• Travel

    Vic’s European Vacation: Day 4: London to Paris

    I woke up drunk and at the crack of dawn because I had to pack for Paris!

    Well, when we got to the Eurostar station, the train for Paris that was supposed to leave at 8:30am was delayed two hours. Our train was delayed, but luckily not as long. We ended up being in Paris only an hour later than expected.

    I was disappointed in the Eurostar because they kept advertising about wifi, but I had no signal at all. Not even cellular service!

    Although it was cool how fast the train went.  It went 75 meters underground at 300km/hr in 54 km long tunnels.  That was the only impressive part of the Eurostar.

    Despite the delay, we saw all the sites we were supposed to on the bus tour, and we made perfect timing!  The tour guide was super nice and funny, but I liked the one in London a little better.  The tour guide in London had a ton of attitude, she was great.

    After the tour, we were supposed to organize little groups of about four or so to share bottles of wine for the cruise tour on the Seine River.  There was a grocery store right across the street from the hotel, so we all went there to get wine.  The wine was so cheap though! You could get wine for about 3 euros!  So we ended up with our own bottles of wine instead of sharing haha

    Getting the wine was a little scary though.  When I was buying my wine, the cashier woman started speaking to me in French.  I don’t speak French though, so I said, “excuse me?” The manager was watching the transaction and then piped up loudly and sarcastically like, “Oh, she doesn’t speak French!  She speaks English!  Only English!”

    The cashier lady laughed and when I finished the transaction, I bolted out of there.  I felt so embarrassed and uncomfortable…and since this was the first foreign country I was in where I didn’t speak the native language, I felt afraid.  I realized how challenging it may be for me on the rest of the trip where the native language is not English nor Spanish.

    After we all got the wine, we took the bus to the fancy dinner.  The food was delicious, but the red wine was a little too dry for my liking.

    Here’s the food! I had that giant creme brûlée to myself! I couldn’t finish it all though.

    Then we went on the Seine River cruise!  I cracked up when we all got off of the bus with a bottle of wine per person.  We all climbed onto the roof of the boat and then passed around the two bottle openers.  Boat tour, everyone has their own bottle

    As you could probably imagine, we all got drunk.

    The end of the tour was a close-up view of the Eiffel Tower sparkling…we all went crazy when it sparkled right in front of us.  Suddenly, we were all scrambling to take drunken pics.  The alumni advisor thought it was funny how excited we got about it.  Here are some of my drunken pictures:

    After the cruise, we did a city night tour of Paris.  Everyone was belligerent and trying to use the bathroom on the bus, although it was closed.  I’m sure the bus driver couldn’t wait for us to get off.

    Then, back at the hotel, my roommate helped me finish my bottle of wine because I couldn’t do it myself.  Speaking of hotel rooms, the rooms we had in Paris were incredibly tiny.  Also, the hangers in Europe are different than the US.  At least they’re different in the European hotels.  The closets don’t have a pole parallel to the door, the poles are perpendicular to the doors.  I’m not such a fan of it.

    Anywho, she and the sorority squad then went out while the rest of us got crepes.


    Everybody in France smokes.  Seriously, everybody.  Only one girl on my trip smoked, and I don’t know what I was thinking…that I wanted to experiment I guess.  But anyway, she gave me a cigarette and me and this super tall guy on the trip started smoking at the outdoor crepe shop.  I did a bad job of smoking, though.  I didn’t realize you have to tap off the end once in awhile because then I had white powder all over my leather jacket lol
    Then I got yelled at for smoking too close to the crepes, I felt like a real smoker.

    After the crepes, we went to a bar.  It was a weekday though so we were the only people there, it was pretty hilarious.  The bar only played American music, it was weird.  We drank upstairs for awhile and then went to the basement.  One of the dudes and I got behind the bar there to pretend to be bartenders, which ultimately got us all kicked out of the basement.  Then we just hung out at the main part of the bar.

    One of the dudes on the trip bought one of the girls a beer, although she was already crazy drunk.  She was Beyonce dancing the whole night lol and they also held hands underneath the table.  On the way back, he gave her a piggy-back ride, and she fell off.  We all had to hoist her up and hold her on the way back to the hotel.

