The final days abroad

Monday I met Michaela, Kaleb and Erin in Saint-Germain-Des-Prés to walk around and get lunch. When I got there it was pouring and Kaleb came out in the rain to rescue me because I was extremely lost. After our yummy lunch I wanted to walk around a bit by myself so I headed to Notre Dame and the Tuileries Garden. I walked over to the Louvre and to the love lock bridge, where I randomly ran into Erin! We walked for a while and then I went back to my room to study for my oral test in French, but actually ended up falling asleep for a while, apparently the lack of sleep for 4 months catches us to you at some point haha later that night I met up with Michaela and Kaleb and Bob for drinks at the Moose, the Canadian bar we went to a few times throughout the semester.

On Tuesday I had my French oral test in the morning and then Erin and I headed to “Treize – a bakers dozen” for breakfast. Afterwards we headed to champs elysees to get lauderee and see everything for the last time. For lunch I went with Kaleb and Michaela to lunch at the burger joint, our favorite burger place by CEA. After we went to les halles shopping area and then I decided to walked around for a bit by myself. I went back to finish cleaning and packing since I only had a day left and was not prepared to leave. That night I met up at the Eiffel Tower with Jamie and her family. For our last night it was a clear choice where we had to go so we went to Au Coeur du Marais with her family and Michaela and Kaleb. We had an amazing night but were heartbroken to say bye at the end of the night.

Wednesday was the day I had been anticipating for a long time but was shocked it was actually here. I woke up extremely early to clean and make sure I had everything together to leave. At 9:30 Kaleb and Michaela woke up to help me bring my suitcases downstairs, which was soooo nice of them. I physically couldn’t carry my bags so I am very grateful for Kaleb. I had issues with my shuttle company who was very confused I had ordered a private shuttle. When it finally came it was a small taxi that barely fit my bags, and oh I forgot to mention the driver didn’t speak a word of English so I had to explain in French what airline and terminal and everything. I finally got to the airport and had to drag 3 suitcases and a huge tote bag and a pillow all the way through to airport so I could drop off my bags to be checked. When I got to the dreaded scale, after literally pushing 200 pounds of bags on a cart, I found out that my bag was 90 pounds and the limit they will take on the flight is 70. I had to sit on the floor and open my suitcases to reduce weight, blocking tons of people from checking their luggage. I was told that my carry on suitcase was too stuffed, thanks to the fluffy white blanket I refused to leave in Paris, but the woman felt so bad for me that she agreed to check it for free.

I got on my first plane, going to London, which was my first flight ever alone. The flight was a little under 2 hours which was fine but I was very sad to have to leave Paris. There were a lot of emotions running through my head on the flight. We got in late to the Heathrow airport, shortening my layover tremendously. I had an hour to get all the way to my other terminal and onto the plane before boarding was closed. Not to mention that apparently London doesn’t trust other airport security so even to transfer planes you have to go through security again. I basically sprinted to make the flight and was relieved to be sitting. I sat next to a really nice couple that were from California and were visiting the husband’s family in Italy for the week. We were in the exit row so we had a crazy amount of leg room. The only bad part was that this meant you weren’t allowed to have any purses or anything by your feet or on your lap during takeoff or landing, even my pillow was taken away. Me and the people next to me were convinced the flight attendants were out to get me because they had an issue with everything I had and was doing during the flight lol About 4 hours in and looking for a way to recline my chair the whole time, I felt stupid but needed to ask a flight attendant. I called one over and explained to him my issue, to which he was extremely unhelpful. He said I should have pointed out the issue at the beginning, which was dumb because you aren’t allowed to recline your seat during takeoff anyway. He said I had to deal with it or move to a middle seat in the back of the plane so I obviously decided to stay.

I ended up falling asleep most of the flight but when it hit the two-hour mark I woke up and was too excited to sleep. As soon as we landed I texted my mom, dad, Mckenna and Greg to tell them I landed. After getting all my bags myself and dragging them through the airport I finally got to see my family, and to my surprise my aunt, uncle and best friends were there too! I was so happy to finally be back with my family again, but it was also so strange no longer being in Paris.

That last night with the four of us was the saddest goodbye ever, we were sobbing in the metro station for 30 minutes. This was the moment it hit us all that this semester we had all been dreaming of for years had now come to an end. These three friends of mine will always be in my life, and we all knew that. The crying was caused knowing that we will never be here like this again. I will never be living in a Parisian apartment, metroing everyday, talking French, learning the history of fashion, or traveling to a new country every weekend. This was it. This was the last time.

My semester of a lifetime had finally happened. It was scary at times, having to get somewhere I had never been before when I could only ask for directions in French, and it was incredible most of the time, like traveling the world with my new best friends. It was easily the best 4 months of my life and I am so grateful for my parents for allowing me the privilege to follow my dream and live in Paris. My love of travel has grown so strong and I know that leaving Paris was not a goodbye, it was a see you soon. Paris will always have my heart and I cannot wait for the adventures ahead of me that I can thank this trip for. Paris, je t’amie!

Thank you for everyone who have been reading my blogs!



The Myths and Facts of a European Lifestyle

The Myths and Facts of a European Lifestyle

France is dirty: Myth, France is very cold and grey but it is not dirty. 

Parisians are mean: Fact, this one is definitely not a myth. If this tells you anything we have been yelled at so many times on public transportation that we started to make a tally! No one smiles and I have only had Parisians be nice to me a handful of times. 

You’ll gain bread weight living abroad: Fact for sure! I eat a pastry or baguette every single day here 

The French are hot: Myth, they are really really not. They are also mean which makes them more unattractive. 

You walk a lot in Europe: Fact, I thought maybe people just said that because they were sightseeing on vacation and we’re trying to see a lot in one day, but no, I walk at least 5 miles everyday and on the weekends between 8-12 miles easily. 

The metro is easy: MYTH, this one is in caps because I cannot even express my hatred of the metro. It is the most annoying creation on the planet in my opinion. It’s underground (eww) and people stare at you and judge you every time you are on it. However, the Paris metro is a thousand times better than other European metro systems. 

Europeans hate Americans: Well this one is half myth, half fact. Parisians HATE Americans. If you try to speak in French with them they get frustrated, and if you speak English they don’t even bother to help you. All other European counties (except Germany) love us! lol 

The phrase “excuse my French” has meaning behind it: Fact! I believe that the Parisians are so unhappy with life that they feel the need to swear constantly. 

Grocery shopping is not like it is in America: Fact, one day my roommate and I bought 3 bags full of food and the women at the counter asked if we were planning on leaving some of it in the store. Is that even a thing? I’m not sure, but she was very confused why we were buying a weeks worth of food at one time. 

Study abroad is just a 4-month vacation: Myth. Don’t get me wrong I have had the most amazing four months of my life but it hasn’t been easy. Traveling is amazing, I have the best friends and I absolutely love the city but it comes down to a lot more than that. I have taken 3 hours of French class Monday through Friday for the past 4 months at 8am. I have had constant struggles to communicate with people in French, since a lot of Parisians actually don’t speak English like you would expect. Study abroad is most definitely not just all fun and games but it is the most rewarding thing I’ve even done in my life! 

Last weekend getaway

This week was finals week for CEA, but that surely didn’t stop us from having a fabulous time in Paris!

