europe

La Vida Loca

Before I went to Paris I had two other people visit me; first was my lovely friend Danyal, who I met during my semester abroad in Minnesota (Read about my semester abroad here!). She was studying abroad in London while I was in Madrid and I am so glad we got to see each other again after so long and happy that she got to visit other parts of Europe. It was so much fun, we partied in VIP with Spanish basketball players, we also visited the Royal Palace, went on a cable car ride, ate some churros con chocolate and did some karaoke.

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The other person that came was my Mum! I was so happy for her to visit me and be in Spain for the first time. I really wanted her to have a great time so we tried to do something everyday. We did a bit of shopping, ate out in authentic Spanish restaurants, bowling, visited tourist attractions, museums and we went to some other parts of Madrid and tried Senegalese food for the first time. My mum also made Jollof rice and roast lamb during her visit; it was soo good having a taste of home. She had a great time despite the bad weather but was it was really nice to spend time with my mum.

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After my return from Paris I had the last couple of weeks of class and presentations, celebrated friends’ Birthdays’, visited Madrid’s Christmas market in Plaza Mayor (which wasn’t that interesting) and spent time with the people before heading back to London.

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My time in Madrid was a whirlwind of experiences which I will never forget. Time moved so fast, and once again another four months of study abroad came to an end in December. It’s always a bittersweet feeling returning home after travelling, but the memories and great people is what I cherish the most. If I had one word to describe my 4 months in Madrid it would definitely be crazy! I met amazing people and made some life long friends, I can honestly say that living in Madrid has been one of my favourite experiences in life so far.

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Bon voyage!

Apologies for my late post. I am going to try and be consistent with blogging (and potentially vlogging). There have been a few updates and new travels for those of you who don’t know. So I will pick up where I left off from my previous post ‘When in Rome‘…

Once again I was able to travel during my time in Madrid to beautiful Paris. It was a last minute trip, but me and my two friends decided to make the most of our time being so close to other European countries and travel before going home for Christmas. We used eDreams at first to book our flights. They basically took money from my account when our return flight wasn’t confirmed and they somehow charged me twice. Long story short, BEWARE OF BOOKING WITH EDREAMS!!! Eventually I got a refund and we rebooked safely with Iberia.

Wednesday 

We arrived pretty early and got a shuttle bus to our hotel. It took quite a while because we weren’t staying in the centre of Paris and the driver got lost! Check in was at 2pm, we had a few hours to kill so went for some lunch and window shopped at The Galeries Lafayette.
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We checked in, had a nap and later went on the search for somewhere to have dinner. We ended up in a Cuban restaurant after walking around in the freezing cold for ages. The food was really good so it made up for the cold weather. After eating we went to an underground Dancehall/Hiphop bar called ’21 Sound Bar’ in Bastille. The venue was small but the music and atmosphere made it what it was.

Thursday

We did a bit of shopping during the day, walked along the Champs Elysees and took some typical tourist pictures by the Arc de Triomphe. On the way back to the metro station we passed the store ‘Longchamp’, where an event was being held, so we decided to stop and see what was going on. Shortly after, Lenny Kravitz and a few other celebrities left the event and walked right next to where we were. There were other celebrities present at the event like Kate Moss, Alexa Chung and numerous others.

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Friday

We went back to Bastille in the evening as there are a lot of restaurants in that area, and had dinner at ‘Hippopotamus’. Eating there was one of the best things we did. The food has a mixture of grilled American inspired food, the portion sizes and taste matched the price and the best part is that you get a selection of free sides.

There needs to be places like this in the UK!

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The rice and fries were free!

After dinner we went to ’15 Club’, which was recommended by people we met at University in Madrid and from online reviews. At first the club was so empty (we were literally the first people there), after some time it got busy and we ended up in VIP. Overall it was a fun night. As we hadn’t really done many touristy things we decided to go to the Eiffel Tower at sunrise, which was a beautiful sight, (but I do prefer the view at night).

Saturday/Sunday
For our last night we decided to go to the YG after party since we didn’t go to the concert. This was our final night so we wanted to make it a good one. After our original plan failed, we went to the second location for the after party at ‘Flower Club’. Once again we were in VIP and ended up partying with YG himself and his people which was pretty cool! It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.

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Jacket: Pimkie (Madrid) | Dress: Missguided | Shoes: Primark (Madrid)

Our flight back to Madrid wasn’t till the evening so we went back to Hippopotamus to eat and kill some time before the shuttle bus came to pick us up.

