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Travel Guide

3 Days in Paris


Paris is a beautiful city that you can probably wander around for a lot longer than 3 days, but when you’re limited on time 3 days in Paris is magical.

Day 1: Welcome to Paris!

Check into your accommodations and freshen up before heading out to explore the city.
We stayed at a lovely Airbnb apartment in Montmartre, right about the quaint shops.

Hop on the Big Bus Tour to get a glimpse of the city. Yes, this is super touristy but it’s one of the best ways to see all the famous landmarks around the city without killing your feet. Because of the great experience I had on the Big Bus Tours I look for them in any major city I go to.

Take in the beauty of the Eiffel Tower, you have the option to go up and view the city but might I suggest going up the Arc de Triomphe instead? They say the view from the Eiffel Tower is beautiful but it’s missing one thing…the Eiffel Tower in the background.

Grab a sandwich or savory crepe from Happy Caffe and walk through the Jardin des Tuileries Garden until you find the Louvre Museum, you won’t have time to explore all the art but you can look into the eyes of Mona Lisa. If you have an extra day to spare you should lend it to the Louvre so you can appreciate the beauty it has to share.

Next walk along The Seine River and the Bouquinistes, which are the green boxes were you’ll find merchants selling books, art and souvenirs. Take a stroll along one of the bridges to Notre Dame Cathedral and take a moment to appreciate the Gothic architecture. After exploring the area make your way to Shakespeare and Company and purchase a book or two.

You are now in the Latin Quarter, wonder the streets until you find the perfect location for dinner.

End your night with a good view of the Eiffel Tower on the hour to watch the lights dance around fill you with childlike wonder.

Day 2: Paris explorer!

Spend the morning walking around Montmartre and up the steps up to the Sacré-Coeur Basilica. Follow in Amélie’s foot steps to Cafe Des 2 Moulins to take a few photos before heading to lunch at La boite aux lettres.

After lunch it’s time to explore the famous Paris Catacombs, spend a couple of hours walking through tunnels lined with human bones.

Now it’s time to walk like royalty through the immense grounds that is The Palace of Versailles. Or if walking is now a bore to you with your royal mindset you can rent a bike and ride through the gardens.

If you have a kitchen in your accommodation pick up some items to have a home cooked meal. You can get fresh cheese, baguettes, meats, pasta and sauce to make a hopefully memorable meal.

Day 3: Disneyland Paris!

Get up! We’re going to Disneyland Paris!

A bit out of the city but easy to get to, you’ll want to arrive and line up before the park opens. I suggest starting at Walt Disney Studios to knock out the big rides before heading over to Disneyland where you’ll probably spend most of your time.

Spend the day being a big kid, run around with happiness. Find your way to Disney Village (Downtown Disney) for shopping, food and entertainment.

Disney Tip: Everyone runs to Crush’s Coaster when the gates open.

Paris Tip: Don’t let anyone hand you anything, put anything around your wrist or ask if you speak English as they try to have you sign something. It’s all a scam! They will try to make you pay, pick pocket you, or get you to put your bags down while someone comes around and takes off with it. Unfortunately theft is a big thing in Paris so make sure your possessions are protected and brush up on the latest scams with a simple google search. With all that being said, don’t be afraid to explore and see new things.

Well there you have it, you just spent three days in Paris and boy are my arms tired…huh?

 

 

A Geek’s Guide To Comic Con

Let’s talk comic con! Better yet, let’s create a geek’s guide to comic con and rejoice in all of the geeky bliss.

Pick Your Convention

Choose your own adventure! Look up the cons in your area or cons you’re willing to travel to. The major comic conventions out there include; San Diego Comic Con International, New York Comic Con, WonderCon, and Emerald City Comic Con to name a few. A lot of cities have been hosting their own conventions or expos on a smaller scale but still just as fun and typically easier to get tickets to.

Buy tickets (passes, autograph/photo ops) in advance and as close to release date if possible as comic conventions are growing in popularity. Take San Diego for example, they are one of the hardest cons to ever get into unless you already bought the next years passes at the previous con or wait in a virtual queue which can take hours or potentially crash. Follow the cons social media for announcements and release dates.