    The guy that pretended to be a bartender with me was kind of lurking around me…it felt like he wanted to get funky later.  One of my Latina friends noticed though and she swooped in to save me.  I wasn’t looking to be saved…I don’t mean I was like…interested in this guy.  I wasn’t interested in the guy nor was I in the mood to get funky but…it was nice of her to do anyway.  Although it was super effective because then we ended up on the same floor, unlike everyone else.

    He noticed me and we hung around the door to my room, talking.  It felt like something could easily happen..there was a little drunken chemistry.  A little drunken flirting…and then he farted.

    It was silent and extremely deadly.

    Then the drunken chemistry fizzled, the flirting stopped, the talking idled…He was like, “I think I’m going to go to bed now.”

    And that was it.  We hardly talked the rest of the trip.

    I stayed awake for several hours drunkenly texting some friends from home.

    I had to leave the door to my hotel room slightly cracked for my partying roomie.  There was only one room key, and I had it.  I ended up sleeping for like four hours, which has become typical of this trip lol

    xo Vic

  • Travel

    Vic’s European Vacation: Day 3: Lit in London

    The croissants are SO GOOD they’re so crunchy it reminds me of that Italian dessert that my mom and I like that I can’t remember the name of right now…
    Oh, fun facts! My mom came to Europe twenty years ago and warned me about the water but the water is safe to drink. (Perhaps it always was, she just didn’t know?) She also told me the beer is served warm in England, but everything was ice cold. With optional ice.

    Oh, fun facts! My mom came to Europe twenty years ago and warned me about the water but the water is safe to drink. (Perhaps it always was, she just didn’t know?) She also told me the beer is served warm in England, but everything was ice cold. With optional ice.
    Additionally, Nero Cafe is the Starbucks of England, although England has many Starbucks too. Boots is the Walgreens/Duane Reade/CVS/Rite Aid of England.

    Additionally, Nero Cafe is the Starbucks of England, although England has many Starbucks too. Boots is the Walgreens/Duane Reade/CVS/Rite Aid of England.
    Anywho…! So the first thing we did in the morning was go on a walking tour of the Parliament area, Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London.

    Anywho…! So the first thing we did in the morning was go on a walking tour of the Parliament area, Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London.

    Here I am in front of the Westminster Abbey. MLK is an honored person here, among many others from all over the world. He has a little statue of himself over the archway. He is the center one holding the child.

    Then we saw the Switching of the Guards. I didn’t think I would have the opportunity to see them so it was a pleasant surprise.

    Afterward, we went to the London of Tower, where the tour ended. We got lunch and I tried Halloumi cheese in a wrap. It was delicious!

    I had tickets to the Tower though so I went on a tour in there and then checked out all the exhibits. Apparently, the Queen lives here with her bodyguards and their families, who also serve as maintainers of the castle and tour guides. They served in the military for 22 years before assuming this position, if they choose to. Sir Isaac Newton lived here at one point too!

    Then we went to the London Eye. It was incredible.

    When I was in that area, I got a better photo of Big Ben than on the tour. Big Ben is actually not the building, but the huge bell inside the building!

    At this point, I noticed how sore my legs were probably due to malnutrition and dehydration. I’ve not been enjoying well-balanced meals at all, and most of my beverages have consisted of tea and alcohol. The alumni with us keeps reminding us that nothing counts when we’re on vacation, so eat, drink, and buy whatever you want! It’s terrible advice but it’s kind of what I’m using to reaffirm my poor decisions haha

    Some people in my group wanted to go to Platform 9 3/4 from Harry Potter, so we went to Kings Cross. We ate at some British hipster place and I noticed that English people say certain vegetables differently than Americans do. Aubergine is the English way to say eggplant and courgettes is the English way to say zucchini.

    Well, I got drunk before dinner even came out. It was embarrassing because everyone else seemed fine and they drank as much as I did! Everyone is older than me though so maybe they’re more tolerant than I am..or maybe they were hiding their drunkenness too.

