2008-09-28

I'M BACK

SUNDAY #1

Yes I'm back from my insane journey around Europe. I can't believe how much I have done in so little time, between Wednesday and Friday I had been in four countries (France, Belgium, London and back to Canada) that's not easy to do lugging around all my stuff. I've learned a lot, about myself and travel and now I think I can officially consider myself seasoned. I think my best tip would be to pack as light as possible, you would be surprised at the things you can get in the hostels, something I let slip my mind. I had to leave my towel at the hostel in Paris because I simply had no more room for it. I probably should not have packed my thermos, but my utensils did come in handy a couple of times (bowl, fork, knife, spoon) but I probably should have left those behind as well as my blow blow dryer because as I said you can get that stuff at the hostels. I also had a huge issue with my clothes getting wrinkled so I didn't get to wear a lot of the stuff that I had packed. Another tip, if you are planning on shopping, pack next to nothing because you can wear what you buy which is what I did. Althought I thought I had packed pretty light at first, I probably could have still left half my clothes behind. You don't need all the underwear you think you do, bring enough for a few days and just wash them.

My biggest problem in Europe was definitely my feet, the pain from walking 8+ hours a day was unimaginable. I found myself popping nurofen like there is no tomorrow so make sure you are wearing the comfiest shoes possible. Also I would suggest forgetting trying to look good especially with English and Irish weather when you are out all day.

I'm currently sick I caught something in Barcelona, that's what happens when you sleep in hostels with a whole bunch of girls and guys in close proximity. Maybe pop some of those cold prevention pills before leaving.

Also don't worry about maps, as soon as you get to the hostel you'll find one.

LONDON, ENGLAND
I stayed at The Generator in London, although it's an ok hostel the rooms were way too small we were all practically on top of each other. I hate it when hostels are just trying to make money off everything. There are also no outlets in the bathroom which is strange so we had to blow dry our hair in the hall way if people were sleeping in the room. I also found security way too tight, boardering on stalkerish (Long story) which can be good and bad.

What's the big deal about Piccadilly Circus? It's been what it is for decades, but in the end it's a bunch of ads, however a must visit if you go to London. It is a great central point to walk to everything in the surrounding areas, and the first place I went to in London. I found the Tube quite easy to use in London, although I didn't expect it to be so small and cramped. It really is what it is, a tube!! And it's so damn hot in there and the station, how do Londoners do it? I hear they are finally planning on air conditionning, it's about time!



The London eye is cool, but it can be overwhelming being in there with 30 people trying to take pictures. They say it was voted the best tourist attraction in the world, I'm not sure about that, but it's a must do if you are in London.

I also went to Notting Hill and Portobello road, but unfortunately I wasn't there for the famous market.

What tips can I give? If you don't know where you are going try to stay out of everyone's way Londoners are always in a rush. I was walking fast, but I don't think fast enough! Don't talk or stare at anyone on the tube, or they will think your a loon. If you want to meet people and chat you'll have to do it in a pub. I probably should not have bothered packing my raincoat as I just ended up using an umbrella. he rain isn't really strong it just spits all the time.



DUBLIN, IRELAND
I'm glad I ended up going there because it was not originally on my itinerary. This was my favorite place by far, the city has such a cool vibe to it. I almost want to move to Dublin, but I'm not sure if that will happen. The hostel I stayed in was Avalon house in the city centre, and it was probably the most problem free experience during my whole trip.

There are so many tourists in Dublin that it's kind of annoying (I know I'm one too), the city almost seems overrun which dampened the experience for me a bit. I always try and blend in, I hate looking like a tourist If I have to pull out of map I do it in the corner. I don't know why some tourist particularly the older ones insist on the fanny pack and the huge camera around the neck.

You'll learn to love Guinness in Dublin, it's practically a religion there.
Some dude shaking his ass somewhere near Grafton street. I don't know why Grafton is suppose to be the place to shop in Dublin, I much preferred O'Connell street (In the first picture) because it has Penney's (Primark) and other big name stores. Grafton was ok, but it wasn't for me.

The river Liffey



St Stephen's Green shopping mall. Big waste of time!! It's nice inside if you want to take a picture, but honestly don't bother with the shopping there is not much int here unless you are grabbing something specific. I didn't buy a single thing, and that's rare.

Tips for Dublin, well the street signs are not very clear and the cars and buses stop close enough to almost run you over so be careful. The bus drivers are very friendly and helpful, Dublin isn't very big so you can get a lot done in a short period of time.


