I'm Olivia. I'm a perpetually hungry redheaded girl from New York. I eat, sleep and breathe Korean pop music. I speak French and am studying Korean language and business in school. This fall, I'm setting forth on an exciting and terrifying (seriously I'm so nervous I might pee) solo journey across Europe. Hopefully this experience is full of bright, fun, and exciting as well as ridiculously stupid experiences that I can share with you!
It feels really weird for me lately, because this trip is starting to wind down. I'm so used to traveling from place to place that beigne back home, working at my favorite coffee shop, attending regular classes, watching Spongebob on TV is all going to be really surreal for me…
Speaking of home, two weeks ago I left Scotland to go back to Paris and see my family! So I got to Paris with no trouble at all, the flight and everything went smoothly. I got some candy before I got on the train and that was pretty much my lunch. This kind was so good! I wish we had this at home.
So I actually wasn't meeting my family until the next day so I had booked an airbnb about half a mile away from the apartment we were going to be staying in together. The building itself was easy enough to find, but inside the complex there was not one, but six different, yet identical, apartment buildings. I got to the intercom and it told me to enter in the last name of the people I was staying with. I tried that, but then it asked for the apartment number. That information had been left out of the directions I was given, and since I stupidly hadn't charged my phone, I had no way of contacting my hosts. I ended up waiting for someone to open the door and following them inside. It turns out that I went in the back way. I dragged my suitcase around looking extremely confused until a doorman came out and asked me if I needed help. Once I got to the apartment I was so confused that there was no way I was venturing back out until I left the next morning. I was also pretty beat from traveling. My only problem was that I had no food with me, and thus had no dinner.
The next morning I booked it out of there and walked the half mile with my suitcase to Rue Mouffetard, where our apartment was. Rue Mouffetard is one of the most picturesque places in Paris. When tourists think of Paris, they think of small cobblestone streets jammed pack with butchers, cheese and wine shops, pâtisseries and fresh fruit stands. That is Rue Mouffetard summed up in a nutshell for you. Anyway, I walked down the street and found my family sitting with all their luggage at a small café. After a solid 10 minutes of public snuggling, we sat back down and had coffee and breakfast. At about 11 we went up to our new apartment and got settled. We kept it low key that night since we were all pretty tired. For dinner we bought two small rôtisserie chickens and potatoes along with some bottles of wine and pastries for dessert.
The first sister selfie of many taken on this trip.
The next day Erica, my cousin Becky, and I went to the Jardins des Tuileries so we could go to the Musée de l'Orangerie and see Monet's Nymphéas. There was also a Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibit. Becky's friend from Amsterdam met us there. We waited in line for a really long time, but this museum was really amazing, and small enough that you only need an hour and a half to really see everything. To be super honest with you guys, I hate huge art museums. I really didn't like the Louvre, not because of what's in it, but because of how much there is in it. When there's 50 things crammed into a space meant for 10, it makes it so much more overwhelming and less fun to look at. Just saying. So supposedly you're not supposed to take photos in this museum. EVERYONE IN THE KAHLO EXHIBIT WAS TAKING PHOTOS. Part of me is like screw the rules yay rebellion, but the other part of me knows that as soon as I start doing something, I'll be the one person that gets caught. I took some photos of the outside.
I saw so many of her pantings…she is hands down one of my favorite artists, and she had a fascinating, if tragic life. They were more harsh on people in the hall where the Nymphéas were, so if I took any pictures in there, I'd most likely be decapitated or kicked out. But this is what it looks like, I don't think any pictures I took would be more special than the ones I found on google.
After that we walked through the garden and out the other side. Inside the garden there were modern art installations that were cool but somewhat bizarrely placed. Here's a photo of one.
Becky snapped a picture of me with another one. Seriously this giant gold ball…
Our plan was to eat lunch at a really fancy, adorable restaurant called Angelina's, but because we cringed at the prices, we ended up eating a shitty meal in a shitty bistro. To be honest, 20 euro for a delicious lunch is much better than a crappy one for 9 or 10. The smelly waiter was also only talking to me and I'm pretty sure he was trying to flirt with me…anyway. We said goodbye to Becky's friend and went back to Angelina's to buy pastries to eat in the gardens. I got a small chocolate mousse cake. There was an apple slice inside it! It was so delicious.
I didn't have one macaron on this leg of my trip…sigh. Anyway, that night, Erica and I WENT TO SEE JAY PARK. Yes Jay Park is a Korean-American artist. Yes he is very good looking shirtless. Originally the concert was supposed to be at a place called Dock Pullman, but they changed the venue to Palais de Congres. What they didn't mention is that there are two venues with that name. We traveled by subway across the city to the wrong venue. And guess what? The right venue was on the opposite side of town. I was about hyperventilating by the time we got to the place. It turns out that there was some kind of medical issue with someone farther up in the line, so the doors didn't actually open until an hour later. This venue reminded me a lot of a place at home called Nothern Lights. It was really small and there werent any actual seats. The people who paid for seats got to be in a closed off section closer to the front. Dok2 opened for Jay Park and we all put our 1llionaire hands in the air for a good hour. I was in such a great spot but it was so hard to take pictures. I won't annoy you with my love for Kpop but, here's some of their songs if you're interested in what they sound like.
