Paris Part I – Pere Lachaise

In my last post, I promised you some photos from my latest trip.

The photos I took during my ski trip aren’t that good, so I’m afraid there’s not much to share. Unfortunately, I was using an old point-and-shoot camera (I didn’t want to break my DSLR if I fell down) and for some reason, many of the pictures appear blurred, even in broad daylight! Hopefully, once I get round to work on the video I’ll be able to show you something.

So, these below are photos of Paris. However, since I took like a million pictures (might or might not be exaggerating a bit), and I’ve spent most of my Saturday afternoon and evening editing, and I’m still not finished, I’ve decided to share them in installments.

Therefore, this is Paris Part I – Pere Lachaise.

If you know me, you’ll know that I love cemeteries. As I said in my previous post, Pere Lachaise is one of my favourite places in the world, or at least, the world I know so far.

There are hundreds of graves and they vary from simple tombstones to amazing mausoleums. I love walking along the uneven streets, lost in my thoughts, admiring how people have chosen to remember their loved ones.

When I visited this last time, I remember how these two ladies were just walking and chatting loud and laughing, and I felt they were desecrating the peaceful quietness of the place.

If you ever go to Paris, I recommend you visit Pere Lachaise, in the meantime, here are some photos for you to have a small peek at the beauty it has to offer. Of course, I’m sharing these photographs from the deepest respect for each grave and the families of those buried in them.

I haven’t posted all the photos below, they’re all in my Flickr page, as there are over 50! You can either click here to see them all, or on the link on the right column.

I hope you enjoy them and thanks for taking the time to read. x

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Posted in photography, travelling

There and here, and there and then back again

Holiday blues.

Honestly, what’s the deal with that? How is it possible to feel so down just because of a few days off?

As you might recall, first went on a ski trip with colleagues. We left early on a Sunday morning. My plan was to sleep for a few hours, but despite getting to bed, I wasn’t able to fall asleep. I’m guessing it was because I was too scared of sleeping through the alarm and missing the flight or something.

The ski trip was a lot of fun. I decided not to go crazy on the alcohol and although I missed some fun nights, I don’t regret it as I was able to snowboard all day long. I’ve gotten much better (at last!) and even if I fell like a million times, I enjoyed it a lot.

I used my GoPro camera to record my descent, but the footage isn’t great, mainly because I’m not an awesome snowboarder yet, so it’s a bit boring…

One of the days, I teamed up with a skier girl. The bit I love the most about this trip is that it allows you to interact with people you normally don’t have the chance to talk to, and you discover great people. We had a lot of fun, and I even asked her to record me a couple of times. If I manage to get anything from the clips, I’ll post a video at some point.

The ski trip was exhausting. We left the hotel at 4am on a Wednesday, got a plane back to London, and arrived in the morning. My new skier friend drove me home (thank you, thank you!) and my day pretty much consisted of having breakfast, unpacking my big suitcase, doing laundry, having lunch, packing my small suitcase and go to St. Pancras to take the Eurostar to Paris.

Of course, I arrived in the evening, tired and underslept.

I don’t remember much of that evening. I guess we had dinner and chatted, but who knows what really happened.

My stay in Paris was great. I caught up with some friends and made a couple more. We went out, to the cinema, to the theatre… and ate. A lot.

First stop was drinks at a café nearby, L’Artiste, on Thursday evening. A friend texted me to ask me if I wanted to meet up, and I was still in my PJs, but hey, told her to give me 20 minutes and I would be ready.

On Friday, I had lunch on my own at the same café. The most amazing salad ever… I mean, a salad is not a salad without bacon, right? Or as they say over there, lardon. If you ever go there, make sure to order La Bergère, I bet you won’t be disappointed.
La_Bergere_salad
In the afternoon, I visited one of my favourite places: the Pere Lachaise cemetery. If you ever go to Paris, and you’re not terribly spooked about cemeteries, then you have to visit it. It’s absolutely beautiful. The cemetery is old, as in really old. A quick glance at Wikipedia tells me it was established in 1804.

Many of the graves are falling apart, and you can find many different types, from simple tombstones, to mausoleums. Famous people are buried there, as well as common citizens. The whole place is peaceful, quiet (despite being by a busy boulevard) and simply beautiful. Every time I visit it, I take a ridiculous amount of photographs, which I will of course share with you in due course!

After my visit to Pere Lachaise, I had to go shopping and ended up buying a handbag and shoes, and then had some coffee in a small café.