Wednesday I had French test and Haute Couture final. I had to say a very sad goodbye to my favorite teacher, Jean-Pierre! After class, Jamie and I went to my apartment and made our final box of mac and cheese. We went out that night for drinks with our friends because it was the last time we would see a lot of them because everyone who is only in CEA classes went home this week. It was a really fun night at the Irish pub but very sad having to start saying goodbyes.

Thursday was the day of culture! Haha! The day started with walking (and shopping) along the Seine and lunch at the cutest restaurant in an area we hadn’t yet explored. I finally went to Musee D’Orsay and got to see many of the famous Monet and Van Gogh paintings. Jamie and I went to the museum across the street because, why not? It’s the day of culture! Haha! We went to Bon Marché, the first ever department store, and I was in mall heaven! That night we had a sleepover because we had to uber from one place in the morning since all the metros don’t open til later than we had to leave.

Friday morning before 5 am we left for the airport. It was a very early morning but we didn’t care because we were off to Germany! Our first stop was Frankfurt where we checked into our very interesting hotel! Lol! The hotel was sex-themed and gave us quite a laugh with the color changing lights and hilarious door hangers! (By the way, my dad found this hotel for us and was horrified when I told him about it!) We got in around 11 am and had a full day to spend exploring!

Saturday went to a city outside of Frankfurt for the Rhine castle river cruise! We saw about 15 castles on the cruise and it was amazing! It was freezing though so we couldn’t sit outside, but it was fabulous! We spent 2 hours watching all the beautiful scenery around us and then decided to get off at the St. Goar stop and explore the city. We went into a ton of souvenir shops, walked around the city and walked up to the castle. We were stubborn and refused to take the trail up to the castle because it would take too long, so we cut through the trees and dirt to get up. It was a great idea in theory, but we were wearing dresses and booties with heels! Since everyone knows nature hates me, it makes sense that I would be bitten by a bug which made me finger majorly puff up. Our little nature adventure was fun though because we got to our castle in the end! At lunch, I tried sausage and hated it! German food is horrible.

When we got back on the boat to head back in the direction we came, we decided to sit inside at this little cafe on the boat and order drinks. We ordered two Aperol Spritz, which is the drink we order everywhere we go. Our waiter came back to the table with two bottles of juice and told us that in Germany this is what an Aperol Spritz is…. We are experts on our drink and knew he was wrong. I took a sip of it and realized it was apple juice! Nothing alcoholic about that! lol! When he came back we explained, very nicely I must add, that it wasn’t what we ordered and he proceeded to throw a fit basically and storm away. He literally didn’t even ask if we wanted another drink instead. Basically, he ended up being us Spritz after 20 minutes but he was not happy about it.

When we got off the boat we walked to the train station to take a train back to Frankfurt that had already been included in the boat cruise tickets we bought, or so we were told. When the ticket scanner came around she looked at our tickets and shook her head and started speaking at me in German. I looked at her and said I only speak English and she yelled if anyone on the train spoke English and German. This girl in her 20s came rushing over and translated for us. Apparently the ticket the guy gave us was for the train headed in the wrong direction and we were illegally on the train. We obviously had no clue this happened – we were so lost. The girl who translated told us that it’s usually a €60 charge per person but she begged the worker to not make us pay because it obviously wasn’t our fault. Thankfully, she let us go but we were annoyed we had to deal with that unnecessary stress.

Our train ride got much better a few minutes later. A huge group of guys, probably 25 of them all in their mid 20s got on the train and sat all around us. We were the only girls on the entire train at this point. So, Jamie and I have our headphones in and are exhausted, not even talking to each other (shocking I know). Out of nowhere, this guy tries to hand me a beer. Not knowing how to respond “no thanks” in German, I just shook my head and said it in English. Apparently his friend sitting across from me spoke English and said, “oh sorry, my friend is just interested in you” lol. I laughed it off and kept listening to my music. Jamie and I are now texting each other about the ridiculous number of guys surrounding us. If they didn’t seem nice, it seriously would have looked like a scene from a horror movie where two girls get killed, but they were awesome though, so we were fine! Haha! The guys pull out this huge mirror that they clearly took off of a bus! They started pointing it at us until we finally got off our headphones, and then they started blasting and singing German music through a portable speaker on the train. Lol! It was the most fun train ride ever! We were laughing so hard and the guys just wanted to make friends and got us to pick songs so we sang Justin Bieber at the top of our lungs for an hour! Haha! 

After getting off the most fun train ride, we headed to a jazz bar for live music. On our way to the jazz bar, we found a Mexican restaurant and got so excited we decided to go there instead. It was amazing – we had margaritas and it was incredible! First time having Mexican food in months and we were in heaven! Such a fun night!

Sunday, we went to Heidelberg! We didn’t have much time in the city so we left at 8 am so we could stay as long as possible. We first went to the castle because we are obviously obsessed haha and we took a funicular to get to it because it was on a mountain. The castle was gorgeous, but the view was even better! We went to old town where we walked around, shopped and ate. Lots of souvenir shopping too!

One of the souvenirs I bought was a funny present for Greg. I thought it would be hilarious to buy a mini sword! Lol! I know you all think that sounds stupid but it was so funny at the time! haha! When we were on the way to the airport, I realized that this sharp little sword could definitely be seen as a weapon, but I didn’t care and wanted to try to to bring it! As we put our bags through the X-Ray I crossed my fingers. It got pulled aside (not surprisingly) and I had to go talk to the security guy. He looks at me and says “you brought a knife through security?” I acted dumb and was like “what? you mean the letter opener?” (what the mini sword actually was… lol!) and he goes “I’m sorry… what?” So he opened my bag and found the mini sword and started cracking up. He then showed every other security guard the mini sword that could literally kill someone and everyone was laughing at me.

After a ton of humiliation on my part Jamie’s bag was pulled aside. Jamie had a water bottle at the bottom of her bag but when they dumped it out to see what she brought through, the security guard found the sex-themed door hanger that Jamie stole from our hotel and put in her bag!  Lol! So now the entire airport is laughing so hard at us!!

It was so embarrassing but one of our favorite plane ride memories yet! Haha!  It was our last trip together and we were so sad to leave and have our last week in Paris, but I am also ready to go home in a few weeks because I miss my family and friends so much!

The dysfunctional travels of Nicolette and Jamie


On Wednesday we left for Nice right after my class. Took shuttle to the train station that was a two minute walk from our hotel. We were cat-called the second we got off the bus. Checked into hotel and went to our room. It was small but pretty. We freshened up and walked 10 minutes to Promenade des Anglais, the beach street like PCH. All of the restaurants on the water were closed (we found out later that all beach restaurants close at 5 until May because of the weather) so we went near the water and found a little Italian restaurant. When we sat down we ordered a pizza and the waiter asked if we wanted massages and then went on to massage Jamie’s shoulders. It was an interesting night for sure.

