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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Backpacking through Europe Travel Diary Part 1

Kate Bartlett, Backpacking through europe as a teen
Hey friends!! I am so so excited to share with you my first ever travel diary! I am currently on a month long trip to Europe; for the first half I will be traveling with my parents but for the second half I'm traveling with just my sister. I wanted to share all my experiences and recommendations, here is Part 1, I hope you enjoy!!!

Day 1: Paris
After flying all night we arrived in Paris at 7am and took an Uber to our hotel which was supposed to be only 45 mins but with the Paris traffic it turned into 2 hours (all of which the driver proceeded to play 2000's R&B music). Every time my family comes to Paris we stay at the Hotel Marignan, a little family owned bed and breakfast in the Latin Quarter, it’s definitely not fancy but is in a great location and has the best hot chocolate :) We dropped off our bags and headed out, of course we had to stop by a cafe for some coffee first though. Then we walked to the Musee De L'Orangerie, a fairly new museum that features Monet's Water Lily's. I knew my friend Madeline was in Paris and we had talked about meeting up while we were both there but we ran into each other at the Museum totally unplanned which was crazy!!!! After exploring the museum we stopped by Lauderée to pick up some Macaroons for later (I had dark chocolate and my sister Sara had salted caramel, both of which were delicious!!) and found some lunch at a bakery. I had a salmon and artichoke salad and the rest of my family had their favorite: Croque Monsieurs. We were all exhausted after being up for almost 40 hours so we headed back to the park and relaxed for a little while ( the weather was STUNNING) Next we headed back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner then went to eat at a vegetarian Indian restaurant called Krishna Bhavan (the channa masala was delicious) To finish up the night we walked around and went back to my favorite bookstore in Paris: Shakespeare and Company !!! This is a must see and is so much fun to explore ( right behind Norte Dame). We were exhausted so we crashed early at about 10pm, overall it was a great first day in Paris.

Day 2: Paris
We decided to sleep in and got up at 9 (my family is usually pretty GO GO GO so this is rare for us) then enjoyed coffee and baguettes for breakfast at the hotel. Then we walked around and explored the area around Notre Dame and took lots of pictures of course. Next we took the metro to Sacre Coeur and rode the funicular up to the top; after exploring a little we had some lunch at the cutest little vine covered cafe, I had a grilled chicken baguette. We then walked to the Eiffel Tower which is obviously one of my favorite spots in Paris, I even met a fellow fashion blogger there @annaalexg !!! After about an hour walking around we took the metro to the Champs Elysee where we strolled, looked in some shops, and had ice cream. Then we explored a park for a little while before walking to Rue de Cler, which had the best shops and markets ever! We looked in some shops then had dinner at a table outside at Tribeca ( this restaurant was AMAZING, I had the eggplant caviar which was delicious and a must try for any veggie lovers ;). We decided to walk back to the Eiffel Tower to watch the sunset; the sun in Paris doesn't set until 10 pmthis time of year and my parents were tired so they headed back to the hotel and left my sister and I there to watch. After about 10 metro rides we finally found our way back to the hotel about midnight and crashed.

Day 3: Paris/Nice
We started our day at 7am and had baguettes, coffee, and hot chocolate at the hotel again. Then we walked past Notre Dame to the Marais district which is filled with rainbow painted streets perfect for Instagram :) We looked in lots of cute vintage shops and stopped by three of my favorite higher end stores: Sandro, Maje, and Claudie Pierlot. After a few hours we walked back to the fountains outside the Pompadour museum (can you tell my family walks a lot??) and started making our way back to the hotel to pick up our bags and make our way to the train station. The train station was only a 30 minute walk away but in 90 degree weather with a 20 backpack on, it wears you out quick. By the time we made it to the train station it was about 3pm and we were starving so we picked up salads at Pret a Manger and boarded the train to Nice. The ride from Paris to Nice is about 6 hours so we spent some much needed time relaxing and had baguettes and fruit for dinner. When we finally arrived we walked to the flat we were staying at to drop off our bags then headed back out to explore the city. The waterfront in Nice is like the Miami Beach of France with tons a street performers and great people watching! We got some gelato (I had pineapple sorbet), walked back to the flat, showered, and crashed at around midnight.

