8.30.2012

276. Paris | 13 random shots

I was in Paris for about a week in June. Just like every other city I visited, I didn't bother with directions at all. I found it more fun to just wander the city and get lost, then hop in a cab when I got tired (or when I got more lost than I wanted to be).
One thing I learned about Paris - don't rely solely on cabs! Is it just me or does Paris seem to have a shortage of them?!
I seem to be talking a lot about cabs in my travel posts lately hahah

After dropping off my luggage at the hotel, I went for a walk. I stayed in the 6th arrondissement; one of my favourite areas. I was near St.-Germain-des-Pres so I walked past Cafe de Flore and Deux Magots (& crossed them off my checklist) then made it to the Louvre and Tuileries. From there, I wanted to go to the Eiffel Tower by a cab since I was already exhausted. I figured I should just walk in any direction and one will come by soon. None did.
I even went by an embassy (?) to ask one of the guards for directions. He was very nice but didn't speak a word of English. So I kept walking as it got darker and darker. I wandered into little deserted streets..I'll admit at that point I got a bit scared. I just kept looking up at the top of the Eiffel Tower and walking in the general direction.

Finally made it! Seeing the Eiffel Tower is always so magical. But after all the walking I was too tired, hungry and in desperate need of a washroom. Found a cab, got back to my hotel for room service dinner, and skimmed over a map of the city just in case I got hopelessly lost again.










A delicious meal. The restaurant was empty except for the owner/server and a couple in the corner showing excessive amounts of PDA. I remember the guy had a Goyard briefcase and the owner looked like Coco Chanel. She looked about 70, was wearing a little black dress, a string of pearls, and looked like the epitome of a chic French woman.

One of the many nutella crepes I had. The Tuileries Garden is one of my favourite places in Paris. I came here once or twice every day. That's one of the reasons why I love travelling alone - to be able to go at my own pace and re-visit a place for as many times as I wanted.


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8.27.2012

275. The Gabardine


Random photos taken recently:



Earlier today I went for a quick dinner at The Gabardine with my sister. It's located just around the block from where I live so I'm not sure why I've taken so long to come here. I really like the decor inside. They serve a lot of sandwiches, a lot of "comfort food", & a lot of wine.


I got the risotto - they make a different one every day. Today mine was with corn, scallions, and parmesan cheese. It was my first time ever eating risotto..I loved it a lot more than I thought I would. Would definitely come back again for it!


My sister got this tuna melt sandwich. I know, it doesn't really look like a sandwich from this photo..she said it wasn't that good.





The beautiful sunrise this morning..during my 7am-ish bedtime. It looked so much more red and beautiful in person.

If you know me, you'll know I LOVE crepes. Last weekend we went to try this new place I found (located on Queen St W) called Chococrêpe. I ordered a berry banana crepe with a scoop of roasted marshmallow ice cream:






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8.22.2012

274. Prague Castle | Favourite Day

On my final day in Prague, I decided to visit Prague Castle. It was so spur of the moment..I almost ran out of time and made it there shortly before it closed for the day.
I'm really glad I went, not only because I got to see the castle but mainly because of the people I met there and what we did that made it one of the most memorable nights of my entire trip. & also one of my favourites.
Now that I think back to it, it was kind of dangerous too but at least I made it back alive..

I have always heard that in Prague, most of the taxis you see on the streets are illegal. It's advised that you call a taxi company for one instead of just waving one down on the street as the taxi driver might try to scam you. But luckily taxis there are very cheap (which was perfect for me, considering I just visited London & Copenhagen right before Prague..the 2 cities with ridiculously high cab fares!) So I took a taxi to get to the Castle and did my own sightseeing for awhile:







As I was getting ready to call a taxi to leave, a group of Slovakian guys came up to me and asked to take pictures with me. I hesitantly agreed and took a bunch of photos of them as well, which I won't post for privacy reasons. But they reminded me of those guys from the Hangover hahah: one guy Justin Bartha-ish (♥), one Bradley Cooper-ish, then one who looked and acted exactly like Zach Galifianakis. I met about 8 of them, & literally only one spoke English. It turns out he's a hockey player who briefly played in the NHL (I didn't believe him at first but a quick Google search confirmed it was true). So me being Canadian, naturally we bonded over hockey. I'll call him "M". Since M was the only one who spoke English, he ended up being the translator for his other friends, who all spoke a combination of Slovak, Czech and German to me hoping I would somehow understand.

M told me they live right by the Czech-Slovakia border so they're in Prague almost every weekend just for the beer. They asked me to go to a little pub/bar with them to try the beer. At first I didn't want to go because I was tired and in heels (if you know what the streets of Malá Strana are like you'll understand my pain) but then I ended up going.

