Sunday, April 28, 2013


This post concludes my long 3 week spring break adventures.  It was an AMAZING time and I'm going to miss doing it next year but I have to say it is nice not living out of a suitcase!

My last day in Paris I decided to head out to Versailles.  It isn't too far outside of the main city and is very easy to get to.  I wasn't to sure what to expect when I got there but I knew there was a palace and a huge garden to walk around in so I figured I'd start with that.

When I got to the Palace of Versailles I found once again I could tour the museum for free with my student ID.  I arrived fairly early but the line was already long.  However, security moved everyone pretty fast so it wasn't too long of a wait.  Once inside the palace gates you could tour two different museums in the actual palace.  They were pretty crowded but it was still cool to see where Louis XIV lived and learn a bit about the history.
The Chapel
The Hall of Mirrors
One of the Dinning Rooms
After touring the palace I headed outside to walk around the garden.  Now the gardens weren't free since there was a fountain show going on which I was excited to see so I didn't mind paying for it.  Unfortunately, the garden wasn't in bloom yet due to winter just ending but it was still cool to walk through the gardens to find hidden fountains or statues in the maze of shrubs.

Here is a video I took from the fountain show:

The rain held off for most of the day which was nice.  I only had a few drizzles when I was heading back to the train station which was fine by me.

I was sad when my 3 week adventure ended and I had to head back to classes and work but I'm so glad it happened!  I lucked out so well with weather and I didn't miss any flights or trains so I was happy.  I met some great people and have so many stories to tell!  Until next time because it's been a bit since my break so I have more stories to tell!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Exploring More of Paris

Here a continuation of my adventures in Paris!  Check out the first one here!

For my second day in Paris I decided I was going to climb things!  Well not literally climb things but I was planning on climbing to Sacre Coeur and the Notre Dame towers.  I'll let you in on a secret - I climbed both!  Anyways, I ventured out to Sacre Coeur early in the morning since it was the farthest from my hostel but it was easy to get to on the tube.  It was a beautiful day so the view was amazing from the steps let alone the top of the dome!   The church itself was beautiful, not elaborate beautiful but simple beautiful.  I recommend making your way out there to check it out!
Sacre Coeur
A top the dome
A view
After my lovely visit to Sacre Coeur, I decided to head out to see some famous places.  My first stop was the Moulin Rouge.  I didn't see a show since they were expensive but I thought the building was really cool.  I was just wandering down the street it was on and all of a sunden the building popped out because of the windmill on top!
After seeing Moulin Rouge, I headed over to the Opera House.  Growing up with a poster of Romeo and Juliet from the Paris Opera House hanging in our house I always wandered what the building was like.  It was cool to see the building but unfortunately there was a rehearsal going on so I couldn't see inside the actual Opera House.
After the Opera House I went to Notre Dame and I was starving!  I found a nice little Crepe shop nearby and got a delicious Nutella and Banana Crepe!  It is the best thing ever!  After, I toured around inside Notre Dame and it was beautiful!  I then went and stood in a half hour line to climb the towers!  I have to say even though I already saw so many views of Paris climbing the tower was really cool!  I was even up at the top on an hour to hear the bells go off which was startling at first!
Notre Dame
Atop the towers
 The next day I decided to make it a museum day.  I was debating between this and a bus trip but decided on this because I could get in for free with my student ID where as my bus trip would have cost me money.  I started my day off at Napoleon's tomb which was really cool.  The museum itself dealt with a lot of World  War I and II.  It was interesting to see another country's perspective on these wars when I only grew up learning the American point of view.  I definitely learned a lot.  I also saw Napoleon's tomb which was cool and a lot bigger then I had expected.
Napoleon's Tomb
Outside the Museum
After checking out the museum I headed over to the Louvre to check out the Mona Lisa and other famous artwork.  The Louvre is huge!  I wasn't able to see everything but I did see a lot just by wandering around.
Mona Lisa - it is a lot smaller than you think!

Over my two days of traveling in Paris I saw a lot that I was completely exhausted but it was worth it!  Here are some other places I saw along my travels:
The Liberty Flame
The Statue of Liberty
St. Michael's the Archangel statue
The Bridge of Locks
I did have one more day in Paris but I decided to spend it outside of the city so that post to come soon!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bonjour Paris

I'm back again in Bangor.  I was away this weekend so I have more stories to update you with but right now I'm going to continue with my spring break exertion!!

My last stop on spring break was Paris.  I spent a few days in Paris so I saw almost everything!  It was a busy time but well worth it.  Being a student in the UK/Europe, you can get discounted (or even free!) admission to most museums in Paris.  I took advantage of this opportunity even if I wasn't 100% interested since it was worth it.

