Lost in Lucerne

IMG_5747IMG_5740Approximately 40 minutes by train from Zurich, Lucerne is, to noone’s surprise, just gorgeous. It has a slightly more village-y feel to it than Zurich. If you’re ever there on a Saturday or Tuesday morning be sure to check out the farmers’ markets – fresh cheeses, fruits and flowers galore.

I would’ve loved to have climbed up Mount Pilatus, but alas I’m going to have to save that for next time. I did however walk across the Chapel Bridge (photo above), visit the Dying Lion of Lucerne Monument (which was devastatingly beautiful) and (of course) have a picnic by the idyllic landscape.

From A to Zurich

IMG_5717IMG_5673IMG_5669IMG_5692IMG_5700Bloody Zurich – just so darn beautiful. Every angle is a Kodak moment. The only downside to this gorgeous city is that everything is so ridiculously expensive. I pretty much lived off a diet of 45c chocolate and 60c beer from the local supermarket (bless you, Coop).

I also had a friend who was living in Zurich so spent about four days bunking in a student house and it was such an incredible experience – I really I wish I did exchange during university now. But in saying that if I didn’t know anybody in Zurich, it was hard to know where to go and what to see. The city itself is quite small, but, again, very expensive. It’s quaint and quite chilled but I wouldn’t stay longer than a few days because you would run out of things to do and/or money!

Luckily you can do a lot of things relatively cheaply (sometimes even for free). I recommend visiting Grossmünster and having a picnic at Chinagarten.

Unlike Barcelona, I ate in most nights, cooking with the other international students. The only time I indulged was on a public holiday and all the stores were close! Luckily we found a kebab. For 7 francs … Ridiculous. I couldn’t even afford McDonalds in Switzerland.

Its public transport system, like everyone else in Europe, is spectacular and very easy to get around on. If you’re ever here I recommend buying some chocolate (we splurged at Sprüngli on the last day), find a nice picnic spot and breathe in the sublime views. (If I was really, really rich, I would totally live here. But alas … #peasantlife.)

¡Me encanta Barcelona!

IMG_5653 IMG_5664I absolutely adore Barcelona. The last time I was here I did all the touristy stuff: visit the Sagrada Familia (which still remains one of my all-time favourite architectural structures), have a picnic at Park Güell, see a game at Camp Nou and stuff my face at the La Boqueria markets. So this time round I wanted to really experience Barcelona like a local (but of course continue to stuff my face with juices, fruit, seafood and bolognese calzones at La Boqueria).

My friend has been living in Barcelona for a few months now so she showed me a few hidden gems you might not see if you’re a tourist. She showed me the best churros place off Las Ramblas – Xurros de Xocolata - I highly recommend it. It was like €1.20 for 100g of freshly fried doughy chocolatey goodness. Delish.

If you’re after a nice meal and some wine to go with it, check out Els Quatre GatsIt’s also just off Las Ramblas (I love how everything is within walking distance!) and they have both tapas and restaurant food. Of course I sampled both and can say they’re both scrumptious. It’s a little bit more expensive than your average feed, but worth the experience. Els 4 Gats, as it’s also referred to as, was frequently visited by Pablo Picasso’s early in his art career. So if it’s good enough for him, well, you know.

For something with a bit more value for money you can’t go past Restaurante Pitarra - €13 for three courses. Ridiculous. And they’re not even skimpy sizes either, I’m talking big, generous-sized portions. And I finished them all (but not without some difficulty). From the classic seafood paella to cannelloni to flan, it’s well worth your last buck. Oh and did I mention the meal comes with a free bottle of wine? I know, ridiculous. God I love Europe.

And if you’re really trying to save then Cien Montaditos is your best friend. It’s like a euro for a sandwich so you can order like eight plus a litre of sangria and still be under €10. And on some days it’s buy one sandwich, get one free. It’s a student paradise. Pretty much ate here most days/nights because there’s so much on the menu and it’s just so bloody cheap.

