Europe trip 2015 : part 3

It's been a month since my last post. I really need to finish this post now, otherwise it'll drag me longer and I won't be able to write about it because I have 2 more trips coming up!

There're always things to do, no mater how many times I visit Paris. This time I stayed in a different neighborhood so that I can experience a new angle of French local and see a whole new part of this beautiful city. Because I've hit all the highlights the first two times I was there, I focused more on what makes Paris one of the world's best cities. Of course, architecture, art, fashion and food. Paris offers the best of all.

I spent 3 days in Paris, then about a week in the South of France and then back to Dijon for a few days. Traveling to the South in August wasn't a good idea. It was a busiest month there, packed with both international and local tourists, who flock to the French coastlines during the summer months to soak up the sun. However, I managed to have some fun and eat well.

I kept telling myself that I need to learn French because I know that I'll go back there again. I found that French people are more friendly if you speak their language. They are more inviting and willing to continue the conversation. The whole trip I was rely on my sister to translate everything for me. It was frustrated that I can't communicate with people, but at the same time I was so proud of my sister. She's improved her French a lot in the past 5 years.

If you'd like to see more photos from this trip, you can click France2015.


Europe trip 2015 : part 2

Getting back from Europe was enjoyable, especially when my plan works out the way I wanted it. As I mentioned that I was doing a solo trip in England for the first time, it turned out to be interesting. Without any distraction, I became a better version of myself. I made decision faster and learned to rely on myself more. It was a great experience.

I was in England for 3 days as part of a 3-week trip to Europe. I spent 2 days in London and a full day trip to Bath and Stonehenge. The first thing I did when I arrived in London was having an afternoon tea before I went on a bike tour. Although it was my first time in London, I found that going around the city was very easy. Once I figured out the tube map and bought an oyster card, I was pretty much can roam around the city.

Spending a day in Bath and Stonehenge was amazing. I got to see the ancient Roman bath and discovered the iconic prehistoric stone formation of Stonehenge. The unique thing about this trip was I can get up close and personal with the stones. That was really awesome.

As always, these are some tips I want to share when traveling to London.
- Pack light.
- Always keep a light jacket and an umbrella in your bag.
- Buy an oyster card and navigating the Tube.
- Most hotel provide free wifi.
-  Pret A Manger is your friend. This sandwich chain throughout London has free wifi, as well as yummy, cheap, on-the-go food and drink.
- Always carry 50 pence with you at all time for a public restroom.
- Be prepare for poor customer service because the customer is not always right.
- Look both ways when crossing the street. Traffic comes from the right.
- London is not cheap!

If you'd like to see more photos, click England2015.


Europe trip 2015 : part 1

I didn't plan it, but it happens to be that I travel to Paris every 5 years. This is my third time and I felt like I knew Paris a little better. For this trip, I decided to check out London and some interesting sites nearby for a few days alone before I meet with my sister and check out all the new patisseries in Paris for a few days. Then I'll be heading south with my sister and brother-in-law for a few weeks.

Just so you know I'm blogging about this trip in a hotel room at 3 AM in the morning because I couldn't go back to sleep on my first night. Knocked my knuckles on the bed and hope I don't get  a jet lag since I'll have a bike ride in London this afternoon. 

I want to blog about this so that I remember next time how easy to get from CDG airport to Paris. It only took me 25 minutes from the airport to Gare du Nord by RER B, and cost 10 euro one way trip. One thing though, you should have some euros ahead of time from your bank to pay for transportation and meals the first day without having to deal with getting money while slightly jet lag. Most ticket machines take coins or smart-chip credit cards. If your credit card is from the US, most likely it won't work. However, I was lucky it took my credit card. I won't use it again though--who knows I won't be able to get my card out of the ticket machine next time.

My flight came in at Terminal 2A, so I walked all the way to the right after I got my luggage. It took me 15 minutes to walk to RER B station, then another 25 minutes to get to Paris. It wasn't bad at all when you compare with a shuttle that will cost you about 30 euros and 90 minutes to get to the city. If you only have one luggage, use the train. Talk about luggage, mine was about 21 kilos so the staff told me to get some thing out so that it could stay under 21 kilos. The limit is 20 kilos. Make sure you have an extra bag in case this happens. 

To learn more about how to get from the airport to Paris, these links will give you more information and details. 

It's about 5 am now, and I only have 2-3 hours to sleep before getting ready for  a trip to London by Eurostar. This is my first time ever that I'm traveling alone by myself. The idea of traveling solo has always fascinated me. What does it feel like to travel alone?


Road Trip 2015

Yes, we did it again. Road trip has become a family vacation tradition. We covered 5 states (California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana) in 12 days this time.

Roughly 5,000 miles round-trip from our home in San Francisco to Joshua Tree National Park, Chiricahua National Monument, a run to the Mexican border in El Paso, a small town Fort Davis, Big Bend National Park, still hugging Mexican border along the Rio Grande, up through Austin and New Orleans, then drove back home through Dallas and Flagstaff. Simply remarkable. I honestly can't say enough. I'll just let the Pictures tell the story (and yes, there are many).

The highlight of this trip was Big Bend National Park. I really enjoyed 5 miles hiking at the Window Trail. It was a moderate hike down towards the fantastic view at the end (picture below). It was freezing cold when we were there, so we decided to sleep in the back of our van instead of sleep in a tent.

Here are some tips for this trip.

- It's a first come, first served campsite for Jumbo Rock Campground at Joshua Tree National Park. Plan ahead and avoid long weekend holidays because it is always full during holidays.
- You can make a reservation online for Bonita Canyon Campground at Chiricahua National Monument here.
- Check out Brak Thru, the place you can leave your dog for a couple days while you're exploring Big Bend National Park.
- Stone Village Tourist Camp is a good motel to stay overnight if you happen to be at Fort Davis.
- Make a reservation online for Chisos Basin Campground here.
- It's a first come, first served campsite for Cottonwood Campground at Big Bend National Park.
- In Austin, we left Moby (our Weimaraner) at Happy Mailman Dog Daycare for a few hours so that we can walk around town a bit.
- Motel 6 is a great place to stay when you travel with a dog. Pet friendly and great staff. You won't get an extra charge for your dog.
- Snooze in tepee motel. The office opens between 4:00-0:00 pm. You must call to make a reservation. Wigwam Village Motel 6

Check out my Road Trip 2014.


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