Our Parisian adventure started with the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour which took roughly an hour. We passed attractions such as Notre Dame, the Louvre, Place de la Concorde, Conciergerie, National Assembly, Palais Garnier and the Eiffel Tower. I really enjoyed the Hop On Hop Off bus tour and would definitely recommend it as it was a quick and easy way to see the main attractions of the city.
Once we finished the tour we walked the streets of Paris, getting our bearings and experiencing first hand local life by enjoying ice cream and fresh bread whilst window shopping. Eventually, we made our way back to our hotel which was situated in the Latin Quarter. Here, we showered and slept off the remaining jet lag.
San Francisco is known for its steep streets, eclectic mix of Victorian and Modern architecture, the Golden Gate Bridge, The Rock (no, not Dwayne Johnson), indie hipsters, and cable cars, just to name a few.
I was so excited to finally have the opportunity to visit the city where Mia Thermopolis finds out she's the princess of Genovia! (Ok, don't judge, I grew up in the 2000s watching not only The Princess Diaries but also, Disney's That's So Raven, and the classic Robin Williams film, Mrs. Doubtfire, all of which take place within the fabulous city of San Francisco).
The US prides itself on the ultimate roadtrip, and that was just what I wanted to achieve last weekend. With warm weather and two free days I saw it as the perfect opportunity to rent a car and head up the Pacific Coast Highway, the longest state route in California, and one of the most scenic.
I woke up early Saturday morning and picked up the rental car. Of course I was a little nervous; this being my first time driving solo on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. But much to my surprise it really wasn’t as difficult as I had expected - five months living in the US must have re-wired my brain. I took to the highway with the windows down, sun shining, music blaring, I even cracked open an ice cold Bundaberg Lemon Lime & Bitters (a rare find here in the States).
This morning my travel buddy (AKA my lovely mother) and I enjoyed a delicious English style breakfast at our accommodation, the Park International Hotel, before exploring Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery on foot.
At around 11 am we walked to Buckingham Palace to watch the Changing of the Guard, which I highly recommend! It is such a fun experience seeing and listening to the marching bands play their brass instruments in traditional military uniform. If you want a good spot in the crowd best get there 20-30 minutes earlier, depending on time of year. Afterwards we did a tour of the Buckingham Palace States Rooms. Overall I thought this tour was very interesting and well worth the £26.50. It offered great insight into the royal family, with historical readings, videos, old stills, and the children's toys and clothing all on display. The interior is lavish and grand; colourful wallpaper hosts large gold framed portraits and dangling from the ceilings are giant crystal chandeliers - the type you could easily swing from... if only I weighed a little less.. and had good insurance.
We then decided to end the day with a visit to Madame Tussauds located in Marylebone, London. It was quite pricey, £30, but still enjoyable, especially if you're with kids or a group of friends. In the final room there were even Tussaud's original wax creations including Voltaire, King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
Guest Post by Alison Wright
Why is it that Hollywood rom-coms make dating seem so effortless? A meet cute at the local coffee shop leads to a lifetime full of romance, chocolate covered strawberries, orgasmic massages and rose petals floating atop a bath surrounded by hundreds of tiny tea light candles, capable of causing a house fire with one flick of the wrist… But we all know this idea of the perfect partner is just a fairytale. Come on, Child Protection Service would’ve swopped right in when hearing of a teenage girl living with seven dwarfs in the middle of a creepy forest.
21st Century dating is especially treacherous. Surfing the internet to find the most compatible dating app has become a common past time… unfortunately. And within these murky waters we struggle to find a genuine, real human being that isn't catfishing. Who knew there was more to just swiping right or left on someones face? Now, when striking up a conversation you must be able to decipher the words that follow: a “Heyy” with two Y’s comes across desperate, a simple “Hi” means they are not interested in the slightest. Perhaps I spoke too soon about the dwarfs, I think seven brains would definitely come in handy when trying to decode those messages.
Dreaming of the big wide world beyond Australia and creating stories was my way of escaping from the confines of suburbia. After completing a degree in film and television production I finally decided to take the leap. Following the childhood dream I headed to the city where glitz and glamour meet hardship and homelessness, the city of over priced housing and even more over the top people: Los Angeles.
Here I am again, sitting on the bus, legs wedged between tight seats and knees aching. Times like these make it tough for a human over 6ft. It’s peak hour (well actually every hour seems to be peak hour here) and the smell of perspiration and old socks waft through the warm, stuffy air. I feel like a cockroach trapped in a small plastic Tupperware container that a five year old has brought to show and tell; unable to breath and constantly being jolted back and forth. It was only yesterday that I witnessed a man getting on the bus with a face covered in paint and carrying a plastic zip lock bag full of syringes. How did I get in this situation? Why did I move halfway across the world, leave my large, mum-sized Ford Territory behind, to now be sitting on an overcrowded bus, which has taken two hours to get to a place that I could’ve walked to in 40 minutes?
The French Revolution of 1789. A period of time when cell phones, Facebook and selfies weren't 'a thing,' I suppose you could say life was pretty dull. What's the point of living when you can't update what you've had for breakfast or post the latest morning selfie on Instagram #nomakeupselfie. But I do have to say, there was much more going on during the year of 1789 than that of our futuristic selfie (or self obsessed more like it) twenty nineteen.
For all of you who are reading this and have no idea about this French Revolution nonsense, then I suggest you go to the nearest library and pick up a book and start reading, or seeing as though we are technological crazed beings living in the 21st century, perhaps just Google it.
Caitlin is a 20-something broad from Australia with a passion for filmmaking, writing and exploring the world.