The second one is so low budget I just…
Anyway, my sister and I had so much fun, and when Jay Park came onstage I nearly peed my pants. I think the security guard I was smushed up against probably thought I was crazy. My sister and I bought AOMG tee shifts and Erica bought an autographed Dok2 CD. I tried so hard to get pictures, but the girls around me kept getting mad at me for blocking their view, even though they were doing the exact same thing. The concert ended at about 10:30, and walking out I saw a poster on the wall for the concert and stole it. My mom had bought us each posters from the people selling them outside too. Can't wait to hang these up!
Don't you just love blurry concert photos? I know I do! Prepare for more when I see Infinite in a couple weeks.
The next day we all walked to Centre Pompidou. We found Notre Dame on the way and went inside. I had actually forgotten what it looked like inside, since it's been almost 3 years since I've been there. It was really beautiful, but so dark in there! There was actually a service going on while we were in there.
We came across these cool fountains and a giant wall of graffiti behind the museum. I've seen so much awesome graffiti on this trip (wait until I post about Berlin!)
There was also a guy drawing Charlie Chaplin on the sidewalk!
So last time I went, I hadn't realized that most of the permanent exhibition was actually closed. All of it was open today, but I still really enjoyed the first floor of it. The second floor had a lot of amazing paintings, but they all blurred together in my head because there were so many jammed onto each wall.
This part was so cool! There were all these objects of varying shapes and sizes attached to these rotating disks and light was cast on them to create shadows. It was so fascinating.
We had no idea where to go for dinner and the one we did eat is not worth mentioning…
The next day Erica, Becky, and I went to the Chinatown in Paris. Becky, like a good cousin, humored us while we went to the Kpop stores. I bought SHINee's new album, a G-Dragon Backpack, SHINee headphones, and this adorable hat! I also got BTS' new album for my friend Kelly (hi Kelly!)
Becky got a Bahn Mi sandwich and we stopped at a vietnamese bakery for some bubble tea! I love bubble tea so much!
We spent the afternoon walking around the Marais and looking in all the (expensive!) stores. We got falafel, and even though we paid to take it to go, the guy was nice enough to let us sit inside.
We walked to the Place des Vosges and sat there for awhile. That night we went on a boat tour of the Seine, which was amazing! Hard to take good pictures on my phone though.
Also I found this adorable piece of merchandise in the gift shop.
How about no…
The next day we tried to go to the Catacombs but the line was too long, and they only let in groups of 10 to 15 people at a time. I felt so bad because we waited there a long time, and I was sad my family didn't get to see them. We decided to go to the Latin Quarter instead and walk around. We had a really good lunch at a bistro. I had snails and a smoked salmon sandwich.
We walked along the banks of the Seine and found one of the bridges people put locks on. My mon and dad bought one and put it there with all of our initials on it.
How cute are my mon and dad, seriously. Let's not forget this one…
I also found…MORE BUBBLE TEA.
We also got crêpes from a stand I had been to twice before. We headed back to our apartment. Unfortunately my poor sister got sick after that, so we didn't do too much that night.
The next day Erica, Becky, and I went to the Musée D'Orsay. We had bought combination tickets for that and the Orangerie so we were able to jump the line. There was this fascinating exhibit on modern and past representations of the male nude, and we saw famous Degas, Sisley, Monet, Manet, Cezanne, and Renoir paintings along with famous sculptures and decorative arts. This museum is extremely amazing, I really suggest you check it out if you ever get the chance. Also, the fact that it's inside an old train station is pretty cool too!
We had really good Indian food for lunch/dinner and then went to Montmartre that night and up into the Sacré Coeur. We walked around the streets and bought éclairs. Then we ended up in the Red Light District.
The next day we went to Père Lachaise Cemetery and walked around. We saw Jim Morrison, Camille Pissaro, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Gertrude Stein, and the Holocaust victim memorials.
That night we went to the department store Citadium, where Becky bought some gloves for Brent and Erica bought a thing that I can't remember. The displays were…creative…they also had knit beanies that looked like cupcakes and ice cream! I wanted one. I also love their American food display. I actually took a picture this time.
(Why didn't I buy this?)
That night my family humored me and my sister by letting us go to a korean restaurant called Miam Miam. It was the cutest place, and guess what? I ORDERED IN KOREAN. I was so excited, even though it's not that hard to order food in Korean. My bibimbap craving was satisfied, and I got to listen to K-Pop while I ate! I swear the owners of this place were BAP biased but…for dessert they had hotteuk! which is like a pancake with a sweet syrupy filling. It came with ice cream and cookies on top :3 so yummy! Also before dinner we went to this adorable store owned by a Korean woman and I bought this necklace!
The next day was really hard for me because I had to say goodbye to my family. We took the same taxi but I had to get out early because we were going to different airports. I hugged my family for a really long time and cried really hard even after they left. I'm in Amsterdam now and since then I've also been in Berlin, but this entry has taken me a long time, so I will try to write about Berlin really soon!