Before I arrived in Paris I had my first journey on a night train with several stressful connections due to my bad luck with trains. After barely sleeping on the 6 hour ride that left at midnight I got in my second train on which I had reserved a window seat and everything, but after about 20 minutes that it started moving we were told it was damaged and to take another train that would be waiting for us at the next station. When I saw the train it was surrounded by people who reserved seats in it like I did with the other and they had to be seated first so I followed the other frustrated seat-less people to another much older and slower train with no a/c that obviously was not going to make it in time for my connection from Brussels to Paris. So all the people that arrived late to Brussels had no idea what to do and the train company Thalys was of no help since they did not have another train for us there and did not even give a refund or discount on the original reservations. All that was left to do was get on the next train and hope the seat I took was not reserved, and at least the first two I tried were so I ended up in a wagon that had a faulty a/c meaning instead of cooling, it was heating and I was still in my warm Berlin clothes (face palm).
Though hungry, hot, and sleepy I made it to Paris and found the hostel I booked in Montmartre. As soon as I left my luggage there and changed my clothes I went on to explore the city with no plan at all. First I went to Sacré-Cœur, which was easy to find since I could see it from the hostel. Getting there was a difficult climb since the heat was so strong that day, but it was worth it because of the amazing view you can see from up there. After that I explored the streets of Montmartre and found Le mur des je t'aime, which I remembered seeing in the film Amélie. Then I took the metro to Place Charles de Gaulle to see the Arc de Triomphe and walked down Champs-Élysées. I crossed the Seine and took a break at a cafe where I could see the Eiffel Tower peeking up from the trees and buildings. I decided that I wanted to plan my evening out so I went back to the hostel to wash up and eat something. When I got there I met my roommates and became Paris partners with one of them, Noémi from Montreal. My evening was all planned out thanks to her. She asked me to join her on the Seine river cruise and we made it to the last ride right when the sun went down and the city of lights came to life. When we finished the cruise we arrived just in time before they close the Eiffel Tower too. We went up to the second floor and the view was surreal. I still couldn't believe I was in Paris! After we left the Eiffel Tower we headed back to the metro but it turned out to be closed so the adventure to get back to the hostel began. I was brave enough to walk since I was no longer alone and I was lucky Noémi's native language is French. After a while we saw a bike taxi and riskily took it. The driver turned out to be really nice and took us pretty far for good price, but we still had to walk through Montmartre's red light district Pigalle. We survived the cat calling, got a nutella crepe and even took a picture walking by the Moulin Rouge so it was actually very fun. I enjoyed every second of that night!
The next day we met Noémi's friend Victor and all together went to Versailles. You definitely need a full day to see this, especially if you include the train ride and some extra time to get lost trying to catch the right train like what happened to us. At least it was a minor set back. A bigger problem was the amount of people that come visit the palace, which means lots of lines. Noémi and I had our tickets already, but Victor had to do an extra line to get his. After about an hour and half we finished the line for the entrance to the palace. We didn't sign up for a tour, but most of the time we were walking almost hand in hand with the tour groups. Still, it was amazing to see all the luxurious and intricately decorated royal apartments! After that we went to see the Gardens, which were jaw dropping. I think we spent more time there than inside the palace and took so many amazing and fun pictures. We even rented a boat and rode on the Grand Canal, which made me feel like I was in a movie. When Noémi and I arrived back from Versailles we tried to go see the Catacombs, but by the time we got there and had something to eat it was getting late and I had almost forgotten I had a reservation to see Moulin Rouge! (yes I know, how could I forget something like that?!) I arrived half an hour late unfortunately, but at least I enjoyed half a bottle of champagne and an amazing performance. I was not allowed to take any pictures, probably because of the nudity and how famous the show is so I'll have to leave it to your imagination. As I expected, its not like the movie, but it was just as amazing and I was surprised to see an all male performance that was very impressive (because of the stunts and choreography)! By this time I still could not believe I was actually in Paris doing all the things I had done and having much more to do. There were two more days left, of which I'll tell you all about on my next Europe Diaries post, otherwise this one will be never-ending for you. Enjoy until next time!
