Matisse, Dalí. I leave the museum deeply inspired.
12 am – Le Marais

 photo 03_MaraisParisPark_zps78c3b9d2.jpg  
The museum visit was short, but Paris is big and there are many other things I want to do. I’m on my way to the Marais now which is one of my favorite quarters of Paris. I decide to stop for an early Lunch. I don’t want to lose time on an elaborate meal, so I grab a Falafel at one of the many stores at Rue des Rosiers and proceed to my favorite hidden park in the area. While I eat I take a moment to realize that I am indeed in Paris. I spend some more time walking through the streets of the Marais and then head to the Metro Station Bastille while passing the famous Place des Vosges.
 
 photo 04_PlacedesVosgesParisMarais_zpsb496a74a.jpg
 
2 pm – Rive Gauche

I get on the Metro Line 5 in the direction of Place d’Italie and get off two stops later at Gare d’Austerlitz. I change lines to Number 10 until Odéon. I spent the majority of my summers at Rive Gauche (the part of the city south of the river Seine) – this feels like coming back home. I walk along the Boulevard Saint-Germain, but take a detour into Rue Bonaparte to pick up some Macarons at Pierre Hermé. I haven’t tried them before, but am curious to see how they compare to Ladurée. I’m headed towards the Assemblée Nationale where I cross the Seine at the Pont de la Concorde. I am sad to have missed out on the Jardin de Luxembourg, but know I will be back some other day.
3.30 pm – Opéra
 
 photo 05_PlaceVendomeParis_zps3c40d98e.jpg
 
As I’m standing at the Place de la Concorde, I’m wondering which direction to head next and I’m feeling overwhelmed by the amount of possibilities. There’s the Jardin des Tuileries, the Madeleine and the Champs-Élysées! I finally decide to walk along the Rue de Rivoli. I take a turn to the left and find myself at the Place Vendôme. I look at the beautiful jewelry displays and pretend for a second that I have all the money in the world. I keep on going until I am standing in front of the Opéra.
4.30 pm – The Shopping District
 

 photo 07_ViewoverParisfromLafayettes_zpsa966e7e2.jpg  
I am tired and wonder why I didn’t come up with a less ambitious plan for the day. I want to take a break, but find myself stressed out in one of the busiest areas of Paris. In the end, I can’t resist and head towards the Boulevard Haussmann to go to my favorite store of all time: The Galeries Lafayettes. I go straight to the top of the building where there is a terrace from which you have a marvelous view. I see how truly stunning the Opera is, I catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower and in the far back, there is the Arc de Triomphe standing far higher than any picture would ever make you believe. It is at that moment that I realize how truly beautiful Paris is and how blessed I am to have visited this city so often already.
6 pm – On the way to the train station

After convincing myself that buying a designer handbag is not a good idea, I sadly realize that is time to go soon. I pick up something to eat at a bakery and start to make my way back to the Gare de l’Est. I will probably be at the station to early, but I take the opportunity to pick up a Vogue Paris and have a coffee at the train station.
7 pm –  On the way home
 
 photo 08_TrocaderoatnightParis_zpsdd584560.jpg
 
I’m on my way back to Germany now. I’m exhausted and happy that I had a coffee before boarding the train. And I start to reminisce about the day. I think of the places I could have visited: I could have walked up the Montmartre and gone to the Sacre Coeur. I could have picked up a book at Shakespeare and Company. I could have wandered along Avenue Montaigne and looked through the windows of the most expensive stores on earth. And it all would have been wonderful.
I feel a bit nostalgic about the both summers I spend in Paris and there’s a certain part inside of me that wishes I could go back to those times. But I don’t stay sad for too long. Paris will always hold a special place in my heart, but I’m also glad at the prospect of being home again soon. I know it will not be the last time I will have been there. Because after all as Audrey Hepburn once famously said:
Paris is always a good idea. 
 
   photo Untitled.png

Today I am linking up with Belinda and Bonnie, who write two of my favorite blogs! They have started a new ‘Travel Tuesday’ link up and if your heart is even a little bit wanderlusting you should definitely check it out!




Creatrice Mondial
Share:
© Journey & Camera | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig