At the beginning of each year, we sit down together and start planning our travels for the next 12 months. It's become somewhat of a ritual for us - discussing our trips from the previous year, dreaming up vacations for the year to come, and deciding how exactly we'll make these adventures happen.
The 2018 recap
We covered a lot of ground in 2018. From a weekend getaway to Budapest, to a group running adventure in Ibiza, to two trips to jolly ‘ol England. There was a summer road trip to Strasbourg, France, south through Switzerland, Lake Como and Piedmont in Italy, and with a relaxing stop in Provence before our long drive home to Spain. A surprise birthday trip to Mallorca, family travels to Granada and Costa Blanca here in Spain, a two-night friendo vacay in Porto, Portugal, and back home to San Francisco for the holidays.
On the second episode of our new Vlog, we drive north to Strasbourg, France in the Alsace Region along the German border. Known for its quaint architecture, beautiful countryside, cobbled streets and canals, it was well worth the (very long) drive:
Do you ever fall in love with a place then, when it comes to planning your next trip, struggle with the decision of returning or exploring somewhere new? This is a constant conversation in our house. We always want to explore the world and experience new cultures, but then there are those memories - sharing a bottle of red wine on warm stone steps overlooking ancient Rome; jumping off a 20-foot cliff into the clear water and swimming to the next cove to do it all over again; hiking along the narrow ridge of a volcanic crater surrounded by wild hydrangeas with the ocean on one side and a lake on the other - that we just want to go back and do all over again.
A few days ago, we were walking down our street in the El Carmen neighborhood of historical Valencia, Spain and found ourselves stopped in front of this door. It's one of many, incredible, unique, and MASSIVE doors that we walk past every day but rarely pause to appreciate. We started thinking of all the cool doors we've come across over the past 18 months. Evidently we have a thing for doors because we've stopped and photographed them all over the world. They say when one door closes, another one opens. We're not sure how that applies here, but these are 29 of the best, most beautiful doors we've found, in no particular order.
We spent a week in the city of lights with the mission to eat well without blowing our budget. Paris is, of course, one of the world’s foodie capitals, with more than 70 Michelin starred restaurants within its 20 arrondissements. In order to navigate the incredible food scene, our trick was to spend less during the day to make room in our budget for an amazing dinner. Here’s our list of the top 7 pastries, breads, crepes and snacks, all for under $7 to get you through breakfast and lunch.
We’re spending a week in Paris, which is plenty of time to take in many of the most famous sights in the City of Light. Unfortunately, many of the most expected sights are also expensive and overrun with tourists, two things we’re not too keen on. So instead of heading straight for the Mona Lisa, we found some better ways to take in the city. Click here for a list of our most favorite, slightly under the radar, things to do in Paris.
It’s overcast and cool when our plane touches down in France. After two weeks of sunshine and turquoise ocean along Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, the damp air following yesterday’s rain is a drastic, but welcomed change.
We take the hour long bus ride to Paris from Beauvais airport (thanks to our inexpensive ticket from Ryanair), excited to spend over a week in the City of Lights. Two different metro lines bring us to our flat, which is in the 5th Arondissement near the southern tip of the Jardin du Luxembourg. Like most apartments in the center of Paris, the flat is in an old building, complete with a staircase that spirals around a phone booth-sized elevator all the way to the eighth floor. The apartment itself is tiny (again, normal for Paris) and not the cleanest place we’ve stayed, but it has a nice view of the Eiffel Tower and the price is right, so we happily hit up the local market for a some all-purpose cleaner and settle in.
In a wonderful collision of fate, we arrive the day before Rock en Seine, Paris’ take on the classic summer music festival. The next day, with tickets in hand, we stand among a mass of sweaty Parisian hipsters at Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, the bright sun pouring down on an extraordinarily hot Saturday afternoon. It’s by far one of our favorite days of the trip so far.
With over 100,000 people in attendance, we spend the next eight hours navigating the festival’s four stages, drinking a few too many Kronenburgs, and dancing to some of our favorite bands. Ben Howard somehow plays an hour long set without touching his classic first album (really, Ben? Seriously?!), but Glass Animals and Years & Years each put on an incredible show. We (uncharacteristically these days) make it past midnight and even manage to grab a cocktail on the way home. Not surprisingly, the next day is mostly spent nursing hangovers and enjoying the incredible rooftop view from the comfort of our sofa bed.
The rest of our week in Paris is spent navigating the city’s sea of tourists and budget-breaking prices. We eat a lot, especially bread, pastries, cheese and falafel, drink a lot of wine and do a lot of wandering. In a city so large and with a shared dislike for the metro, we walk and walk, tipping over 15 miles everyday to counteract the cheese consumption. We take in a couple sites managing, for the most part, to avoid hordes of people. After over a week, we pull together a few strategies on how to see the best of Paris through a somewhat different lens… Look for our recommendations on the best slightly under the radar activities and delicious daytime eats in our next two posts!
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