Nice, France | Part Deux

It occurred to me recently that I have not written here in such a long time! I have a new website venture (www.thesleepypineapple.com) where I am focusing more on food and fitness. Travel is my first love though and this blog was such a big part of my life for so long! There are many more places and sites I have yet to tell you about too! It was sad for me for awhile there, my life in Toronto became a bit stale when I first returned from my whirlwind trip. Talking about my adventures made me sad and I became a bit depressed again. The good news is I persevered! I am now teaching Pilates and working at the studio full time! I began school for Holistic Nutrition and I am doing very well over all. I still give myself too much to do and I’m trying to juggle multiple jobs and new endeavours, but I am happy. I continue to dream big and I am working towards those dreams everyday!

Last fall I got to return to the place where it all began, Nice, France. I was lucky enough to bring my boyfriend this time and show him around. He thought it was picturesque and stunning. If they didn’t speak French, I could probably get him to move there with me! I showed him the Promenade des Anglais, Place Massena, the Chateau de Nice and the old town Vieille Ville.IMG_1752IMG_0190IMG_1635We stayed in a six floor walk up, we found on Air Bnb, that had the sweetest little balcony that looked out on the city. I would 100% stay there again, even with all the stairs! I was blocks from the beach and the lively tourist section of the city, which wasn’t as busy due to us arriving in early September.

We did lose our luggage on the way there, as we flew via Frankfurt from Dublin and there was a bomb scare that very morning. Thanks to a mix up we also lost two days waiting for the luggage to arrive and had to go to the airport to pick it up in the end, 3 days after we arrived. While I do hate we couldn’t even go swimming because we were waiting for luggage and I missed out on seeing some of my old haunts from when I was there in 2013, I still loved every second of being there! I’m also incredibly thankful for my travellers insurance!

Luggage aside, we did get to the beach multiple days and I swam my little heart out! We also took a day trip to Monaco and Eze! If you look at past posts, Eze is magical and it was just as beautiful as I remembered. Lovely little shops and cafes, stunning views and adorable surroundings. We sat on a patio over looking the sea and had some drinks. We wandered through the small pathways and up to the church, where I lit a candle for my father (as I do in all churches). We even hiked down to Eze sur la Mer, which was MUCH longer than I remembered and definitely much hotter as well!

In Monaco, I changed my mind at the last minute and we went to the old town first and then to Monte Carlo. That was a mistake! Because, we by the time we made it to Monte Carlo, it was passed 1pm and my boyfriend couldn’t get in with his flip flops. I think I was more disappointed for him, then he was about not getting to go in. We did sit in front at a cafe and had some Monaco brand beer, which was quite good though. Afterward we made our way into the smaller casino next door and lost some money, all in good fun of course! There was a lot of construction though and I will admit, it did ruin the ambiance of the area quite a bit. It didn’t have that same luxurious quality and the designer sports cars were lacking in numbers. It was still a fun excursion and a great day!

We did buy some groceries and had a full kitchen but surprisingly we ate out quite a bit more than we expected. There is no shortage of foods to try and while we tried to eat cheaply at breakfast and lunch, dinner out and drinks seemed to be standard practice. It is just such a lively and fun vibe at night, the city comes to life! It’s hard to explain but we loved wandering the streets and stopping to have a drink at an outdoor table, people watching and talking. It was my favourite part of the trip.

I hope to return again soon, it seems to be every three years right now, just by coincidence! I do hope to make it back sooner the time. Of course, I want to see many new places as well, but Nice will always have my heart!

September 2016

 

 

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Arizona

Arizona is a magical place. You can feel the energy from the earth, mountains and wind. It is breathtakingly beautiful and unlike any place I have ever been, and I’ve been around. For my 30th birthday, my friend and I went to Las Vegas and on that trip we also visited the Grand Canyon. That was spectacular! This time around I visited Gold Canyon (near Phoenix), specifically we stayed at the base of Superstition Mountain. If that name doesn’t tell you about the beliefs of the land in Arizona, I don’t know what will. To be honest, we saw so many things in my short trip it is now blending into one lovely memory. We visited the Mesa Market, Tortilla Flats, Salt River, Saguaro Lake, Queen Creek Olive Mill, and Goldfield Ghost Town. I’ve probably forgotten a place but we drove through many little towns as well, stopping for lunch and taking in the winding mountain roads.

The main thing I noticed was that the attractions were generally free; they want you to see what they have and if you want to buy souvenirs, food, etc., then that is where they are making money. I thought it refreshing, to go to a landmark and not even pay for parking! That is how it should be and the places were busy.

