Paris, France by Julian Chokkattu

If my Instagram hasn't been any indication, I went to France for nine days with Ms. Chan. The first stop was Paris, where we stayed in a small Airbnb apartment in the Batignolles neighborhood in the 17th arrondissement.

We didn't want to lug our bags around on the first day, since we couldn't check into the Airbnb until around 8 p.m., so we used this service called Eelway. It was remarkably useful -- we booked it before we took the flight, and when we landed our Eelway representative was waiting for us at the airport in Paris. He took our bags, and he said someone will meet us with our bags at the Airbnb apartment around 8 p.m. And another Eelway representative did! It was a fairly flawless service.

Paris was definitely my favorite part of the trip. There's just something about the city that leaves you wanting more. The rich history, the hustle and bustle that's reminiscent of New York City, did I mention the history? Wherever we went, I couldn't help trying to find the year the building we were standing in was constructed. (The oldest may have been 15 B.C. in Lyon!) Ms. Chan and I went so far as to ask our Airbnb host average rent prices in the Batignolles area -- but we should probably learn a little French first.  

Anyway, the first day we walked from Gare de Châtelet Les Halles past the Louvre, through Place de la Concorde, over the Pont Alexandre III bridge, and through the Champs-Élysées. We arrived at the Arc de Triomphe, but we skipped going up to the top that day and headed to our Airbnb.   

On the second day, we headed straight for the Eiffel Tower. Guess what? The wait, which usually can be up to two hours or more, was about 5 minutes. 

We then headed out to Le Pré aux Clercs for some excellent lunch, and then walked across Pont des Arts, the famous "love-locking bridge." Sadly, we found out that the locks were no longer there, but were moved to another location. We still put ours on a gate near the bridge. We headed to the Louvre, but it was closed on Tuesdays, so we went straight to the Notre-Dame. 

We rounded off the night with a boat tour, and then we stopped at the Arc de Triomphe to go all the way to the top. It wasn't as difficult as we had made it out to be -- we definitely recommend it. 

And on the final day in Paris, we got espressos to go from the cafe near our Airbnb, and took a 20 minute walk to Montmartre. We saw Sacré Coeur first, and then headed down the steps to the main area for some food at La Bossue. We then took a Metro to the Louvre for a brief visit.

After the Louvre, we headed to the Catacombs. And after that, we found out the Montparnasse cemetery had already closed -- a shame! We grabbed dinner at a restaurant called La Cantine du Troquet, and made out way back to the Airbnb (we had an early train to Lyon the next day.) 

Post-MWC: Day Two in Barcelona by Julian Chokkattu

Day two began with us trekking to the Chocolate Museum, and we passed Barcelona's Arc de Triompf along the way. We then headed to the famous Sagrada Familia, which left my jaw open as to how beautiful and intricate it is. 

After the Sagrada, we headed to Parc Guell, where architect Antoni Gaudi lived. He made the park one of his personal projects. It's really goofy and fun, and the walk around the area was really calm and relaxing.

We ended the day by heading to the Palau Nacional, where we waited to watch the Magic Fountain of Montjuic erupt in glorious display, but sadly we arrived too late, after the show ended. Nevertheless, we went up to the palace and got to eat at the Oleum, where we had a tremendous view of Barcelona and delicious food. It was especially nice considering we were one of three groups for dinner, so it wasn't busy at all.