Cities on my radar

I’m thinking of making this a new series, just letting you guys know about what cities I’m currently feeling. When I get a little bug to travel, I try to have a few cities that are either drivable or cheap flight-able.

Vermont in general is on my radar. Who knows why, I just want to explore New England. Specifically Burlington. This city seems very cool, and I’m saying this based off the fact that they have a bike rental service and microbreweries. And honestly, sometimes that just does it for me. I think the ideal time to go here would be early fall when it’s not super cold yet and the colors would be fantastic.

Montreal. I guess I was bit by the Canada bug?? I was there for only a night and there were so many events going on. I would love to go back with just a little bit more time spent planning. If any of you guys are planning on heading to Montreal, be sure to check out this blog: https://www.mtlblog.com/

Reykjavik or just a nice road trip through Iceland. I have a friend there currently, and I’m just waiting to hear about the incredible views. I am not sure when I would be able to go, but I would definitely want it to be a three day or more trip.

Brooklyn. I have been to NYC a few times, but they have always been day trips where I’m with family or a friend who really wants to get that NYC FEEL. I wrote a post earlier about how I just don’t get it. I didn’t fall in love there, I just had a nice time. I would like to give it another chance because I mean its HUGE, I can definitely find a place there that I love.

San Francisco, wait after typing that out… I have to ask does San Cisco’s name have to do with that city? Whether or not it does, when I was in Quebec City my friend mentioned that it reminded her of San Fran. That sealed the deal. I was/still am set on a west coast trip. I would definitely want to go when it’s not incredibly summer, or whatever the off season is. You know me, I try to stay away from that tourist scene as much as possible.

Booking an Airbnb? Use this link to get 40 dollars off! CLICK ME. 

Impromptu Canada Trip!

When you have a full time job, rent, and a weekly schedule that you’re used to, it can be hard to break the routine. So I was planning an extremely safe trip Canada several months in advance when my friend asked if we could go in three weeks.

THREE WEEKS.

I mean, of course I said yes. Then I realized what that meant: I had to figure out when i could get off work, which cool airbnbs are left, how long does it take to drive, what festivals are going on! I was lucky to have started doing research, but still.

We made it happen though. So welcome to September, the month of CANADA.

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Look forward to a post about road trips! What to bring for snacks and drinks, the best music and podcasts, the views and how I think Canada is nailing safe driving.

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The importance of stopping and taking a moment to enjoy yourself while on a trip, and how an island here helped us do just that. Bonus Track: This one comes with a playlist!!

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My weekend itinerary, the neighborhoods I think are the best and too many photos of our Airbnb. And of course a million facts and tiny stories about Canada, Quebec City, Montreal, friendly travelers, being brave with language borders, and what food you have to eat here.

 

 

AWAY Hostel: The best place I never stayed at

Away hostel is one of the best places to stay ever in Lyon.

One day in Lyon, I was feeling like a total grump because my boyfriend was placed in a higher level french class than I was, so I went on a little exploration with out him. I found this amazing hostel and I cannot stop recommending it. I was going through major coffee withdrawals so my instant reaction to see an espresso machine through a window was to run inside. Oh. My gosh.

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The cafe area was super calming, I felt welcome even though I wasn’t a guest. Once I realized it was a hostel not just a spacious AF cafe, I asked for a tour. They have really adorably designed rooms. Um, hi I just was looking at an airbnb in lyon that I thought was a steal. UH NAH. I love the fact that you can have a private room in the coolest part of the city or share a room with other travelers, neither options putting you wildly out of money.

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Now, I am an Airbnb girl. I love the system, I have a ton of experience with staying in peoples homes. Which seems kind of weird, but the idea of a ‘hostel’ just totally scared me. I don’t know why, it’s probably something that was instilled in me by being told I looked like the girl in Taken. You know, the one where the girl travels and gets TAKEN. So I steered clear of hostels until I saw how incredible they could be.

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This place has planned activities every week, live music events and even gives you the option of adding on a delicious looking breakfast. Even though I currently live in America, I still follow them on Instagram (you should too) just to see the drool worthy brunch that they serve up. Currently on their up coming events (besides making us actually excited to get out of bed): live concerts and an aeropress championship. How random, but also great that they can host events that draw in not just the average traveler.

You guys know how much I love Lyon, so when I head back there I will definitely stay in this hostel. Maybe I’ll see one of you there! You can check out their website with all the deets here.

 

Photo dump ft. travel woes from a recent trip to New Jersey.

I just arrived back home after a really lovely memorial day weekend in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey. I went for a wedding, it was super beautiful. I saw so many friends from college, the bride and groom are such inspiring people to me, my roommate from college stayed with me for a bit, so it was all really great. But not without a ton of travel mishaps.

I had a flight out of Lexington at 5:20pm, and I was supposed to arrive around 7:30 or 8pm in Newark. Unfortunately, because of a millions different reasons, my flight did not take off until 8pm. Yeah, it was an insanely long time in the airport, and there is nothing to do in the Lexington airport. Once I arrived in Newark, I spent about 30 minutes waiting for my one checked bag, I bit the bullet and asked someone if it could be lost.

and it was!

