Tag Archives: Nature

Portlandia

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Hello, loves!

Sorry I haven’t been so awesome at blogging lately. However, I was on vacation and didn’t always have computer access or time, so hopefully you all forgive me a teensy bit. Now, I’m just busy with life big decisions – more on that later. Anyway, want to hear more about my time in Portland?

Thursday, March 27th: Woke up at a pretty decent time, showered and gathered myself up for another day of adventuring in Portland, Oregon!

Portland FlowersThe weather was quite lovely, so I wanted to take advantage of that, which meant that my destination was Washington Park. It was absolutely stunning!! Such amazing trails; I was out and about hiking on them for at least 2.5 hours, touching and smelling all the trees that I could. I can’t help it, I feel at best when I’m in touch with nature, especially nature as breathtaking as the Oregon woods.

Washington Park

<3

So Majestic ❤

Hairy Woman

Hairy Woman

After I explored all the trails that I could before my legs felt like they were about to fall off, I entered the Portland Japanese Garden, which was gorgeous. Just look at the pictures I captured! It was a little slice of tranquility; I even took some time to munch on a baby avocado that I had brought, just taking in the sights, smells and sounds. I loved it.

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Baby Avocado

Baby Avocado

Once I had my fill of the Japanese Garden, my final stop in Washington Park was the International Rose Test Garden. Sadly, there were no roses or even buds, but it was the end of March, so I wasn’t expecting anything. It was still cool to see all the different species of roses that they grow there, and there was a pretty amazing amphitheater on the edge of the garden. There also happened to be an older couple dancing on the stage of the theater… it was so heartwarming and just made my fall in love with the West Coast that much more.

IMG_5668Eventually, I had to bring my trailblazing to an end. Mostly because I was hungry and needed to sit down for a little bit to give my hardworking legs a bit of a break.

After getting directions from a lovely woman working at the Rose Garden Shoppe (she gave me rose tea — so tasty), I was surprised as to how close I was to downtown Portland! I didn’t even have to take the Max; I wound up walking down a giant hill with lovely houses lining it and was spit out onto Burnside – a very main street in Portland, one that I spent a great deal of time exploring.

Considering I was feeling quite hungry, I had to stop for lunch. I walked into a restaurant called Pizzicato, where I ordered a sandwich with turkey, homemade pesto and tomato with a side salad and homemade balsamic vinegar dressing. It was delicious and cost me about $6, score! Pizzicato also had the most adorable artwork on the wall, check them out below. I also went into a chocolate and sweets shop, Moonstruck and ohhh man it was mouth-watering! I had a tiramisu macaroon and a dark chocolate espresso treat. Stop by this place if you are ever in the area.

Mmmmm

Mmmmm

Gold Digger

Gold Digger

Garlic-A-Scent

Garlic-A-Scent

Tasty Treats

Tasty Treats

Let’s see; I spent the next hour or so just soaking in the sights and sounds of Portland, and then met up with Natasha and did some grocery shopping for our dinner. We wound up making steak fajitas with homemade guacamole with all the fix-in’s that our hearts desired. Plus, we paired it with some pear wine — which was quite tasty! Then we just hung out and watched some Grey’s Anatomy before bed. Second full day = success.

I swear I’ll catch you up fully soon!

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Some Old Grenoble Pics

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Where insanity is the norm, and you can party all damn day.

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SOHDASOIDNSAFOIHASNIDJOQWERTGFMCS (!!!)

… That just about sums up my weekend. Be jealous.

Before I get to that, though, I have some catching up to do. The last time I caught up with you guys was a week from today… woops. My bad. Let’s see if I can successfully re-cap.

Tuesday, September 18th: Had a grudgingly long day at school. I had class from 8:30-12:30 with a short 20-minute break mixed in, and then class again from 1:30-5:30 with a 30-mintute break somewhere in there. Icccck. Afterwards, Nina and I went to Centre Ville to go to a bookstore. I ended up buying a French agenda, useful and I’ll have it when I get back to the states. A small way to keep up with my French. Scooore. Once I got home I was in for the night, too tired to function in normal society.

Wednesday, September 19th: Another early day for school (well, 8:30. By some standards that’s early, for others it isn’t). I have a huge break after my 10:40 and before my cinema class, so while waiting I watched this bizarre French cartoon for my class with Karen. It’s called The Triplet’s of Belleville and I recommend taking a look at it. Tis a bit weird, but in such a good way. After class was done for the day at 5:45, I went home and did some much-needed lamping before dinner. If I remember correctly, we had some bean and tomato salad with chicken wings and some other veggie dish that I don’t know the name of. NOM. After dinner was over I met up with Max, Nina, Maddie and Natasha at Victor Hugo; Nina and I split a bottle of wine, and then we tried out this bar Subway (Ian met up with us there) that is literally right around the corner from my house. I always see it teeming with people but never gave it a chance, so I’m glad I finally did – a good spot for sure. The cocktail of the day (which is what we all ordered) was only  2, and it came with a glow stick. Winner winner. We just hung out there for a little bit, but I wanted to go for a run on Thursday morning, so I went home around midnight in order to get a good nights rest.