Overall it was a fun, crazy and eventful few days in Paris. The last time I came to Paris was a few years ago with my family and we did all the typical tourist things, so it was nice to see the other parts of Paris and check out the night life over there.

I love Paris and I will definitely return, hopefully improving my French next time too!

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When in Rome…

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There are no words to describe just how beautiful Rome is; you have to see it to believe it, (unfortunately my pictures don’t do it justice). During my time in Madrid I was thinking about visiting other European countries, and lucky enough my cousin decided to celebrate her 22nd Birthday in Italy. We stayed right in the heart of Rome for 4 days, everything was within walking distance (we walked everywhere apart from the occasional taxi at night).

I flew from Madrid Airport to Ciampino early Friday morning and went over to Fiumicino Airport to meet my cousin and her friend, it was my first time flying alone and the journey was so stressful! I nearly missed my flight because the taxi service in my area is terrible in the early hours (if I haven’t mentioned before I basically live in a small town/village on the outskirts of Madrid centre). I also got lost in the airport and couldn’t find my gate and anyone I asked for directions couldn’t speak English or told me the wrong way. But in the end I caught my flight and was on my way.

Once we were altogether we made our way to our hotel (we stayed at Hotel Marvi – great service, free breakfast and lovely and extremely helpful staff). We were all exhausted from the early flights so we took a short nap and later headed out for Dinner. This was the first taste of Italy, literally. It took us a while to find somewhere to eat, but once we did it was worth the search. After dinner we headed back to the hotel to get ready for The Colosseum Bar Crawl; this was a great way to meet other people and see the sights of Rome at night.

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The next day we went to Piazza Navona and did some sightseeing, had a lovely meal for my cousins birthday and visited the museum near by, followed by some delicious gelato. My cousins friend opted for “Viagra flavour” lol! But apparently it tasted good. Later that night we went out clubbing to celebrate my cousins 22nd Birthday.

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We also visited Saint Peter’s Square in Vatican City, that day was surprisingly hot for November, it was over 20 degrees Celsius! So we also thought it would be a good idea to do a city bus tour to take in all the sights with our little time we had left. It was my first city bus tour and I highly recommend it! If you are in a place for a short time, it is definitely worth it as you get to see most of the city and “hop on hop off” at any time. We only hopped off once and stumbled upon an amazing rooftop viewpoint of the city. It was honestly breath taking. We got to watch the city of Rome go from daytime to sunset to night time, it was honestly beautiful (if  you know me I love my city skyline views)!

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That night we had our last meal together and got ready for our final night out in Rome. We didn’t really know where to go as it was a Sunday but we had a couple of options and got the cab driver to help us. After a few failed attempts of finding somewhere decent, the cab driver took us to a Latin inspired nightclub, the music and atmosphere seemed so live and potentially would have been a great last night. We tried to get in but because it had already passed 1am (yes I know we left too late) we couldn’t get in, I even pretended that I was a ‘famous singer’ and sang for the bouncer (he actually believed me and said he recognised me lol) but all our efforts were pointless, so it was a fail last night in Rome. We ended up getting pizza and walking the empty streets of Rome instead, which was still an alright last night.

Our final day in the beautiful Roma came around way too fast. None of us wanted to leave. My cousins friend was the first to go so me and my cousin checked out of the hotel, had a quick lunch and bought some souvenirs before going to the coach station. My flight wasn’t till 9pm, but I thought I should leave early so I wasn’t in a rush, like always. My cousin got on her coach and I waited in the coach station café for about 3/4 hours. I thought by being there early I would have no trouble travelling, but surprise surprise two of my coaches got cancelled! and if I got the next one I would have been late and missed my flight. So I decided to meet up with my friend from University who lives in Rome and is currently doing his placement year there, we had a nice catch up and I decided to get a taxi in the end, it was a lot more money but I made it to the airport in time and headed back to Madrid.

My cousin has a YouTube channel and filmed our time in Rome, so if  you would like to see more of what we got up to in Rome, check out the YouTube video below (Beware of the craziness!). We had such a great time, hope you enjoy the video (It’s quite long so grab yourself a cup of tea or a glass of vino)!

I would definitely visit Rome again, it has so much beauty and history, the people are lovely and the food is great. I think it even has more of a romantic vibe and atmosphere than the otherwise suggested cities, for example Paris, but nevertheless an amazing city with so much to offer. I think everyone should visit Rome if you have the chance, like I said before you have to see it with your own eyes to understand what I’m talking about.

Ciao x