big weekend part 1: paris

Since we had 5 days off in between our national exams and university exams, doesn’t it make more sense that I traveled around than sat at home and studied? Yes, I think so.

Yes, I was back in Paris. No, I didn’t want to be. Not after all of my terrible experiences there. (Am I being a little overdramatic? Perhaps. But seriously, Paris was not in good standing with me at the moment.) Nevertheless, Paris is a necessary connecting point to basically anywhere when I’m traveling outside of Caen. Continue reading

to barcelona or not to barcelona? … that is the question.

Well, I have an answer for you all. Although most of you already know what it is, I’ll start at the beginning anyway.

With all of the strikes that have recently been going on France, I was a little worried. My mom and her best friend Natalie would be in Barcelona for a weekend before setting out on their week-long Mediterranean cruise, and I had round-trip train tickets to Barcelona for that very weekend to see them. My night-train to Spain was scheduled to leave on Thursday night from Paris, and then I would arrive just around the same time as them in Barcelona on Friday morning. When I got to the train station in Caen (which I once again had to walk to from my dorm due to manifestations going on downtown), trains were still going to Paris, so I figured I was in the clear. I hopped on the train to Paris and arrived without a problem around 4pm on Thursday. I easily took the metro from the Saint Lazare station over to the Austerlitz station, where my Spain train was supposed to be waiting for me. As soon as I arrived at the station, I was bombarded by a huge white sign in the middle of the station with a specific revised list of trains that were departing that day. I didn’t see Barcelona anywhere.

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voila paris!

I got super excited on Friday, October 1st, when my friend Cedric, who is in the process of moving to Paris, invited me to come hang out for the weekend. I checked train times, packed, and was ready to leave on Saturday morning when he told me that he wouldn’t be back in Paris until Sunday morning. Well, I still wanted to go. So I called my friend Sean, who is a Baylor student studying in Paris for the semester, to see if I could hang out with him until Cedric got into town. Sean graciously agreed to let me stay with him, and also reminded me that Saturday night was the Nuit Blanche festival in Paris, so I decided to take the next train possible to arrive around 6pm on Saturday. As I was waiting at the tram stop in Caen to go to the train station, an announcement came on that basically said that there was a strike going on downtown and that trams wouldn’t be running for the rest of the day. Seriously?! So, I grabbed my stuff, and started briskly walking to the train station from my dorm which is 8 tram stops/35 minutes away. Luckily I had left early enough so that I still made my train on time! The only thing that threw me off before getting on the train was a text from Cedric that said something along the lines of “I can’t make it to Paris this weekend, I’m really sorry.” Well. I didn’t have any credit left on my phone, so I couldn’t even respond. Things were definitely not going according to plan, and I hadn’t even left yet! Oh boy.

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from dublin to paris.

Wow. It’s already Tuesday, over a week into my trip, and I’ve only posted once! There is plenty happening, but internet is rare in most of the places we stay. Therefore, let me start back at Tuesday – my second day in Ireland.

Not much happened on Tuesday. Unfortunately my ankle was still bothering me from the night before so I decided to stay and rest at my friend Flo’s apartment while my travel partner Jed headed up to Belfast for the day. While he explored beautiful Northern Ireland, I napped, ate a delicious pasta lunch that Flo cooked for me, and watched the European version of “Dating in the Dark.” I managed to skype with my dad for a while to fill him in on the ankle situation, and eventually headed to bed early.

The next morning we woke up nice and early to say goodbye to Flo, who was headed off to his internship, and so that we could make our bus on time. Continue reading