My first day in Paris I did a hop-on/hop-off tour since I really enjoyed it in Barcelona.  The big difference in Paris was the streets were always busy so the one day ticket wasn't completely worth it.  If you go to Paris I recommend doing a multi-day ticket if you're interested in it.  Anyways, I saw a lot of sights on this trip.  We passed Napoleon's tomb, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and more!  It was really cool to get the lay of the land and know where everything was located (or at least the general area).

I decided to start my sight-seeing inside some of these places and decided to climb the Arc de Triomphe.  It was a cool climb and the view was pretty cool too.  The steps reminded me of the castles I've climbed except half-way up there was a mini museum and a gift shop with some information about the Arc.
The Arc de Triomphe
In the museum bit
A top the Arc with the Eiffel Tower in the background
After the climb back down I headed over to the Eiffel Tower for another climb.  It wasn't too bad of a wait to get in.  After waiting in line for less than a half hour I got into a crowded elevator to the second floor.  The second floor is filled with gift shops and a snack bar which was convenient since I hadn't eaten since breakfast!  The prices weren't outrageous either so I was extra happy.  I waited in a bit of a longer line to get to the very top of the tower but it was definitely worth it.  The view was AMAZING but it started to rain when I was standing outside.  At least it didn't pour!
The Eiffel Tower
A view of Paris from above
A tad windy
That's better!
Sacre Coeur off in the distance
The last event of the day turned out to be a boat cruise down the Seine river which was pretty.  I didn't seen any real major sights from the boat that I hadn't seen on my bus tour but it came at a discount with the bus so I figured I do it.  It was definitely an interesting way to see Paris.  We even went around the island which Notre Dame sits on!  That was cool.
One of the bridges
Notre Dame with some rain
The smallest house in Paris
This pretty much concluded my fist day in Paris.  However a very funny story came out of me waiting for the bus after my boat tour.  I'm standing there in the pouring rain and this women behind me offers to share her umbrella with me.  She spoke English right away with American accent so I knew she probably wasn't from Paris.  I got to talking with her and found out she is originally from the town over from me in NJ!  Small world?  Anyways I was telling her about my abroad experience and this woman on the other side asks me what someone with an accent like me is doing living in Bangor?  I then found out she is from basically the next town over in Wales!  I was really freaked out!  It really, truly is a small world.

Till next time for some more Paris...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Willkommen in Deutschland

After Switzerland, Germany was my next stop.  I stayed in a small city called Stuttgart.  I had done some research and a travel guide said it was a hidden gem of Germany.  I was looking for a simple place to take a small breather during my travels and based on what I read it seemed like a good fit for just that.  And it was!

I spent two days in this small city where there was a lot of shopping and a huge park to walk around in.  And walking around the park is mostly what I did.  It was a huge park with tons of different trails and some ponds scattered along the way.

I did go into the main city for a bit but I didn't have any money to go shopping so I preferred the park to walk around.  To me being abroad isn't about shopping.  I have done some but I'm trying to save my money to see things rather then shop.

The city was very pretty.  And I would have loved to explore some of the historical buildings and museums if they weren't closed.  But here are some pictures of the outsides anyways:
Town Hall (I think)
Das Grune U (from the side)
Das Grune U (monument)
Museum of Natural History
This trip came at the perfect time in my 3 week spring break adventure.  I felt like I was going non-stop so the relaxing time in a park was a much welcomed rest.  It gave me time to sleep, catch up on some work, and just relax before my trip to Paris.  Till next time when I talk about Paris...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Switzerland Travels Part II

This is my continuation of my travels in Switzerland.  Check out Part 1 here!

Thursday of my trip Alice took me to Neuchatel where my grandma spent 2 years studying at the University. It was a beautiful city right on the water next to Lake of Neuchatel.  The lake was so pretty to look at and there were so many swans everywhere!  I don't think I've ever seen so many swans before!!
Look at all those swans!!
Around the docks were boathouses that had paintings on them.  They all had their own personality which was cool to walk along and see.

We also went to the Basilica on top of the hill.  It was a bit of a steep climb but the view and the church was beautiful.  The Church was reformed by Guillaume Farel in 1530.  He lived in one of the houses right next to the church during his time in Neuchatel and it still stands today.  The church was very simple but beautiful at the same time.  There were stars painted on the ceiling which I imagine must be really cool to look at during the night.

My last full day in Switzerland, Alice set me free to explore Laufen on my own.  Laufen was a cute town with a ton of adorable shops.  I just meandered around for the morning and enjoyed the fresh air.  I walked along the river which runs through town.  Not much was happening on a Friday morning so I headed back to Alice's for a nice lunch which she prepared a relaxing afternoon before our big dinner I mentioned in my first post about Switzerland.

The main center of town
Down by the water
The Ricola Factory
I was sad when my trip came to close because I was enjoying getting to know Alice.  There is so much more of Switzerland I want to see so I'm hoping to go back in the near but probably distant future.

Till next time for my trip in Germany!!