In loving memories of love itself - Autumn in Rouen & Paris


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There's always that one city, that one country you love & would be your "escape" plan whenever life gets tough. I never thought I'd be back in France this soon. After I came back from Italy in July, I started a new job. Only 4 months to it & I knew it was something I didn't want to pursue. It was a hard decision to quit knowing the market is bad, but I did it anyway. Fast forward, I knew I had to get out of town to breathe and think; and to be honest my long-distance relationship at that point was a blur as well. So I checked the price to Paris & surprisingly it was very cheap. I knew that was my cue to book it despite everyone telling me how I should just look for another job instead. I ended up booking a SGD$650 with Saudia to Paris return ticket. Super good deal!

Looking back, I didn't regret going back to France. Rouen and Paris was so beautiful during Autumn. This trip has made me realising something - A "wrong-turn" lead me to a field of golden fallen leaves, Misty Sunrise, Sparkling Christmas Markets and suddenly I'm second guessing every "wrong-turn" in my life. Every "wrong-turn" had led me to where I am currently & I'm happy as hell, not jaded, so were they really wrong turns? If I never made that "mistake" of trying to be a professional recruiter, I wouldn't have known it was something I didn't want to pursue, I wouldn't have taken a pause & book a trip to France & experience all this moments in life that I'll never forget. "We give everything, everything just to feel alive."
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The other thing I've learnt after this France escapade is that we shouldn't be impatient, sure some of your close friends are getting married, some have reached their desired profession but you feel like you are not moving, just tangled up. Don't get frustrated, don't start yanking on things or meddle with nature before its ready to come. You'll just have to be patient and trust in the timing of your life.


Matt fetched me from Paris airport and we drove about an hour and the half to the city of Rouen. Rouen is the capital of Normandy and its a city near the river. Located in a rather hilly environment, one must be ready to climb uphill at all times. When we first met each other, it felt pretty weird. We had our first real fight and this trip was so impromptu , we didn't even talk that much.

Anyway,I would recommend a 2 day visit here. As Matt is studying here, 2 weeks was a little too much to stay in Rouen, so I went back to Paris for a few nights and we did a road trip to Mont Saint Michel.

What I did in Rouen

It was November, the month of crimson fallen leaves , when the light is sweet & heavy
Subtle christmas decoration slowly covered the whole town
I guess the old architecture is what makes Rouen so delightful
CAFE HOPPING of  Hot Coffee , Books & Thoughts : They have amazing cafes & bars that serve relatively cheap hot beverages to combat the chilly misty autumn. I was usually alone out exploring the town as Matt was in school. Most of the time, I find myself in another cosy cafe with a hot coffee just lost in thoughts. There's something about watching the leaves falling ...


Walk around the Rue Du Gros-Harloge: This road consist mainly of historical areas including the golden clock. Alongside with hidden bars and fleur shops, its a nice stroll. You will sense how old this whole city is.


Indulge in the French Cuisine: One of the reason why I love France so much is because of their food! They take pride in presentation and quality no matter how "cheap" your dining experience is. The various quality and type of cheese, the fresh meat, the wines and oh, the desserts - that one is divine! I swear I ALWAYS gained at least 3 kg after leaving France!


Free Museum: A trip to the Museum is the great idea especially when its a rainy weather and you cant explore the town while its wet and freezing! Free and surprisingly huge, this museum in Rouen is actually impressive
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The Beautiful Christmas Market in Rouen: Since it was my first time actually in a Christmas Market, It was all so unreal to me. Everything looks magical and It was a pleasant experience soaking up the festive mood. When France welcomes the festive season, it is definitely the merriest! 

Although the Christmas Market in Rouen is not as big as Paris, it definitely feels more authentic. They were selling traditional chocolate marshmallows, rolls of ham, mulled wine, crispy churros. I enjoyed every time I went there and thats like every night!

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Look how beautiful this is!
Mulled wine perfect for the weather. I thought it tasted very sweet but comforting.
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One of our favourite things to do is to go on a Roadtrip. Since we both enjoy travelling so much, exploring new cities is a perfect date for us. Singing in the car, talking about anything as we passed by odd towns, watching him drive, watching the trees. We have only been together for 1 year but we have been to more than 8 cities including 4 road trips! He is an amazing travel partner 

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We drove about 2 hours to Mont Saint Michel from Rouen passing by beautiful town and stopped by Le Vilage Cancalais to have some fresh oysters. Cancale is known for their fresh oysters and eating it by the beach.

Christmas Magical Market in Paris

Saving the best for the last is the Christmas Market in Paris. Wow, I never thought I would have experience its magic this soon. We decided to spend a day exploring the christmas market by Champ Elysee which is absolutely filled with joyful spirit!