Thursday, September 20th: I failed in the running department… woops. Sleep was just too powerful of a force to reckon with. Thursdays are simple; I only had class from 10:40-12:30. Post class = weekend! Once all the scholarly nonsense was done, Nina, Emily, Hannah and I got our tram cards re-charged for the month of October (how is it almost October already?! NO), and then stopped by the API office to get reimbursed and let Anna and Marie know that we were going to Marseille for the weekend. Marie, of course, warned us about the gypsies and did the usual be careful stuff. D’accord. By this point we were beyond hungry but not really feeling the usual campus food again, so we headed into Centre Ville. Wanting to try something new, we got food from Batman Kebab = awesomess. I don’t really know what kind of meat goes in a kebab – lamb maybe? But it was tasty and cheap and got a good rating in my book. Once we got our grub, we met up with Richard, Max, Maddie and Natasha for a little picnic in Victor Hugo. Caaayute, je sais. Post-picnic we had some errands to run before Marseille in the morning (!!!). Our train was scheduled to leave a little after 7 on Friday morning, so as soon as we were all done with errands I called it quits, went home, had some dinner, packed, and went promptly to bed.

Friday, September 21st: MARSEILLE! Woke up at the ungodly hour of 5:45 so I could shower, eat and meet Maddie and Max by 6:30 to head to the train station. Once at the station we joined forces with Natasha, Emily and Nina and started our travels. The first leg of our journey was an hour, then we had a 45-minute layover before the second part of the journey (which was also an hour). Not a bad trek by any means. We got to Marseille around 10:00, and went in search of our hostel, Vertigo. Thankfully Max isn’t directionally stunted like the majority of the rest of us, so it wasn’t an incredibly difficult search. Check-in wasn’t until 14h00 (figure I should start writing in French time), but our bags were heavy, so we just dropped our loads off at the hostel and set out on the town. Ian took a later train than us, so we went to the beach and hung out on the Mediterranean (yuuuuup) while we waited to meet up with him. Once he got to Marseille, we were starved, so I recommended we eat at a restaurant I heard good things about called Au Falafel. I happen to be addicted to falafel, so it was my top pick. The food was pretty good if I do say so myself, and the rest of the group didn’t seem to have any complaints. Success!

After lunch, we did some adventuring and got to know Marseille a little bit better. We went back to the beach and then to a nice grassy park/field, too. It’s a super beautiful port town, although I can’t say I was entirely blown away by the city aspect of it. Being a port town, however, there are a lot of seedy immigrants who lurk about and look like they aren’t exactly the pictures of health. I never felt unsafe or anything (benefits of traveling in a pack), so it’s all good. After we were done gallivanting a bit, we headed to the hostel to check-in and get settled in our room. In the 6-person room it was Maddie, Natasha, Ian, Max and myself (with our 7th roomie being a 30+ dude named Jesus from Spain…) and the Nina and Emily were in a 4-person room with two other random people. We all felt pretty grungy from traveling, walking and the beach, so once we checked-in we showered and got ready for the nighttime. Woopwoop. We started by playing drinking games with Natasha’s hilarious dirty French cards, and before long we were all well, drunk. We invited Jesus to take a drink with us and he ended up staying with us for the whole pre-gaming process. Kind of weird, but I’m just going to overlook it, haha. In all honesty, things get a little fuzzy for me once we left the hostel to hit the town. I vaguely remember sitting with the group eating pizza, and then going to a pub in the center of the nightlife hubbub. I think the pizza put me over the edge because apparently I wasn’t looking so hot and Max took me to go sit by the water for some fresh air… and then I puked into the Mediterranean. Class-act, no need to tell me; but hey, better out than in. Needless to say I didn’t last much longer (nor did the rest of the group, besides Ian) and before long we went back to the hostel where I promptly passed out and slept like a boulder – a cheeping boulder, because apparently I was saying that in my sleep. Jeesh.