On Thursday we slept in a little (9:3,0 which we never get anymore) and then headed to a breakfast restaurant we had seen the night before. They ran out of croissants so it was a disaster lol. We then went to the train station and headed to Monaco. When we got to Monte Carlo we walked down to the harbor where they were setting up the Grand Prix car race which was very cool to see. We walked along the harbor and stopped at an outdoor restaurant for lunch.  We walked up to Casino Square and walked inside the Monte Carlo Casino for a quick look. We walked over to the Metropole shopping center, which looked like an indoor Fashion Island. It was super fun to go into the insanely overpriced stores!  We got gelato and walked over to a little park to eat it. We saw online that the Japanese Garden was a must see in Monte Carlo so we headed there – it was gorgeous but way smaller than I expected. We were starving now and went to a pub for a early dinner. I had the best nachos I’ve had in a long time and I was very happy! haha! We wandered around souvenir shopping after lunch, but were so sick of being whistled at by random guys that we decided to sit down in Cafe de Paris, in the center of Casino Square, and had another dessert. It was the most delicious ice cream sundae ever! We sat for two hours watching the expensive cars and lavishly dressed people go by. We counted on a napkin how many luxury brand cars drove by… It was a crazy amount!

We went back to the Monte Carlo Casino. I was super excited since I’ve loved playing poker with my dad since I was little and couldn’t wait to go in! The casino was incredible. It looked like a museum, but was filled with slot machines and card tables. Roulette was open to play but they were speaking French and I wasn’t confident enough in my french to gamble using it! lol!  Jamie and I decided the slot machines were the best choice so we headed there and had a blast! I lost €5 the first game but won 1.60€ the second! I know that sounds pathetic but I was so proud of myself for winning anything!  Haha!  After our super fun night we headed to the train station to catch the 10:30 train we found online. The train station was empty and one guy followed us into the elevator and looked like he was going to kill us (luckily another guy ran in behind him so we were fine). We found out that because of the strikes AGAIN our train was canceled for the night. All of the buses were shut down too so we had no choice but to take a €90 taxi all the way back to Nice. We were not happy at all but at the time we thought it was our fault we missed the train so we were very upset with ourselves, but when we got back to the hotel we found out it was because they were on strike. How about we stop the strikes already France!!!!

Anyway, we got back and were exhausted but needed to take showers before bed. When I was done taking my shower I tried to open the door but it was locked. I tried to remain calm thinking it was probably just jammed but I literally could not get out. I yelled Jamie’s name and she ran to the bathroom door. We both pushed on the door for opposite sides and it was welded shut. I am extremely claustrophobic to begin with but add the steam of the shower and it’s much worse.  Jamie ran downstairs to get the manager while I sat there having a panic attack. He brought up the wrong keys and said he had no key to get me out of the bathroom because the door “isn’t supposed to stay locked.” Well, no duh, it’s not supposed to do that! But he left trying to find another way out while Jamie tried to calm me down before I literally passed out. When I started feeling a little better I told her to try to get her key so she could slip it under the door to me so I could unscrew the screws (which were only on my side of the door). After 20 minutes of being locked in the bathroom Jamie was able to jam the key in her side of the door while I put all my weight into shoving the lock out of place. As soon as I got out I told her we were no longer closing that door! haha!

The next day was Friday and we were excited to have a fun morning after our crazy night. We woke up and walked to Promenade des Anglais for a stroll by the water and breakfast! We found the cutest restaurant where we had the perfect people-watching spot! Afterwards, we walked over to Castle Hill, an amazing viewpoint of Nice. We walked around for a while and found the cutest restaurant to sit on the beach and eat at. We weren’t hungry though, so we sat and had cocktails on the beach and it was perfect! We went to sit by the water and put our feet in the very cold Mediterranean. After there was a lot of exploring through old town Nice, “vieille ville,” where we stumbled upon a farmers market which I loved!! We headed to a gelato place called Fenocchio and it was amazing!

Sadly, we had to head to the hotel to grab our bags and leave. The adventure doesn’t stop here though. On our way to the bus we found out that the normal airport bus was on strike. Thanks a lot, France. After walking 20 minutes and waiting forever, we were able to get on another bus that took us near the airport. It dropped us at terminal 1 so we had to take another bus to get to terminal 2. When we finally arrived we found out that our 8:50 pm flight was delayed to 9:25 pm. We were annoyed but it was fine and we just sat there for a while. After finally boarding Easyjet Jamie and I asked the man next to me to switch seats and he said no and was extremely rude about it. Now we were more annoyed that once again we had to deal with cranky French people. We all sat for 30 minutes on the plane and were confused. An announcement came on all in French which I could understand parts of but not all of, obviously. The pilot finally asked if anyone spoke English and 4 of us raised our hands. He then explained in English that there would be a 3 hour delay due to technical issues and that we would have to switch planes. We all got off and were now very tired and frustrated. At 11:20 we boarded the next plane and finally made it back to Paris. When we got back, however, the adventures continued. The RER was shut down because of the strikes. Did I mention I hate strikes?!? So we had to find an alternate route so we didn’t have to spend €150 on a taxi to get home. We took a sketchy night bus back as far as we could go before we had to get off and then uber back because it was too late to take the metro (which honestly was probably on strike anyway.) We had the sweetest uber driver though who tried to talk to us in English so we had a half french/half english conversation which was fun! After getting back at 2:30 am we had to quickly go to bed to make the 8 am trip to Giverny with CEA.

Our next morning was very early but totally worth it! Giverny was incredible! We went to Monet’s house and gardens, which were his inspiration for his paintings, especially his water lilies! The gardens were extremely colorful and extravagant! Bright colors were found everywhere you looked and I absolutely loved it! We went to an Impressionism museum to see some of his work, as well as that of many other artists. We went to lunch at the cutest restaurant, except they served us salmon again which I hate so I basically just had bread! lol! We went to a Ciderie where they brew their own cider. We had a tasting which was super fun and then headed back to the bus for our ride back to Paris. That night we ended up caving and having McDonalds for dinner! Haha!

Sunday we were exhausted, as you can imagine from the last crazy few days, so we slept in late and had a picnic at my favorite park, Parc Floral, which is very close to my apartment. We ended the day with a fun little dinner with the fam, and I was so excited to order delicious mozzarella sticks!

It was the most annoying week of travel I’ve ever experienced in my life, but hey if it was easy I would have no stories to tell! Even though it’s frustrating, the challenges and mistakes I make will make me more prepared for what life throws at me in the future and I’m very grateful for that.

Amsterdam, Cinco de Mayo, and a farewell to CEA

Last Wednesday CEA threw us a huge farewell dinner at Le Chalet des IIes, this adorable island near my apartment that is surrounded by a lake that you can row boats through and has an amazing restaurant on the middle of it. It was such a fun night but it was so sad knowing that was the last time I would be able to see everyone from CEA at once again. That was the first time it felt real that I was leaving in two weeks.

Did you know that in France there is a national holiday for Cinco de Mayo? lol! It’s some sort of religious day for the people of France but we thought it was hilarious they would give us a Mexican holiday off school. We decided to make the absolute most of our last weeks here and drove to Mont St. Michel for the day. Mont St. Michel is a castle on an island in France. We took a 6 hour car ride there in the worst traffic ever but Kaleb was the best sport about it!

So like I said it was Cinco de Mayo and we didn’t care that we were in France we were determined to get Mexican food. We could call this the search for Mexican food fail. After starving for 3 hours in the car because we knew there was a Mexican restaurant on our way back to the city, we found out that because it was a national French holiday that restaurants, including that Mexican one, were closed early. We were practically crying that we didn’t get the food we waited all day for! lol! We back into Paris and the night got even more fun! Kaleb drove through the etoile, which is the roundabout surrounding the Arc De Triomphe and then down the Champs Elysees. It is honestly one of my favorite memories of the semester! It was so scary going around the insane roundabout but it was so exciting and we blasted music and just had the best time. It’s something I will never forget!