Day 4: Nice/Monaco
Our first day in Nice started with a late breakfast at 9 of croissants, fruit, and coffee at the flat. Because my family travels frequently, we usually opt to stay in stay in bed and breakfasts instead of fancy hotels (after all, we only really sleep at the hotel so it doesn't really matter). This particular flat consisted of a few rooms for families, a communal kitchen, and two bathrooms for everyone to share. It was so interesting to meet and talk to people from all over the world. After breakfast we walked to the train station and hopped on a train the the city-country of Monoco. It was about an hour walk down a hill and back up another hill (we could have taken a bus but you get to see so much more when you walk) to get to the main street where we arrived just in time to watch the changing of the guard. We explored the streets and little shops then grabbed some quick sandwiches for lunch from a cafe. After lunch we walked through the exotic gardens to the Musee Oceanographique de Monaco- a super cool aquarium/museum. Once we had finished looking at all the exotic fish we walked around a few more gardens and took a bus back to the train station where we headed back to Nice. By this time we were exhausted so we took a quick rest at the flat before heading out to walk down the main strip. We had pizza for dinner at a cute Italian restaurant then walked around Old Town Nice which had so many AMAZING restaurants, I seriously wish I had time to try them all!! A few hours of walking around town had us exhausted so we headed back to the flat for bed.

Day 5: Nice/Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
We started off our day the same with a breakfast of croissants and coffee then walked to town to catch a bus to the small beach town of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. If you ever have the chance to visit, I would highly recommend making the trek to Cap Ferrat; it was gorgeous and not touristy at all (we didn't meet any other Americans while there). We took a walk to a small beach for some drinks then walked back up a hill to the main town area where I got a yummy parfait for lunch at a cute cafe. Then we walked around the tip of the isle and saw some AMAZING views of the water and yachts. Sara and I changed into our swimsuits ( behind a bush lol) on the walk, took some photos, then made our way down to the beach to swim ( ok I didn't really swim but I dipped my feet in so that kinda counts). After exploring the town a little more we caught a bus back to Nice and ate at one of the best Indian restaurants I have ever been to!! It's called the Indian Lounge located in Old Town Nice and they have amazing Vegetarian Aloo Matter!!! We spent the evening exploring the streets and watching street performers. To finish off the night we stopped by Fennochios ice cream ( the best in Nice), they have the craziest flavors!!! I have chocolate ginger, my mom had Pina Colada, my dad had cappachino, and Sara had avocado, they were all delicious !!!

Day 6: Nice/Antibes
Over breakfast at the flat, we decided to spend our last day in Nice in the town of Antibes. After a quick 30 minute train ride we took a walk by the water to the marina where we looked at all of the huge docked yachts. Then we walked up the hill to an area with lots of cute boutiques and cafes. The market in Antibes is super cool to look around; we bought some spices ( not really sure what they are but they looked cool so we went for it) and tried lots of samples!! After a quick lunch of salads and espresso we hit the beach for a little while and of course people watched !!! We then took the train back to Nice where we picked up our bags from the flat and bought some groceries for the train ride to Milan. Our train ride dinners usually consist of fruit, bread, and cheese (Not for me though, I HATE cheese!!) The ride to Milan was a long 6 hours but luckily I picked up a French Vogue to entertain me and tried to sleep a little (didn't happen). We arrived at about 11 pm, walked to our hotel and immediately fell asleep!!

Day 7: Milan
Our day in Milan started with breakfast at the hotel accompanied by the hotel cat, a 4 month old kitten named Jay who was the CUTEST !! We then headed off to the Duomo which was gorgeous from the outside, unfortunately the line was crazy long so we did not get to see the inside, but instead we walked through the Gallerie Victor Emmanuel which was filled with all the luxury stores I love (hello Louis Vuitton). Then we made our way to the main shopping street to window shop and people watch, the fashion in Milan is INSANE and I got so much blog inspo. By this point we were all starving so we stopped by a pizza place for a bite to eat. Next we headed off to the Sforza Castle where we explored the museum for a while. I'll be honest, I am not the biggest museum gal and I may have fallen asleep a few times lol (it was also 100 degrees out with no AC anywhere). One of my fave youtubers, Danielle Carolan has raved about two stores in Europe, Pull & Bear and Bershka so I wanted to check them out and I'm in loveeeee. They are like a mixture of Zara, Brandy Melville, and Forever 21 and are so cheap, you MUST stop by if you are in Europe. After shopping around we headed back to the hotel because my sister needed to do a skype interview for her internship so we just hung out and rested (much needed). By the time she finished it was about 9pm and we were ready for dinner so we took the subway to my family's FAVORITE restaurant, Wagamama. They only have a few locations (London, Milan, Nyc) and I hadn't had it since Spring Break so I was soooo excited, I always get the Yasai Ramen and a green tea :) We finished up the night with a stroll around the Duomo watching street performers then hit the hotel.

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