Anglo Adventure

Travel with a sense of humor


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Going to Paris? Four Things to Know

River Seine, Paris Travel Guide

“So… tell me all about France. I want a list of things you liked and what you didn’t.”

My sister’s boyfriend asked this as we sat around the table sharing a plate of sweet potato fries post trip. I was in a jet-lagged stupor. I didn’t sleep on the plane. I didn’t sleep in Paris. I took a plane at 4:00 pm in England and landed at 4:00 pm in Seattle. Time travel is exhausting.

When he asked me about the trip I growled, “Well, a guy whipped a beer can at me in Grenoble.”

I don’t know why I went right to the negative thing, the what-I-thought-was-funny thing. Yes, this actually happened. The Husband and I were trying to find our hotel room in Grenoble, a city in the French Alps and heard drunken ramblings from across the street.

Then a beer can collided with my leg. I yelled WHAT THE F*CK? in my big Chicago mean voice. I contemplated throwing it back, but I’m a lefty and not a very good pitcher and I didn’t really feel like being the subject of a brutal attack.

He lumbered back into whatever dive he came from. I have to mention him. Because the beer thrower (I call him Lance) is possibly the only real “rude” person we met traveling through France. And we met a lot of people.

Ok, I am 90% sure a group of girls were talking smack about me on the train, but it’s not like I was about to ask them to confirm.

Excusie-moi are you talking about moi? 

I can, however, confirm this:

1. French people are not rude!

French people are not rude!

Eiffel Tower, Paris Travel Tips

I have to say this twice because even my most worldly friends warned me that I would be hissed at for daring to bother them with French where I didn’t perfectly hit the accents. I do speak French, almost fluently, but I am pretty sure I sound like a choking goose. Most people were super patient and hospitable.

I wouldn’t call them small-town smiley, but they are not rude.

Let’s move on to Paris hotels.

2. Paris hotels are small 

Design Sorbonne

Cutest place ever

Yep, expect a very small room for a very big price. But you knew that.

We stayed at the Design Sorbonne, a little hotel in the 6th arondissment that looks like bien sur something right out of Amelie.

It was difficult to find, like everything in Paris. We got off the metro, and went on a thirty-minute hunt for this tiny hotel, me in a fraying t-shirt, baggy jeans, plane breath and all, piloting my suitcase around piles of dog stuff and hordes of impeccably dressed students on bicycles.

When we finally found the hotel (not its fault), it proved to be a welcome respite, a cozy hideaway where I could conceal my unsophisticated self until the bags under my eyes subsided.

If it’s your first time in Paris, do not stay near the airport the entire trip and try to train in, thinking you’ll save a few euros. Stay near what you want to see, my universal travel rule. And look into renting an apartment if you really want to save.  Continue reading

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Paris Travel Photo Essay, Film Noir Edition

Paris is pretty.

Sure, it smells of urine in some spots and there are piles of dog merde everywhere, but I barely even noticed because there is so much pretty to take in. It is so gorgeous, I broke my rule about living through the lens and filled up my camera’s CF card the third day in.

This is the first of my Paris photo essays, the Film Noir edition, otherwise known as the day I tried to be artsy by snapping photos of statues and strangers in monochrome.

Paris travel photos


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Lavender Love: Adventures in Agritourism

agritourism, lavender farms, lavender care

I don’t think the red flower gets enough attention.

The Husband and I have adopted the habits of a couple in our early 50s. We don’t have kids and aren’t big partiers, although I have been known to dance until the wee hours. It’s just us and the dog in our apartment in a complex full of other drifters who decided to retire at the ripe old age of 30 (you know, the types who wear lots of flannel and refuse to work in an office and make art out of paperclips). Continue reading


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Quebec City in Cuisine & Clouds

I am finally finished with The Project from both heaven and hell. Funny, just as I finished, a month of 12-hour days, hunched at the computer, I read a forum where this lady said:

How can I get a job like Rick Steves and and Samantha Brown, travel around the world, and be PAID for it?”

If the forum wasn’t four-years old, I would reply: There is no job like that. And also, although I like Rick Steves, I am pretty sure Samantha Brown has no idea w-t-f she’s doing. Now Anthony Bourdain…

(Side note: Rick Steves and Expedia rejected me, so really, there is no job like that, even for me who has been travel writing for 2 years now.)

I also don’t REALLY travel the world, I expatriated and became a specialist in one specific region.

Travel writing, especially guidebook writing is A LOT of hard work. So please, think of us writers next time you toss a guidebook in the garbage. I like to save them, take notes on them, sort of like a journal of the trip. I imagine if you’re creative enough, you can make a cool collage or poster out of their innards.

I understand eventually, they’ll get tossed or (hopefully) recycled, but I hope people really appreciate and use them. Unlike with certain review sites, the writers are (theoretically) trained to taste-out the best restaurants, sniff out the best hotels.

Also, please don’t say, I Could Do Your Job. It’s insulting, like I just waltzed into it with no prior experience. The devaluation of writers is something I plan to tackle in a future post.

Travel writing, by far, with the exception of literary writing, the most rewarding type of writing I’ve ever done. I enjoy getting rid of restaurants who are obviously serving terrible food. And replacing those with ones I know visitors will have a great experience.

Here is a photo narrative of Quebec City cuisine.

Quebec City in Cuisine and Clouds

Want to look like a brilliant photographer? Take more aerial shots and stop using Instagram!

 

If you don’t like croissants, I question your status as a human.

 

Food porn, Quebec City restaurants

The best fish ever. Salmon in a cranberry sauce.

 

All baguettes should be presented like this.


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