B – Bateaux-Mouches

Bateaux-Mouches at night - Photo Credit: lavalleevillage.com

Bateaux-Mouches at night – Photo Credit: lavalleevillage.com

If you find yourself in Paris and have about 20 euros to spare, I highly recommend touring the city by boat. My preferred method? The Bateaux-Mouches.

What some people might not know, is that the city of Paris is divided in half by the River Seine, with each side aptly named based on its location in relation to the river: Left Bank  (Rive Gauche) and Right Bank (Rive Droite). There are even two islands smack dab in the center of Paris: Ile de la Cité and Ile Saint Louis.

Since the river runs through the heart of Paris, a lot of the city’s most celebrated sites are visible by boat. While on the Bateaux-Mouches’ hour-long tour, they provide a very professional pre-recorded audio commentary which is translated into about five different languages.

View from boat

View from boat

There is a rival service called BatoBus, which is also quite popular. Its selling feature is that you can hop on and off  at different stops, but it is less of a tour boat and more of a water taxi to get you to other parts of the city. And although there is some basic information provided about the city, this is usually read live by a French speaker with a very thick accent, making it next to impossible to understand. Batobus certainly doesn’t have the same charm as the Bateaux-Mouches, either, but both are enjoyable in their own right.

Whether you choose to travel with Bateaux-Mouches, Batobus or another service, I suggest that you travel at night to see the Eiffel Tower and the other sites in all their glory. And if you can fork out a good 50-100 euros, go ahead and treat yourself to one of the boat tours that also includes dinner and/or entertainment.

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My Three-Year Blogiversary

Photo Credit: cubiclethrowdown.com

Photo Credit: cubiclethrowdown.com

On April 9, 2010, I had started this blog on my personal website (my own little manifesto to keep me aware of my dreams and goals).

Over the past three years I have:

  • Written over 120 posts
  • Visited over a dozen countries, cities and territories
  • Accumulated a shit load of photos, and a lifetime of wonderful memories.

Since my initial post in 2010, life  has become quite magical for me. I have learned a lot and have had the good fortune to see many of my dreams come true.

And I’m still having a blast.

To my blog followers, it has been quite the journey. Thank you all for sharing it with me. I adore you all!

And to the rest of you (you know who you are), thank you for the likes, the inspiration, the motivation to keep writing and for continuing to share these adventures with me.

It’s been an honor to experience this with you.

Here’s to many more adventures.

Kimberly

xx

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A – Aerial Views of Paris

Aerial View Paris 1

For all the time I’ve spent in Paris, I’ve always been reluctant to visit the top of the Eiffel Tower. Why? Because the queues are too damn long! I don’t care if there’s a pot of gold on the other end, it’s not worth lining up for a couple of hours.

…unless, of course you have a friend or family member in town and you want to be a good tour guide…and so I relented and made the trek to the top. And I must say, the view is pretty awesome. It wasn’t the warmest or brightest of days, but it was still a great view. The flags of the world are also showcased at the very top around the inside perimeter of the tower, another neat feature.

I highly recommend visiting the top of the Eiffel Tower at least once if you can. Even just to cross it off your list. And try to go on a bright, sunny day to get the best shots. And finally, if you can afford to splurge a little, enjoy a meal at Le Jules Verne Restaurant on the second level.

Aerial view Paris 2

My friend had just gotten her camera and was trying out the panoramic function. Not bad, eh?

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My A-Z of Travel

Photo Credit: missjamiebird.blogspot.com

Photo Credit: missjamiebird.blogspot.com

A : Age at which you went on your first trip abroad: Aside from the time I spent in Jamaica as a child, my first real trip was to Spain on a school trip for nine days. I was fifteen at the time and my mom was working two jobs to support me and my brother. When I think back to how expensive it must have been, I am eternally grateful to my mother for her selflessness in making that trip happen. I’ve been in love with travel ever since.

B : Best foreign beer you’ve had and where: I’ve never been a beer drinker, so I’ll pass on this one.

