I see London, I see France...


The post before last ended with Mark's visit and our trip to Dublin. Well, the day after Mark left, my friend Nick came and visited for the weekend. He's Australian and plays professional volleyball in Germany. Unfortunately, his trip was very short because his team only had the weekend off. So he flew in on Saturday morning and left on Monday morning.

We began Saturday with a visit to the park. My friend Jessica met up with us and we walked around for a couple of hours, watching the animals, and catching up. Then, we went back to Vieux Lyon to get some dinner. We had crepes and a salad lyonnaise at this really yummy crepes restaurant. He was pretty beat from traveling so we called it an early night.

[Not sure what we're doing haha]

[Pretty bobcat]

[Nick in Vieux Lyon; in Place Saint Jean]

[Our delicious dinner: salad lyonnaise, spinach crepe and ham/cheese crepe]

[The Opera House]

The next morning, me, Nick and the Jessica's went to the outdoor market to get some food. We pretty much bought everything we could-- stuffed peppers with goat cheese, cheese, artichoke tapenade, dried fruit, baguettes, avocados, eggplant, carrots, heaps o' leeks, etc. Nick and I went back to my apartment and stuffed our faces with all of the delicious food we bought. It was so tasty--everything was so fresh!

[On the way to the market!]

[Handmade pastas]

[Buying tapenade and olives]

[The CUTEST puppy dog ever!]

Then, I showed him my favorite spot in Lyon...a little hidden park that overlooks ALL of Lyon. After taking a few jumping pictures and such, we made our way to the Roman Theater ruins and the basilica. At the basilica, we grabbed a cup of coffee at this cafe that, again, overlooked all of Lyon. We probably sat there for 3 hours or so just talking and catching up. Before we knew it, it was dark and freeeeeezing! We headed back down the huge hill after taking some more pictures and got dinner at this delicious traditional Lyonnaise restaurant. We both started with salad lyonnaise, and for our main dish, I had salmon and Nick had pork chops. For dessert, I had prunes dipped in a wine sauce and he had some delicious cake drizzled with raspberry sauce. (Oh how I'm going to miss the food....)

[Writing my travel column before heading out again]

[Having a little rest with a warm cup of tea]

[Favorite spot hands down]

[Fall colors!]

[The Fourvière]

[Big Nick next to a very small woman]

[je t'aime, Lyon]

[My favorite picture thus far...and my computer background]

We called it another early night since he was due to leave so early the next morning. It was such a nice weekend to catch up, do touristy stuff, and explore Lyon a little more.


Two days later, on Wednesday, Emily came and visited. She got in at around 7 pm on Wednesday night, so I met up with her after class. We got some dinner and I took her around Vieux Lyon a little bit. Since she was coming from LA, she was pretty jetlagged and exhausted.

The next day, we headed out to the Contemporary Art Museum and went shopping for a little bit in Place Bellecour. I had class at 4 pm so we headed back to the apartment around 3 or so. While I was in class, she got our itinerary for London ready. After class, we went grocery shopping because that evening, a couple girls in my program were having a Thanksgiving potluck at their apartment. We cooked garlic mashed potatoes with parmesan cheese :) drool.... When we finally arrived (we got lost and missed the bus), there were SO many people there and tons of Thanksgiving food. But it was absolutely delicious and quite the feast. With food coma, we waddled back to my apartment to pack and get ready for London the next morning.

[Musée d'Art Contemporain]

[Pretty wallpaper!]
[Getting something to eat before I leave for class]
[Emily took a few pics of my flat while I was in class]

[View 1]

[View 2; old couple gardening]

Our flight to London was at 10 am so we left my apartment at around 7:45 am. We caught the 8:30 am shuttle to the airport but the drive took longer than we expected and we didn't get to the airport until around 9:10ish. We ran to the terminal and ended up making it just in time but it was cutting it close! The flight was smooth and Emily and I just slept the whole time. Once we landed, at around 11 am (there's a one-hour time difference), we got some food at Hummus Bros. and made our way to the hotel. Emily chose the hotel because it was right next to her old flat when she used to study abroad there.

[Yay! Emily's flat]

It was actually quite nice--Emily had everything planned out so I didn't have to do anything but follow. After we checked into the hotel, we made our way to the touristy stuff like the London Eye, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, etc. Everything was so beautiful and the gray weather as a backdrop was quite perfect if I do say so myself. After that, we went to Oxford Street (a shopper's dream). We spent a lot of time in Primack, a really great store with good stuff at super low prices but (a big "but") it's an absolute madhouse. Everyone is running everywhere and all the tourists of the world flock here at all hours of the day. With bags in hand, we left the store pooped but we continued walking to all the other shops even though we went in and out of them like zombies.

[In front of Parliament]

[Big Ben behind us]

[Wedding bus]

[Of course I have to take a picture of a phone booth!]

[Big Ben]

[Walking through Hyde Park]

[Fake looking duck]

[A lot going on here: Me chasing the duck and a little boy getting in my way chasing the duck]

[Emily being normal]

[Getting scared of the duck]

[Buckingham Palace]

[I could do this for a living]

Around 8 pm, we were so exhausted, we decided to head back to the hotel, get a quick bite to eat, and then, meet up with Emily's friend Hannah. Hannah studied abroad at UCI from 2007-2008 and is now getting her masters at King's College in London. Anywho, after resting for a couple of hours in the hotel, we met up with her and her friend Carl at a restaurant/pub; however, Emily and I were a tad too late.

We met them at around 10:30 pm and the restaurant closed at 11. We were so tired anyway, we just decided to head back to the hotel and get some sleep so we could have another full day. Before we said our goodbyes, Hannah's friend Carl invited us to his flatwarming party that he was having the next night so we didn't have to say goodbye forever.

The next day, we woke up at around 8:30 am, got some delicious breakfast, met up with Hannah and her friend Florian for lunch and headed to the Camden Markets for the day. The Camden Markets have a HUGE selection of jewelry, art, clothes, crafts, etc. for really good prices so I was able to do a lot of Christmas shopping :) The hours passed quickly and before we knew it, it was already time to eat dinner and head back for Carl's party.

Emily and I made our way to Carl's flat at around 10 pm. This flat was absolutely beautiful--it looked like something out of a movie. It wasn't large (London is like New York in a lot of ways) but it was in the perfect location. Carl moved in that morning so there was no furniture--just a lot of people, hanging out and having a great time. I met a lot of great international students--a girl from Quebec, a guy from Germany, a girl from Turkey, etc, etc. It was so much fun!

The next morning, we were so, so, so tired from having full days and nights and waking up early, so we got some breakfast before the kitchen closed and went back to bed. We slept in and took it easy until 11 am, which was when we needed to check out. Then, at 5 pm, we were on the plane back to Lyon.

London was one of the few cities that I went to where I wasn't itching to come back to Lyon by the end of it. I loved the energy of the city--it was hustling and bustling and it reminded me of New York but with the European flavor that we all love. I'm sure a lot of it had to do with the fact that Emily knew exactly what she was doing and the best places to go. Aaaand, I got some great and much-needed shopping time in :)

This week and next, I will be studying hard until finals. Then, Maria comes to visit me on the 15th (last final is on the 16th!) so we'll be exploring Paris and France all week. Then, two days after she leaves, I'm on a plane back to the States! It's absolutely insane.

Alright, until next time folks...ciao <3

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