My journey to Berlin is where the train craziness started. For this trip I didn't have to reserve a departure, but I had one in mind just to be organized. Luckily, before leaving to the station I found out there was another strike going on in Frankfurt with the train workers, meaning the train I had in mind was not going anywhere, but at least there was another I was still in time to catch. So I took one that had a connection I almost missed because the first one got delayed on its way. After that stressful first train experience I made it to Berlin. There I had booked a room through Airbnb and the hosts, Yvonne and Luca, helped me find my way there and even met me at the station to walk me. I was supposed to meet Natasha, who took a bus from Frankfurt instead and this took her longer to get there (which worried me since we had very little communication), but she finally made it. We both had pretty long trips so that night we only went out to have dinner at a cute corner Italian restaurant near where we were. The next day Yvonne made us a delicious breakfast similar to the one I had in Norway. After that Natasha and I headed straight to the Brandenburg Gate and took the perfectly timed picture you see below. Then we went to Alexanderplatz to meet a group for a free walking tour. The first stop was the Fernsehturm or TV Tower, which you can see from almost everywhere in central Berlin. We kept walking towards Museum Island just to see the impressive buildings including the Berlin Cathedral. Then we saw Humboldt University, where Einstein studied, and Gendarmenmarkt. The tour continued to the Berlin Wall Memorial, Checkpoint Charlie, and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which is like a labyrinth made out of 2,711 concrete slabs that are bigger and taller as you get to the center of the site and below is a picture of it too. After the tour we went back to Alexnderplatz to find a traditional German restaurant to have a late lunch in, which was Hofbräuhaus München a beer hall dating back to the 16th century, with Bavarian food, and shows. After walking all day we went back to the apartment, had some tapas at a nearby place and went to bed.
During our third day in Berlin we had breakfast at a pub Yvonne recommended to us, which was very good and cheap. Then we went to find a meeting point for another walking tour that was off the beaten path, we got lost trying to find it and instead we went to see the East Side Gallery of the Berlin Wall, which is filled with beautiful and colorful graffiti like the one above. After this we went back to Museum Island and decided to see the Neues Museum, which has an impressive ancient Egyptian exhibition including the famous Nefertiti bust. The museum itself was an incredible piece of history that took us almost all day to see. When we finished there we set on a quest to find the hipster area Yvonne told us about called Kreuzberg and on our way there we stopped at a very yummy Thai restaurant. We got to the area and enjoyed a little bar hopping, people watching, and catching up until it got dark.
Our fourth and final day came and we started by going to the DDR Museum located right on the Spree river. After this we had a quick lunch and went up the Berliner Dome, which was amazing. Natasha had a different trip planned and after this she had to leave so after accompanying her back to the apartment and the train station I went on to explore the rest of Berlin on my own. I went back to the Brandenburg Gate where there was a lot of commotion. The entrance of the famous hotel next to it, Hotel Adlon was covered with police and public so I stood around to see what was going on when all of a sudden, a limousine with the Queen of England passes right in front of me and stops at the hotel entrance. It was all so quick and unexpected that I didn't even get the chance to take out my phone for a picture, but I was so excited I got to see that. When that was over I kept walking across the Tiergarten until I reached the Victory Column and went all the way to the Charlottenburg Gate. After this I took the metro to see the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, which was left in ruins after WWII. I did a little window shopping and bought a souvenir from the wall to relax and waste a little time before I got ready to get on a train again. Before leaving I had a super nice dinner with my hosts and got ready for my first night train, which I will tell you all about in the next post soon! I hope you get something out of my experience in Berlin. Please join in on the conversation and comment below for any questions or stories you would like to share.
On to the next stop in my European abenteuer (adventure in German)! On June 19 Karoline and I left Oslo on a stressful journey to Frankfurt, Germany to meet the rest of the Albany gang. It was stressful because we made the mistake of buying the cheapest airline ticket possible, which was an Airbaltic flight with a connection in Riga, Latvia. Since you get what you pay for, what happened to us was that after buying the tickets we realized the airline sold us the connecting flight with a 25 minute layover and only when you print the tickets they warn you that if you're not at the gate at least 25 minutes before the departure you will not be permitted in. Worried about not making it in time we talked to a customer service agent at the airport before getting in on our first flight and she basically told us we were stupid for buying the tickets, maybe we were, but how could they sell it if it contradicts their policy in the first place? We then asked for our seats to be changed closer to the exit to be the firsts leaving the airplane, but at the end we still had to wait for everyone to get off in order to take a bus, yeah a BUS to the terminal, so we could run to our gate and take another BUS to the airplane. As Karoline was saying during all of this "Things always workout for good girls", so I found out I'm a "good girl" after all because things did workout and we made it to Frankfurt.