Friday we took the train to Amsterdam. On the way there we planned our whole Germany trip and studied, the most productive train ride ever since usually Jamie and I just sing and dance obnoxiously the whole time. Lol. When we got there, we were starving and dropped off our bags at our huge Holiday Inn Hotel (YAY chain hotels!) and then headed to the main square for food! The tram driver got off for a 20 minute smoke break and at this point we were ready to eat him! When we finally got there, literally 40 minutes later, we were told that many restaurants no longer served food and only had drinks because of the time. We found an Italian restaurant and were so excited to eat we didn’t care what it was! haha! It randomly turned out that Lexie was in Amsterdam too (so we have now been to 4 countries in Europe together!) so she met us for dinner and drinks! She took us to Chupitos, a bar that had marshmallow shots where you drink and eat a marshmallow! It was amazing!! Seriously, such a fun night.

Another early day on Saturday. It was the tulip festival day!! After buses and trains we made it to Kookenhof. It was the most beautiful arrangement of flowers I’ve ever seen. After spending hours admiring the gorgeous view we headed back to Amsterdam to see the red light district. We scheduled a canal cruise that night to take us through the Jordann. Jamie and I got dinner in an adorable square and we all met up again to get pancakes for dessert, because you have to get Dutch pancakes in the Netherlands right?!

Sunday we went to Zaanse Schans to see the windmills and their clog factory! It was the perfect Amsterdam morning filled with tradition and lots of trying on clogs! After we got back we rented bikes in Vondelpark. This sounds like the most fun idea ever right? Well the thing is that I’m the worst bike rider in the world. The saying “it’s as easy as riding a bike” is not at all true in my opinion. I was horrible, as I knew I would be, but I have the sweetest friends who put up with me through it all and with Kaleb ‘s help I was able to eventually ride a bike! In Vondelpark we stopped for cocktails which I thought were well deserved haha Afrer drinks we rode over to the “I Amsterdam” sign. On the way there I was finally getting the hang of biking. It was all great until this huge group of people started walking right toward me and even though they saw me they refused to move. I had to quickly turn and practically jumped off my bike so I didn’t hit them. This horrible woman, who was one of the people who refused to get out of my way, started screaming at me in Dutch and then slapped me as hard as she could on my arm. I was so so angry but couldn’t speak Dutch so I just started screaming at her in English and trust me the English words were not nice ones lol! I was not happy at all after this and I was ready to return the bike because I couldn’t handle this anymore. Everyone decided to return theirs too and we had some extra time and went to Anne Frank house, which we wanted to do the whole time but thought that because of the length of the line to get in that there was no way we could have. I am so glad we got to go because it was such an eye opening experience.

It was time to go back to Paris so we headed back to the train station. Our amazing Amsterdam weekend was over but we truly had the best time and loved that all 4 of us could be there together!!

Greg à Paris!

Last week was spring break and Greg came to visit! I can’t even begin to explain how perfect of a week it was.

Greg didn’t get into Paris until Sunday, so Friday and Saturday I spent with Jamie, Michaela and Kaleb, having our “fam day of fun!” Friday was Michaela and Kaleb’s day for planning! Our day started at the Love Wall in Paris, a wall that has “I love you” written in every language. I have always wanted to go and was thrilled that they took us! We went to a pizza restaurant, where the plan was to get pizza and sit on the hill of Sacre-Coeur, sadly it started pouring (not surprising since Paris weather sucks lol) but we still had a very yummy meal. We walked around Montmartre and went to the café that the movie Amelie, as well as many other French movies, were filmed inside. We had the best caramel filled molten lava cake on the planet! The night ended with champagne, Karaoke and crepes… like every Friday night should!

Saturday was the Nicolette and Jamie day of fun! Our morning started with mimosas, croissants and pain au chocolats on the Seine River, with a view of the Eiffel Tower. Casual breakfast I know… haha! Of course, knowing us, the day would consist of lots of pictures! We walked over to the Eiffel Tower for a little photo shoot and then walked to an outdoor market that was right next to the Eiffel Tower. We spent a few hours exploring until once again the rain tried to ruin everything. We had to run in the rain to the metro station, which was a good 15 minutes away. We headed to the Tuileries Garden for a pretty view and yummy lunch of French onion soup!

Sunday morning everyone left for spring break so I waited around anxiously all day for Greg to arrive at 8:45pm! Haha! It could not have been a longer day. I think I painted my toenails three times just to occupy my time! I headed to the airport 2 ½ hours early because in my mind if I got there earlier then his plane would land faster! My theory was wrong, but, hey, at least I was there and didn’t have to bore myself to death in my room anymore! I made a poster and stood there holding it for a good 30 minutes, being given dirty looks from the miserable Parisians that apparently don’t have emotions! Haha! I ran into his arms the second I saw him and was more excited than I could possibly explain! On our way to the bus I asked this French woman to take our picture and she said no… so then I asked an American and she said yes. Shocking, I know! Lol! I think you guys might think I make up how unfriendly people here are but they seriously do not like people!

AirportWhen we got back to my apartment after an hour of lovely public transportation, we ate a little French meal that I set up before I left, consisting of cheese, baguettes, salami, champagne and obviously macarons!

Monday was our 2-year anniversary and I was so excited for the day I had planned! I knew Greg would be exhausted and jet lagged so I bought croissants the night before so we could have breakfast in the apartment before we started our day. We headed to the Tuileries Garden for a stroll through the beautiful flowers, on the brightest day I’ve ever seen in Paris! We went and had a little dessert lunch at Angelina’s before we put our lock on the Love Lock Bridge. Afterwards, we walked down the Champs Elysees before we went back to change for dinner. I was just excited to be with him, and even more thrilled to have dinner in the Eiffel Tower together, thanks to my fabulous parents for the amazing Christmas gift! We got dressed up and metro-ed back to the Eiffel Tower! I was slightly overdressed for the underground public transportation! Lol! The dinner was delicious and extremely romantic! After dinner, we went up to the very top of the Eiffel Tower, which was my first time ever going. It was an incredible view of the city and an amazing experience to share together. My feet were killing me from walking on cobble stone in extremely high heels so when we got down from the Eiffel Tower, Greg picked me up and carried me so they wouldn’t hurt anymore. Did I mention he is the sweetest?!

Tuesday morning, we left at 4:45am for our flight to Venice! It was an insanely early morning but we were so excited to travel together it didn’t matter. When we got to the airport we saw there was a McDonalds and we wanted our chicken McNuggets at 6am because we were starving and that weirdly sounded good, so I asked the security guy if McDonalds was inside security so we could get it before our flight and he said yes. Well, he lied. No McDonalds for us because it was located before security, apparently.   We were not happy about this! Haha! The flight was short… well, it was short for me since I slept the whole time leaning against Greg which made it impossible for him to sleep! Oops! We got there and dropped our bags at the hotel, which was literally a minute walk from St. Marks Square which was incredible! We spent the day exploring until someone stole Greg’s wallet which was horrible and definitely put a little damper on the day. After a frustrating time of searching the restaurant, calling and canceling all the credit cards in it, we realized we couldn’t let this one incident ruin our entire trip so we put it behind us and went on with our vacation.

