TRAVEL // How to Survive a One Day Layover in Paris

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

On our way back from Amsterdam, we spotted open flights to Paris that we couldn't resist. As Audrey Hepburn wisely said: "Paris is always a good idea."
So we got on a plane for the longest layover of my life.

Charlie and I are budget travelers, and since we knew we didn't want to spend money for a few hours sleep at an AirBnb or hostel (they're pricier in Paris), we decided we would just stay up a full 24 hours before boarding our flight back to the States.

So that's what we did, and running on a few cat naps, this is what we did in Paris for a day - and if you have a long layover, here are some tips for what you should do.

Tip 1: Ditch the luggage

No one wants to wheel their suitcase all over Paris while quickly sightseeing. Store your luggage in  the airport at Terminal 2, on the floor right above the trains/metro/shuttle. It'll cost 18€ for a 20 hour hold.
Side note: I legit cried when I rounded the corner and saw Notre Dame.

Tip 2: Buy the full day ticket for the metro. 

Trust me. You'll want it. You can only walk so far, despite Charlie and I's stubbornness in trekking everywhere, even we have a line.

Tip 3: Skip the overpriced crepe trucks. 

Oh, and stay away from the "savory" crepes!

Tip 4: Instead, go to a local market... 

...and buy yourself a delicious meal (that includes wine and dessert!) for just 20€ (it'll feed two people!) and have a picnic at the Eiffel Tower. Oh, and take a nap in the park. It's quite lovely.
Oh man, this nap was the best nap of my life.

Tip 5: Be wary of scams. 

Our friends were ripped off right away by a faux metro worker who sold them fake tickets that didn't even work. Look up popular scams that are often used so you're more aware of them.

Tip 6: Go out 

If you decide to skip splurging on a hostel/hotel, it's possible because cafes and clubs stay open CRAZY LATE in Paris. So all you have to do is find a good spot to party or chill at until 5 in the morning when the metro opens again. Then you can hop on to get back to CDG and stay in the airport. Charlie and I ended up finding Badaboum by sheer chance, and the manager let us in for free that night (it normally has a cover charge)! It was definitely an experience, that's all I can say, but it felt like a safe environment for a nightlife spot and we had a fantastic time there!

Tip 7: Pick a prime location

This ties into the last tip. Make sure you look at the metro routes and pick a spot near one that has a line directly to the airport. We made the mistake of going to a club that was out of the way and regretted our decision when we had to trek all the way to the correct metro at 4 in the morning...

Overall my experience with people in Paris compared to Amsterdam was much more positive. There's still a snobby air to some, but I came across far friendlier people in my 24 hours in Paris than I did in the four days spent in Amsterdam. We had locals that helped us figure out the metro and explain which stop to get off at when the routes were changed or closed unexpectedly, and in those tense moments it was much appreciated. 

Of course, this is just my brief experience in Paris, and I intend to return one day for a much longer trip! Have you ever been? What was your experience like? 

TRAVEL // What to Do in Amsterdam

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Last June, I took a trip to Europe for the first time EVER. 
That's right, ever.

And the first city I went to was Amsterdam. 

So here's the thing. I wasn't particularly blown away by it. I'm not a huge party girl, and perhaps that why I didn't enjoy Amsterdam that much. But it's still a charming city, and the incredible bike system that they have is one you need to experience! Overall, knowing what I know now, I'd say 2-3 days is all you need to get your fill of the city though.

Now, allow me to dig through my memory and share some tips on what to do in Amsterdam! 

1. Buy the IAmsterdam City card.

Plan out your days and invest in the IAmsterdam card. I think if we'd stuck to a plan better it would've paid off more. However, I'm still glad we got these. They give you free access to most of the museums, free rides on all the trams/buses, and a 20% discount on a lot of popular experiences (bike rentals, canal rides, the Heineken Brewery tour, etc).

2. Where to eat:

The Pancake Bakery
Okay, lemme talk about the Pancake Bakery for a minute.
We devoured our food there, and I highly recommend the pesto pancake! Also, the serving sizes FILL the plate - and they're huge plates. If you want to save some money, buy one savory pancake and one dessert one (because you HAVE to eat one of the dessert ones, trust me), and split it. IT WAS SO GOOD I'M DROOLING JUST THINKING ABOUT IT.