BARCELONA, SPAIN I loved Barcelona, it's party central, but try finding someone who speaks English. My first day there was a big shock, I felt like a fish out of water. Everybody kept trying to talk to me in Spanish and Catalan and I had no clue what they were saying, you would think that they could sense that?

This is the mumma of malls in Barcelona, El Corte Ingles "The British Cut". This place fooled me. I thought when you went in it was a shopping mall and I would find all the cool Spanish stores inside, but instead it's one big department store. I hate department stores, it's very rare I'll shopping there because it takes forever to find what I need. Later that day I went to Corte Ingles because I needed some lozenges for my throat, I couldn't make out the boxes because they were in Spanish. I saw something that said "Lemon" on it so I figured that was it, and it cost 10 euros when I got back to the hostel I found out they were some sort of diet pills. Ugh!!

Diane Kruger is the current face of El Corte Ingles I gather. God it must be strange being a celebrity and seeing a billboard that large of you.

In Spain the Older people seem much cooler then the younger ones. I definitely would love to retire here and live the simple kind of life.

As for Spanish style, I found it too boho and hippie for me. Not much of the clothes would have worked much for me back home. I have to say though it was Accessories central! I've never seen so many accessory stores in my life, everywhere you go left and right. Me and my roommate Suze kept stopping every 5 minutes to go into my stores in the Barri Gothic area which annoyed the boys haha.

The Market near La Rambla.

The Magic fountain.

I went to see one of my favorite Canadian bands Sam Roberts. It was so cool to see them in Spain, it was raining the whole time, but it added to the fun of it.

Well you can walk to a lot of places in Barcelona, but things are not all super close especially if you are tired. The Metro is surprisingly very easy to use, they have a system that's like L1 L2 L3 etc so it's tourist friendly.


PARIS, FRANCE

I was really glad to be back in Paris even though I wasn't there long. I tried to do all the things I had not gotten to do the time before. Last time I was there I had weeks, I must have been lazy because I missed out on a lot of stuff. I'm amazed at how quickly I was able to remember where everything was, I jumped on the metro and didn't even bat an eye it was like old times.

This is the great hostel I stayed at in Paris by the river that I was talking about. It's a bit out of the way, but I would recommended it if you want a night of comfort and some privacy (thanks to the curtains). The bad thing in this hostel though is there is no kitchen, vending machines or Laundry...wtf! It does have it's own Bar and Restaurant, and you can buy 24 hour Internet access for 6 Euro, though you'll wait 2 hours for a computer.


Last time I was in Paris this store was still being completed, nice to see the finished product!

I went up the stairs to the top of The Arc De Triomphe, I've all the climbs and I can honestly say this is the best view in all of Paris.

View of the Champs-Elysées from the Arc.

From the Modern Arc in La Defence, you can see The Arc De Triomphe at Place de l'Étoile.

From The Arc De Triomphe you can see The Modern Arc. Cool huh? Yes Paris isn't all flat as you can see. the Business district is alive and well.

The modern Arc.

Sacre Coeur was amazing, I can't believe I didn't go there the first time. The minute you walk in the church you feel so spiritual. You are also treated to a nice view of Paris. Though get ready to climb a lot of steps, this is in Montmartre.

This guy was funny, he blows kisses if you give him money.

Up and down the streets of Montmartre.

Napoleon's coffin, it's massive, 7 coffins in one actually


GHENT, BELGIUM
Ghent is a beautiful tidy sweet little place. There isn't much there, a shopping strip and a few cathedrals but it's nice just to walk around and smell the air. I don't have too much to add because I was only there for a day to visit someone.

THE END OF THE ROAD
I started off with just a backpack and how somehow accumulated an extra suitcase (which I managed to pass for carry on). The handbag you see in front I got at a Moroccan store on Protobello road in London. It was £40, but I think it was worth it, I love it so much.

My flight leaving London was delayed by 5 hours! I got to the airport just after 11, because my flight was suppose to be at 2, but it didn't leave till 7. I had to hang around Gatwick airport all fucking day. I was so annoyed because I could have anjoyed an extra day in London with a friend I had made, but instead I was stuck.


Unpacking.

Random things from along the way

I like "The cobrasnake.com Drug dealer" card, makes me laugh when I see it.

I love Le Petit Prince, I bought this calendar in Paris for my desk. I guess I can't use it until the new year though.

I didn't buy the famous green bag, they are quite expensive. I do have a plastic one from the tea I bought for my boyfriend in The Food Halls. Probably the best part of Harrods! Make sure now to ware anything too outlandish when you go there, there is a dress code.

There's a free fashion paper that is ditrubuted in The Metro in Paris. Very cool.