Make a Plan

With a limited amount of days, multiple panels, autograph/photo ops, meet ups and vendor shopping, there’s a lot to see and miss. Best way to manage your time and hit all your must-dos is to make a list. Check out the comic conventions website, look for a program schedule and vendor/show floor map. Figure out which panels you want to attend and be sure to give yourself some time before the panel start to get a seat. Some panels depending on the convention you’re at will line up hours before the panel start time. Check your favorite artist’s social media to see if they will have a booth at the con you’re attending and what area they’ll be located in. 

What to Wear

Do you plan on cosplaying? if so, have a plan and do some research. Does your cosplay adhere to the cons policy? Will you be comfortable all day walking around and in crowded areas? Do you plan on changing throughout the day? Will you be able to easily use the restroom or do you need a friends assistance?

Don’t feel like cosplaying? That’s ok! Wear something you’re comfortable in. My favorite go to is a t-shirt with my favorite fandom on it and some jeans. If you’re still unsure you can always search hashtags from previous cons, you’ll see plenty of show floor pictures and what people decided to wear.

Food

Although food choices at convention halls have gotten better over the years they are still pricey and limited. Bring a few snacks in your backpack or bag along with a water bottle you can refill at the drinking fountains. You can always search the food vendors the convention hall has before hand on their website. Depending on the conventions you go to, food trucks can also be an option and typically within walking distance outside of the convention center.

What to Bring

  • Portable charger – don’t want to miss taking pictures of all the awesomeness
  • Art tube – don’t want the precious prints you buy to get destroyed
  • Pen & Paper – always a good idea
  • Expect to collect business cards so have a place to store them
  • Snacks – as mentioned above
  • Cash – most vendors will accept card but wifi connection in convention centers are typically horrible and can slow the card process way down

Convention Day!

Woo hoo! I’m so excited for you and this is just the planning phase. I hope you’re excited too! Comic Con is so much fun, you’ll never want to leave.

Nerd Wood Design – click on the picture to check out my friends art. He’s constantly coming up with awesome new pieces.
Le Petit Elefant – aka Genevieve Santos is one of my favorite artists. Click on the picture to view her talents.

Besides the panels there’s the exhibitors and artist alley to explore. My plan of action is to always do a loop of the floor and make a note of things I liked and want to buy, this helps me stick to a budget and not go crazy or broke on the first day. If you see something you plan on buying, but are waiting until the last day or end of the day, don’t! Far too often I see people say they’ll come back later only to find that item is sold out. Check with the vendor, that if you purchase the item if you can come back for it later, or if they have extra stock of it, if you decide to wait on purchasing the item.

Don’t expect huge discounts by waiting on the last day to buy things. Some huge vendors may give discounts because they don’t want to haul a huge supply back but for most the product they have is how they make a living. If you find something you really like but don’t have the funds to get it then crab a business card and see if you can purchase the item later and have it shipped to you.

Most important aspect of the day is to have fun! You’re surrounded by a bunch of geeks who love fandoms just as much as you do. Strike up conversations while waiting in lines for panels or special guest opportunities, you may make some new friends. So let’s talk about it, what are you favorite things you look forward to at comic con? comment below!

 

A Geek’s Guide To Vancouver BC

A Geek’s Guide to Vancouver BC

So you want to explore Vancouver British Columbia, and why wouldn’t you? It’s clean, vibrant, and you get the best of both world, nature and city all in one location. You can spend a weekend here or a lifetime and always see something new.


Planning Your Visit

Maps

Vancouver Metro Map
Vancouver Map

I always recommend looking up the official tourism site for the destination you’re visiting. The travel bureau wants you to see the best stuff its city has to offer to make sure you spread the word and keep coming back.

Official Visitors Guide via Vancouver Tourism

Accommodations
Where do you want to stay? Hotel over looking the city or vacation rental to live like a local in a residential neighborhood?

During our latest visit we stayed at the lovely Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Vancouver. This was the ideal hotel for us for location and budget. The hotel staff is friendly and knowledgeable about the city and surrounding area. They also have a fun Instagram page to give you more insight on their favorite locations. There are many hotels in the city that are budget friendly or pamper you with luxury. 

Next thing to plan is how do you want to get there?

  • Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is less than 8 miles from Downtown Vancouver
  • Drive the distance. Make sure to have a vehicle that will tell you kilometers per hours and expect to pay everywhere you go for parking.
  • Train choo choo. Amtrak gives you a chance to see all the beauty the Pacific Northwest has to offer

What To Do

Stanley Park

This park is huge! Being one of the cities largest attractions you should plan at least a half day to explore. The seawall is a nice walk or bike ride to work off all that poutine you ate. Check with your hotel or vacation rental as many will supply bikes to ride for a few hours. There are also plenty of bike rental shops near the park entrance or Citi bike once in the park.

Granville Island

Take one of the little boats across False Creek to enjoy the Public Market and shops on Granville Island. Expect to spend a few hours here exploring and trying the food including Granville Island Brewing Co.

From there continue the little ferry ride to Maritime Museum Dock where you can get beautiful views of the English Bay.

Kitsilano Beach Park

Kits Beach is the perfect place to soak up the sun and spend a summer day relaxing or playing beach sports.

Gastown


Gastown is a small charming neighborhood with a famous resident, the Steam Clock. There’s only 7 working steam clocks in the world and Vancouver is home to one of them. It’s fun to take a few moments watching the gears turn or hearing the whistle blow. There’s also a few souvenir shops near the clock if you’re looking to take some goodies home.

A short walk away you’ll find Canada Place.

Canada Place

An iconic landmark, Canada Place is a great place to feel welcomed. It’s the Convention Center, major cruise terminal, and so much more. Also in the area you’ll find the 2010 Olympic Torch and the digital Orca statue art.

Movie/TV tour

image via vancouversun.com

Commonly referred to as “Hollywood North”. With some big studios in there area, there’s filming going on most times of the year. You can look up some of your favorite films and hits the streets kid, live like the stars.

Whale Watching

image via insidevancouver.ca

During migration you may have a chance to see these majestic creatures. Best months for spotting a whale will be March to October and there’s many different tour companies to choose from.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

image via vancouverchinesegarden.com

Fans of Nat Geo should recognize this gem as they named it the World’s Top City Garden.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

image via capbridge.com

A stunning place to take in the beauty nature has to offer and take instagram worthy photos.

Vancouver Aquarium

image via vanaqua.org

No need to go to P Sherman 42 Wallaby Way when you can visit all your favorite fish here.

Grouse Mountain

image via grousemountain.com

Only 15 minutes from downtown with spectacular views of the city.

Science World

image via scienceworld.ca

Weird Science! Be a kid and get creative with science.

VanDusen Botanical Garden

image via tourismvancouver.com

Sip some tea, take in this wonderland and day dream under a tree like Alice.


Food

Vancouver is on the list for being a “Foodie City” and for great reason, they have food trucks, well respected chefs and amazing cuisine. Where will your taste buds take you?

Blue Water Cafe

image via tourismvancouver.com

Best known for their seafood and outstanding wait service, you can either have an elegant dining experience or wallet friendly happy hour experience.

Earnest Ice Cream

image via earnesticecream.com

We all deserve a sweet treat. Especially after deciding what flavor you want from the mouthwatering list.

Cactus Club Cafe – English Bay

Food with a view! Great place to laugh with friends and loved ones over a great menu.

Vij’s Restaurant

image via vancouversun.com

A local favorite and recommended as a must do

Cafe Medina

image via medinacafe.com

Vancouver locals are huge on brunch and this is the spot to do it at. Lines can form so get here early.

Storm Crow Tavern

Truly one of my favorite geek restaurants! The whole atmosphere pulls you in, you can meet there with friends and family and play board games all afternoon.

EXP Restaurant + Bar

Video game restaurant/bar with great food. They live stream League of Legends, Overwatch,  Starcraft competitions and more, so it’s a really chill place to hang out, just pick the right side; Horde or Alliance?

a few other recommendation

  • Tacofino – TACOS! need I say more?
  • Fanny Bay Oyster Bar – Happy Hour!
  • Meat & Bread – grab a sandwich and head to a park
  • Nicli Antica Pizzeria – pizza and drinks, yes please!

Tips

  • If you’re driving expect to pay for parking everywhere
  • There’s free “neighborhood” wifi in Yaletown
  • The currency is Canadian dollar (CAD). Paper bills include $5, $10, $20, $50 & $100. $1 coin known as a loonie and a $2 coin known as a toonie

What are your favorite places to see and do in Vancouver?