So I have to complete a full on top model challenge before going to the wedding the next day. It was a huge success, I bought a dress and shoes and make up all before 9 am! It was very intense. If you guys don’t already, make sure you pack all of the essentials in your carry on. I decided to check my bag at the last-minute since I had wedding presents in it, so I really should have made sure I had some kind of outfit plan for the next morning.

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I also headed into New York City again, this time with my boyfriend for part of the day. We met up with my parents later to see a show and go to dinner.

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We walked up through Central Park, I reenacted a scene from Little Manhattan, ate at Tom’s diner for lunch where I made many jazz sounds, and took the subway. A very exciting time. Something I used when I went into the city was an app called Cool Cousin. It features interesting maps made but unique people who live in various cities. It’s kind of like the USE-IT maps I’ve talked about before, but I like how you can find a person who is similar to you and use their specific maps. Stay tuned to a travel app specific post coming in a little while- and no, google translate will not be on there.

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The rest of the weekend was spent canoeing or playing games with my little sister. Then I headed home to get on with my regularly scheduled trivia games nights. Did you know that every night in Lexington there is trivia going on somewhere? It’s true. Below you’ll find photos from my week, a visual story of what I see and do weekly. IMG_0498

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Lexington, my reluctant Kentucky home

So we are going to rip off a bandaid here: I didn’t get into TAPIF. A lot of you readers are going to say, “What the heck is TAPIF?” and that’s because I haven’t mentioned it at all. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. But here I am, telling you that my plan for moving to France has been moved back a year. Technically, I am still on the waitlist with a pretty good chance to be accepted for this coming school year, but I’m not in a position to be waiting. It really stinks to be writing this, but I think it’s going to force me to do what I have refused to do for the last year: really call Lexington, Kentucky my home.

I have lived in the same place for a year, stayed at the same job for a year, seen road construction begin and actually be completed in a year. I called myself a nomad for so long, maybe I shouldn’t do that anymore! I do keep the fact that I have the desire to move abroad around, with my pursuit of the French culture and understanding the laid back French lifestyle. You can still count on me to be a travel blog, I will just start to be more accepting that maybe I can be a travel blog who still has a home? We’ll see!

This means that I’ll just have to explore this city more in depth! I know that I think Lexington can be really cool, I have my favorite bars and ice cream shops, my favorite place to watch planes take off and land. So all this is to say, expect a Lexington guide soon, but also maybe I can branch out a little. Cincinnati, Louisville, Indianapolis, Asheville? These are all cities I have heard by word of mouth are great, but I want to put pen to paper about them.

Let me know how you guys have turned some sort of negative experience into a positive one! Also, what cities are you headed to? I’m currently planning a Canada and Iceland trip- and about 20 imaginary trips too!

Lyon: Snacks

Best Bagels, Mercière: Bagel stores. They always seem to be better in Europe, but very American themed. The bagel shop I went to in Lyon is not an exception. It even offers American sodas and Arizona Tea to go with its pictures of NYC on the walls. If you’re feeling homesick for some good old Jif peanut butter or Big Red Soda, you can find that here. There are other locations of this bagel shop around town too, if you find yourself craving a bagel, but you’re far from this place.

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Crock and Roll: A very cool shop that features a twist on the classic croque monsieur. It’s settled in Croix Rousse, my favorite area of Lyon, and it even stays pretty popular. This could be because they have a Nintendo available for play, and a bathroom with some pretty weird ceiling art? I don’t know, but if you’re heading there soon, I just looked at the new spring menu. It looks delish.

Frite Alors: As an American, I guess if I was looking for easy French access, I could just go to Canada, but instead I went all the way to France. And there, at Frite Alors, I tried the Canadian classic, poutine. This spot seems like a really fun place for friends, and for just a nice hang out. The food is super delicious, Johnny and I both got fry dishes (because duh) and I scarfed mine down.

Celest: Okay, maybe this shouldn’t be in a snacks post… but seriously, I have to mention it somewhere! The bar does have snacks, as well as great cocktails that change seasonally. Charcuterie is one of my favorite things to order because I’m such a snacker, and with this plate you get so many bits and pieces to munch. If you have saved a night to treat yourself, I would do it here.

Do we dare talk about bouchons? Just walk anywhere in Lyon, and it is jam packed with bouchons. I could tell you which ones are the best, but I think part of going to a bouchon is walking through the streets and picking the one that feels right for you. Look at the menu, discuss the options, and then choose. I will tell you that Daniel and Denise is one of the most popular, for good reason too. So mark that down in your notebook. IMG_4691

Honestly, if you guys see or hear about a restaurant, TELL ME! I always say this. I love getting to make notes of places to visit for when I return. Also, you can always browse Le Petit Paume — they have reviews of the restaurants in Lyon.

Cathryn Takes Amsterdam

So as of right now I am currently in Lexington, Kentucky. I unfortunately cannot be constantly traveling. I do spend a ton of my time reading and researching for future trips that I will take, and for trips that my friends are going on so i am not uper bored staying in one city. I am super lucky to have friends traveling abroad- not only does it make my Snapchat and Instagram feeds so much better, it helps me to extend my ever growing list of things to do in every city in the world.

Now while I have been to Amsterdam it was over a year ago so my mind is a little fuzzy. So may I present to you.. Continue reading Cathryn Takes Amsterdam