disney land paris

The City of Love.

Next destination….to the city of love…Paris! Looking back, it was surprising how smoothly the trip went. We probably could’ve used one or two more days there as it got pretty rushed near the end but overall we had a great time and hit all the spots we wanted to.

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Of course one of our first stops would be the most famous of them all…the most visited monument in the world..the Eiffel Tower! When we first saw it from far away where we stayed we were already so excited. The next day, we set out to see this amazing piece of architecture. We probably spent at least two hours there just taking pictures.

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Here’s me, just casually having lunch at the top of Eiffel tower like it was no big deal. It was amazing.

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It obviously wasn’t enough to see it just in the day time, so we went back again at night after we saw it blinging all the way from the top of Arc De Triomphe.

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The next day we ventured out to the outskirts where there was an outlet and also Disneyland Paris. The last time I went to Disneyland was 6 years ago so it was pretty exciting to go back and relive my childhood…in such a foreign city too like Paris! Okay, I guess if there was one or two things that didn’t go well on this trip, it was that we got scammed when we were on the way back! We got held up at the station at Disneyland and we had got ticketed by these people who had just armbands…

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On our last days we went around and visited the more historical and artsy stuff, including the Musée du Louvre, Versaille and the love lock bridge (all must-sees).

“Paris is the only city in the world where starving to death is still considered an art.”
― Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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From Madrid to Heaven.

My first trip during my exchange to Spain was to Madrid.

There’s a saying people use to describe the city: “De Madrid al cielo y un agujerito para verlo” which translates to “From Madrid to heaven, with a little hole to still see it”. In other words, it’s the next best thing after Heaven. After the trip, I’m not sure if I’d completely agree (then again, I have pretty high expectations) but the city was definitely magnificent!

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This was one of the shots I got near the Triumphal Arch. I loved how it was so bright and lit up, it was particularly beautiful during the night. Oh, and also to show maybe the less elegant but the more fun side of Madrid….this passed by us in the same area. It was the first time I had seen a truck (van? car?) where people would peddle and they had someone serve them beer. Eye-opening!

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One of the coolest things (okay, maybe it’s not the coolest but it’s one of those…”fun fact” facts that if you ever told your friends they would either think you’re super smart or super geeky) we visited was probably “Kilometre Zero”. This is the starting point in Spain from where distances are traditionally measured.

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And of course, any trip of mine wouldn’t be mine without some nice shots of people! I think the highlight shot of this trip was when we visited the glasshouse (the beautiful piece of architect you see at the top of this post). From that picture you could already tell you could do some really cool things with that day’s lighting…so voila!

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I think this made for a really great first excursion. I made a lot of new friends, learned more about the Spanish culture and started capturing memories of an unforgettable experience — it was so exciting to know my adventures was just beginning! Stay tuned — what other beautiful cities await?

Planned not planned

Planned Not Planned.

In summary, my flight from Vancouver to Zurich was delayed for 4 hours. I was literally sitting in the plane immobile finishing up the second movie of what was to be a long journey of waiting. Because of this, my connecting flight to Barcelona had also been re-booked to leave 6 hours later than was planned. This, effectively, led me to miss the last train to Pamplona and so I had to spend a night in Barcelona.

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. — Joseph Campbell

Planning. It’s something we all do. What classes should we take next year? Where should we eat tonight? Where do I want to be 5 years down the road? This happens even subconsciously without us knowing it. Don’t get me wrong, planning is good. It gives life an order, a security, a direction. But sometimes we try to adhere to what we think we need to do so much that we become so narrow-sighted,missing out on all the other opportunities that are around us.

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The City of Angels.

For our grad trip, my besties and I chose to go to Los Angeles, the City of Angels. It was very exciting as none of us have ever gone and we already had a lot planned ahead of us. As we wait eagerly at the Bellingham airport ready to board, we had to take one obligatory pre-trip selfie.

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We finally landed in the City of Angels safe and sound. After we picked up our rental car, the first thing on our itinerary was hitting up the famous Hollywood Blvd.

Another landmark that we thought we couldn’t miss was the Griffith Observatory. Thinking back, I’m actually not sure why we didn’t decide to go at night…when the stars were out. So we ended up just taking more pictures of ourselves.

One of the main highlights was probably going to Universal Studios and Six Flags. We only had time to go to two parks so we decided to skip Disneyland as it was the less thrilling of the three. All of us were very into roller-coasters so it only made sense.

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Of course, we made sure to try all the different foods including the famous Pink’s Hot Dogs (and waffles).

By the fifth day we were pretty much all “travelled out” so we wanted to just plan some more relaxing activities. One of the things I really wanted to visit (after watching No Strings Attached actually…) was the MoMA exhibit with all the street lamps. There were so many people there but we managed to get a couple of good shots.

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On our last day, we drove down south and hit up Santa Monica.

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Overall, I thought it was a great trip. It was a good mix of eating, thrilling activities, and relaxing ones. And to be honest, given this group, I was surprised by how smooth everything went.

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The Big Apple.

Now and then my friends and I like to do a trip together somewhere, especially since we all have graduated and entered the “real world”. This past June we decided to hit up The Big Apple, New York City. It was my first time going so I was pretty excited. Before that, we first met up with my friend who had moved to Boston to work as an actuary. He took us around town, the usual touristy suspects. I was however surprised this particular piece we found outside MIT though. Back in 2013, I went to Spain for exchange and saw a very similar structure in Zaragoza.

One of the places I really wanted to check out was MoMa. Reason being I knew there were lots of cool exhibits there that could result in some really interesting shots.

I think the highlight of the trip was probably when we were on our way to Dumbo and the Brooklyn Bridge. We came across this cool looking structure that said “YO”. We ended up spending over an hour there just taking photos. The fact that the weather was amazing worked out perfectly.