About 45 minutes train ride from Rouen back to Paris. I went over twice for this trip because Paris is my most favourite city in the world & because Rouen is pretty boring after a week.
Do things you love, visit the city you love, do whatever it takes to smile and be happy inside out
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I think I visited the Eiffel Tower more than 6 times in just 2 years & I don't think i'll ever get bored of it. It has capture my soul and may I always be in love.
but I never thought that I will be visiting Paris with someone I love. The first time I visited paris in May 2015, I wish that I would someday visit this place with someone I truly love & I never thought it would be this soon. 
So after the eiffel tower & lunch; we made our way to Champ Elysee where the Christmas Market was. With all the hyped about it , I was overexcited! It is definitely huge and filled with people, food, entertainment. I just love it!
christmas market in paris 2016
The Christmas Market in Paris is just so huge its pretty impossible to visit it in a few hours. But I note a rather repetitive stores and I think my favourite section is the food market!
After that, we made our way to ice skating.

We fell in love, despite our differences in race/ culture and once we did, something rare and beautiful was created. For me, love like that has only happened once, and that's why every minute we spent together has been seared in my memory. I'll never forget a single moment of it. Paris being my favourite city and to  ice-skate here, a sport I enjoy doing- its just too fond.
By the time I published this post to my blog, Matt & I are history. We are nothing but beautiful memories, a phase in life. It is what it is but I will ALWAYS remember this Paris. To all that come to this happy place, welcome. Know that it holds such magical memories for many.

I guess its one of the reason why I love Paris so much, despite its superficial front painted by others.. its a place where you feel both the distance of precious memory  and blurred present. We are not together anymore due to a simple but strong fact - life. Life happened. You know like when the both of you come to the end of a road and there are two ways. I don't know if we will ever meet again but in spite of our tragic ending, I still do feel lucky and blessed to have met someone I can actually love so deeply. I never felt a love so pure, never felt so connected. But everything belongs to GOD, and I know that Matt may not be mine to keep forever. Thank you Mathias for loving and saving me.. for allowing me to receive such otherworldly moments.


I will always remember this trip for its the last time we ever get to hold each other. 

xx








Venice is so romantic!

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Venice is truly a romantic city and I am so lucky to be able to visit it with my special someone. If 5 years ago you tell me that I will visit this alluring city with someone I love, I wouldn't have believed you. This really is a place every couple should visit together because every corner of this city is like a real-life painting. The old bridges that join hearts, the love flowing in the canals, the roses that kept blooming, the big moon lighting the city ; Don't ever wake me up from this dream.
Venice gets more romantic at night. The moon above the bridge, the yellow lamps dimming the canals. It feels like a scene out of a Nicholas Spark's film.
A very bad picture of us with the moon & for some unexplainable reason, its the only picture we took together #saywhut #havetogoagain
Ouh look! behind me is a very expensive Gondola ride. 
I must confess; we didn't take the iconic Gondola ride for one reason, its expensive af. But I would love to if we return again someday. Its completely crazy that Venice mode of transportation is entirely by water, even their AMBULANCE! I cannot imagine being sick and having to take a Boat-Ambulance to the hospital. Super interesting though to see how they clear the trash and deliver commodities using just boats! Mindblowing!


Let me tell you something; the difference between Venice than any other cities in Italy is that, in other cities; you are rushing for time, always on the move to see as many things in that limited period. But in Venice, time stops. Time is eternal. Every moment seems so special even if its as simple as walking hand in hand by the canals. I don't know how to explain it but time just stops and you are deeply in love. The kind of love you will remember for the rest of your life.

This is my version of Venice and from what it seems, anything that is unplanned turns out to be perfect. I wasn't planning to visit Venice as at that point, I was already in Rome. But I guess, we really wanted to see each other while I was still in Europe. So He booked his tickets to Venice and I booked mine. And then on, our chapter in Venice begins.


Accommodation : Due to the budget that we have, we decided to stay in a city near Venice just by the nearest train station called Venice Mestre . Its about 20 mins train ride to Venice and the ticket isn't expensive. Honestly, the cheapest accommodation you can get near Venice. It was only 30 Euros a night.


Venice is literally a maze! So be prepared to get wonderfully lost in it and then finding yourself standing somewhere really nice and picturesque. As there are many restaurants, you will be spoiled with choices and it gets exhausting trying to choose one. My advice, just go to the first restaurant you see because you will never find it again even if you want to! haha!


St. Mark’s aka Piazza San Marco is an absolute stunner. Obviously the most popular square in Venice. Whichever lane you take, it will lead to this square filled with pigeons,souvenir shops & all sorts of people

Impressive bell tower!

Paintings are just scattered everywhere. Venice is where artists live and blossomed! I mean, who would ever suffer from creative constipation in a city as beautiful as Venice? Every angle, every corner, every sidewalk of this city I can imagined it being water-coloured into a masterpiece.


