I had always been pretty bad at saving money , but that has finally all changed. I also have long service leave coming up and I took the option where I can halve the amount of time I take but to compensate you get double the pay. $$ kaching.
I am basing myself in Paris for the first three weeks. I then have a week where I am not sure where I will be. Then it is off to Spain!
I am getting nearly all of my accommodation through www.waytostay.com . They have been incredibly nice to me . They have been so good to me that I will most likely be dropping in to their office in Barcelona with a few packets of Tim Tams. I am not a huge fan of Tim Tams but it seems there are a few on the waytostay.com payroll . It is good that they like Tim Tams. I may not be able to transport Mint Slices all the way to Barcelona.
A lady I know has a daughter who used their site to stay in a really nice place in Florence, that is how I first got looking on their site. I looked at a lot of apartment websites and found other sites to have “terms and conditions” that seemed quite unreasonable. www.waytostay.com t and c’s are pretty simple and common sense . I really like their cancellation policy, I found other sites had really quite harsh cancellation policys.( at the time of booking I was worried about my Dad passing away) . A good friend of mine and his girlfriend also used them to stay at a place in the Marais. Coincidentally managed by the same couple that manage the one that I will be staying in. They were very happy.
A quick amusing side story. Waytostay.com posted a luxurious apartment on their facebook page. A lot of apartments in Paris seem to have these surround jet type of showers that look like they would be glorious . I commented that I had shower envy and they replied that I shouldn’t as there was a place near my apartment that I might like called
I read it without really concentrating and was surprised!
Were they inferring I was a lesbian? ( not that there is anything wrong with that -I just don’t bat for that team). I racked my brain wondering what would have made them think that was my preference. Then I realised the a was in a different spot and in fact it was les bains not lesbians. Phew that’s a relief! I don’t think they understood how I had come to think that , straight away. I am sure that they got a giggle when they twigged .The les bains du Marais did look lovely but I don’t like being touched by strangers so I won’t being getting a massage but the food sounds rather yummy. I will give their website a bit more of a read.
My Spanish speaking skills are bad and my French not much better, after the lesbians of marais story that should be glaringly obvious 😉 . I can say ( in French) I am Australian and I would like a beer please. Surely that should help!
I have bought the French and Spanish audiobooks that teach you by incorporating music into the background. So you are bopping along to music saying things in French or Spanish.
they are made by earworms learning . They are really quite effective. I find myself being able to say things in french that I didn’t actually realise I knew how to say . I am concentrating on french for now. as I don’t want to get confused by learning two languages at once.
I have been reading about cooking classes and food tours. One I am keen on in Paris is a girl who has a blog called paris by mouth I think these will be a good way for me to get out and mix with people.
I have booked a spot on a cheese and wine tour with Paris by mouth The lady that runs these tours gets very good reviews from her customers. One thing I like about the feedback is the customers do not feel pressured in to buying anything from the shops that they go in to. I will be surprised if I go home empty handed from my tour but I will enjoy it more if I am not guilted in to buying . The tour I have booked is Cheese and wine tour I am glad I booked in early as it was booked out by the middle of June. It proves to me , that I should never be shy or feel awkward about booking something a long time before the event. If it is open, book it if you want to!
She has other tours I am keen on. Her blog is wonderful. I will be using it a lot as a reference point when I am in Paris. I never knew about the whole blog world. In the short amount of time that I have known about it I have stumbled across some great reads.
I also booked a dinner class at La Cuisine Paris. The menu looks delicious.
Chèvre Chaud aux Pistaches, Petit Mesclun (Goat Cheese coated with Pistachio, Salad)
Pêche du jour, coulis de poivron jaune (White Fish from the market, Yellow Bell Pepper coulis sauce)
Artichaut en barigoule (Traditional Artichoke dish)
Tartelette au chocolat, Chantilly au café (Chocolate Tartelette, Coffee flavoured Chantilly cream)
I hope to be booking another one of their night classes as well, as they are just a 10 minute walk from the apartment I am staying in
I will be able to get my modern mexican fix from Candelaria just 800 m from where I am staying. Yummo.
Another day trip on my wish list is a trip to Giverny to go and see Monet’s garden, whilst the exhibition is at the National Gallery of Victoria. Ironic really!
I hope to do a champagne tour to the Reims. If it doesn’t end up fitting into my budget then I will cope but I think I would really enjoy it. I have done a tiny bit of research on which tour to take.
This one gets excellent reviews and have very competitive prices
Another “outing” that would be great are dinners or lunches where you pay 100 euro (ish) and go to someone’s house with 5 other vistors and eat, talk and drink the time away. I am very keen to do at least one of them.
I like the idea of these, they bring people from all walks of life together to do one thing that they definitely all have in common. Enjoy a great meal.
Until I leave, I am going to post pages with things I would like to do with links to their websites, mainly for the purpose of putting all my “research” onto one easily accessed spot online . I want to look back to see whether other things become more important once I arrived. If i start blogging/practising now , by the time I get there I will be a dab hand at wordpress.com 😀
My recent posts are up in the top right hand corner.