Friday, July 18, 2014

Europe 2013: Amsterdam

Following in yearly traditions, my parents and I ventured back into the continent of Europe to explore some new cities and revisit a few old ones. The first stop on our list was good ol’ Amsterdam. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a real stop; it was more of a long-layover-so-let’s-take-advantage-of-it kind of stop. In most situations, long layovers are super convenient and can feel like you're getting a bonus visit in an additional city – not to mention going out also cures the typical boredom suffered while waiting for your connecting flight.

Royal Palace of Amsterdam

Royal Palace of Amsterdam / Royal Palace of Amsterdam

From Schiphol Airport we took the train into the city centre. We visited Dam Square, passed the Anne Frank house, inhaled the aroma of the infamous coffee shops, got lost within all the neighboring streets, and eventually walking through the Red Light District, in broad daylight.

Anne Frank House

High, high, high

One thing I noticed in Amsterdam, is the need for cars is not quite as high as it is in many other metropolises. There were many streets that were car-free and focused on public transportation and bike paths, which I thought was absolutely brilliant. I love their ability to walk and bike everywhere, especially with a canal running right by your side at each street (Toronto, take notes!). I admired the ones riding their bicycles (especially the ones with little baskets on the front), the locals unlocking the doors to their beautiful homes, and the few teeny European cars squeezing through the narrow streets. It’s definitely a different feel than the suburban environment I’m used to.

Reasons I need to return!

After a few hours of non-stop roaming around, we finally headed back to the airport. A 5-hour layover was more than enough time to get out, make a first impression of the city and get back to waiting for your next flight… Just make sure you keep track of the time and avoid getting too distracted by all Amsterdam has to offer. It was such a nice sneak peak for the next time I return, with more hours to spare of course.

Next stop…

Vienna, Austria!

Friday, July 11, 2014

On The Run: J+B

I woke up Wednesday morning anxious for the night. Actually scratch that, I've been anxious the second @ContikiCAN tweeted me two weeks ago. If you're unaware of what happened the evening of July 9th in Toronto, then you better watch your back for the Beygency…

Jay Z and Beyoncé graced us with their presence as they landed in the city for their On The Run tour. It was nothing less than amazing. I arrived at the Rogers Centre, promptly at 8 pm and was welcomed with a huge crowd of doll'd up individuals, alongside some forced boyfriends, lining up to get in. Mind you this line wasn't really a line, it was more like a crowd simultaneously walking towards one door. Once past the door and through the chaos inside, we finally made it to our seats. Although they weren't right next to the stage, within arms' reach of Beyonce, I was still there and that's all that mattered (note to self: dish out the money to be in the Beyoncé-hand-holding section for next time).

J+B forever.

The show started off with a classic, 03 Bonnie and Clyde. The entire setlist was planned out so well because each song transitioned into the next song perfectly. As much as I could go on forever talking about each performance and what I liked about it, I'll pick 3.

  1. Drunk In Love. Because watermelon and surfbordt.
  2. Song Cry. It's one of my favourite Jay Z songs. This performance was accompanied by a Beyoncé-in-a-wedding-dress montage playing on the big screen behind him, as he stood alone center stage, resulting in perfection. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being tears running down my face, I was definitely at an 8 for this one.
  3. Forever Young/Halo. This was the last performance of the show and oh man was it killer. For one, this takes me back to when Jay and Beyoncé performed Forever Young at Coachella a few years back. Shoutout to YouTube for allowing me to experience Coachella without spending the cash. Secondly, the visuals for this portion were on point again. Their montage took a twist on their initial "This Is Not Real Life" concept into "This Is Real Life" by showing clips of them as a couple and a family (Blue Ivy made an adorable appearance on screen). And my tears rating for this part? 9.9.

Coachella 2010

All in all, it was one of the best concerts I've had the chance to attend. The chemistry those two have on stage screams crazy in love, and since I don't know the couple personally (duh) I'm totally convinced if it isn't. The admiration in both their eyes, holding hands, and smiles definitely left the audience reevaluating their relationship goals. Jay is one lucky man!

And to conclude, I'll quote a line that flashed on the big screen…

"Die in love and live forever." 

Because who doesn't want relationship advice from the ultimate power couple?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

All Me To Re-Introduce Myself...

My name is Patricia and I'm back.

I know, I know, last time I said the same thing but never really followed through. This time is different, I swear! Since I last updated, plenty has happened. The trip I last mentioned was amazing. Vienna and Prague definitely worked it's way up on my list of beautiful cities visited. Naples and Rome was perfect, as per usual. Then just last month, I went on an 7-day vacay to Punta Cana. I stayed at Bávaro Princess, a 5-star all-inclusive resort. And now… I'm home, itching for another place to explore.

Besides my travels, I just so happened to graduate last month as well. It's a bittersweet accomplishment, but good riddance to the classes, assignments and readings (for now). I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, double majoring in communications and professional writing from UofT. The bitterness of it all is now I stand face to face with reality and with reality comes growing up and moving forward. That means, I'm on the hunt for a job!

All for that expensive piece of paper society likes to call a diploma!

While job hunting, I'm also finding the time to pursue other things I enjoy. I'm taking pictures, recording videos, and editing them all when I get the chance. This blog post is not just an update but also a heads up that for all the things I have yet to share with you all. Look forward to more posts, more photos and a lot more videos. I'll definitely fill you in on all past adventures as well. I'm excited for the post grad life I have ahead of me… So many opportunities waiting and I'm ready to grab hold of all of them!