Left over plastic bags from food shopping in Spain.

From Dublin to Barcelona with Aer Lingus, one of my roomies at the hostel was on the same flight as me. We ended up hanging out the whole time in Barcelona.


I got this cool Moroccan style jar at Oxfam in Notting Hill.

I put my new jar beside my buddha.


Stuff I bought at Sephora in Paris. We have Sephora here in Ottawa (As of this summer), but they don't seem to sell the same stuff as the one in Paris. Plus I find the store in Paris has much cheaper alternatives like this Sephora express collection. It was so cheap I stocked up! Dry Shampoo, lipblam, breath freshner, eyelash curler etc.

My Japanese roommate Amy left me this stuff in case I needed it. Qtips and Pads from Japan, yeah they came in handy.

One of my presents for my boyfriend.


SHOPPING SHOPPING I can't believe how much stuff I brought back, no wonder I needed an extra bag. Here is some of it:

I got this dress at Primark in London, when I saw it I instantly thought Mark Jacobs. A lot of stuff I saw in there reminded me of something Marc would do. I can see where they get their inspiration from. Primark in London on Oxford street is insane. People are going nuts, throwing stuff everywhere and it's jammed packed. I don't think I've ever been in a shopping environment that insane, I thought I was going to pass out. Everything is so cheap though, I got a bag full of stuff for just over £50.

The belts except the studded one in the middle are from Primark in London I thinkt hey were only like £2 each or something. I love the zipper one! The one with the gold studs I got from East End Vintage.
The first necklace is from Vero Moda in Dublin. I was a bit dissapointed with Vero Moda and I had heard so much about it. Not much too special in there. The bracelet is from Barcelona and the last necklace and earrings are form H & M in Paris.

The only store I really loved in Spain was Sfera, the style was closer to mine, but I felt like a lot of the clothes were ill fitting on me. The second necklace is from a market in spain and the last one of from Primark in London.

The beret is from Penney's (Primark) in Ireland, the clothes are from H & M in Paris.

I've become obsessed with scarves! The first one is from Topshop, the second I bought in Protobello road in London, the third is from H & M in Paris and the last I bought in Spain. Whoa, my closet hooks are getting very very full, I guess that's a sign that I need to stop.

I love this traditional Spanish shawl that I got in Barcelona and the dress is from H & M in Paris.

I wore this top yesterday to a friend's birthday, I got it at the H & M in London. The dress is from East End Vintage in London. Whomever recommended that I got to this store neglected to tell me it's in a tiny alley! It took me like an hour and a half to find the darn place! I think my love for vintage is wearing down...I know it's a sad day.

I bought this funky top in Dublin at a market, I think it will look good with skinny jeans or leggings. The dress if from Sfera in Barcelona.

Top from H & M in Paris.

This isn't a clear picture, but the dress is from Primark in London.

I've gotten so many compliments on this coat already (I'm wearing it in the picture way above), I got it at Primark in London for £17. I think I've seen about 10 people with the same coat between London and Dublin. I'm sure there are loads more.

Don't worry it looks better on then on the hanger, I got it at Miss Selfridge in London. This jacket also looks better on then on the hanger, it's from Penney's (Primark) In Dublin. They are quite wrinkled from being in my backpack.

Dress from Sfera in Barcelona and the top on the right I thrifted in Dublin I think it's a funky loose top, it will look great with leggings.

I bought this top at Pimkie in Barcelona as an emergency because the strap on my tank top broke. I got the tank on the right at the Topshop in Dublin. I found the Topshop in Dublin so much better then the on on Oxford street. They actually have sales, and it's not as crowded.

Both tops from Topshop in London, the second one is too big, but I liked it so I bought it anyway.

The Blazer is from H & M in Paris. Yeah I got a stain on it, I just cleaned it off hence why it's still wet haha.

TODAY'S SONG:



Photobucket


37 comments:

Hot Bot said...

i wish i had stumbed on to your blog earlier!

the last few days i've been craving to go back to europe. and looking at your pics makes me so...envious. i think my picture of myself at trafalgar square was in front of the lion also.

The Seeker said...

Welcome back Jen!!!!!!!
We missed you, but it sounds you had a great time (despite some minor troubles).
OMG you got so many stuff... well I know, you just remember me when I go to mainland ;)
Great pictures!!!!!
And so cool post.

xoxo

fashionista said...

Wow, looks like you had such a great time.

I adore everything you bought!

Karuna said...

Glad you are back Jen!

Jen (MahaloFashion) said...

^ Thanks love!

WendyB said...