Saturday, September 22nd: Woke up a little less than fantabulous, duh. I got up fairly early for the free breakfast the hostel gave us (aka bread, cereal, coffee and orange juice, plus gallons of water), but then started feeling a little bit like death. Ian, Natasha, Maddie, Emily and Nina wanted to go shopping, but I really had no ambition to a) spend money b) walk and c) function, so I stayed behind to recuperate for the day ahead. Max hung back with me and somehow I got him to read my bizarre centaur/fantasy story Divine By Choice out loud. Soon enough I was ready and eager to go, so once we bought food supplies for the day, the group headed out for the day’s event: hiking the Calanques.

We bought a bus pass on Friday for Saturday, so we took a 30-minute bus ride to where the trail began. The hike itself was amazing (see pictures below), but it in no way prepared us for the PURE MAGIC that was the Calanques. Seriously though, I can’t even begin to describe this place to you. I want to live there forever and ever and ever and never leave. I’m not even joking. Hands down the most beautiful place I have ever been to  — actually, that may have just been the best day in my life to date. Picture this: you walk down a rocky, narrow path and all of a sudden the world just opens up and in front of you lies the sparking, clear blue awesomeness of the Mediterranean. BUT that’s not all. There are smooth rocks jutting majestically up in the water and people are jumping off of them or just sitting down and lounging looking like beautiful mermaid-human hybrids, with water lapping below and the sun shining brilliantly above. Oh, did I mention that despite being the start of fall, the water is warm enough to swim in? Yes. There was one giant rock in the middle of the cove that the majority of people jumped off of; and this place is where I think I would like to die when I am old and gray and satisfied with life. Max and I went to the top of the giant rock and there was a freaking tree growing on it! It got dubbed the “Tarzan tree” because this thing was knotty and gnarly and curled over the crevices of the rock, but at the same time made the perfect perch for people to sit on. We ended up soaking up the rays and just absorbing the sheer magic of this place for as long as humanly possible. Seriously though, GO HERE. Unfortunately, we had to leave and return to reality at some point, but the walk back up was equally fun and awesome. I had too much energy and ended up cantering most of the way (horse nerd, deal with it) to the bus.

The bus ride sucked in comparison to the Calanques. It was humid and crowded and a gaggle of stupid gypsies came on and I definitely witnessed them pick-pocketing some people who weren’t wise enough to keep their belongings close to their bodies. I glared at one of the gypsies until she nervously looked away — BITCH. I wanted to kick them but didn’t really feel like getting murdered by stupid gypsies, so glaring had to suffice. After the torturous bus ride we walked back to the hostel and took one of the best showers ever (we were nasty and gross… I was kind of stupid and forgot a towel, I must say air drying is not a very successful method). Post shower and prepping for the night, we hit the town and got some food. Everyone minus the boys went to this outrageous restaurant that depicted America in the most outrageous way possible, but it was cheap and so we toughed it out and ate there. After dinner, Maddie, Nina, and I hiked up to the top of this gigantic stone wall to just absorb the magic of Marseille at night. So pretty. Eventually Ian and Max met up with us and we just hung out there for the majority of the night. Too little energy to do anything else, really. After we got back to the hostel I realized I couldn’t fall asleep, so I went down to the kitchen to eat some cheese and ended up hanging out with these four guys who were playing poker in the lounge. The guy who worked at the hostel was part of the group and from Canada, and the other three were guests who were from different parts of France. All spoke English and French, but I wanted to practice by French, and they were happy to oblige. Ian eventually joined, and after a few hours I was tired enough to go to bed.

Sunday, September 23rd: Woke up a little before 9h to eat some breakfast, packed up our belongings, stashed them in the storage room and checked out of the hostel. From there we went directly to the beach and lamped there for the rest of our stay in Marseille. I went in search of a pharmacy to tend to my leg wound, but to no avail.

The Leg Wound

 

Warrior Pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s kind of irksome that there were no places open on Sunday, but whatevskii. Sadly, it soon became the time to say goodbye to Marseille. Our train was at 14h14, so we got to the train station a little beforehand to find our seats and start the journey home… 😦 Three hours later, we were back in our home town of Grenoble, and I was exhausted beyond belief. I had some dinner with my host mom, told her about the wonderfulness of Marseille, and went to bed about as early as an 8 year-old, and I didn’t hate it one bit.
Thus concludes my epic weekend.

Which brings me to today, Monday, September 24th: I slept for a solid 11 hours (woooo, much needed). Mondays have now become a long day; I had class from 10h40-12h30 and again from 14h-17h30 with a 30-minute break in between. I just finished a little while ago, so now I’m here blogging and that’s about it. I’m still pretty tired, so all that’s really on my agenda is homework and a nice long sleep.

Au revoir, mes amis! Until later… (don’t forget to peep the pictures from Marseille!)