Having spent the past 3 Christmases in Germany, I’m super excited to be spending it at home in Toronto this year! Things I can’t wait for:
The good – being able to spend it with family and friends that I haven’t seen in over a year.
The bad – oh how I’ve missed the commercialization of North American Christmas through overplayed Christmas music, mall Santas and The Christmas Story on constant replay.
And the ugly – apparently the last few winters in Toronto have been -40 degrees!
Ok, well the -40 degrees temperature I can do without, especially since winters in Europe have been fairly mild. While I may be able to walk around Germany unscathed by the -10 degree winters, in Canada, I’ll definitely have to find ways to keep warm.
Since my German boyfriend will be coming this year as well, I’ve started to put together a fun to do list of things happening in Toronto this winter. For those who will also be having a Canadian Christmas this year, Expedia.ca asked me to share my list to spread the holiday season cheer and keep everyone toasty at the same time.
Here’s what made my top 6 of things to do!
I’ll never forget the first time I went to Paris years back when I packed nothing but pretty heels to wear since all the movies and fashion bloggers made it seem like that’s all any girls ever wore in Paris! Then fast forward after a day in Paris, I couldn’t get my blistered feet fast enough into an H&M to buy a pair of flats. Why didn’t anyone mention that cobblestone is impossible to walk in heels with?
Since living in Europe, a lot of my travels involve exploring big cities and with that also means a lot of walking. However being in fashion-conscious cities like Paris, London or Rome, there’s also the problem of finding shoes that are not only comfortable, but are also stylish. Over the years, I’ve had some pretty horrible shoe experiences while travelling.
Some travel shoe don’ts:
- ballet flats – while they’re flat, the ones I owned offered no arch support and become really painful after a while. Unless you have great quality ones that offer arch support and padding, I would stay away
- flip flops – admittedly, I wore them almost everyday when I backpacked around Australia, but unless you’re going on a beach vacation, they can get painful walking on concrete in, and when it rains, they can be super slippery. (Although they are the ultimate must-have if you’re staying at hostels!)
- new boots – new boots can take a while to break into. The biggest mistake I had was wearing a pair (albeit they were super nice) on a day where I was intensively walking around. Later that night when I took them off, my feet were blistered and bloody!
Luckily through trial and error, I’ve also discovered some really great options for stylish, comfortable travel shoes.
Here are some of my favourites!
It’s impossible to go to Paris and only write one blog post about it. That’s like going to Ladurée and only eating one macaron (unacceptable!).
Anyway, I want to apologize for the lack of posts lately – between work, thesis writing, resumes, varying freelance work, and helping the bf with his move to Dusseldorf on the weekends, it has been really hard to find free time. Luckily November is around the corner, which means a trip to Istanbul that I’m super excited about! I’ve actually also booked my flight to Canada for Christmas the other day (with a layover in Iceland) so it’ll definitley be nice to be home after spending the past 3 Christmases in Germany.
Now back to posts about Paris! So after our delightful visit to Monet’s garden in Giverny, me and the bf took the train back to Paris to meet up with one of my best friends from high school, Leana, for the weekend! Up until then, I hadn’t seen Leana in over a year, so it was definitley fun to be able to catch up with her, in Paris of all places!
So this actually happened in August but I’ve been so busy I haven’t gotten to writing it until now. I haven’t been able to do that much travelling because of my internship other than weekend trips, so I’m lucky that Paris is only 3 hours away by train!
I went to Paris for my birthday earlier this year in April, but when one of my good friends from home, Leana spent the summer in France as an au pair, wanted to see if I wanted to meet up in Paris, of course I had to say yes! There’s no such thing as going to Paris too many times and one should never turn down an excuse to go.
(Side note: I might be going to Paris a third time this year since my boyfriend’s sister is doing an exchange there!)
One thing me and my boyfriend for sure wanted to do on this trip was go to Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny, near Paris. We had actually bought these tickets the last time we were in Paris but our plans that trip was too ambitious and we never made it (the tickets were valid until September so we figured it was a good excuse to go back to Paris later this year)
If you love Impressionist art, Monet’s garden is a must. The artist even once stated, “my garden is my most beautiful masterpiece” and when you’re there, you can definitely see why.