Next, I can't forget about Foodhallen. It was such a cool place to eat! We almost got lost trying to find it, as it was tucked away and we wandered right up to the door wondering if it was the place. But once identified, I wandered around it's halls flabbergasted. It's a huge space filled with food vendors and stalls of all different cuisines from around the world. No matter what you're craving, they'll have it. I ended up going for the taco stand (no regrets there, your girl knows what she likes) and we all grabbed a drink from this amazing spot that strictly served gin and tonics! Oh, and specialty ones at that. You should've seen the menu for these monstrosities.

Wynand Fockink
Finally, you better make a stop at Wynand Fockink (and yes, it's pronounced "wine and f*cking")! Around 1679, Wynand Fockink started a liquor distillery, and soon after a tasting tavern was added. To this day, you can still try their liquors and genevers (Dutch gin!) made in the same exact 17th century traditional craft methods. We had an absolute blast chatting with the craftsmen inside and got to sample many different flavors based on our preference. And yes...we ended up buying a bottle or two to take home.

Pino's Bar & Grill
Okay, I almost didn't include this one, but then I remember the mac & cheese. So! While exploring outside of the city, we came across Pino's Bar & Grill, where we stopped for lunch. Now, the service was subpar, and side note: if you order a Heineken, apparently they serve bottles of it that don't have any alcohol. Clarify that you want the alcoholic one with your server, lest you be served piss juice (unless that's what you're into, you weirdo). It took forever for us to get our food but IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT. Food in Europe is just better in general. Every mouthful was delicious, seasoned perfectly, and just the right amount so we were full but not overtly so afterwards.

3. Rent a bike

Okay, this one's a given. But you simply must rent a bike to explore the city and outside of it! We didn't have as much time, but if we did, we could've gone further and seen more windmills. But I'm so glad we got to experience the crazy, thrilling bike traffic of Amsterdam along with the relaxing, beautiful countryside found across the ferry.

4. Stay at Clinknoord

Looking for a nice hostel to stay at? Clinknoord! We only spent one night here but wish we had stayed there the whole time. Via Amsterdam is very nice as well, but the location of it is what kills it. Clinknoord is 5 minutes away from the heart of the city and has a ferry that runs 24 hours. Whereas it takes an extra 20 minutes one way by train to get to Via Amsterdam AND they all close around midnight, so if you're out late, you have to Uber back.

There's a bit more from our time there, but I feel like these are the important tips I have to share with you.  If you've ever been, let me know what I missed and share your advise in the comments! And even if you haven't, let me know what questions you might have.

What Happened to The Dragonfruit Diaries?

Friday, January 25, 2019

I feel like I've written this so many times, and here I am again, trying to find the words.
For almost a year, I quit blogging.

It had already become an on-and-off again kind of relationship beforehand, but I truly had lost my inspiration for this platform. Instead, I shifted all of my focus on to my Instagram and have remained active there, building a following and trying to up the level of content I created. I have to admit, I've found some success through the platform and have been happy to just work on Instagram.

However, I miss my blogging roots and intend to finally return to this platform as well. After all, if it hadn't been for this space, I never would have sought out more and flourished in the way I have today.

So allow me to reintroduce myself! Hello. My name is Linda. I run The Dragonfruit Diaries, a compilation of my travels, outfits, and day-to-day moments. I collect way too many coffee mugs, freak out every time I see a dog, enjoy curating the perfect playlists, and always say "I could thrift that" when I see something I want.

Hopefully some of that resonated with you as well, and if it did, I think we'll get along just fine.
Welcome back to The Dragonfruit Diaries!

Sweet Like Sugar

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Swimsuit Top: c/o Zaful

Ever hit those patches of life that throw you for a loop? Just when you feel like you're slowly veering back on track, BAM! Life grabs you by the neck and rocket punches you off into the sky of uncertainty, letting you float around helplessly until you find your bearing again.

But that's the exciting thing about life. You never know what's coming. You can try and plan every last detail down but the only thing you can count on is something unexpected to happen.

I think a part of me has embraced that lifestyle in the past year. Every punch that's been delivered I've learned to roll with - and it's made life that much more bearable and pleasant! 

So take the sweet moments when they come and savor them to their full extent. And remember them when the bitter times follow, so you can remain hopeful through them. 

My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.Proverbs 24:13

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