VeniceWe were in Venice from Tuesday morning to Thursday night. For our time there were walked around a ton, went to Rialto market, had lots of Spritz to drink and pizza and pasta to eat, and had more servings of gelato than I can remember! We went on the most amazing gondola ride, where our gondolier explained the history of everywhere we went which was so cool! We took the water buses all around Venice and I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a single area of that city we didn’t walk. Venice is beautiful and our trip was absolutely perfect. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Friday was spent back in Paris on the hop-on, hop-off tour bus! We went to Notre Dame to get on the bus, but before we did, we went inside and got to see the amazing cathedral, (my first time inside!). We took the whole bus loop twice so we got to see every big tourist site in the city in one day! We went to Montmartre and I got to show him Sacre-Coeur and the Love Wall and had a typical French café meal. We were going to do a Seine River cruise on Friday but it rained (again!) so we decided to go on Saturday night instead. Friday night we went to Le Relais de L’Entrecôte for dinner (the famous steak frites restaurant.)

Saturday Kaleb flew back from spring break and I was super excited for him to meet Greg! In the morning Greg and I went to breakfast so he could get the traditional “petit broc” breakfast of juice, coffee (in our case hot chocolate), croissants, bread and jam! We then brought a bunch of our food to the Eiffel Tower for a picnic. All my childhood dreams came true when I got to sit under the Eiffel Tower with my boyfriend having a picnic. It felt like a scene out of a Disney Channel movie and I loved every second of it! Kaleb met us at the picnic to take some pictures because he’s the best! Then the three of us went to the Louvre because if Greg didn’t see the Mona Lisa I would be the worst Parisian tour guide ever. I had such a fun day with the boys, we even went to dinner and Greg and I tried escargot for the first time! It was slimy but the taste wasn’t horrible. I finally felt like a real Parisian for eating it though! Haha! That night we went to an Irish pub because it would be the first time Greg and I could drink together!

Sunday was our last day together so it was a sad one. In the morning we got croissants to go and ate them on the way to the metro. We headed to the Arc de Triomphe to go to the top for our last view of the whole city. It was beautiful, even though it started raining and we had to go back inside after a few minutes. We had a last snack of macarons at Ladurée before going to my favorite burger place in the world. After lunch, we decided to relax in the Parc Floral before heading to the airport. I had never been before but it was the most beautiful, colorful park I’ve seen. It is a hidden secret of Paris for sure! We even stopped for a little hot chocolate before going to grab Greg’s bags. When we got to the airport we had an hour before Greg had to go through security. We found a McDonald’s and knew we had to go after the many jokes about trying to find it in airports.

It was one of the hardest goodbyes on the planet and I wish he didn’t have to leave. Spending a week in Europe together was a memory we will never forget and I am so lucky to have gotten to spend a week with my amazing boyfriend!  Now I only have less than a month before I’m home which is absolutely insane! 

Exploring France!

This last week has been a whirlwind. Monday I went to Musée De L’Orangerie to see Monet’s Water Lilies, which were incredible. Afterwards, Jamie and I walked around the Tuileries Garden, had a cute little lunch, and walked across the new love lock bridge. It was the nicest day in Paris I had ever seen! It was beautiful and sunny and I loved that I could be outside without a coat on. The next few days were eventful until Thursday. After two tests, I needed some de-stressing. Jamie, Kaleb and I grabbed lunch like we usually do on Tuesday/ Thursdays, and then we headed back to CEA where we played Monopoly for two hours. I’m pretty sure everyone thought we were stupid for playing a children’s game but we did not care one bit! Haha! After class I met up with Brenny, my suitemate from freshman year at Chapman, and her family! We went to Angelina’s and it was so great catching up. We walked around the Marais and chatted for hours. Loved getting to see her!

Friday was such a blast. Jamie and I decided to finally have our Eiffel Tower picnic. It was supposed to rain but when we woke up in the morning it was bright and sunny so we were thrilled. I got back from class, grabbed my blanket, and met Jamie at the Eiffel Tower. Casual Friday plans I know! Haha! When I met Jamie, she had two baguettes for us to snack on! We walked over to the grocery store and bought champagne and sat on the grass with the best view in the world. We sat and talked for hours before large black clouds formed above us… Jamie refused to admit it was raining until it started hailing on us. Lol! We finally left and went back to my apartment, made mac and cheese, and had a girls’ night watching movies and having a sleepover.

Saturday morning was a very early one. CEA planned a trip for us to go to Provence, France at 7am. Me and the girls headed to the train station, far too early in my opinion! Haha! When we got there we met the tour guide who would be in charge of us for the trip. He took us on the train where we all fell asleep for 3 hours. As soon as we arrived we went to the town of Avignon, where we explored the city that still has a fortress built around it. We had lunch, bought postcards, went in all the lavender soap shops, as lavender is the region’s specialty, and went into the to Palace des Papes. After gelato we were off in our bus to the wine tasting. We were given 5 wines to taste and countless appetizers. Provence is known for their Rosé wine, which was absolutely delicious.

After wine tasting we headed to our hotel to check into our rooms and get dinner. CEA provided us all with dinner in the hotel, which was very sweet, except they served everyone spinach lasagna which tasted horrible. However, the tart dessert made up for the lack of real food we ate. Afterwards we headed to the center of town we were staying because we wanted to explore. We quickly found out that Provence is not a very happening city on a Saturday night so me, Jamie, Michaela and Kaleb walked back to our hotel to hang out and listened to obnoxious music for the rest of the night.

Sunday morning, we had to be on the bus at 9:30, but were given breakfast if we woke up in time to have it. We wanted our breakfast so we woke up with plenty of time to pack up and get ready. It was the first big breakfast any of us had had in a while and we were stuffed after. We walked past the Provence ruins before getting on the bus, which was one of the big tourist destinations. The bus took us to one of the biggest farmer’s markets in the area where I fell in love. It reminded me so much of the Swap meet at the OC fairgrounds that my mom and I used to go to a bunch. There was a ton of fresh fruit, yummy treats, and of course plenty of shopping. The not so great part, sadly, was the fact that I found out during the market that my black shoes I wear everyday had broken so the traction had come completely off on of my shoes, making it slippery which caused me to fall on my butt twice.

After now being scraped up with sore knees and legs, we had to go on a hike. I was not in the mood to hike one bit. I am all up for going on a little hike if it’s a pretty view and I’m prepared for it, but this I was not. At this point of the trip we were all starting to get very annoyed with most of the other students and were a little ready to go back to Paris. We were now forced to go on this 40-minute hike in an area filled with orange dirt, when all I wanted was to sit and eat ice cream. Lol! After the little hike was over I got to eat yummy lavender ice cream which made me happy again! We all sat until we had to board the bus again and head to the train station. Our fun weekend getaway to Provence was over, but we had a great time!

This past week has just consisted of shopping, eating and getting French manicures which I was SO excited about! They only spoke French which was a little difficult since they don’t teach you in school how to get manicures, but we figured it out and now I have pretty nails again! Haha!