The scenery was beyond stunning, yet the only words I could seem to find- “it’s so pretty”. Pretty does not do it justice and everywhere I looked was a picturesque landscape. Thankfully my uncle understood this more than most and stopped at many lookouts for me to snap away!

I stayed with my great-aunt and uncle in their RV. It was cozy and comfortable (I’d never stayed in one before) and their hospitality is next to none! They even got me vegetarian food and ate some themselves for dinner! I was very touched by the gesture and by the effort they put into giving me a great vacation.

Every evening starting at about 3-4pm we had Happy Hour, sometimes at the pool (where we also went every afternoon) and sometimes back at the RV in time for sunset. At the pool the drinks included popcorn and if you know my love of popcorn, then you know this was like heaven for me. A pool, sun, popcorn and wine= my idea of happiness!

The sunsets were just as stunning as the views and apparently I got lucky with some gorgeous ones. That is the problem, no clouds means no sunsets; we had little clouds a couple of nights that gave us picture worthy views.

Overall, I highly recommend Arizona to visit. My third time to the state will be to visit Sedona as I’m told it is spectacular and has even more energy to it. Given what I’ve seen already, I can’t wait!

February 13-18, 2016

I need some adventure!





This is not a new picture (see Berlin, Germany post) but I recently posted this to my @thirst.living Instagram page and it got me thinking.. I haven’t posted here in forever! It’s not because I’m busy though (which I am); I stopped because every time I go through my photos I become sad. I haven’t had an adventure worth writing about in a year, and my vacation this year will only be a repeat of last year. I’m in a slump. Don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond grateful for my 4 days off that I was able to swing and to go to my favourite place again. I’m also focused very hard on the future and I realize this period of time is just a means to an end. The toughest part for me is waiting, I’ve never been good at that. I want what I want, when I want it! But self restraint is a key life skill that I’m putting into practice. I can’t just run away and teach Pilates in a forgien place because I have responsibilties and goals to accomplish here before that’s possible. I spent the better part of the last 2 years trying to become the person I want to be, the one I used to be and the one who knows who she is. Self discovery and development is ongoing but taking the time is important. I rushed the last trip, I went whole hog and, while I planned it out, I didn’t take care of my life back home. I wouldn’t trade that trip for anything and I wouldn’t change it, but in retrospect I’d do some things differently (including going for longer!).   I’m taking more time for myself now, trying to balance personal time and work. It’s difficult but it’s necessary, work was taking over my life! I’m taking every spare second to have fun and relax, because summer is here and it’s time for some adventure! 

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Old friend. New friend. 



I haven’t wrote in a while because, to be honest, I couldn’t find the words. Recently my car (my first car) finally gave way and the rust got the better of him. His name is Monty and for the last five years he has been my best friend. He was there for me when I needed him; when I was sad, angry or happy. Singing my heart out driving to Wasaga beach or balling my eyes out as I sit in my driveway, he was there. My grandma bought him in Alberta and drove him to Ontario when she came to live with my dad and I. That car drove her and my late aunt everywhere! When my grandma could no longer drive, she gave the car to my dad. My dad drove it for a few years before finally passing it on to me. He was really proud to be able to give the car to me, really proud. I was ecstatic to get my very own car! I’m also one of the most sentimental people in the world and it meant more to me that it was passed down through generations. 

So can you see why it is breaking my heart into pieces to have to say goodbye? I feel like that safety and comfort is gone. That the connection to my family that I feel each time I get into that car will be gone forever. This may seem silly to most but it’s how I feel. I know it’s just a thing, a piece of metal but to me it’s so much more. 

Since Monty is literally undrivable (I held out as long as I possibly could) I gave in and bought a brand new car. I feel safer then I did at the end with Monty and I know my dad would be just as proud that his little girl was able to do that for herself. I’m trying to be positive. But Monty is still in my driveway and once he gets carted off to the scrap yard I don’t know what will happen… That’s the truth. 

Sorry for the sad post but I had to get that out. 

Thank you.

