Monday, September 18, 2017

Travel Therapy: Portland, Maine in one day!

Daycations are an ideal way to get away from reality for a little while. They are inexpensive and offer a quick way to see another city. So having visited all the states but one in New England, I decided to take a day trip to Maine and complete the sixth New England state. 

Portland is a charming coastal city in the state of Maine. It boasts of lighthouses, scenic seaside views, quaint shops, colorful buildings, and some of New England's most expensive homes, and of course, the best lobster in the entire world! 

Portland has a very vibrant art scene and this is evident in the numbers of artsy stores and cool wall art around the city. 

Now let's get into my trip. Enjoy!

I was visiting Portland from Boston and the Downeaster Armtrack from North Station was the most convenient mode of transportation. The train ride was a little over two hours, so I brought my breakfast and enjoyed the scenery as the train traveled through several cities in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.
Since I was going to be walking for several hours while exploring Portland, comfy shoes were a must!
Two hours later, I arrived at Portland Transportation Center and took a short uber to Downtown Portland. My first port of call was Portland  Museum of Art, but With the  limited time I had in the city, I did not want to spend hours indoors, so I ditched the museum and went off to Old Port District.
Portland Museum of Art

While making my way to The Old Port District, I came across the home of  famous American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on Congress street. I studied some of his poems in high school, so it was a pleasure running into the childhood home of this literary genuis.

Longfellow Garden

The Old Port District of Portland is a charming water front area with wharfs, quaint stores, and interesting buildings. It was at the Long Wharf water front that I found a real piece of the Berlin Wall.
How cool!
The Berlin Wall, Portland-- A time for peace
Love Lock Bridge, Portland: Mirroring the Love lock bridge in Paris, Hundreds of padlocks are locked on a chain fence at the waterfront.

After taking in the scenery at the Old Port District and water front, I decided to hop on a trolley tour to see one of Maine's light houses. I opted for Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth.
Photo op before hopping into the trolley
Very post card-esque
The guided trolley tour was a good idea, as it gave me the opportunity to see places I wouldn't have been able to see had I explored on foot only. 

Here is a home in the west end neighborhood. West end is known for its architecture and history. This neighborhood houses some of Portland's most historic homes. "It is one of the best preserved Victorian neighborhoods in the country"

Finally made it to the Portland Head Light. I lived and breathed Famous Five book series as a child, and I had always wanted to visit a light house since reading about the light house adventures of the Famous Five kids.

 Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light House is in Fort Williams Park, so I made time out to explore the park and walk the cliff.


After the light house adventure, I headed to Casco Bay water front to get my grub on. Maine is known for its lobster, and skipping a lobster meal was not an option!

This was the best lobster ever! 

A view of  Casco Bay as I enjoyed my lovely meal


After my hearty meal, Commercial street in downtown was next on my itinerary. Chock full of restaurants, colorful buildings, quaint stores, and unique merchandise, Commercial street was a delight to peruse.
Snaps after my hearty meal

Uber colorful Commerical Street

Popped into one of the local stores to get a fridge magnet
Keep calm and eat more lobster

Chilling seaside, eating lobster is definitely the way life should be. 

That's all from my lovely day trip to Portland, ME. Do you guys have any upcoming trips? Please leave me a comment and let me know where you are headed.

Have a great day y'all!

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Polka dots & neon buffalo check

When you conquer a rainy day with polka dots and neon check--booyah!

Skirt: JCrew | Shoes: | Top: TJmax | Umbrella: TJmax

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Travel Therapy: Barcelona, Spain

Day one

  I arrived in Barcelona at about 4:00PM and went off to find my high school friend, Tee who had  just come in from Geneva. After getting off at the wrong stop, we found each other and went off to look for our Air BnB which was in the Gothic Quarters. Once we settled in, we headed out to find my dear friends, Yaya and Llyold who blog over at HandLuggage Only. They were travelling back to the UK in a few hours and I wanted to catch up with them real quick.

My pout though :/
 Yaya and Lloyd are such fun people to hang with, and we had a blast taking pictures and fooling around at Barcelona Cathedral. Then off they went to catch their flight, while we went headed to dinner

I am obsessed with  paella and I had been so excited to eat this Spanish staple in Barcelona
My expectation was cut short when I was presented with the soggiest rice dish. 

Forced smile as I chomp down on the paella

Day Two

Our second day in Barcelona  kicked off  with brunch on  the most popular street in Barcelona, La Rambla. A crowded tourist street, La Rambla boasts of restaurants, shops, and a beautiful view of  palm trees lined all through the sides of the street.  La Ramblas is a tourist trap with over priced items, and crappy food, but we thought we tick it off our list and have a meal there.
After brunch we made our way to Port Vell, a waterfront harbor that was built to beautify the city just before the Olympics in 1992. Our time here was spent people watching, enjoying in the cool water breeze, and of course, taking silly pictures.

This guy is totally judging me--lol!

Barcelonetta beach was our next port of call. It was November, and the weather was a tad cold, so our visit was a quick one. 
The beach was devoid of  usual tourist activities
The mohito guy insisted on being in my shot, and I look  like I am thinking " I can't hear you over this cheap tasting drink" --lol

Our next stop was Sagrada Familia. Unarguably, Barcelona's most iconic building, and Spanish architect,  Antonio  Guadi's most known work. This unfinished cathedral is a must for anyone visiting Barcelona. 
Construction for this magnificent edifice started in 1882 and continued after Gaudi's death in 1926
However, the progress was interrupted by the Spanish civil war in 1936
The cathedral is scheduled for completion in 2026

The Passion Facade of Sagrada Familia represents sadness and suffering

We visited the basement and watched a short film about the history of the cathedral
We even saw the architects and engineers at work

After our mind-blowing visit to Sagrada Familia, we passed through La Vila Olímpica del Poblenou (Olympic Village) and Port Olimpic area of Barcelona.

Robert Llimós sculpture "Marc" was created in memory of his son

Our next stop was Parc Guell, in the Garcia district. Our plan was to see more of Gaudi's work. However, when we arrived, it was already late and the park was closed. So we explored Garcia a bit and headed on our way

Gracia District

Dinner had been a bit horrid, the night before, so we decided to go to a restaurant in Eixample district that a french guy met on the plane had told me about. However, it seemed like the culinary gods were not happy with us, as the food SUCKED!
Weird tasting broth with RAW eggs in it-- Do I really have to eat this?
The olives were amazing though, and I ate two full plates!
The lamb entrée was just okay

Desert was not too shabby

Belly full of food, now let's go catch the train.

Lost in Barcelona?

Finally got the right train

We had heard so much about the night life in Barcelona, and we wanted a taste too. Unlike the USA, Barcelona clubs kick off at about 2 AM, and after touring the city the whole day, the last  thing I wanted to do was spend the entire night at some club. So in our day clothes ( I changed my skirt), we strolled to Plaça Reial, a square in Gothic Quarters, and partied it up for a little over an hour at Jamboree club.

The music was so good (90s hiphop), and each time we grabbed our coats to leave, we found ourselves running back to the dance floor. However, I still had a full day of sight seeing ahead, so we eventually called it quits and headed to our Air BnB to get some much needed sleep.

With that, day two came to an end.
Hope you enjoyed seeing Barcelona through my eyes. Watch out for the concluding part of my Spanish adventure.