JumpThis Friday starts spring break and I can’t tell you how excited I am to get one week off of CEA and two weeks free from the lovely 8am Sorbonne classes! Greg comes to Paris on Sunday and I am so excited to see him! I have a very fun week planned and am counting down the hours until he arrives! I had a very fun weekend but am sooooo looking forward to the next week!

When in Cinque-Terre!

I know that doesn’t have the same ring to it as “When in Rome” does, but the city is definitely just as fabulous! Last Friday, Jamie and I headed to the airport for our flight to Pisa. When we got to the airport, the man at the desk said he needed to check the size of my suitcase. It was ONE centimeter too big. Now remember that they purposely make these measuring bins smaller to make extra room for luggage but I knew for a fact it would fit in the overhead compartment. Not only did he make me pay an insane amount for my bag, but he was extremely rude. I begged that it would fit and that I wouldn’t have to pay the ridiculous 60 euros it would cost, and he looked at me with a straight face and said “cash or credit.” I think I’m a pretty reasonable person until you really make me angry, but when you do get me mad there is no holding me back. Jamie and I spent the next 10 minutes telling him that this was the worst customer service we have ever had and that we were writing a complaint about the unfriendliness of the Easyjet staff. We caused such a scene in the airport that everyone was now staring at us, and as he continued to be downright mean I told him that Parisians are hated because of people like him. Lol!

After being happier than ever to leave the people of Paris behind, we got on the plane to Italy! We were meeting Lexie in Pisa but her flight did not get in for a few hours after ours. Jamie and I headed to the Leaning Tower of Pisa (because what else would we do in Pisa? Lol!) and spent hours taking pictures attempting to perfectly position ourselves to hold up the tower! Haha! We had been in Italy for less than an hour before we felt we absolutely needed gelato or we would couldn’t go on with life. We grabbed gelato, dragged our suitcases onto the grass lawn, and ate our yummy treat while looking at the tower. At this point Lexie had landed in Pisa so we went and grabbed a table to wait for her to come. We all sat, drank our Italian wine (yes I drink white wine now) and had homemade pasta, all with a view of the Leaning Tower.

After a trek to the train station, which the waiter said was a ten-minute walk that in reality was twenty-five, we grabbed our tickets and got on the next train to Cinque-Terre. When we arrived we wandered through Monterosso trying to find our hotel. It was extremely hidden and difficult to find at midnight but we did find it without any help, besides the GPS of course. We fell asleep almost as soon as we got there because we wanted to be well rested for the next day and we were exhausted from all the travel.

Waking up in our cute orange hotel definitely started the day off right. We heard of one breakfast place called Café Midi that sounded yummy so we headed there. We learned very quickly that Apple Maps is not your friend in Cinque-Terre. The city is so remote that the GPS doesn’t even know where exactly you are. After giving up on finding it we somehow stumbled upon it! Haha! We sat in a narrow street with lots of cute buildings surrounding us and had a delicious breakfast that consisted of croissants and some juice…we have no idea what kind of fruit was used but we were ok with it because it was so good.

The rest of the day we spent exploring. We took a train to one of the other lands of Cinque-Terre called Vernazza. On our way to the station I saw a sign pointing the opposite direction so I went inside and asked an Italian shop owner where to go. He walked me outside and gave me directions of how to walk there. Piece of cake right? Well, we thought it was too until we got to the ticket booth to cross over to Vernazza and the man working said it was an over-2-hour hike to get there. I also forgot to mention I was wearing a skirt and jean jacket and none of us were prepared for this long walk. We then walked all the way back to where we were and decided to take a ferry to Vernazza, which ended up being the best idea ever. Not only did we not have to hike there, but we also got a gorgeous view of all 5 lands connected in Cinque-Terre. We even saw dolphins swimming in the ocean – it felt like a scene from a movie! When we got off the boat we immediately had to take pictures of course! We had a pizza lunch with our Italian Spritz cocktails as we sat in the main area of the city. After lunch we walked a ton, exploring the adorable town, going in all the little shops, and trying to find the location all the postcard pictures were taken from. After practically hiking this huge hill, breaking and entering into an apartment building and then an elementary school, we got as close to the picture perfect spot we could, realizing later the photo is definitely taken by helicopter. On our way to our next land (3 of 5) we stopped to get what we were told was the best gelato in Cinque-Terre. It was absolutely perfect and we sat on the rocks, over looking the colorful town while we enjoyed every bite of it.

IMG_1353We hadn’t heard much of Manarola before we arrived in the city but the postcards looked too beautiful not to go, and we were so thrilled we did. Never in my entire life had I seen such an incredible view. The houses were painted bright colors and it honestly did not look real. We had dinner at a bar that looked over the entire view, by far the best view of the city. We shared a bunch of little Italian appetizers and had our Spritzs again! As the sun set, the houses lit up and it was magical. We had to make our train back to Monterosso, so sadly we had to leave the crazy view. We had a nice walk back to our hotel and when we got there the man in charge was very suspicious of us (as we were only allowed to have two people in the room and we had three). As I walked up to our room he watched me to see if another two girls were following. He clearly didn’t think we were as smart as we are because we had already thought this through and Lexie and Jamie were hiding off to the side. He literally stood there for sooooo long that I had to go to the window of our room and give the girls code signals of when they could run into our building to get to the room. It was absolutely hilarious!

Sunday we didn’t have much time so we got up early to start our day with the 4th land, Riomaggiore. The hotel served complimentary breakfast, but because there were three of us which wasn’t allowed we asked if we could just grab a croissant to go, as Lexie waited off to the side. Instead of just saying yes, they brought us huge to-go bags that we stuffed with pastries. Haha! We took our bags and sat by the ocean as we ate our little morning treats. We walked along the beach, as it was another beautiful day outside, and saw all the cue stores and markets set up on Sundays. We got on the train to Riomaggiore and when we got there got completely turned around. We ended up walking the completely wrong direction, but got to see more of the city which was great. After another lunch of Italian food, we had to go back to our hotel to grab our suitcases and head to the train station to catch our flights later in the day.

When we got back to Pisa we said bye to Lexie and walked around to find a restaurant to sit in and have a little snack. As we were sitting we found out Lexie’s flight was delayed 6 hours so when we got to the airport we got to spend a few more hours with her.

Now a lot of people don’t know of Cinque-Terre or go there because it is most definitely not easy to get to. From Paris we took a plane, a bus, two trains, and then walked another 25 minutes once arriving in Cinque-Terre. Every second of travel was extremely worth it. The incredible experience of being abroad has taught me that no matter how much of a hassle travel, or anything you love, might be, it should never stop you from going for it. After visiting my new favorite city on the planet, I have fallen even more in love with Europe!


The country out of a fairytale: Switzerland

This weekend I traveled to Switzerland for three days since we had a long weekend due to Easter. On Friday, Jamie and I took a train to Geneva, Switzerland. When we arrived it was around 8 pm, so we went to our hotel to check in. The hotel was called Hotel Central and it was located where you would think, right in the center of Geneva. I should explain why it was cheap enough for us to stay there… the hotel had bunkbeds (which Jamie and I thought were adorable), but it also had a bathroom outside the room! I felt like I was in a terrible summer camp/ dorm room. When we booked the hotel we were not told this would be the case – You could definitely say I was surprised!