When we arrived at the hotel the whole gang booked together, Natasha from Russia was already there and what an amazing feeling it was to see her again! While the others arrived we went out to eat and brought back a few beers, which I was so happy to find cheap since in Puerto Rico we are not used to having cheap German beers. The rest of the group arrived and we basically had a party in the hotel room until 3:00 a.m. So the next morning we were finally ready to explore Frankfurt all together and find a place to eat. This part was a little difficult due to Nazi and Anti Nazi protests that were going on simultaneously throughout the city center, resulting in blocked streets as you can see in one of the pictures below. We finally reached Roemer Square, a very beautiful and pretty touristy place to eat, but hey we WERE tourists, even the Germans with us. Part of the adventure of traveling for me is to try new foods, so I ordered something called Hand Made Cheese with Music because I was curious what they meant with "music". Well I had to find out the hard way, it was not tasty, so I suggest if you are ever curious in Germany like I was don't try that dish. To be even more helpful, there's a picture of the dish so you immediately recognize it and avoid it. After this, we walked throughout almost the whole city center and got lost trying to find the Main Tower, which has a panoramic viewing terrace for tourists, but ended up being closed due to the protests when we found it. Then we had some snacks and beers at the Sky Garden, which is a rooftop restaurant at an amazing mall we had near our hotel. After getting provisions and enjoying burgers at a different restaurant we went back to party again at the hotel.
On the third day we went for brunch at the Sky Garden and said our goodbyes. I stayed with Beni from Italy exploring Frankfurt for a little longer and this time we were able to go up on the Main Tower, as you can see in the picture above. The view was breathtaking and I was so glad to share it with Beni, this made me feel like we were Albany students again seeing the view from the Empire State Building for the first time. Soon after, we were heading back to the train station and had to say goodbye, but at least for a little while since we were going to see each other again while I stayed in Italy. Before getting there though, I had a few more cities to visit, the next one being Berlin, which you'll read all about in the next Europe Diaries post! So if you want to stay up to date you can follow me on Bloglovin', Facebook, and even sign up for the mailing list.
Finally the time has come to share with you my incredible journey through Europe! Even though I wrote a journal of the whole experience it still feels so difficult to put everything into words and at least keep it brief enough for a few blog posts, but I will try my best to divide it into the cities I visited. The whole trip was planned around a fashion marketing course I enrolled in at Instituto Europeo di Design in Milan, Italy. The classes would start on June 29 so I planned my arrival to be a week and a half before in Oslo, Norway to visit my friend Karoline, whom I met in while studying in Albany the year before. I got on an airplane on June 15th and about 14 hours later arrived to find out my luggage had not yet arrived with me, which was actually a carry on that they checked in free for me in San Juan, but luckily I carried a backpack with enough change of clothes and all the most important items I needed for this city. With that said and adding that it was pretty cold there I just wanted to give a heads up that my outfits were not like what you're use to seeing. I kept it practical, comfy, and warm at least while in this city and the next. By the way, the luggage arrived the last day I was staying in Oslo, but what the heck.
Anyway, back to Oslo. I had an amazing time with Karoline there, she was such a great host! She picked me up at the central train station and showed me where she worked. While she finished her shift I walked around the city and then we headed to her home where we shared the most delicious salmon I've ever tasted for dinner. After that we caught up for hours, literally. The next day she surprised me with an amazing spread for breakfast that also included salmon and new flavors of cheese, jams, and breads I really liked. We then started exploring the city. I saw the queen and king's castle, I visited Karoline's school, did a little shopping, and saw the magnificent opera house by the harbor. We had walked quite a lot so after the opera house we headed back to her home, where just as the night before, we stayed up all night catching up and this time it was even better with beers! On my third and last day in Oslo we went to Vigeland Park, filled with the naked sculptures by Gustav Vigeland you see on the pictures below. It was so beautiful and so much fun as you can see thanks to Karoline. After the park we went to Akershus Fortress, a site that makes you feel like you've traveled back in time with an amazing view of the harbor. One of my favorite pictures, which is the one above, was taken there. This was just the beginning of my great European eventyr (adventure in Norwegian) and I was so excited for what was going to come next: Germany, with the rest of the Albany gang! Until the next post, enjoy!
I'm back Sequin Visioners! I wanted to post about my Eurotrip to give way to the newly revamped blog, but first I want to share with you a really lovely bloggers lunch I was invited to a couple of days ago at Sophie's in Saks Fifth Avenue at the Mall of San Juan. The event was the first of a series of monthly trunk shows called Bubbles, Food, and Fashion, and there I was able to taste the delicious menu Executive Chef Ivonne Martínez prepared especially for the occasion along with a glass of Veuve Cliquot. All the bloggers there also had the chance to take a first look at the new Fall collections and the debut of the Fall 2015 Magalog, the biggest issue to date at 272 pages.