Love is in the air…

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It’s Valentine’s Day and what is more romantic then Paris? There are many places within the city that scream romance, like the Eiffel Tower. Then there are some places that are a little less obvious, because yes, I find a cluttered old bookstore named after Shakespeare romantic! Plus it’s just across the Seine from Notre Dame and churches have become one of my favourite travelling pastimes.
My second photo shows the padlocks of a love lock bridge. The lock is initialed by the couple and the key tossed into the water, to symbolized unbreakable love. On a side note: As romantic as it sounds and as neat as they all look, the weight of the locks is damaging to the bridge structure. So I wouldn’t actually recommend doing it yourself.
Not pictured but equally as romantic is the The Paris Opera. This girl absolutely adores the ballet and wishes all the time that she could have been a ballerina. I guess I’ll just settle for pretending I am, as I dance around my living room. Seeing the costumes, stage and just the beauty of the building was a dream come true!

What are your favourite romantic spots to visit in Paris? Or anywhere for that matter? Comment below, I’d love to read them 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day!

June 14-17, 2013

NYC #FBF

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A while ago I was talking to some friends and it came out how I am obsessed with Regis Philbin… Not in a stalker way! Just in an admiration sort of way. I watched Live! back when it was Kathy-Lee and I watched as Kelly Ripa was selected as her replacement. I’m a fan, but I watched it mostly for Regis. His story telling is unparalleled, it’s a gift to be able to do that well. So in honour of #flashbackfriday I decided to recall my 27th birthday trip to New York City to see Regis live on his show!
To get tickets you send a postcard in advance requesting your day, and then you wait… And wait! We ended up booking our trip hoping we got tickets because it took so long. Obviously, I was ecstatic when they arrived in the mail a few days prior to our departure. It was really going to happen, I was going to see Regis in his final month of the show! He was set to retire in late November and my birthday is October 25, so I was cutting it close. My mother came with me, she had never been to NYC before so it was a real treat. I had gone a few years earlier for another birthday, but that’s the thing with New York; you can go twenty times and not see it all. To be honest, I don’t remember it all step by step, it was a blur. We stayed 3 days and 2 nights at The Salisbury Hotel, which is quite close to Central Park. We visited Rockefeller Center, the “imagine” stone marker, Time’s Square, Bergdorf Goodman and we took a tour bus of lower Manhattan. It was a bit rushed and obviously there is a ton you could do, but we had a blast. It was the first birthday after my dad passed, and I desperately wanted it to be memorable for any other reason. The day of the show was hurry up and wait, we bought nearly every item from the gift shop before being ushered into the studio. It was smaller then I thought it would be and we almost didn’t even get to sit beside each other. Our guest for the day was Tea Leoni and it was pretty standard as far as a show goes. I almost spoke to him but froze and then lost my chance. I was really disappointed by that and when he shook the hand of the person who was in my original seat! It was everything I had hoped for though and a couple weeks later I went to his book signing where I shook his hand and spoke actual sentences with him! Moral of the story?
You win some and you lose some, then sometimes (if your lucky) you get a second chance!

October 24-26, 2011

Happy New Year 2015!

Can you believe this time last year I was in Dubai? This whole year has flown by, almost too quickly. I’m not one for new year resolutions, mostly because I try to continuously better myself year round (and I believe your new year begins on your birthday). I’m well aware of what I want to improve on in myself but I think change is ever evolving. This year was one of soul searching and deciding what makes me happy. It was a very memorable year as I said good-bye to my 20’s and embarked on a new career path. I am blessed to have found my passion and to be officially starting that new chapter in 2015. I still have more career goals to accomplish in the new year, including becoming certified and taking additional classes but learning is a life long endeavour. Of course I have some travel goals for the new year as well!
It was also a year of learning to trust myself. Often I second guess my decisions or wonder if I made the right choice; what I’ve learned is to have no regrets, mistakes are what make us human. Things might not happen how I thought they would but they happen how they are suppose to, my new career is proof of that.
Your never going to be ready; even if your unhappy, there is comfort in that familiarity.
Be positive; I know some incredible people and for 2015 I want to surround myself with that positive energy.
I’ve spent too long being unhappy and I took this year to make some much needed changes. I wasn’t always sure it was right and rarely was it easy but I didn’t give up. When my dad passed, I lost the most stable and secure element of my whole life. I was lost and I’ve spent the last three years trying to find my way back. Europe helped to put me back together; I finally felt a joy for life again. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss him and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. The holidays are hardest time of the year; Christmas was his favourite and every new year, right at midnight, he always called me. It still makes me sad when I think of him, but I know he would be so proud of how far I’ve come. I spent so long being sad. So, for the first time that I can remember, I am making a new year resolution; to be more happy and bring more positivity into my life. This is true for all areas of my life from work to friends to family. My dad always had a positive outlook on life and he found joy in his pets, family, friends and hobbies. I think sometimes we forget the little things.
Time flies and life is too short to be unhappy; take a moment to be grateful for all the good in your life.