After we got over the shock, we went to a restaurant for fondue because we were in Switzerland and needed our cheese asap. Haha! It was delicious and by the time we left it was 10pm or so and the town was totally closed. There were barely any people anywhere in the city. This happened the next night too, btw, and Jamie and I decided that the town all goes inside at 8pm because vampires come out then! Lol! I’m not exaggerating – not a single person was out after 8pm!! It was insane. So what do you do when the city is empty? You go back to your room and watch Princess Diaries because after all, we were in Genovia right?!

IMG_1102On Saturday we got an early start to the day. Our camp of a hotel brought breakfast to our room (as they should since we had to unexpectedly share a bathroom – haha!). We got outside and started walking around and we were so warm that we actually went back to our room to put our coats away. This may seem insignificant but when you have to wear a heavy coat every single day, it is the most amazing thing ever to get a day without it. We were both wearing dresses and cardigans in 50 degrees because the sun felt so nice we didn’t even need anything more! I bet you all thought this Southern California girl would never wear a dress in 50-degree weather! We walked around the city for hours! We first stopped at the flower clock which was right next to the Jet D’eau (Geneva’s famous fountain). We walked along the water and took pictures by the Jet D’eau and as Jamie was taking my picture, these two girls (mid-twenties) came up behind her. One girl asked if we could have a picture. I thought she meant if we could take a picture of them, but nope, she wanted to take a picture with me in it. She said I was pretty and something to the extent of me being someone famous! Haha! So, yeah, I am the new celebrity of Geneva!;) After Jamie and I hysterically laughed for like 20 minutes, we finally pulled ourselves together enough to head to our next adventure. We went to Parc la Grange, a beautiful park that is filled with flowers (and roses in the summer time).

As I mentioned before, we were obsessed with eating as much cheese and chocolate as we could in one weekend. We walked to Bourg de Four Square, Geneva’s old town, for lunch. We found an outdoor café that served Swiss burgers so we clearly had to stop there. It was warm, sunny and we had a view of the gorgeous city. There was even a merry-go-round next to us that added to the charm. We explored old town for a while, finding Cathedrale St. Pierre and a yummy chocolate shop! Probably the best chocolate I’ve ever had in my life, Switzerland lived up to their reputation for sure!

By the water, there was a row of bars and restaurants. We thought what better way to spend our last evening in Geneva than to sit and have a cocktail while watching the Jet D’eau. After a few more hours taking in the sights, we headed to dinner at a very typical Swiss restaurant. It was exactly what you would think of a Swiss restaurant would be like in a movie. We were done eating and the waiter came up and asked where we were from. We were briefly chatting and he told us to have a great rest of our trip. We were getting ready to leave when he came back to our table to tell us he gets off work at 11 and wanted to grab drinks with us to celebrate our last night in Geneva. Lol! He was at least 30 and that was obviously not happening anyway!

We headed back to the hotel since it was 9 pm and the town was completely empty. When we got back, we found out that the time change was happening that night. We had a 6:30 train the next morning which meant we would have to wake up at 4 am. The time difference gave us about 4 hours of sleep that night but, hey, I can sleep when I get back to America right?

Sunday, Easter morning, we left our hotel and were on our way to the train station. We were planning to take the bus but it wasn’t running yet, but it was only a 15-minute walk so we decided to start walking. Ok, now I know everyone reading this is going to say, why would two young girls walk in the pitch black at 5am by themselves? But you have to remember this was in the same city that sleeps at 7pm. What we realized at 5am was that they all go home at 7pm (to hide from those vampires of course) but that they all wake back up and go out again at 4am… On our walk to the station we saw more drunk men then I’ve seen at frat parties (lol!) but, we made it to the station so it was all good. The station however was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. Apparently before 6am it’s a free-for-all in Geneva. We got cat-called by more drunkards than were outside – it was ridiculous. We found Starbucks and camped out till our train arrived so the crazies couldn’t reach us! Haha!

After a long morning of chaos and train rides, we finally made it to Lucerne! We were very confused which stop to get off the train at so we asked the guy sitting across from us. He lived in Switzerland and helped us out. Once we got there, he asked if we knew what bus to take and we said we had no idea so he looked it up for us and walked us to the bus stop we needed to get on. That was just the beginning of Lucerne hospitality!

We dropped off our bags at the gorgeous hotel and headed to old town Lucerne. We immediately saw the Chapel Bridge and took a walk on one of Lucerne’s biggest landmarks. Old town was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. It was colorful, historic, and had so much Swiss charm to it. It was a city out of a fairytale!

The whole day we explored the city. I was definitely missing home a lot on Sunday because I wasn’t able to be part of our Easter traditions this year. Jamie and I had an amazing day though. We decided if we were going to be somewhere on Easter we were going to do it right, so we bought chocolate bunnies and ate them looking over Lucerne.

We heard of this hotel called Hotel Gutsch that was basically a hotel on the top of a huge hill. We started walking toward it but had no idea how to get to it. We walked into a museum to escape the cold while we googled it on our phones. We couldn’t figure it out so I decided to ask one of the women at the museum. She got out of her chair (there was a full line of people btw) and walked Jamie and I outside to show us exactly how to get there. It was the sweetest thing, especially from someone who had no obligation to help us, we weren’t even visiting the museum she worked at. Sadly, the lift up to the hotel was closed for Easter, but it was ok because we ended up hiking the 9 Towers instead, which gave us the most gorgeous view of the city.

We decided to visit the Lion Monument of Switzerland, which showed the friendship between Switzerland and France. After walking over 10 miles we were exhausted and starving. Most restaurants and shops were closed for the holiday and the only thing opened was a nicer restaurant that served fondue. My parents treated me to a fabulous meal that was a great end to our wonderful Easter in Switzerland. Jamie and I sat and talked for hours and had the most delicious cheese and chocolate fondues.

IMG_1094Our final day in Switzerland was Monday. We woke up and were thrilled to see clear blue skies. The forecast predicted rain and clouds which meant that on our trip to Mt. Pilatus on the Swiss Alps we could not have seen any view. We taxied to the base of the mountain and were the first in line to go up at 8:30. We got in the gondola and rode all the way up to the peak of Mt. Pilatus. We were the very first people to step outside and it was silent. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I felt like I could see all of Europe. The view took my breath away. One side of the mountain you could see all of Lucerne and of many other cities in Switzerland, and from the other saw all you could see were mountains that looked like they went on forever. It was a once in a lifetime experience and I am so grateful I got to do it.

All of Switzerland was so beautiful and I would go back in a heartbeat. In 4 days I head to Italy for a completely different experience that I look forward to. It is amazing to see how even though everything is in Europe is so close in proximity, everywhere you visit is so unique.

Meatballs, Ikea & Swedish Fish, of course!

Last weekend I headed to Stockholm, Sweden with two of my friends. We headed to the airport on Friday for our last trip using RyanAir… YAY!! The lovely bus to Beauvais, which they consider a “Paris Airport” even though it is an hour and a half drive from Paris, not so shockingly took much longer than expected. We left extra early though because we assumed this would happen. On our way to the airport Jamie said she was craving McDonalds and that’s literally all we could think about the whole time. When we finally arrived at Beauvais and got through security we were starving and all we wanted were some chicken mcnuggets. lol! They had no food there that we would eat so we sucked it up and got on the plane. Once on the plane, and after begging people to switch with us so we could sit next to each other, we realized going to Sweden was a bit cooler than McDonalds!

