Monday, October 22, 2018

Back for Another Weekend in Paris

Last weekend, my friends and I took a TGV to Paris! An hour and a half train from Dijon straight to Paris, the capital of the world.
Every time I go back to Paris I fall in love with it a little more.
On the train ride there, we rode in first class. It was so luxurious.
It was even nicer that we had wine class before we got on the train, so the train ride felt even nicer.

The train went right into Gare de Lyon where I met up with EMILY!

Our weekend in Paris had commenced!

Our Airbnb was in the 15tharrondissement, 3 miles from the Eiffel Tower. It was very clean and in a very nice neighborhood.
There was a hospital right next door and had two metro stops each a 10-minute walk from our door step.
That night we went to a brassier for dinner and watched the end of the Paris soccer game. This was the first of many times that Emily was impressed with my language skills!
It was so nice to catch up and hang out after so many months apart! (The last time I had seen her was back in August in Boston.)

The next morning, we picked up our 2-day Paris Museum Passes at the town hall, in the 4tharrondissement, to start our adventure! These passes are totally worth the money! 
I raved all about them in my last Paris blog post because there are the best! For one price and for a set number of days you have unlimited access to any museum or building in Paris AND the best part is you get to CUT THE LINE!
We were only in Paris for the weekend, so we had limited time, thus we couldn’t afford waiting online for hours to get into museums. 

Our first stop after getting our passes was to visit Notre Dame cathedral. I told Emily all about the architecture and officially became her personal tour guide for the weekend.
After explaining Gothic Flamboyant architecture, our next stop was the Musée D’Orsay, only after walking alongside the Seine. 

I was really excited to go to the Musée D’Orsay because I love Impressionism paintings. We are currently taking an art class and I was so excited to see all the paintings we are currently learning about. 
Unfortunately, when we got to the museum, half of the Impressionism exhibit was closed! I was really sad, but I still got to see some of them!
And don’t worry, I didn’t have to wait on line because I had my Paris Museum Pass! There was also not a lot of tourists in Paris this weekend anyway, so it wasn’t too crowded!

Maybe a little cringe moment for any Frenchman but Emily and I had Chipotle for lunch in the 5tharrondissement…
She was dying for some American food, so we settled on Chipotle. But after lunch we made up for our lack of “Frenchness” and grabbed two bottles of wine and had a little picnic at the Eiffel Tower. 
I have decided this is my favorite thing to do in Paris! It was so fun and so relaxing.
I also could look at the Eiffel Tower for DAYS!
We got a little tipsy, bought some baguettes and cheese for a little before dinner snack at home that we devoured!!

For dinner Friday night, Emily and I met up with Kate, Victoria and some friends from Wake that are studying in Barcelona at this amazing Italian restaurant, L’issolot.
 I ate so much cheese before dinner I felt so sick and couldn’t eat any of the pasta even though I was craving some good carbs.

After dinner, Emily and I were very French and sat along the Seine and watched the boats with a glass of wine.

J Crew factory white bow shirt | Mango denim jacket | American Eagle high waisted burgundy jeggings | Tory Burch double  pearl earrings | Tory Burch gold logo bangle | RayBan classic aviators | Sperry classic boat shoes

We slept in Saturday morning and went to the Louvre, Jardin de Tuileries, the Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe.
I finally got a picture with the Arc de Triomphe! It only took me three times to visit Paris to get one, but I finally did!

For dinner, Emily and I found this sushi place right around the corner from our Airbnb in the 15tharrondissement.

After dinner we grabbed some more wine, another baguette and another wheel of cheese and took it to the Place de Vendome, a beautiful overlook spot of the Eiffel Tower. 
We sat for an hour munching, drinking and listening to live music.
We even stayed to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle twice! Every hour, for five minutes it sparkles. It is one of the most beautiful things ever. 

After chilling at the Eiffel Tower, we went to le Pechoir Marais, the roof top bar that we went to three weeks ago when we first came and met up with six girls from Wake that are studying in Vienna! I was so so so happy to see them, and it was so fun.
It was so nice to see Lauren, my future roomie and fellow Kappa Delta for a night!

The line to get into the bar was long, but so worth it! We enjoyed every minute of being on the roof.
I had a glass of sauvignon blanc, my favorite wine, and sat and stared at the Eiffel tower sparkle for the last time at midnight.
After midnight all the lights on the Eiffel Tower shut off completely and it is so sad looking.

After roof top drinks, Emily and I met up with my friends from the Dijon program for bar hopping in the 4tharrondissement. 
We went dancing at this Irish pub, had some good drinks, and was surrounded by good company.

We went home at the crack of dawn, slept for a couple of hours, packed up our stuff and left our Airbnb.
The only downside to staying in an Airbnb is that you can’t leave your stuff there, so I had to lug around my overpacked Vera Bradley duffel all day until our five o’clock train ride home.
Fortunately, we did find a Starbucks and were able to do some school work before grabbing lunch and saying goodbye :( .