All we did there was to take a stroll. Passing by nothing, passing by anything. Watches with dreamy eyes the boats rowing past, couples kissing, flock of birds.. the green water. It was just very, natural.
You only need a day to discover the whole of Venice but like I said, time stops there  ;)

xx




When in Rome, my favourite city in Italy



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12 days in Rome wasn't enough. I love Rome and its easily one of my favourite city in the world! If you are planning to visit Rome, you are in for a TREAT & I am jealous! There are so many free things to do in Rome and that is the best part! Free arts everywhere, yes we are talking about Roman Ruins, Indulge yourself with the variety of food, the fresh pastas! Here are some information and highlights of my stay in Rome!

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WHAT TO WEAR IN ROME

1. If you are wearing heels all the time like me, it will be quite a challenge as Rome is old and so their tiles are usually wide uneven cobblestones. Therefore I would recommend wearing thicker heels instead of pointy one.
2. Leather is widely appreciated in Italy, so wear it like the Romans. But, It can be really hot wearing it in the day though perfect in the evening. In May, it was about 39degrees!

WHAT TO BE AWARE OF IN ROME

1.BEWARE OF TEENAGERS! Most of them walk in a group or just as a couple and they will attempt to steal from you! I encountered this thrice and it was so scary because they did it openly and were very bold! I was actually walking around Termini Station with my handbag zipped, this couple came beside me and I felt her hand unzipping my bag and I shouted "Hey what are you doing?!" the couple stopped & the guy actually demanded why I shouted at his gf. He said I was trying to pick a fight despite me explaining that she tried to steal from me! HORRENDOUS!

2. Italian men are over friendly! haha! Sometimes its nice to get attention from guys telling you how beautiful you are. But Romans are not shy & can be very persistent. There was once a Roman guy insisted for a kiss on the lips after He helped carried my luggage up the stairs, it was awkward as I thought He was joking !

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BUDGET IN ROME
Italy is expensive compared to Spain and especially in Florence and Rome.
I stuck to the 60euros/day budget and it was enough for Transportation,  Decent Meals & some souvenirs? Any remaining balance will be rollover to the next 60 euros or cut down if overspent.

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*IMPORTANT! TRANSPORTATION IN ROME

The most complex system compared to any other countries!! You actually buy your bus/train tickets at any "TABACCHI" which is literally Tobacco shops that sells cigarets & magazines. Sometimes, they can even run out of tickets and theres no way you can buy one!!! SO RIDICULOUS. At times, I entered the bus without a ticket, it was a gamble as I may get a fined when caught but I did it many times. Because you don't even show your ticket to the driver, you simply have to get it stamped inside the bus with this little machine. NO ONE GIVES A FUCK BUT WHEN YOU GET CAUGHT YOU ARE IN TROUBLE.

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FREE CRAZY PARTIES , NIGHTLIFE IN ROME

We had so much fun partying the nights in rome! Their clubs are so lively and people are always dancing , music is great! Lots of international people as most of them are exchanged students too.
Go to AFROMA for guest list & enter club for free! We really enjoyed Shari Vari because of the crowd! You can easily signed up for Guestlist on their website or FB page so you can get in for free

BE WARNED OF PATROLLING POLICE ON THEIR HIGH HORSES!  
They are friendly and usually willing to have a conversation with you. You can even get to know the lovely horses!




ROME-ING AROUND VATICAN CITY

Obviously you cannot miss the Vatican City while in Rome. It is so huge and the museum is incredible! Though I would highly recommend to book your tickets online as the queue there is insane! I waited about 2 hours in line! It is interesting to see international worshippers gathered here and also the amazing architecture. Set aside about 3-5 hours to explore this place as it is definitely a must visit!
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BEAUTIFUL ROSE GARDEN
The most beautiful things in life comes for free; like this beautiful garden filled with all kinds of roses! Summer in Italy means blossoming roses everywhere and this special garden is filled with over 50 different kinds of roses! Grab a drink and a slice of pizza while enjoying the aromatic ambiance this place has to offer!


CRAZY OVER THE COLOSSEUM 
How can you not visit THE most iconic monument of Italy, known worldwide, adorn by the Italians, admired by travellers and photographers! Its so stunning from the outside you don't necessarily have to pay to see the inside unless you want to


THE TREVI FOUNTAIN OF ROME
This one is a very crowded but beautiful fountain, yet another popular icon of Rome. The amount of tourists here is INSANE! You can't enjoy much except to flip a coin, make a wish, snap a picture and leave asap!


THE PANTHEON , WHAT A NICE PLACE
A must see not only because of its architecture but also the neighbourhood is pretty awesome! In the day, filled with gelato and food! In the night, its the place you want to be because it is alive and cool bars scattered everywhere


EXPLORE THE WONDERS OF ROMAN FORUM AND PIAZZA NAVONA
Great for strolling and picture taking. Best to understand and imagine how ROME was like and this may take hours to just a few minutes all depending on how far you want to walk. It is a breathtaking stroll especially when you can see beauty in all the ruins.

Theres just too many things to do in Rome, you can choose any path and you'll get to a beautiful destination with many interesting stops. I would strongly suggest staying at least 4 days in Rome.

xx