The Fall 2015 Women's Trends and Key Items presented were: Extreme Texture, which included artistic furs, fabulous faux and supple shearings, feathery fabrications, and exaggerated knit cables; and La Bohème, basically a luxed-up vision of the Bohemian life through plush velvet, vibrant colors, unique patchworks, trousers, and of course fringe. For the Men's: Country Gentleman, effortless updates to classic styles with subtle hints of rustic charm and Bohemian swagger; City Shadows, a sleek modern uniform for the worldly man with clean lines and moody greys; and Urban Couture, high contrast graphics and aggressive geometrics on everything from sneakers to outerwear to everyday street style. All of these trends are highlighted in the beautiful editorials of the Magalog, which were shot in the rich landscapes and historic chateaus of Scotland. The look I wore to the event coincidentally goes with the La Bohème trend with the fringe and tribal patterns, and I finally got to use this great midi skirt to give it a more luxe touch. I hope you enjoy all the looks and use the inspiration to get ready for fall.
Hello again fellow readers! I'm so happy to share with you my summer adventures, starting with a lovely weekend I had with Texi at El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo. This has basically become my way of saying hello to my favorite season every year, and I just can't get tired of it. Besides going to Palomino and feeling like I'm in my own private island, what I like the most is the breathtaking views, like the one in these pictures. The main character of this outfit is clearly the white long vest from Forever 21, which I almost missed out on, but I guess I was meant to have it ;). I matched it with a pink pleated blouse from Marshall's, that I have not been able to stop wearing either, Old Navy jeans, and my other Forever 21 addiction: white espadrille summer sandals. Enjoy the view and the fashion, and stay tuned for more.
My life these days has been anything but black and white, and yet my closet seems to be, especially since my recent first purchase at Nordstrom: a Topshop halter bikini in a black and white checkered print (check it out here). What I love most about the halter top is I can actually wear it as a top or at least show it off like I did in this look wearing a sheer blouse from H&M paired with my Cynthia Rowley silk jogger pants, and my favorite summer sandals from Forever 21. I wore this on another lovely weekend I spent in Texi's new home in Isabela. There we've been trying out all sorts of breakfasts places, on this weekend we went to Levain Bakery and had the greatest croissants I ever tasted, so I definitely recommend anyone trying the place for themselves. There are so many dining choices out here, that every weekend I stay I try something new, especially for breakfast or brunch. So expect a list of my recommendations here soon. Enjoy the pictures, you'll definitely want to try those croissants after seeing the last one!
This may not be my most fashionable look, maybe because the scenery is much more impressive, but I wanted to share it anyway precisely for that reason. This beautiful place is Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a piece of Spanish history that still mesmerizes even people like me who live near it and have seen it over and over again. I think what I enjoy the most is sharing the view with Texi, who had the idea of strolling around Old San Juan a couple of weeks ago in the first place. To thank him for taking these great pictures I decided to share his stylish pics in this post too. To name the post I used one of Churchill's famous quotes, which I believe is appropriate for this awesome time in life, which is finishing my bachelor's degree! More on that in my next posts, for now I hope you enjoy the photos and as always feel some inspiration from them.
To celebrate environmental awareness month and a partnership project I was working on at my internship I went to the "Para la Naturaleza" Fair on April 18th at Luis Muñoz Rivera Park in Old San Juan. It was such a beautiful spring day, there's no better kind of day to enjoy nature and learn about it, and even take home a couple of free trees! Spring not only bloomed through the flowers, but also through my closet, so get ready to see a whole lot of dresses, skirts, and sandals like the ones you see here from Forever 21. I've been obsessively wearing these almost every day since I bought them and they look great with dresses like this one from Marshall's. I hope you enjoy the look and get some spring inspiration from it :)
Here is the last, but definitely not least post about the fashion event of the season in Puerto Rico. The last show I went to see was Harry Robles' "I do: Bridal Collection", and it was show stopping! The designer's pieces consisted of elegance, femininity and sophistication, which are a must for any bride, 1950's silhouettes, and new skirt lengths. The colors that dominated the collection were the classic white, off-white, nude, blush, and champagne in mainly sheer fabrics of tulle, embroidery, and lace. It was a fresh and sexy take on classic bridal gowns. I also enjoyed being able to see the red soles of the fabulous shoes as the models walked back up the runway. Bravo, Harry Robles! To see the collection just check out the slide show below and don't forget to get some style inspiration from the look I wore to the event, with pictures below too.