You went everywhere! I love Dublin too. Well, I love Guinness so what's not to love about Dublin?

The Stylish Wanderer said...

What a crazy trip you must have had!
Im so jealous! I love that MJ-esque dress, and that gray shirt/dress.

The Stylish Wanderer said...

BTW, when are the blogger awards going to be?

Jen (MahaloFashion) said...

^ At the biginning of the new year :)

Love, Raven said...

Love everything!!! I love Europe, I can't wait to go back.

Love, Raven said...

Love everything!!! I love Europe, I can't wait to go back.

STEPHANIE said...

i missed ur blog!! im glad u had a great time, i was just there last month and i miss it already!! im planning on going back soon..! anyway great post thanks so much for sharing, ur pictures are beautiful too! :) stephanie

KATLIN said...

Wooo, you're back!!
I love that necklace you got in Dublin and the striped shirt from Dublin too. I guess I should head there if I ever want to travel! :)

K.Line said...

Wow, this post is epic, even for you Jen! :-) You got some great stuff (and took some super pictures). I particularly like the Marc Jacobs-esque Primark dress and the off-the-shoulder one too. Can't wait to hear more about your travels...

Isa Han said...

so glad to see you back at the blog !! but it sounds like you had an incredible time !! I can't wait to travel !

sofi said...

im so glad your back i missed your posts so much! glad you had a good trip!!

sofi said...

im so glad your back i missed your posts so much! glad you had a good trip!!

sofi said...

im so glad your back i missed your posts so much! glad you had a good trip!!

Jen (MahaloFashion) said...

^ thanks sofi and the rest of you
xox

NewlyInspired said...

How fun!!! Great photos!

(R)evolver74 said...

Mr. Bex backpacked around Europe for 8 months and came back looking like a bum hahah...but I guess it's the best way to experience Europe. I'm glad you had fun.

Aliena said...

Glado you are back and tha you had such a terrific time!!! Love all your purchases!

Mickie said...

hahah and I thought I bought a ton of stuff on my trip. You totally outshopped me lady. I'm really jealous of your new wardrobe!!

kokostiletto said...

wow this was a fab post!
thanks for all the tips - i am going to europe sometime next year and it's great to read about your stories!
comfy shoes? okay noted :)

microelenica said...

it isn´t Barca, but Barna.
Anyway Barça is a football team .
I love your blog.
Besos :*

The Stiletto Effect said...

I love to travel :) well... who doesnt? lol
I love it, especially in europe (where i live)... i love the cities, the museums :) i bet you really had fun :)
btw, amazing buyings ;)
love
su
keep in touch

Jen (MahaloFashion) said...

microelenica - strange cause all the people I was with called it barca and so did I.

alis said...

Yay you're back! Nice adventures, I don't know how you managed to do sightseeing AND shopping in such a limited time! My feet are still misshapen from my trip(I walked and walked between 9am-10pm in HEELS). You found so many nice stuff from H&M, the one on Oxford Circus was filled with junk. I had a luggage with me when I went inside Primark and after 15 minutes I thought no cheap clothes can be worth this insanity so I left :) Looks like your patience paid off! I dream of a lengthy Europe travel like yours, maybe I could afford it if I stop being such a sissy(I'm too picky about hotels). Anyways glad to have you back :)

Charlotte said...

Waw! Great post! I am amazed of all the stuff you bought! Glad to hear you liked Barcelona, it is a cool city. I went to Paris at the beginig of September and I definately loved it! It is great because I did not went up the stairs of l'arc du triomphe nor visited the Napoleons tomb in les invalides, and now I have seen it through your photos ;)

Aretha said...

WOW, You have the most amazing collection of travel pics. Love the places

Juliet said...

You did some serious shopiing there !

juliet xxx

Daphné said...

Great post!You took some great pictures,thanks for sharing!
I am glad you're back!

pimprenelle said...

Ohhh I can't believe you were so close to where I live(London), it's so weird!
I have the same flowery black dress from Primark you bought, I love love love it.
Primark is so amazing, I just can't help my addiction to it, even if I've tried not going there anymore since they exploit children...

Mellyssa said...

Welcome back! You have been missed greatly!

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June said...

Welcome back!!! looks like you had one great trip :)
I was just reading your post and telling my boyfriend that the weather in all these places you visited is so dark and gloomy. Was Canada like this too? (He lived in Ottowa for 5 years) He saw your blog and replied to me - This is what we do when there is bad weather (make nice blogs) :)

Make Do and Mend said...

So fab to get all your travel details! What a trip - I'm so cross I was working when you were in London. Love your Spanish shawl and you got some great things.