Between Barcelona and making our way to Nice, we decided to have a day stop in Sète, France. This particular day was rainy and bleak, but the town itself was quaint and charming. It is known as the “Venice of Languedoc”. It is a major port city in southern France so there is water surrounding the coast. Because of the rain, we decided to start drinking wine at nine in the morning. We sat down at a little restaurant on the corner of the main street with a nice outdoor space and an awning to shield us from the rain. We ordered wine, spilled a glass, got another one, and another one, and so on. We spent the rest of the day walking around in the rain, stopping only to check out little boutiques and wine shops. We look back on our day in Sète as a comical memory of a rainy day without a plan. Sometimes, not having a plan, is a plan itself. Don’t always give yourself an itinerary. When you are traveling, let yourself have time to let the day take you by surprise, let yourself embrace rainy days, but don’t let yourself walk around cobblestone all day in heels.
Nice, France next...
As a celebration of our two year BFF anniversary and for the monumental birthday of Miss Constance Back, we decided to go on an extravagant European vacation. We started in Barcelona, Spain. Ashley arrived first, to the beautiful Monument Hotel, she decorated the room with chocolates, balloons, and of course, champagne. The soon to be birthday girl arrived just twenty minutes after her, in awe of the beautiful gifts and presentation from Ashley with the help of the Monument Hotel staff.
After our long flights from Los Angeles, we were ready to start the party. We immediately popped the bottle of champagne and dove right into the chocolate. After settling in, we took a long walk around the city center. We window shopped and stopped to admire the beautiful gardens of Barcelona.
The Monument Hotel has a gorgeous interior, is located in a perfect spot in the city, and also has the most beautiful rooftop pool. Our suite was perfect, it had two beautiful balconies with a Spanish vibe and large wooden doors. It is an overall perfect place to stay in Barcelona.
Stay tuned for the rest of our European vacation!
Phuket is one of the most beautiful places I have visited to date. We stayed at a resort with private villas that were equipped with huge bathtubs, beautiful decor, and private pools right outside your bedroom door. I only got to visit for two nights, but it was enough time to appreciate the beauty of the beaches along the west coast. The economy relies heavily on tourism, so the growing popularity of the resorts along the sandy beaches is good for creating jobs for locals. The climate has little variation due to the proximity to the equator, so it is a spot you could consider going to at any time of year.
We spent our time in Phuket swimming in the ocean and eating lunch by the beach. We would order mango smoothies while we watched the waves rise towards the shore. Our stay was short and sweet and a place that we must return to in order to explore more of the island.
We started our next adventure by flying from Koh Samui to Bangkok, we were thrilled to be there considering it had been on our bucket list for years. We didn’t exactly have The Hangover Part II experience, but there were tattoos and ladyboys involved. We stayed at a beautiful hotel just a short cab ride away from the outdoor shopping center where you can find absolutely anything you are looking for. We spent a lot of our time exploring the city and shopping for our favorite Asian skincare that you can find in almost every drugstore in the city. They have definitely mastered the affordable drugstore hydrating masks that you can’t find anywhere in the United States. Our favorites are listed on our store. Our hotel had a beautiful rooftop pool where we were able to relax and prepare for the fun night activities of Bangkok. Our friends took us to a theatrical performance by the famous Thai ladyboys, and they were absolutely amazing. The quality of the performance could be compared to any of the popular Vegas shows. After the show, they were very welcoming to the guests to take photos and sign autographs. When we left the show, we went walking through the streets of Bangkok, got massages, stopped for drinks, and bought handmade wooden bracelets from the sellers on the street. We were even persuaded to try the popular Durian sweet fruit from a cart outside of a bar. Let’s just say some of us hated it and some of us loved it. It’s definitely an acquired taste.
When we woke up from our night out on the town we decided to take a car about two hours outside of the city, Ashley wanted a Sak Yant tattoo from a very sacred place that is quite difficult to get to from the city center. We, obviously, took a pink taxi to travel by ourselves hours outside of the city. We waited until we were home safe to tell our parents that part. Anyway, after the long car ride with a heavy language barrier between us and the driver, we arrived at the temple. There were dogs running around but not a person in sight. We slowly walked towards the entrance where we found where we would give an offering, such as flowers or a pack of cigarettes, a weird combination. A woman finally came down and met us to lead us through a narrow hallway and up a flight of stairs that were noticeably dirty. The whole place for that matter was extremely unsanitary from the dogs running around to the smoke filled room. The monk came out of the back to start on Ashley’s tattoo. At this point, I was extremely nervous, and she seemed calm. I made sure to watch him open the new clean needle, and my nerves settled, just a little. It is believed that a Sak Yant tattoo by a monk holds secret powers. As he started to what it seemed like hammer a nail into her arm, I had already decided this was the worst idea we had ever had. She swears that halfway through she all of a sudden felt no pain, as if he had given her sacred relief. I sat on a dirty stool and watched the whole experience, only interrupted once by the monk pulling out his Iphone to talk to someone for about thirty seconds, then back to work. When it was finished, I have to say, it was the most beautiful tattoo I had ever seen. Despite all of the worrisome foreshadowing, it was an amazing experience overall.
We headed back to the hotel in our pink taxi that had been waiting for us, full of adrenaline we decided to have a quiet night in to calm our nerves before touring some of Bangkok’s most historic spots the next morning.
We had the privilege of staying at The Privilege Hotel Ezra Beach Club in Koh Samui. We were welcomed with the most beautiful array of coconuts and champagne in our room. The hotel’s immaculate beauty can be overwhelming. The beach front villas surround the pool where you can order food and cocktails and spend the day tanning just steps from your suite. We had an amazing time exploring the hotel, swimming, and watching the beautiful ocean’s waves from the edge of the pool. There are massage services just right across the street that the hotel offers and having had many massages in Thailand, I can say that these were 10/10. The hotel’s service is impeccable and you will feel taken care of throughout your entire stay.
Koh Samui is an island off the east coast of Thailand, where you can visit various historic Buddhist temples and Chinese shrines. As easy as it could have been to stay peacefully at the hotel, we made a day trip to tour the island. We weren’t sure what to expect when we signed up for a car service to take us around to visit the historic spots. The morning of our tour, it was pouring rain and the streets were completely flooded. The car arrives. It was an old beat up Jeep type vehicle with open doors and roof. We and a few other tourists from the hotel piled in the back with pink ponchos to help protect us from the rain, they didn’t exactly work, but it was all part of the fun. We visited everything from famous rocks to monumental temples and shrines. We even went zip-lining through the jungle while it rained heavily around us. At this point, the roads were complete mud, and the driver was driving rapidly through the curved paths. One of the guides asked if anyone wanted to ride on the top of the hood, us being us, we quickly accepted the offer. It was very dangerous and we do not recommend anyone ever do this, with that being said, it was insanely fun.