On my way back home (nice walk, and hey, I didn’t get lost!), I stopped to buy a plant for my friend, to thank her for letting me stay at her place. I have no hopes whatsoever that the plant is going to have a long life, but hey, fingers crossed! Ha-ha

Friday night in Paris, time to go out with the girls!

We went to Monsieur Henri, a cool bar opened by one of the girls and her friend. We had some nice organic wine and chatted and laughed. Unfortunately, everyone was tired from work, so we left early.

On Saturday, my host and I decided to ride a bike around the city. I hadn’t been on a bicycle in ages, and never with traffic, so I was a bit worried about having an accident. However, I enjoyed it greatly. At the end of the ride I was tired, of course, but it was worth it.

We ate crepes at my favourite place, Krepe, and did shopping, and then took the bicycles back.

That night, we stayed in and invited the girls to come over and have some wine with us.

On Sunday, we decided to go to the cinema. I had never watched How I Live Now before, which I loved. I’m not good at cinema reviews, so I’ll just say if you haven’t watched it yet, do it. You won’t regret it. It’s beautifully done and from the first moment you wonder about the setting, and the characters. The story only gets better and the photography is stunning.

That evening, I went for drinks to a bar hidden behind the doors of what looked like a walk-in fridge, inside a non-descript sort of deli café. As I stepped in through the fridge doors, I could see hams and other cold meat hanging around. To this day, I have no clue whether that food was in there for real, as in food that would be served to customers, or if it was all just props. Another set of doors revealed a nice looking bar, set as a bar in Chicago during the prohibition. Not sure that’s the look they were aiming for, but that’s how it looked to me. There was great music being played through the speakers and the decoration and even the clothing of the bar staff played the part.

Of course I loved it. I eyed the extensive whisky list, but in the end settled for a beer, as I’m not a particular fan of whisky anyway.

After the bar I ended up going to a secret location, high up above the city, from where you could see absolutely everything, from the Eiffel Tower to the Pantheon, to Notre-Dame. I have to add, as birthdays go, that was also the best start of a birthday I’ve ever had (neck in neck with spending my birthday in Disneyland Europe, many years ago… Paris again!)

My friend was off on Monday, so we could celebrate my birthday together. We had lunch with another friend, and walked along La Seine. We went to Jardin des Tuileries and walked past Le Louvre, and then all the way to Notre-Dame. I took some photos again, which I’ll share with you once I’ve had time to look into them.

In the evening, she took me to the theatre, and we watched How to Become Parisian in One Hour, a one-man comedy act in English, mainly describing stereotypes from different cultures, and how they compare to the Parisian stereotype. It was hilarious!

Finally, we had a mighty dinner at Le Plomb du Cantal in Saint-Denis.

The following morning, unfortunately, I had to leave.

For some reason, I misread my Eurostar ticket, and I missed my train, but the staff at Gare du Nord were very accommodating and they exchanged it for free! A few hours later, I was sat at my desk at work, feeling tired and miserable.

Back in London, I got a cake from my team and friends at work, as well as a couple of cards. My brother also gave me a couple of presents!

On Saturday morning, a group of colleagues and I headed over to Tunbridge Wells to run The Major Series, a (really) muddy obstacle race. It was a lot of fun, of course, but my! it was muddy. It was mental! I fell on so many puddles and streams, I fell on my bottom when trying to get into a river, got scratched by branches, got pricked by a thorn, which left a splinter on my finger (splinter I still have, by the way, stuck on my finger), was hit by a branch on the face… and injured my knee, when I still had maybe 2k left of race, and still a bunch of obstacles to overcome.

I decided to not try running anymore, and simply limp all the way to the finishing line. Every step was painful, and I quit about a hundred times in my head. However, I forced myself to walk painstakingly slow, and made my way to the finish line. As soon as I crossed it, and I mean, the very second I stepped over the timing chip sensors, I walked over to a race marshall and asked where the first aid team were, which was on top of the hill that I had just had to walk up and down for the past 3-4 obstacles. I resigned myself to this, and wobbled uphill once more. On my way, I picked all the goodies – the medal, the t-shirt, some snack bar… I reached my friends, dropped everything with them and headed to the ambulance, where they told me they thought it would get better in a few days, to rest the knee and so on.

After a hearty lunch, we headed back to London.

That evening I was celebrating my birthday with a joint party with my friend Sam, over at Waxy O’Connors. I hadn’t been there in ages and hadn’t realised how difficult that bar is for someone with an injured knee – way too many stairs! I left early (yup, left my own birthday party early!), and went back home to rest, and slept until quite late on Sunday, so tired I was from the previous couple of weeks.