Another amazing weekend in Paris! Maybe I will return for a third time before heading home to the states? Who knows!


Monday, October 8, 2018

Oktoberfest 2018

I couldn’t study abroad in Europe and not go to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.

We started off in Dijon and took three trains for a total of eight hours to make it to the biggest beer festival in the world.
A very expensive weekend and a very long journey, but so worth it.

Within our first minutes of being in Germany we saw so many people in lederhosen and dirndls, I was constantly cracking up. 

We arrived in Munich Passing late Friday afternoon and made it to our Airbnb. This was the first time I stayed in an Airbnb and it was really nice.
Our hosts were so sweet and gave us directions and recommendations for Munich.
Our Airbnb was super centrally located, right next to a tram and metro stop.
It was spotless clean, and we overall had a very nice experience.
I would 10/10 recommend this Airbnb if you are going to Oktoberfest. You have to book it super early though, I booked it in June for October.

Our first night we went out to dinner with my best friend from high school, and T&P’s biggest fan, Michelle, for dinner and drinks in the center of the city, Marienplatz. I had the cordon bleu and a lemonade beer. The cordon bleu was delicious, and the lemonade beer tasted worse than a Natural Lite…

On the way to dinner, we got a little lost when we attempted to use the tram and metro system.
The trams and buses are a bit complicated to use, even for this New Yorker, and it is really funny because the metro system is on the honor system, so you don’t really have to buy a ticket. We bought a couple of train tickets, but then realized that the natives didn’t even pay to use the train, so we didn’t even bother. 
 We got to this tram stop and really had no bearings as to where we were, despite my killer sense of direction and intuition. We looked at the map for a while and it just so happens that the girl at the tram stop was American and asked if we needed help. We did, she pointed us in the right direction and that was that!
She was so sweet, and that was our first view into seeing how nice people really are in the world.

Saturday morning, seven in the morning our friends waited online to get into Oktoberfest. 
I slept in a bit and made it over to the fair ground and the tents at a decent hour, as in nine in the morning, all dressed in my dirndl. All of Wake Forest University went last weekend to Oktoberfest, and I couldn’t because I had orientation for the University of Burgundy, so I actually borrowed/bought a dirndl off of Emily because she went the weekend before. 
Nine was the perfect time to get to Oktoberfest because we still had plenty of room at our table and no one in the tent was belligerently drunk yet. By noon in the international tent, the Hofbräu Festzelt tent, was stuffed with people drinking.

We ate some large pretzels and passed the time away drinking, laughing, sharing stories, and meeting new people.
The steins were about three beers and 11 Euros a piece. Very expensive, I only had one stein, that a friend had to finish for me because I do not really like beer. 

Our table in the Hofbräu Festzelt tent, which was not reserved, our friends just threw elbows to get it, had Americans at the table next to us, Mexicans at the table behind us, and Spaniards at the end of our table.
I don’t know any of their names, but they were all so nice and it was such a cool experience to meet so many cool people from so many parts of the world.
I think meeting new people was my favorite part of my Oktoberfest experience.
It warms my heart that everyone we met was so nice and genuine, and it just shows you that there are more nice people in the world than mean.

There was a live band, all singing in German, but it was so fun. Every time someone would chug a stein of beer they would stand up on the long tables, which is not allowed, and chug the beer. If they finished it, everyone in the tent would cheer, and if they did not, they would get food thrown at them. More times than not, if someone chugged their stein, they were successful and finished it and the whole tent went up in an uproar.
However, regardless if they finished their beer or not, if they stood up on the table, instead of up on the bench, the large security guards would escort them out of the tent. 

While we were sitting, drinking and laughing, I was informed all about the dirndl etiquette.
If you tie the bow of your apron on the left it is known that the girl is in a relationship, and if you tie the bow on your right you are single. 
Regardless of where you tied your bow on your dress, the men were still hooting and hollering…

After spending about seven hours in the international tent, our time was up, and we were ready to take a little stroll around the large festival grounds. There were so many people and it was just like a giant carnival, with rides, carnival food and beer.
And of course, every single person in a dirndl or a pair of lederhosen.

We had a really fun time at Oktoberfest. It was so nice getting to hang out with Michelle and meet her friends and for her to meet mine.
I loved meeting and talking to people from all over the world and I loved getting to experience a new culture and country.

Munich is the first German city I have ever been to and it was just very different from any city in France.
Sadly, we did not get to explore Munich as much as I would have liked. But we were only really there for a day. It is a city full of history, and we just focused on the beer. 

I am excited to be going back to Germany in three weeks to visit some of my cousins in Frankfurt, and hopefully get to see the actual city and learn about the history of Germany.

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