The return of the wanderlust

Well, ya’ll, I am back. Where do I even start?

The trip was so amazing. Each city was so different and lovely that as hard as I try, I can’t even begin to pick a favorite. And trust me, since that is the question that everyone asks, I’ve definitely given it some thought.

Rick Steves. Is a travel God among us simple tourists. He walked us through the Vatican City, all of Rome, and nooks and crannies of Paris. He provided things to look at, to take note of and then let you know why what you were looking at was so amazing. We didn’t always follow him word for word, but it was great to have him in our pockets as a reference. We love him. Like really. We love him.

Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.54.20 PM

Everything in Paris. The two main meals I had in Paris were both so perfect and so French. Going of the beaten path served us so well. One night we had dinner with a friend who lives in Paris and she brought us to a little place where the waitresses don’t speak very much English (i.e. not a tourist spot – a sign we looked for throughout the trip for good food) – it was entirely perfect. The other night we just followed our hearts off main road and found this small little alley way with super small French restaurants. Both meals were so delicious! It’s also important to note that macaroons were just as delicious and classy as I dreamed they would be. I also died over the Pompidou Museum. It’s the Modern Art museum in Paris and it was so sick. The museum itself was artwork. OH and the lover’s locks. I’m a sucker for a lover’s lock. Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.45.59 PM Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.46.22 PM Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.46.38 PM Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.46.52 PM

Friends in Sevilla. First off, I got my wallet stollen in Sevilla. That’s literally all I’m going to say about that because I’m trying to pretend it didn’t happen. On a positive note, this is where my best friend lives. We all hung out, ate, drank and danced with her friends. I can’t even express how much I enjoyed this. They were all so nice and friendly..not that Dallas doesn’t have some great people but I noticed in my travels that people who live abroad are so much more open to meeting people and making new friends. We had group dinners and lunches involving a ton of tapas to share.

Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.49.43 PM Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.50.05 PM Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.50.23 PM Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.50.42 PM

That one night in Roma. One night in Rome we camped out on the Spanish Steps and a modpodge of a meal of baguette, brei, jamon, Prosecco, and a few other European sides. We just hung out for a while people watching, reading Rick Steves (our savior) info on the steps and getting a happy Prosecco buzz going. Afterwards we met up with a group of Italian grad student men and we all bonded over a mutual interest in hanging out. So with Italians in tow, we wandered to the almost deserted Trevi Fountain around midnight and mosied the streets of Rome until the wee hours of the morning. There’s nothing like seeing iconic historical sights in the middle of the night with no one around. It was simply magical.

Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.51.27 PM Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.51.49 PM Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.52.08 PM Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.53.56 PM

Fairytale land in Prague. Prague looks like you stepped into Anastasia. No joke. The cobblestone roads, the castle in the background, stunning bridges – oh and shots of liquor that greeted us at our hostel. We really took it easy in Prague. We went on a brief free walking tour, the notorious tourst dance club, and really just kinda existed in Prague for a few days. It was  a great break from the busyness of Rome and the busyness that was to come in Berlin. Many say that Prague is a tourist spot, and I don’t disagree. But I had some amazing food, fun, and delicious hot wine so I’m not complaining.

Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.55.47 PM Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.55.59 PM Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.56.18 PM Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.56.36 PM Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.56.52 PM

Berlin living. By the time we got to Berlin, we were pretty exhausted and pretty jaded. We had trouble mustering the strength to even step foot in one of the hundreds of museums and couldn’t read another word from Rick. Luckily our hostel was another wicked amazing choice and we attended a free guided tour. It ended up taking us to all the major sights and even gave us a great breakdown of Berlin history (including book recommendations – how divine!). It wasn’t till a long run I went on my last day that Berlin really won me over. I’ve come to the conclusion that, among the cities we visited, this is the city I can most see myself living in. I’d love to live amongst the street art, the history, the beauty and most importantly the making of history that is happening right now in the reconstruction of the city. (PS. Is anyone else aware they are tearing down the East Side Gallery? I’m upset. Where do I write my letter of complaint?)

Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.57.31 PM Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.57.48 PM Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.58.02 PM Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.58.42 PM

So that’s just a brief summary of some of the things that I loved on my travels. It was a complete exhausting, eye opening, amazing trip that is totally worth the credit card debt and lack of vacation days. My wonderlust yearning has subsided for now, but that is likely due to the issues getting new credit cards, my slight credit card debt and the mound of laundry I have yet to look at. Plus, it was a dream come true to reunite with my soul sista best friend after all this time!

Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 1.00.14 PM

A Plan to Plan

trip3 trip1 trip2

So as it turns out, Friday is March 1st. This date implies two things. One, it’s somehow been two months since New Years – I was pretty sure that was just last week. Two, my Europe trip is just a few weeks away. And what have I done to plan and prepare? Nothing. Squat. Nada. Absolutely zilch.

Okay, I am probably exaggerating (a favorite past time of mine). We have all the hostels, trains and planes booked and printed confirmation receipts in a folder for each one..it’s the “what are we doing when we get there” aspect that I haven’t given a second thought. My Rick Steve’s Best of Europe tour book came in last week, and it’s about time I take it out of the bubble wrap. In case you missed it, I’ll be exploring Paris solo.. I’ve never been anywhere outside the continental US of A and I don’t speak a lick of French. Are you praying for me yet?

Now now now, I’ll be meeting up with friends in Seville to continue the Europe adventure, but Paris is me time. I had every intention of spending this past weekend planning more of my day to day trip, but who can turn down hanging out with a new man friend, brunch or seeing Argo? Certainly not this girl. So once again, I didn’t give Europe any more thought than “what should I wear?” Furthermore, this upcoming weekend I’ll be taking an impromptu lake house trip with a few new friends. When I get back it will be March 3rd, just 15 days till I take off on a jet plane. Dun dun duuunnnn.

Part the problem is I am completely  overwhelmed. There’s so much to see in Paris, I’ll have to spend many hours just researching and narrowing down what it is I want to see. And then there’s the transportation, the directions, learning tourist social faux pas, and etc etc. It’s all quite daunting – in the most exciting kind of way of course. So since I’m heading out of town on Friday and am going to a dinner party on Thursday, this leaves me 2 days to nail some plans down.

Now I’d love to come back to you with some life changing trip planning advice or some super brilliant way I am organizing everything, but truthfully I’m the chicken with no head in this game. I really want to find some great way to keep everything organized – 5 cities in 5 countries in 14 days is in desperate need of some organizing tricks. So I am only giving myself one single goal this week. Plan and plan some more.

We’ll – correction – I’ll always have Paris.

8124506761_e7591c7e8f_b paris2 paris3 paris4

I don’t want to brag, but I had a pretty fantastic weekend. I hung out with three great friends and met so many new and amazing people. I kicked some serious bootay in Jumbo Jenga (but in girls vs boys, girls always win, am I right?), watched a terribly awkward comedy show that at the very least provided for a good story, and brunched with a group of great girls courtesy of fellow Tiffanys blogger Sarah Drew. My motto to just say “Yes, I’d love to!” was definitely exercised to the fullest. It might be the lack of sleep, but all that socializing has this introvert completely worn out. I digress.

In about a month and a half I will be taking a bit of a tour of Europe. I’m headed to Paris, Sevilla, Rome, Prague and Berlin. I’ve never been out of the country, so to say I am excited is likely the understatement of the decade. But due to a few unavoidable obstacles, it appears I will be exploring Paris solo.

At first, I was totally freaked. I mean, I’ve seen Taken, ya’ll. Plus, Paris is the romance capital of the world. As a single 20-something, looking up at the eiffel tower, surrounded by couples in love, with no beau waiting for me back home, sounded mildly depressing. I saw Paris at Midnight. What if I get transported back to the 1920’s? Actually.. that part I wouldn’t mind.

Lucky for me, the first two friends I consulted are super independent and well traveled women. They assured me it wouldn’t be as bad or as scary as I imagined. I’ve been instructed to study up on Rick Steve’s travel guides, carry my journal with me and keep a good book on hand. After a week of digesting the new version of my trip, I am actually really excited to explore Paris by myself. I can choose whatever I want to do each day and spend however long I choose doing it. True to geeky nature, I’ll be a Paris history expert in no time.

Although I would love to be joined in Paris with friends so we can gush about the trip for years to come, I think I’ll get something different out of traveling solo. The rest of my travels I’ll be accompanied by two other great friends, but Paris is all mine. It will be such an exciting adventure!

So, mom, dad, brother and several concerned friends, if you’re reading this….. ne vous inquiétez pas. 

Yep, I Google translated that – like a boss.