So there it is, my account of my holidays. So many things have happened, and it feels so far away now.

At the moment, I’m not running, as I’ve decided to rest this week so as to not make my knee worse. This means I’m not training for the half marathon at the end of the month, but that’s hardly a surprise, since I haven’t been very strict with my training so far…

I have a few ideas for the next posts, so I will try to go back to a nice frequent schedule.

Phew! Post done, sorry it’s taken me such a long text to tell you about it, but trust me, I’ve left stuff out, just because of not wanting to bore you! I’ll try to share the photos with you on Sunday, but I’m a bit busy this week after work, so bear with me.

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Posted in travelling

Chilling… literally!

Ugh… This week…

I’ve been really busy at work, and completely spaced out, so tasks that would take me an hour to complete would take me two. What a pain! Good thing is that I’ve spent a lot of time looking at basic coding (html and CSS) so that’s kept me entertained.

Also, I’ve had some friction with a couple of people, which had me on edge for most of the week, and despite the overall happy mode that I’ve grown used to maintain, I’ve had a sub-layer of annoyance all week long.

I was supposed, as well, to go on a date on Wednesday, but the guy cancelled. I knew it was likely to happen (or not happen, actually), since he had told me before, but I think it annoyed me to have to chase for news. Luckily, I am one to find a plan whenever I need one, and definitely have back-up plans all around, and I went to have dim sum for dinner with my friend.

On Thursday, I had another date, with a different guy. If you’re thinking I get around a lot, let me give you a couple of answers, so you can pick whichever you prefer:

  • What if I do?
  • Going on many dates doesn’t necessarily mean ending up with many guys
  • Half of the dates I’ve planned migh or might not have happened
  • Deal with it

Anyway, so, the date on Thursday was great. I hadn’t felt the (in)famous butterflies in a while, and I liked this guy. We had fun and talked a lot, and even had some funny (read awkward) moments, like when a drunk guy approached me to tell me that I had “awesome boobs, they’re like Lara Croft’s…” and when I told him randomly commenting on women’s boobs was not cool, he proceeded to apologise to me, to my boyfriend (yep, awkward again), and ended up buying us drinks. Yes, everyone, it’s true, boobs get you free things, it seems!

The rest of the evening went well, but there was a major problem. Not only I am leaving for a week tonight, but the guy lives in Austin, Texas, USA… as in, across the damn Atlantic and yeah. So no chance of randomly bumping into him then.

I tried to meet with him again on Friday, but he had plans already, so there it goes, I’m all heartbroken and forever alone…

This proves a couple of things, the first one being that there seem to be nice, cool, fun and handsome men on Tinder after all. The second thing this proves is that of all the men currently living in London, and all of those on Tinder (or other online dating platforms/apps), I always pick the difficult ones. Ha! I’m sabotaging myself!

However, despite all this, I’ve decided to let those butterflies go, because there’s no point in keeping them in there, and move on. Next!

So, tonight, I’m going on a ski trip!! After such a long wait, I’ll be snowboarding again! I’ve spent my day getting ready, packing and looking for all my snow gear. I’m chuffed that I still fit in my snowboarding trousers, and got over excited when I took my boots, helmet and goggles out. So much that I decided to take a pic of myself, in my room… Yes, I am that cool!

We’re leaving at silly o’clock in the morning, and a friend is picking me up at 4am in a cab, and then we’re picking another friend at her place, on our way to the airport.

I have no clue where we’re going exactly, as I haven’t done much research, but it sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun. Also, this year I’m ready – I have my helmet, my trusted padded pants, and my GoPro helmet kit! Last time I fell because I was more focused on holding the camera with my hand that whatever I was doing with the board edges, but this time I’m thinking ahead, I’ve had more than a year to prepare. I also found a hip flask (wedding favour from a cousin’s wedding), which I will be using at length over there!

I probably won’t be posting anything for like a week. Maybe when I come back from this trip quickly, or maybe when I’m in Paris, I don’t know; but I might post pictures on Instagram and/or Flickr whenever I get some free wi-fi, so keep an eye out for those. If you are not following me yet on those and would like to, click on the links on the right hand side, and they will take you to each platform. Note that at the moment, my Instagram account is not public, and you will need to ask to follow, but it might be worth it (and unless you seem very creepy on your profile or something, I will most likely accept!

I hope I will come back in one piece, and that we will all have a great time over there.

Speak to you soon and take care!! x

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Posted in just random stuff, travelling
marz

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