C : Cuisine : The choices! There’s nothing like Jamaican Food, it’s so rich and flavorful. I’m also a sucker for Italian Cuisine, and of course there’s French food! And then there’s: Japanese, Chinese, Greek, Cuban, Brazilian, Indian, Thai… No way I can choose just one favorite…

Ackee and Saltfish - Jamaica's National Dish (photo credit: www.Multi Cultural Cooking Network)

Ackee and Saltfish – Jamaica’s National Dish (photo credit: http://www.Multi Cultural Cooking Network)

D : Destinations, favourite, least favourite, and why: Of course I’m partial to Paris and Rome. My least favorite destination at this point would have to be London. I think I had set my expectations so high, that it was impossible for them to be met. It was also a very short visit (one day) and I was horribly sick with the flu at the time. The people I had encountered in general were not very friendly so the whole experience overall was a bit of a let down. I do want to give it another chance, though. Definitely sometime soon.

E : Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”: While traveling from one end of St. Lucia to the other by bus, I remember being entranced by the perfect blue-green of the sea.

St Lucia - photo credit: elisa (www.indulgy.com)

St Lucia – photo credit: elisa (www.indulgy.com)

F : Favourite mode of transportation : Flying first-class before 9/11 was definitely one of my favorite travel experiences. I’ve only flown first class a few times, twice pre-9/11 and once post-9/11, all domestic flights.  Since September 11, traveling by plane has been dreary to say the least. I still look forward, though, to traveling first class on an international flight one day.

G : Greatest feeling while travelling : The feeling of freedom and the constant feeling of discovery. Traveling is the best learning experience in the world.

H : Hottest place you’ve travelled to : I would have to say it’s a toss up between Jamaica and Puerto Vallarta. In Jamaica, the nights are so hot you can’t even sleep, it’s just about stewing in your juices while the mosquitos gnaw at you like a piece of corn. When I was in Puerto Vallarta, I remember the only activity I could perform during that trip was reaching my hand out of the swimming pool to take a sip of my cocktail. And still I broke a sweat!

Puerto Vallarta Resort

Puerto Vallarta Resort – Source: thebeachfrontclub.com

I : Incredible service you’ve experienced and why : Hmm,  I’ve experienced great service in the past, but incredible service? I can’t remember. I recall the hotel staff being quite attentive at the resort where I stayed in Puerto Vallarta so many years ago,  but I think I want to travel to a few more spots before I comment on this one.

J : Journey that took the longest : Definitely the trip from Paris, France to Ischia, Italy. The journey seemed never-ending. First, I had missed my morning flight from Paris to Rome. Then, I had to wait the whole day until I could catch another. I endured a late flight to Rome, where I had to sleep at the airport overnight, took a 40-minute shuttle to the Termini train station the following morning in order to catch the 1-hour train to Naples and from Naples took a 3-hour ferry ride to Ischia. By the time I arrived in Ischia I was delirious, but it was well worth it.

K : Keepsake from your travels : This blog. I cherish each entry as it documents each one of my amazing experiences and journeys.

L : Let-down sight, where and why : The Trevi Fountain in Rome. Yes it’s beautiful, but the experience definitely left me underwhelmed.

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain

M : Moment when you fell in love with travel : I’ve loved travel and escaping to different locations since I was a pup. As a child I would watch Fantasy Island dying to be whisked off to another world. It’s the eternal dreamer in me.

N : Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in : I’ve stayed in some very nice condo-style resorts from when I was working in the travel industry, but off the top of my head, I’d have to say Las Vegas hotels have been the most impressive so far.

O : Obsession : what are you obsessed with taking photos of when you travel : In case it isn’t obvious enough from this blog… FOOD.

gosselin-desserts

P : Passport stamps, how many and from where : Definitely not enough: Spain, France, U.S., Mexico, Jamaica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Italy, St. Lucia and other places I can’t recall at the moment. Look forward to collecting more….

