New Years in Sorrento

Tonight in Sorrento we celebrated New Years with drinks and dancing.

I was upset when everyone in my group decided to leave at 115AM even though our local guide told us Italy didn’t come alive until 2AM! I tried to convince a bunch of people stay but they wouldn’t listen. So I started walking back to the coach with them. As I walked back to the coach I started to get really sad. I really wanted to stay out and keep partying with the locals. But instead I was folding to peer pressure and going back to the hotel. Then I begun to cry a little. That when I turned around. I decided I would rather stay out by myself then go back to the hotel. I realized I don’t need other people to have a good time. I don’t need a safety blanket.

So I rushed back to the main square and continued dancing with my new Argentinean friends. I walked around the town for a bit. I loved people watching and interacting with the locals. The Italians were all dressed to the nines and the young people were so beautiful. The town was lit up with sprakling lights and fire works went off throughout the night.

Around 3AM I decided it was time to go home. But then I realized I lost the paper with my hotel’s address on it. I asked a taxi if he could take me to “Sister’s Hostel”. He had never heard of it. We googled it…nothing. He called his friend…nothing. With no other options I ask if he could drive me around and I’d pay him for however long it would take. So we headed out of town. I described my hotel to him. On the coast, with a garden, orange trees all around, nuns live in it…he said “that describes almost every hotel in Sorrento”. I was very lucky that my driver Rafael spoke english really well. We had a lot of laughs and even flirted a bit. We drove all around Sorrento and I think even Napoli. It was adventurous, hilarious and only a little worrisome. Eventually I saw a few things that triggered my memory and I was able to guide us to my hotel! Once we found it he offered to keep me out and show me more of the town… after assuring him my night was over Rafael invited me to brunch tomorrow with his family. He said they needed to meet the giggling American. It was a crazy night that I’ll never forget. I’ve never felt so brave or alive. Italy is an amazing, friendly, beautiful place full of life and culture. I can’t believe my luck and blessing to be able to celebrate the new year here.

How to beat the crowds in Paris

At last we have arrive in Paris, France!

The last time I came to Paris it was with my family and for only two days. It rained the whole time, my dad made us walk everywhere and we ate the cheapest food. So I was ready to re-discover the City of Love on my own.

W993983_10200296729892158_1002056516_nhere did we stay?

St. Christopher’s Inn Hostel in Gare Du Nord

  • Accommodations: Clean and Modern.
  • Restaurant in the Hostel: Fantastic! Great food and live entertainment every night!
  • Location: A short metro ride from the city center. Right next to the major Gare Du Nord Train stop. Walking distance to the Moulin Rouge.
  • Bonus:  The hostel provided a free walking tour of Paris! We had a very charismatic and informative local guide who showed us all of the major sites and gave us some helpful tips for traversing the city.

Paris travel tips:   Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 11.52.35 AM

  1. Beat the lines by going to the Louvre through a side entrance.
  2. If a Gypsy offers you something, don’t touch it! You touch it then you buy it!
  3. Paris in August is crazy busy. You can not avoid crowds.

After the walking tour we went to the Louvre. We entered through a side door, passing the huge lines through the main entrance. We bought our tickets from a machine vendor. After Jenny bought hers she reached in the slot to pick up her ticket and found that someone before us had left behind their ticket. So I got in for free! #win

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Had the most refreshing ice cream in the world on a park bench in Paris.

We meandered through the Louvre for a bit and then hit the streets for some more wandering. I fell in love with Paris on that walk.

Later we had several glasses of wine and some creame brule and listened to a band play at our hostel bar. It was a perfect day.

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971808_10151783219125813_828311914_nDay 2:

Saturday morning we boarded a train and headed to Versailles. Apparently every other tourist in Paris had the same idea. Disembarking the train was like entering a mass exodus. Thousands of tourists were heading the same direction as us. It was very overwhelming. 1185281_10151783200405813_1788143615_n1098005_10151783199645813_1538643809_nBy the time we reached the gates of Versailles the lines wrapped around the building. We decided it wasn’t worth it to wait and decided to walk around the gardens instead. The gardens are vast and impressive. We got lost for hours and it was glorious.

We eventually stumbled upon Petit Trianon. A small château located on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles in Versailles, France. It was Marie Antionete’s home away from home. It was charming and straight out of a storybook. I loved seeing the little french cottages and all the cute farm animals!

We had lunch at a charming and very busy outdoor cafe near the lake of Versailles and then continued to explore the gardens. We walked through the maze and far away from the mass of tourists.

1003917_10200296742532474_162100182_nThe temperature was just perfect and we were secluded and exhausted so Jenny and I laid down in the soft grass and took a nap. Laying in the greenery under the perfect French sun was one of my favorite moments of the trip and I think I’ll cherish that memory for the rest of my life.

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Napping in the gardens of Versailles.