A Writer Travels: The USA and Europe in One Month
Hello, Thriller Novel Lovers!
The month of December was all about travelling adventures for Roland and I. We only spent a few days in London. We’ve travelled to San Francisco, Munich, Strasbourg, Paris, Poitiers, then back to Paris for New Year. A lot of these travel destination where for work-related purposes and due to the location independence of my businesses, I tagged along with Roland and worked as we travelled.
San Francisco + Mountain View
Roland and I stayed at the beautiful Palace Hotel in San Francisco for less than 7 days minus the two days spent travelling. This is our third visit to san Francisco. And, this time I wasn’t hospitalised. So, we’ve done a lot of the classic touristy things in our first few stays. Roland travelled to California to meet up with colleagues in the Google Mountain View office. So, I came with him.
I worked in the hotel in the mornings and did sightseeing in the afternoon. After much effort, I filmed and record an episode of my Behind the Podcast Diary. There’s something about the lighting of hotel rooms. It’s almost like designers sit around and brainstorm ways to make the rooms as dark as possible. After a trip to the apple store I purchased an LED light and iPhone clip by Manfrotto. They’re the best purchases I made in 2017 for filming. I’ll link these products below in case you love products like this and want to check them out on Amazon.
I visited the Google head office in Mountain View with Roland. This office is the most strict in terms of visitors. There is so much I cannot do including stand in an eating area waiting for Roland to riding the Google bikes. However, you can take photos on the campus grounds. So, I took a few photos of the android statues are around the campus. I think they’re super cute.
It snowed a little the first morning we stayed in Munich. And, I thought, ‘yay.’ But, little did I know this attitude would soon change. We stayed at the Sofitel outside the central station in Munich. Once again, this was another work related trip. Roland was presenting for a PHD summit on virtual garbage collection. He has a PHD in computer science, so he got to network with other nerds.
The weather in Munich was grey and cold. I thought it was too cold, but I’m Australian. When it gets this cold, I act like a grumpy bear and stay indoors. I almost hibernate. As a result I ended up staying in the hotel working, drinking tea and snacking on gingerbread. That’s my definition of perfection.
But, Roland encouraged me to explore the city with him over the weekend. We visited a cute Christmas Market in the heart of Munich. And, we admired the beautiful architecture of the city area. So, I’m proud to announce that I now have a pretzel addiction. I’ve never had a huge pretzel before and I’ve realised what I’ve been missing out on.
The reason I wanted to go to Strasbourg, France was to visit the Strasbourg Christmas Markets. As you’ll see in the travel vlog embedded below, the entire town is lined with Christmas ornaments. I don’t think I’ve seen so much Christmas festivities in one place. Even though it was autumn in Strasbourg, it snowed on our last day. The snow in Strasbourg was thick. Well, it was the heaviest downfall I’ve experienced. For those of you who may not know me, I’m from Brisbane Australia (think: sunshine and beaches).
This is the point where everything went all pear shaped. We caught the first of our two train journeys back to Munich. Roland and I were hoping to travel from Munich to London by aeroplane that same day. So, that’s two trains then a plane. So, easy. But the snow had other ideas.
Unfortunately, the snow added a two hour delay to our second train, so we ended up catching another two trains. These extra trips resulted in us missing our flight to London. This would have been fine. Under different circumstances, we would have re-booked another flight for the next day. But, there was three hours worth of queues in the Munich International Airport due to cancellations and missed flights due to the snow.
There is a part of me that would assume that Germany would be better at managing snow related travel, considering this isn’t a one of thing in this part of the world. It turns out we spent an entire day travelling to only arrive in Munich. Due to flight availability we had to book a hotel room and stay in Munich for a further two days. This gave us a little more time to spend in the city and enjoy the food. Who doesn’t enjoy beer, schnitzels, and pretzels?
Eventually, we arrived in London after all of that travel drama. So, let’s say I now despise snow like the fire of a thousand suns. We ended up staying in London for three days which was enough time to unpack, wash our clothes, repack, and then make our way to St Pancras for the next travelling adventure. To be honest, I can’t even remember what I did in London. I’m sure I worked on my business and revised Immunity but my memory has let me down. The first sign of old age has set in.
This was a part of the trip I was looking forward to for so long. I was desperate to continue my love affair with Paris. I secretly want to move to Paris and write books (hint, hint, Roland). But, I’m married to the only Frenchman who doesn’t want to be in France. After all, everyone is flawed, even Roland. I took this as an opportunity to road test my living in Paris with Roland dream. Roland worked in the Google Paris office and I lived my Paris dream. Poor, Rolly.
We rented an apartment in Saint Germain. It was on the third floor and because it’s Paris, there’s no elevator. The stairs were narrow and seemed to go on forever. If you got to the bottom of the stairs and realised you left something in the apartment, you wouldn’t have the desire to go back to get the item.
We were across the Seine River from Musee du Louvre and close to the ‘Notre-Dame de Paris.’ Roland and I attempted to go to the Musee du Louvre on two occasions, but it was closing both times. I know this is super cliche, but we had dinner at Café de Flore and it was surprising overrated. The food was a little, meh. What can I say? I’m slowly becoming a foodie. But, it was nice to sit in a cafe that other famous French writers had sat in. What I found interesting about the cafe was it has its own literary award.
It was in Paris that I made some serious progress with my revisions for Immunity. I decided to not continue podcasting for the rest of the year. I was already behind and felt exhausted, I needed to take a break. Looking back on this, I now realise all the travelling was taxing.
On Friday, we made our way to Poitiers by train. The train ride was super pleasant and took less than two hours. I love the city of Poitiers it’s small and looks like something out of a fairytale. The centre of Poitiers looks medieval but with cars driving around the beautiful streets.
We visited my favourite chocolate shop. It’s called L’Atelier du Chocolat. They sell chocolate and make the most amazing hot chocolate. The chocolate from the shop was melted into the drink. So, you get to choose your chocolate then sit and wait for them to make it. It’s perfect. If you’re in Poitiers, you must visit this shop.
While we were in Poitiers, I did more location scouting for the third book in my James Lalonde Series, Vertigo. I had this idea back in 2015 and I cannot wait to write this novel. I’m super excited. But, I need to publish the first two before I can start Vertigo.
While we were in Poitiers, we spent Christmas with Roland’s family, ate out, and enjoyed the city. It was nice for Roland and I to not work and spent time together.
Back to Paris
After the time we spent in Poitiers, we returned to Paris and spent New Year in a cute hotel, that felt like a furnace. We had new years dinner in my favourite Italian restaurant, Margherita. Our time in Paris was spent eating, shopping, and enjoying the beautiful streets and yes, the rain. I know this is a cliche, but I think Paris is beautiful in the rain. It’s the mixture of the grey clouds and the beautiful architecture that keeps me coming back to this beautiful city.
I hope you had an amazing holiday period and new years. I hope you found the time to relax from the stresses of your usual day-to-day life.
Happy reading and writing, everybody!
* DISCLAIMER: This blog post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. The commission helps support the blog and allows us to continue to make content like this. Thank you for the support. 🙂