    After dinner, half the group went to wait in line to take a photo at the 9 3/4 thing. They have a carriage, wand, and scarf to make it appear as though you are going into the wall to access the platform, like in Harry Potter. It was pretty cool but I didn’t want to wait in line, I wanted to get drunk! So the other half and I went to a pub called Britannia in Kensington. We went to it on our pub crawl the night before. I didn’t notice until I had to navigate London myself that there are no street signs on poles! All the street signs are on the sides of buildings, which makes no sense because you can’t see them well if you’re driving! We could hardly see them when we were walking, and that wasn’t because we were drunk.
    At this pub, I had two glasses of wine, making it five glasses total for one night. I think that means I drank about a whole bottle myself? It sounds pretty gross when I think about it…

    The rest of the group showed up later and we bonded. It was super nice because I felt a little in-limbo with the group. I take a little while to feel comfortable with people and it was a little intimidating because half of the people knew each other before the trip…but tonight at the pub, I bonded with some people and it was nice. Two of them are also half Latina, which was cool! And they live and work near my university so although one graduated and the other one doesn’t go to my university, we can probably hang out when we are back in the states!

    Here are me and my Latina pals 🙂

    Apparently, I thought it was not enough that I basically drank a bottle of wine myself because then at the hotel bar, I got a cider with a shot of something…I’m not sure what it was but the bartender added it because he knew I wanted a strong drink. I was quite lit.

    We ran into some other people in our group and we hung out with them for awhile. Then I turned in at 1am. My roommate got back from a date around then (she met some English person at a bar and he asked her on a date and she went like whoa wow) so we ended up talking until like 2am. We hadn’t talked like at all before so it was nice to bond with her too, although I was only able to sleep like 4 hours as a result 🙁

    I mean..what do I expect though? I knew this was going to be a sleepless trip. I’ll probably need a vacation after this!

    xo Vic

  • Travel

    Vic’s European Vacation: Day 2: London on 48 Hours Without Sleep

    I slept two hours on the plane, despite being exhausted from the night before due to only five hours of sleep and then popping Benadryl on the plane.

    We couldn’t check into the hotel until 3pm unfortunately, so we explored Kensington, which was the part of London where we stayed.

    This is one of the first things I did in London. It was this market called Portobello Market and they had many clothing and food vendors. It was the largest market I’ve seen! It went down for blocks!

    London is pretty cool so far.  There are a ton of punks and I love it, I feel like I fit right in.  I saw a punk couple in this area…the guy had a huge spiky mohawk and the girl had blue or green hair.  I wanted to take a photo of them because I felt like they were such a photogenic couple with their leather, studs, and Docs…but I didn’t.  Perhaps I’ll take photos of Londoners the next time I travel to London!

    Then we went to Kensington Palace.

    Here is me after being awake for nearly 48 hours and not having showered nor brushed my teeth. But I was just excited to be in London.

    This is the palace gardens which has been converted into a public park. This is only the garden part, there are other fields.

    This is the King’s Quarters and it reminded me of the Gilded Age mansions. It was huge and we were only able to go through 1/3 of the palace.

    After this excursion, it was finally 3pm so we went back to the hotel and I had a glorious shower and brushed my teeth! Then I napped for two hours and my roomie woke me up for the pub crawl.

    Here is my first fish and chips at the first pub on our group orientation pub crawl. It came with mashed peas, it was yummy 😛

    I had two beers and cider, but didn’t get past feeling tipsy, unfortunately. Some people went to a club afterwards, but I went to bed and had a glorious night’s rest!
    Tomorrow we’re going to tour London, I can’t wait!

    xo Vic

  • Travel

    Vic’s European Vacation: Day 1: Traveling to London

    I’m in London! I’m doing a Europe trip with the alumni association at my university, although I won’t be an alumn for another two years but whatever! I’m a world traveler now!

    So here are the details of my seven hour flight to London…

    I’ve been at the airport since 1:30pm. (It is 5:30pm when I write this) My flight wasn’t delayed, my parents just wanted to ensure that I get through security, which has been crazy long lately.

    It was a little embarrassing because I started crying when I left my parents. I’m unsure what came over me..maybe it was because they had waited in line with me to go through security. Maybe if I said “bye” at the car, it wouldn’t have been such a dragged out “goodbye” and therefore it would’ve been less sad.

    Well this is the plane. It has three rows instead of two.

    This is my dinner spread. They gave me wine without carding me !

    I think my alcohol tolerance got super low because I feel tipsy after drinking less than half the cup. And I’m eating with the wine! I guess it makes sense I don’t have the highest tolerance right now because I haven’t been drinking much for the last month. A little before finals, I kinda holed myself up and avoided the party scene. I’ve been tipsy here and there but I haven’t been hammered since..mid-April maybe? So I have to be extra careful at the pub crawl my first night in London.

    Anyway, I hope I can get some sleep. I definitely need it.  

    xo Vic

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