Q : Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where : I will never forget my March visit Spain so many years ago. There was a religious procession taking place in the streets of Spain… might have been in Madrid or Sevilla, can’t remember anymore. Everyone in the procession was wearing white hooded masks. If I didn’t know better I would have thought it was a KKK event, the last place any black person should be. Very bizarre yet memorable religious gathering.

Holy Week-Procession-Spain - Photo Credit: Pascal Saez, www.demotix.com

Holy Week-Procession-Spain – Photo Credit: Pascal Saez, http://www.demotix.com

R : Recommended sight, event or experience : Without a doubt the Coloseum in Rome. What a spectacularly sturdy piece of architecture and magnificent piece of history.

The Coloseum - Rome

The Coloseum – Rome

S : Splurge ; something you have no problem forking out money for when travelling : Again, if you couldn’t tell from this blog, I’m a sucker for good food. I have no problem forking out a chunk of money for a nice meal. What’s funny, is I’ll haggle over the price of a room in a heartbeat, but with good food, no negotiation is necessary.

T : Touristy thing you’ve done : The double decker bus in London. Not my usual M.O. when visiting a new place, but I was sick with the flu and wanted to move around as little as possible, while seeing as much as I could for the day.

U : Unforgettable travel memory : Exploring the island of Ischia at night by scooter with a special friend.

V : Visas ; how many and for where : I think I needed a visa for Spain at the time, but that was so long ago. I’m sure I’ll pick up a few more eventually.

W : Wine, best glass of wine while travelling and where : Again, too many, but I enjoyed a lovely Italian Red at La Pentolaccia in Rome. I had wanted to write the name down, but I completely forgot.

X : eXcellent view and from where : Cambria, California. Christmas 2011, the most gorgeous sunset I have ever seen. There was also the most stunning purple sky in the Dominican Republic.

Cambrian Sunset

Cambrian Sunset

Y : Years spent traveling : Over thirty years and counting!

Z : Zealous sports fans and where : Not really a sports fan, but the Italians were pretty enthusiastic about their soccer/football while I was in Ischia.

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My ABCs of Travel

photo credit: eurorivercruises.com

Notre Dame at Christmas – photo credit: http://www.eurorivercruises.com

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

The end of the year is almost here and I’m still way behind on my blogs for 2012.

To get caught up (and to mix things up a little), I will be completing the long overdue challenge I received from my fellow blogger restlessjo to post My A-Z of Travel, followed by a new series of blog posts called My ABCs of Travel.

Hope you all enjoy.

Wishing everyone Peace, Joy, and Happiness this holiday season.

Thanks for reading.

🙂

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Oysters and Christmas in Paris…

photo credit: Caroline Blumberg/NYTimes

photo credit: Caroline Blumberg/NYTimes

Sure, we feast on egg nog, candy canes, and fruit cake for Christmas in North America, but in France they have oysters!

During my 2010 Christmas in Paris, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that oysters are a food traditionally served during Christmastime.

The French enjoy well over 100, 000 tons of this delicacy a year, making them THE largest consumers of oysters year-round. Over 50% of that amount is consumed during the Christmas holidays… talk about a whole lotta oysters.

I had never eaten an oyster before this, but I was soon squeezing lemon onto these creatures and slurping them down with the rest of my Parisian friends. Definitely an acquired taste, especially since they don’t stay in your mouth very long, but it was an experience that I enjoyed.

So, why do the French choose Christmastime to indulge in these slippery suckers?

After a two-day search on the internet, where I discovered more about the history of oysters than the actual tradition, I came up with the following conclusion…

Because they can.

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Looking Forward to Christmas…

Cambrian Sunset at Christmastime

Since I made the decision a few years ago to travel more during the holidays, Christmas has become a time of peaceful adventure for me.

Last Christmas, I escaped to the most enchanting town in California, called Cambria.

When I arrived Christmas Eve, I was greeted by the most stunning sunset, but silly me, I had forgotten to charge my camera. A few days later I took the shot above. Still a gorgeous sunset, but nothing will compare to that jaw-dropping view that first evening.

Man, you should have seen that sunset…

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