Here’s to a very happy 2015!

Below are the pictures of some of the people who made 2014 a memorable year and a couple of those who aren’t with us anymore, but who I cherish in my memory and who shaped me into the person that I am.
Thank you.

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Santorini #selfie

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It’s hard to believe I have yet to post anything about Santorini, Greece! While stunningly beautiful, I actually had a rather unpleasant experience with my hotel owner. It was the end of the season and in (what I saw) as a last attempt to make extra money, I was taken advantage of and overcharged. It put a bad taste in my mouth but it did not define the whole of Santorini. I ended up meeting a lovely couple from London who took me under their wing and a very sweet taxi driver. Over all I ended up having a lovely time. What made Santorini a must visit for me was when I heard they had a black sand beach! I stayed in Perivolos which is on the south-east side of the island. Santorini actually has red sand and white sand beaches as well; the differences are due to volcanic eruptions. The black sand was absolutely spectacular to see in person. Like always I spent as much time as possible on the beach and since it was nearly off season, the beach was almost empty. It was on this beach that I took this self portrait. This is probably my favourite picture of myself, ever. To me it has a sort of haunting quality and if you look closely I look happy, but from a far it’s questionable. I love the composition of this photo as well, the placement of my hand in the foreground and the blurred effect. This blog is just as much about photography as it is about travel and I really loved this shot.

September 22-24, 2013

Las Vegas, Nevada

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(Sunrise from our hotel room)

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(Fremont street)

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(Glitter Gulch)

As promised, here are my adventures in Vegas! My friend Vanessa and I arrived into McCarren International at approx. 10:30pm on the Friday before my birthday. After checking into the Hard Rock Hotel, where we were surprised by a complementary room upgrade, we decided to explore. Being huge classic rock fans (especially Vanessa), the Hard Rock was the perfect place to stay. It was very windy outside and we opted to see what our hotel had to offer. It was a fun first night with a late dinner at Pink Taco, drinks and lots of picture taking. We went to bed pretty early for Vegas standards so we could get a good start the next morning. Saturday was my birthday! We started the day with room service coffee (amazing) and ventured out to the strip for some shopping. In the first shopping centre we entered, we discovered Fat Tuesday. One of many such shops, at Fat Tuesday you can buy almost any kind of frozen drink your little heart desires! When you see photos of people in Vegas with giant drink cups, this is probably what they are drinking. They also have $1 Jell-O shots, which we gladly did. The best part is you get to take your cup and continue walking around and shopping. You’ve got to love the relaxed drinking laws! This is what we did for the rest of the afternoon, finally returning to the hotel in the early evening for a (pretty drunk) nap. Note: daiquiris contain a lot of sugar, which equals a hangover. After dragging ourselves out to dinner (a delicious steak dinner in the Wynn hotel) we decided to try our luck at Tao nightclub. We quickly got our second wind and just as quickly we made some friends. A bouncer called us over to join a bachelor party in the VIP area. Normally this would not appeal to me but they ended up being the nicest group of guys. All from Texas, they were the epitome of southern gentlemen. We danced into the wee hours of the morning with our new friends before heading back to our hotel. Just to give you an example of the character of these men; we took a taxi back to our hotel and as we tried to pay, we learned they had already pre-paid! That group of guys, along with Vanessa, gave me the best 30th birthday I ever could have asked for!

Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.

Sunday was obviously a day of rest by the pool, which quickly turned into our third wind and we made some more friends with a couple from Orange County. We left just before sunset to head down to “old” Vegas also known as Fremont street. While I was in Ireland, I met a woman named Patti on a tour who actually lives in Las Vegas. We met up with her and she showed us all around Fremont street. It was so much fun and exactly what I thought Vegas would be like. The signs are all lit up everywhere you look. There is a different energy here too that’s hard to put into words, it really is the “Fremont Experience”. We saw all the landmarks that you associate to Vegas; including Binion’s, the Golden Nugget, Vegas Vic and Glitter Gulch (to name a few). We also saw the impressive canopy of lights and caught a Bon Jovi “concert”. Patti then drove us along the strip to show us all the sights we missed during our drunken daiquiri escapade. It was a perfect end to our Vegas adventure. I would like to return one day even if it’s just to eat! But really, there was just too much to do and see in such a short period of time. Still, I had the best time and I am beyond happy to have gotten to go and experience all we did see.
Happy Birthday to me!

October 24- 28, 2014