Travel: Europe – Second Week

When you’re not used to traveling, it can slowly catch up to you. 

After Nice, France I headed back to Holland, I was been a bit more tired than my first week. The first day back, I went into Almere, a city outside of Amsterdam to do some shopping. I’ve been hearing about Primark from before I even left for my trip and have been wanting to go to get some new clothing at cheaper prices there. 

In front of Primark at the shopping area in Almere
 

The store was two stories high and filled with a lot of cool things. I would compare the styles to that of  H&M and Forever 21. The prices were pretty good, in EUROS, but when converting to CAD it still didn’t make much of a difference. Didn’t matter because I wanted new items from trip. (sorry I totally forgot to post a pic of what I got). I did try raw herring for the first time that day (this is known to be pretty popular food in the Netherlands). I also tried the McKorket sandwich at the MacDonalds. Both were interesting but not exactly something I’d eat again.

Trying new and interesting things ūüôā
 
The next day, I took the train into Rotterdam, another popular, more modern looking city in the Netherlands. They had this amazing outdoor shopping area that spanned a few blocks. I walked inbetween the buildings there towards the Museumpark. The day was beautiful and walked through the gorgeous gardens they have there and saw a small history of fashion exhibit. 

The cool Museumpark and the gardens
 
I then walked down towards the water and took a canal cruise. 

The waters along my cruise in Rotterdam
 
The day after I took a plane with my friend to Paris. I had always wanted to visit Paris and I’m so happy that I worked it into this trip. 

At the Louvre in Paris, France
 
We walked through the Louvre gardens which were so amazing towards the Eiffel Tower and walked up the stairs to the second floor. It was over 668 steps but all were worth it to get a beautiful view of all of Paris.

The walk towards the Eiffel Tower
 
 
Walking up the Eiffel Tower on (top left), enjoying the view from the Eiffel (bottom), and then watching the Eiffel lights in the evening (top right)
 
The city is super romantic, filled with many gardened pathways and gorgeous structures. On top of all of that, there are many fountains and places to sit and enjoy a glass of wine. It’s hard to not fall in love with this city. After coming back down the Eiffel Tower we walked to the Champs Elysees to see the shops and grab dinner. We walked back to the Eiffel as the sun came down to watch it light up. I was in awe of this gorgeous structure. 

The next day in Paris, we had only a few hours before our plane to see some new sights. We walked towards the Notre Dame, stopping into stores along the way. There was an outdoor bazaar that we walked through. Unfortunately, there was too long of a line to go inside the Notre Dame but we enjoyed the walk back towards a cafe. I had frois gras for the first time, which was actually pretty delicious. We then took the metro to the plane and headed back to Amsterdam. 

 

Fun times at the Heineken Experience
 
My last day was spent in Amsterdam to enjoy the last bit of this city. I did the Heineken Experience which was one of the funnest beer tours ever. After walking through the tour of how Heineken came about and getting information on the brewing process, we enjoyed beer samples and an awesomely interactive experience. This is quite a bit fun, I spent a few hours there. I also walked through a bazaar in Amsterdam as well filled with vendors and food. I really love this about walking through Europe, you don’t need to make too many plans, just walk and you’ll end up stumbling on something interesting. I then walked through Amsterdam towards the train station, taking my last look of the beautiful buildings and canals. 

I really enjoyed Europe and I can’t wait to go back there soon. Right now though, I’m super happy to be back.  

It’s blurry but I had to take a picture in front of this sign
 

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Travel: Europe – First Week

As you may know I’m traveling for two weeks in Europe.

My friend’s famiy lives in Holland and she offered me stay with them while we explored different parts of Europe.

After a 6 hour flight from Toronto to Amsterdam, I landed in the early evening and headed to my friend’s place. I enjoyed dinner with her family and then soon after went to bed being super tired from my flight.

The next day I walked around Woerden, a city outside of Amsterdam. The streets were filled with people enjoying drinks on patios and watching live bands. There won’t be too much of that when I head back to Toronto and brace myself for the winter. We navigated the streets to take in the action and did a bit of shopping.

Woerden, Netherlands

On the¬†next day I headed into Amsterdam to spend two days there. The canals are so gorgeous and although the day was a bit cloudy it didn’t take away from the stunning architecture.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

This place is so romantic, all you have to is walk imbetween the buildings and along the canals to understand why so many people choose Europe as a honeymoon or anniversary location. I saw the Rijksmuseum, which is a museum on the history of the Netherlands.

Walking through the Rijksmuseum

I really enjoyed walking through the halls and learning about Dutch history and art. I completely recommend making a stop here if you are ever visiting Amsterdam. Afterwards, I went to grab a bite at a local restaurant where I enjoyed a coffee and pancakes.

Nice, France

On the forth day, I boarded a plane down to Nice, France. I really wanted to ensure I got a beach trip in this vacation and Nice provided just that. Nestled along the French Riveria, this city had spectacular waterfront views and gorgeous mountains. The first day the weather wasn’t so great, but I was still getting over my jetlag so I was OK with just walking around the downtown.

The Prince’s Palace above, view of Monte Carlo below, Monaco

The day after we went down to Monte Carlo in Monaco. This was a half hour train trip from Nice. It’s interesting to walk through a city that clearly is glamorous. The water was lined with docks full of sparkling white yachts and there were expensive cars everywhere. I walked through the beautiful streets until we reached the Prince’s Palace and then headed back down.

oh the beautiful palm trees

The last day was spent in Nice, but I walked up to an area where there were Roman ruins and a beautiful park. The walk was long and uphill but was a lot of fun. I then walked back and hung out on the beach until it was time to leave to the airport.

I’m back now in Holland and will post an update of my next week there soon!

Time for Travel: Going to Europe!

Hello! So I thought I’d send a quick note to say that I’ll be travelling to Europe in the next week. I’ll be in Amsterdam for about 5 days, and spend 3 days in Nice and 2 days in Paris. There may be driving to other cities, but I’m not sure yet.

Since this will be my first time in these cities I thought I’d reach out and ask for suggestions on what I should do. Know a hole-in-the-wall bar I should check out? A non-touristy but super cool spot I should check out? I want to know!!

Please share your travel advice! I really would love to know it!

Travel: Ottawa, Civic Long Weekend

Day 1

My day started off in the warm sunshine enjoying iced coffee in the outdoor market at Toronto’s Union Station. My friend and I decided we would take the train to avoid traffic on the way up.

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Our train ride started out stressed when we found out our airbnb hosts had bed bugs and asbestos in their place! Literally our hearts dropped! We spent two hours cancelling our reservation with airbnb and scrambling to find new accomodations before we arrived in Ottawa. This was my fist airbnb experience and I’m totally sticking to hotels after this!¬†We ended up booking a hotel room for one night and a friend of a friend graciously offered us stay for our second night. We then were able to breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy the rest of the train ride.

We arrived around 3:30pm and after dropping off our bags at the hotel we headed to the Rideau Shopping Centre, which was across the street. Canada finally got Nordstrom but unfortunately there isn’t one in Toronto yet so we enjoyed exploring the Ottawa store. Living in the States before, I knew what I was expecting but was excited to show this to my friend. We did tons of shopping, I’ve included below a few items that I grabbed while I was there.

We then walked to Byward Market for a bite, opting for a place that offered all-day breakfast! Haha!

Byward Market is such an interesting part of the city, it has elements of a farmers market but also has stores, street performers, restaurants and bars. I suggest that if you are travelling to Ottawa to find accommodations nearby because it makes planning walks, shopping or food very easy.

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After our meal we walked to Parliament Hill, where Canada’s Capital Buildings are located, and watched the Sound and Light Show. You learn about Canada’s history through¬†this amazing display of lights that transform the Parliament Building. This is a great summer treat for those who are heading to Ottawa.

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Day 2

We started off the day with a nice walk towards the Royal Canadian Mint. The Mint located in Ottawa is where Canada’s collectible and investment coins are made as well as medals, like the ones used at the Olympics and you can learn about the process of coin making as well as shop for collectible coins.

Canada has two mints, the one in Winnepeg creates circulated coins. I thought it was interesting that not only do they make coins for our own currency but for hundreds of countries around the world!

Afterwards we headed to The Tea Room to enjoy some afternoon tea. It was a fun way to do lunch.

We then¬†headed over to our friend’s place, dropped our bags off and continued our walk to the Rideau Canal, which is a beautiful waterway that wraps the city. Ottawa is full of beautiful historic buildings and lovely parks, being the place where parliament was set up in Canada, and one of it’s first major cities it is rich with history. If you like walking or running, the scenery here is amazing.

Day 3

In the morning my friend and I walked around the Rideau and then went to the National Art Gallery where we saw the exhibit of Canadian Artist Alex Coville. The exhibit was really well done and full of great information on the artist and lots of his paintings were on display.

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We then enjoyed a walk around Parliament Hill.

After our walk it was time to start heading back home. We grabbed our bags and went to our train.

Ottawa was a lot of fun, and there were many more things that we didn’t have a chance to explore. I know I’ll definately be going back soon.¬†

Time for Travel: Makeup and Cosmetics

Travel Bag

This Friday I’ll be going on a short weekend trip to Canada’s capital, Ottawa! Hurray!¬†I’ll be making good use of the samples I’ve received from my subscription boxes.

I’ve done a lot of travelling so I have a few makeup tips I’ll share;

Tips

  1. Take makeup that is multi-purpose, such as a lip and cheek stain, an eyeliner that can double for filling eyebrows, or a shadow that can also be used as highlighter. This way you pack less but get more use out of the items you have.
  2. Instead of carrying full size products, opt to put them inside little sample containers. I have a few that I’ve collected from Sephora for example. They are large enough to put in a weekend’s worth of foundation, face wash and face cream. You can also purchase small containers¬†from the dollar store. This¬†saves space¬†and is cheaper than purchasing travel size items from the store.
  3. Keep the makeup you know you want to take with you in a ziplock bag until you are ready to go. For instance, a few days before I leave, I’ll start putting items in a ziplock as I do my everyday makeup routine. I keep the ziplock in my makeup case until I’m ready to go. Then¬†come travel day I’m¬†taking what exactly the items I use.
  4. Use a checklist. There are tons of great ones online, I like the Pack This list. Know what the weather will be like in the area you are going and pack accordingly.

Makeup Pack This List

PACK THIS MakeupAlthough there are a number of good packing lists, I didn’t find one for makeup, so I created it and decided to share with you. Click the image to download.¬†Hopefully it is helpful!

Do you have any Travel Tips? I’d love to hear them.

Also, I will start a section on my blog for just travel to document my trip to Ottawa and other trips I go on….I’ll be doing a big trip to Europe in September! I can’t wait!