Drinks-wise, I highly recommend Le Cyrano. It’s a self-service bar that really gives you a bang for your buck. For about three euros you can order a mixed drink and control your own ratios. And by control, I mean go crazy. And when you leave they give you bottles of water to sober up. What lovely people.

My Spanish this time round was much better so found myself conversing with a few of the locals – one of the goals that I had for this trip. And by converse with the locals I mean talk about food and ordering food at restaurants and markets. Oh and asking how much things cost.

The shopping in Barcelona is unbelievable – I spent over five hours by myself walking up and down Passeig de Gràcia and Rambla de Catalunya. Armed with a backpack and a thirst for a bargain, I stumbled into about seven different Zara stores, convincing myself each one was different from the previous. And then you’ve got the usual European suspects: COS, & Other Stories, H&M, Mango … Oh my.

I ended up buying more or less the same things I already owned – lots of black, denim and stripes. Typical.

What I’m packing on my travels: Beauty

Travel-beauty-Moulin-FrockMakeup

This is more or less what I packed the last time I went travelling, plus or minus a few things. It’s quite hot and humid in Europe around this time of the year (a big difference to the disgustingly windy weather in Sydney now) so I tend to prefer not to wear a lot of product – it just all ends up running/sweating/generally being gross. Super hot.

I like to be quite low maintenance. Well, last time I was forced to because I was travelling with four boys – I didn’t really have the option to spend five minutes applying mascara. I’d just whack on some Revlon BB cream, quickly curl my eyelashes with my Shu Uemura and apply a coat or two of mascara and then out the door I went. This took about two minutes. I know – I won the travelling award for ‘most punctual’. (Yeah … we  voted for about 20 ‘awards’ when we got back to Sydney …)

This time I’ll be using one of two YSL mascaras: the Volume Effet Faux Cils or the Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking. The former probably would’ve been enough as you can apply more coats to intensify the look, but since the latter came in such a convenient tiny tube, I thought I might as well bring it. The Shocking will work better at night too – adding more volume than the original formula. That combined with the Colour Riche Couleur de Crayon (which can be used as either an eyeshadow or liner) should do.

As you know I adore a red lip so of course I’m going to bring a selection: sheer, matte, glossy, cherry, rosey. It just brings a whole look together, I think, and because I don’t like to wear accessories (see above sentence about it being super hot and sweaty), it works a charm.

Speaking of being sweaty and shiny (so attractive), the only product I’m going to carry around day-to-day, besides a lip colour, will be my Estee Lauder Invisible Powder Makeup.

Additional items include my MAC concealerNars blush in Liberté and Benefit Brow Zings. (If I have the time and want to/need to look presentable.

Then Bioderma Crealine to take it all off. Note to self: I know you can now buy these in Australia but it’s so much cheaper in European pharmacies. Stock up.

Travel-beauty-Moulin-Frock
Skincare

I normally use Dermalogica anyway so it makes sense to take the travel kit with me during my travels. Duh. I’m using the Dermalogica Normal/Dry Skin Kit, which comprises of the Special Cleansing Gel (a godsend), Multi-Active Toner, Skin Smoothing Cream, Gentle Cream Exfoliant (going to use it on my many plane rides and scare whoever has the misfortune of sitting next to me) and Intensive Eye Repair (because me no be sleeping in Europe). 

As I have previously written: “I cannot begin to explain how useful and life-changing hydrating mists and sprays” are. Seriously. Pop it in the fridge and then take it out when you become like Dora and explore – it’s the best feeling when you feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place and a mosh pit. I usually like to rotate a few around – including Caudalíe’s Eau de Beaute.

On the last trip one of my friends was really surprised and shocked to learn that I did not moisturise my body. So I’ve made it a habit since then to just slather on some kind of cream.

Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre is not just “some kind of cream” – it’s the shiz. So so good. One of the things I’m looking most forward to on this trip is going to a French pharmacy and buying 10 tubes. I’m not even kidding. I told my friend that him bringing this back for me last time was the best thing anyone’s ever done.

Just two weeks to go!