The looooong way down beside the Castle..seemed like millions of steps. The Slovakians, being all gentlemen-like, held on to me as I made it down slowly (nts: next time in Prague I should wear flat shoes). Every section of steps they asked if I was ok or needed a break.
At the bottom of the stairs, I saw we had to walk another steep and narrow alleyway (with deadlier cobblestones) to get to the pub. Seeing my hesitation again - suddenly M grabs me, lifts me up and carries me the rest of the way (I'm usually not so high maintenance!)..images of him dropping me and cracking my skull on the cobblestone immediately flashed through my mind..


So here is the pub..it looked like a hole in the wall. Literally like a cool little cave. The ONLY thing they served was the famous Czech beer (Pilsner Urquell..the first Pilsner beer in the world). I'm not a beer connoisseur so to me it tastes like regular beer, but the Slovakians come all the way to Prague JUST for this beer so I'm sure it's considered quite good.
We stayed here for a while. Some other people they knew were also at this pub so I was introduced to more people..including a couple that spoke English. Good timing as M was getting drunker and not doing his job as being my translator so well by this point.

After we left, they wanted to show me around the city a bit more. They brought me around "local" areas; the places far away from tourists, aka the places I was familiar with..so I quickly lost all sense of where I was. But I figured the guys seemed nice and safe so I went along.

They brought me in the subway. Apparently it's the 2nd deepest in the world?

Last stop - another bar where the bartender made the drinks extremely strong. By this time, they all had plenty to drink and kept trying to convince me to go back to their place. Their place was conveniently located close to this bar. They said we could have dinner at their place. I declined.
I just said I was leaving, turned around and started walking down the street. They came after me trying to persuade me but I kept walking without turning back. It was no use trying to argue as it got harder and harder trying to communicate with them (M was not being such a good translator anymore. Should've kept him sober.)

So I had NO IDEA where I was. Walked, and walked, and walked (it was a quiet street by the way. No tourists in sight.) I finally got in the first taxi I saw. Decided to risk it as I didn't have a working phone to call a legit taxi company. The driver spoke no English but eventually he understood where I wanted to go. & very luckily, he brought me there without trying to scam me (or worse?) I was so afraid I got in one of the illegal cabs but I had no choice. I even mentally created these scenarios in my mind that I would jump out the cab if he kept driving to sketchy areas. I don't know, maybe the taxis aren't as dangerous as the stories I've been hearing but I prepared for a worst case scenario.

I ended up here, being greeted by the perfect view of Prague Castle.

Overall, a very fun day that I'll never forget. I'm glad I met those Slovakians and went to all those places with them..as I wouldn't have gone by myself. It's always fun to be taken around by locals.

PS - Some details of the day left out as this post is getting too long already. Plus I don't have so many photos that day as I kept saying to them "WAIT let me take some pics first". I hate being all touristy around non-tourists lol.


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8.18.2012

273. Be@rbrick

My new Be@rbrick!! I love it so much. I think by now, you're all aware I have just a slight obsession with the Union Jack. This one was just released about a month ago, I assume for the Olympics (which I really miss watching).
It is a size "400%". I want a "1000%" one but kind of hesitant about buying those online since they're huge and will cost so much to ship (very few retailers worldwide sell Be@rbricks, and even if they do it's a very small selection). I guess I'll take this as an excuse to visit Japan again to bring one back? hahah.




I saw a photo of blueberries frozen in ice recently and thought they were the coolest things ever, so I decided to make my own and use them for my signature Hpnotiq drink.


The truth is, I never ever drink alone at home. This was literally the second time I did, and I only did it for the purpose of these photos. But small side effect - got quite tipsy by the end as I kept sipping, pouring more in, sipping, pouring more in, etc.

I didn't add any vodka in the drink. The Crystal Head is just so photogenic I always like to include it in a shot.





A 2am harbourfront adventure last night. My friends climbed up this tree..



Then I climbed up this 5ft scary ledge (it's definitely not made for standing on as it's full of holes..not to mention I was in heels) but the lighting effects made for a cool photo op. I need to take more photos at this spot again sometime. This building is actually next door to where I live..not sure why I never took photos of it sooner! The architecture details are so beautiful.
PS - my hair does not look as orange IRL.

Also, I just finished making my archives page for the travel section of my blog! It took forever (especially with all those rollover images) but I really like it. Check it out! I'm making archive pages for each section of my blog..I have a few more to go so I'll post them all when I'm done. Let me know what you think!


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