Asturias Bound

After a quick stop in Paris, our journey to Spain began! Our first stop was to Oviedo, the capital city of Asturias in Northern Spain. I had actually never heard of Oviedo before, but it was a place that Tyler wanted to visit primarily for its history of cider (sidra) production. More on that later! From Paris, Oviedo is about 1.5 hour flight so it was an easy trip on Vueling.

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Paris Stop Over

On a recent trip to Europe, we made a quick stop over in Paris! It was my 4th time and Tyler’s 1st, so we wanted to make the most of our short trip together. We only had one day and one night in Paris, so choosing a hotel that was central to the places we wanted to visit was high priority.

We stayed at Hotel de la Paix on 19 Rue du Gros Callow, a narrow side road located in the 7th arrondissement. The room was clean, small but cozy, with a nice little balcony, which was fine by me since we weren’t planning on spending a lot of time in the room anyways. It is literally a 5 minute walk from the Ecole Militaire metro station, so if you’re taking public transit from the airport, its pretty convenient and effortlessly walkable. I’ve stayed in this area before and found the neighbourhood to be safe which is pretty important if travelling alone.

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rue du Gros Caillou

The first thing I wanted to do was take Tyler to see the Eiffel Tower and walk around the surrounding gardens, Champ du Mars, about a 10 minute walk from the hotel. Along the way, there’s great little shops, beautiful architecture, lovely restaurants and little cafes. It’s Paris exactly as you would have imagined it to be, really!

Rue du Gros Caillou shops

Rue de Belgrade

Paris Architecture

Once you get to Champs du Mars, your eyes are most likely drawn to the giant metal structure that is the Eiffel Tower! However, definitely take some time to enjoy the gardens surrounding the Tower, Champs du Mars. The flower beds, the way they prune the trees, its all very uniquely pretty.

Champ de Mars

Champ de Mars

Of course, don’t forget to take some snaps of the Eiffel Tower. Daytime and evening.
It is a gorgeous, timeless and iconic work of art!

Eiffel

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower at Night

So what else did we do during our quick stop over and what would I recommend to friends travelling to Paris?… Go shopping in many of the street markets as the locals do – fruit, bread, anything fresh you can get our hands on! Take in the gorgeous flowers in the market.

Paris Flowers

Get around by using the metro. Its super easy and fast. If you can read lines on a map, you’ll be fine. If you’re having a marathon visit, getting around by subway will allow you to cover a lot of ground.

Eat something that you can’t typically get at home. We liked the escargot (snails) at Le Bosquet. They were chewy, garlicy, buttery…delicious!

Escargot

Walk down Champs Elysee. It is mostly big name, retail shops, but its nice to walk down and have some dinner or drinks at one of the many restaurants along the strip. At the end of the road, stop and get a glimpse of the Arc de Triomphe. You can get in line and go to the top or if you’re pressed for time, stand across the street and get some snaps.

In the past, I’ve visited Sacre Coeur, explored Montmartre and the lovely little shops in the area, dedicated half a day to The Louvre (could have spent an entire day there), had crepes at La Creperie near the Pantheon, visited the Notre Dame Cathedral and stopped into Carrefour to shop for wine, cheese and fruit. The cheese selection in Europe is great compared to what we get in Canada! I plan on returning to Paris again, it’s that great. The kind of city you could visit over and over without getting bored. My to do list for next time:

Stroll around Le Marais and the Latin Quarter
Enjoy a croissant at Ble Sucre
Take in a river cruise on the Seine
Sip hot chocolate at Angelina and/or Les Deux Magots
Relax at the Luxembourg gardens
Get some exercise and rent a bike, Velib, or electric car to explore the city on wheels

Hope this list is helpful if you’re planning a visit to Paris!

Hello Riga!

The Freedom Monument - Riga, Latvia

On a work trip last year, we had an afternoon break and decided to explore Riga. It was my first time in the country so I didn’t really know what to expect. Luckily we had a tour guide that showed us some of the best places to check out given our short time frame. Here are some snaps (not the best I’ll admit…they were taken on my iPhone) of our afternoon in Latvia!

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On An Island in Vietnam

Empty Beach
I love visiting Vietnam. It is probably my favourite place I have been to so far. The birthplace of my parents and sister, I didn’t realize how much of a connection I would feel to the country given that I was born in Canada. There is something special about visiting a country where everyone speaks a language that is not English, but that you understand. You immediately feel a sense of belonging.  On one of my work trips to Vietnam I was able to sneak in a couple days to visit the island of Phu Quoc.

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Copenhagen

danish cowOne of my most favourite places to visit has been Copenhagen. If you’re planning a trip to Europe, including Denmark is a good idea. Danes are famously considered to be one of the most happiest people on earth and I have to agree. Apart from the happy locals, the city of Copenhagen is not only beautiful but has many things to see and do. Best way to explore the city was to hop on a bike!

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Florence

A place that I always wanted to visit was Italy. I didn’t have a specific city in mind, I just knew I had to find my way to Italy at some point. In 2013, we spent a night in Rome then travelled by train to Florence. Taking the train was remarkably easy, I would recommend travelling by train to anyone. Once we got to Florence it was so beautiful and surreal.

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