When we arrived, Bob met us outside and Jamie and I were starving. We hadn’t eaten since breakfast and it was now midnight and we had been traveling for 6 hours on countless metro trains, buses and planes. It turns out that the closest restaurant, and only one still open, was McDonalds! We were far too excited, but it was the best meal I’ve had in a while! We headed to the hotel and checked in around 1:30 am… you can imagine how exhausted we were by this point so we quickly went to sleep.

The next morning, we woke up early, had breakfast at the hotel, and headed to our boat tour. We were SO excited for the Winter Tour that took us around Stockholm. Unfortunately, nothing was marked and we couldn’t find our departing boat in time. After asking a ton of people, we found where the boat was docked and they let us on the later boat tour. The tour was incredible! We sat outside, wrapped in blankets, and got a tour of Sweden tour while the snow fell over us all. It was one of my favorite moments of my semester here.

After the fabulous tour we went to Sweden’s favorite burger restaurant. It was delicious! Then Jamie saw a Seven Eleven and felt the need to go in! Well it was the best decision ever because they had Swedish fish!! Obviously, we had to have them. We walked around the city, saw the Swedish Palace, and found a little picnic bench to sit on that had the most perfect view of the city. Jamie and I sat for hours talking, laughing, and eating every last Swedish fish we had!


We went back to the hotel before we went on a hunt for Swedish meatballs. Traditionally, they are served with mashed potatoes not pasta – It was delicious and lived up to our expectations for sure. We headed to Gamla Stan after for exploring the old town of the city, sadly though it was too late and most of the shops were closed. We did find a little pub and had a drink while listening to an Irish band play live! We sat next to a couple from London who were so sweet and we talked to them for a while. We were exhausted and had another long day ahead so back to the hotel we went.

On Sunday we woke up early to get another complimentary hotel breakfast, where they had bacon!! And I’m not talking about the crappy-ham-type-thing they try to pass off for bacon in most of Europe, I mean real bacon. We literally all had a full plate! We were then off to the ABBA museum! I was obsessed with the song Mamma Mia since I was little so I was very excited. The museum was extremely cool and interactive. We made our own music video, did a recording of a song by ABBA, did a live performance with people literally watching us- clearly we have no shame at all! After the most fun museum I’ve ever been in (yes I know I sound uncultured and I’m ok with it! Haha!) we went to lunch in search of meatballs with pasta. Well, we struck out on that one but did have a yummy pizza.

It was finally time to grab our bags and head to the airport. We had to take a metro, bus and then a plane to get home. When we got to the bus stop they told us the next one would be coming in a few minutes. By a few minutes we all expected 5, but this was not the case. The bus came 30 minutes late which put us way behind on time. We calculated it all out and when we arrived at the airport we would only have 15 minutes to board our flight. Now I’m sure if you’ve been reading my other blogs you are probably thinking, ”how is she so dumb to be late to an airport again?” (after I missed my Chunnel ride back from London and then almost missed my flight to Madrid with my mom). Haha! Trust me, I was thinking the same thing. What people don’t realize though is that in Europe, things are never on time, and public transportation (aka the cheapest way for college students to travel) is extremely unpredictable. We left our hotel over three hours before our flight and somehow we still ended up cutting it this close.

So after practically stripping on the bus ride so that we could run through security as quickly as possible, our bus finally arrived at the airport. At this point Jamie and I had a whole plan on how to beg, and even cry if necessary, to get on this plane. Well our plan worked and the check-in guy signed our boarding passes so we could get on the flight if we hurried. So me, Jamie and Bob are now literally sprinting through the airport with our luggage so we could get on this plane. Everyone in the security line let us cut (more proof people anywhere else are nicer than Parisians) so we ran to our gate with me only having one shoe on. WE MADE IT! Honestly, as crazy as all of our traveling has been, it is something we are never going to forget and we think it is kind of hilarious now!

This last week in Paris has been a crazy one as well. I believe we need our own television show at this point called The Crazy Adventures of Nicolette & Jamie. So on Monday night our little fam all met up for dinner with one of Michaela’s friends who was visiting from Chapman for her spring break. We went to this restaurant called Au Coeur du Marais, which means the heart of the Marais, which is a part of Paris. The restaurant was pink so that’s honestly why we picked it! Haha! We walked in and sat down and there were barely any people in the restaurant. The owner came over and asked where we were from, clearly hearing us talk to each other in English. We said southern California and he asked where. I told him I was from Orange County and he asked where in Orange County I was from. I said I doubt he would know the city since I assumed no one from Paris would have heard of little Aliso Viejo. His face immediately lit up and told me he lived in Laguna Hills for 6 years and that his daughter was born at Saddleback Hospital, which is where I was born! At the end of the dinner he came and sat with us and said how nice it was to meet someone from the same area and brought the whole table a free round of drinks. It really is a small world!

So, Thursday we had tickets for a soccer game. The girls met up for dinner and this adorable Italian restaurant. It was delicious and we were having so much fun. All of a sudden Jamie says “oh my god there is a rat!” Immediately I freaked out and Michaela saw it run towards us. So now we all are sitting on top of our chairs and Michaela ran to the bathroom! So I run over to the waiter who had been speaking English to us and told him we saw a rat in the restaurant. He didn’t understand what a rat was so then I went on to act out for him what a rat looked like! I’m sure the whole place was entertained by me. He finally understood and then said oh yes, the hotel next door is infected with them and someone is coming in a week or so to get them out of our restaurant. Literally only in Europe would you hear such an absurd answer. I was SHOCKED that he knew and they were still going on their normal service. After asking for our check to get out of there as fast as we could he did not even apologize for the rat or give us any sort of discount. In America that meal would have absolutely been free, but, nope, not Paris.

IMG_1088After sprinting out of the disgusting restaurant, we walked across the street to see the Eiffel Tower lit up with the Belgium flag colors as Paris’ way to pay tribute for the awful tragedy they faced earlier in the week. We stayed for a while but had to leave so we didn’t miss our soccer game. When we got to the stadium, there was no one to be seen. We walked into a restaurant that was being closed for the night and asked the man inside if he spoke English. The answer was, of course, no. So in French Jamie and I had to explain that we were going to a soccer game at this stadium and were wondering how to get in or what was going on. He said we had to walk down further. So we kept walking, through dark allies by the way, and found this little old couple. We ran up to them and began to ask in French if we were in the right place. He immediately asked if we spoke English and he was fluent so he gave us directions to the entrance. After still being lost, he and his wife walked us all the way around the stadium to what should have been the entrance. After looking at the details for 10 minutes on our tickets, the man notices that we are at the right stadium, but in the wrong city. Jamie bought tickets for a part of France that was 4 hours from Paris… we were laughing so hard since this is now the second time she bought tickets for the wrong event. Moral of the story is “do not order things for a website that is only in French.” Another life lesson is do not let Jamie be in charge of ordering anything online. I love you Jamie, but never again! Lol!!!

Once again another fun, crazy, adventurous week in the life of a study abroad student! Now I am off to Switzerland for more memories, and hopefully no more travel catastrophes! 😉