Road Trip Spain: Costa Brava – Day 1

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Spain road trip, the Costa Brava, reviews Spain hotels,

Last week, my sisters and I had the great idea to rent a car from the Barcelona South train station and drive up the coast to France.  This coast, called the Costa Brava -aka wild coast- was even more beautiful than I had expected.  This time of year, we were able to find killer deals on some pretty stunning hotels.

Hoping on the A-9, we headed up the coast, stopping along any seaside towns we pleased.  After a couple hours we arrived at our first hotel, the Silken Park Hotel Sant Jorge, whose view is pictured above and below.  This hotel was spectacular in every sense of the word:  Breathtaking views, gorgeous landscapes of the rocky coast, and great service (and drinks!).  Our breakfast was included with the price of the hotel (which was 79 Euro), but for dinner, we ventured off to Sant Antoni de Calonge.

There we found El Galeo, a tapas restaurant, which is the true Spanish experience.  Capas – or passed tapas- are popular in this area and all over Spain.  The trick to this type of restaurant is to start off small.  Before you take a table, grab a couple tapas from the counter and then take your seat.  As the night progresses the servers will bring out served tapas fresh from the kitchen, and trust me, as the night goes on the tapas get better!  After my sisters and I were stuffed full of food, and finished a bottle of wine, we were shocked to find our tab only came to 30 Euro!

We topped off the night with some girl talk in our 3-bed hotel room over another bottle of wine (now THAT is a funny story, but one I can only tell in person!) and fell asleep, dreaming of what adventures the Costa Brava would hold for us tomorrow.

Snap shots from the day:

Natalie Grinnell Travel Blog Spain Costa Brava Hotels on the coast of Spain, Spain blogger, American in Europe, Blogger

IMG_5006 IMG_5005 IMG_4800 Natalie Grinnell Travel Blog Spain Costa Brava Hotels on the coast of Spain, Spain blogger, American in Europe, Blogger Natalie Grinnell Travel Blog Spain Costa Brava Hotels on the coast of Spain, Spain blogger, American in Europe, Blogger Natalie Grinnell Travel Blog Spain Costa Brava Hotels on the coast of Spain, Spain blogger, American in Europe, Blogger Natalie Grinnell Travel Blog Spain Costa Brava Hotels on the coast of Spain, Spain blogger, American in Europe, Blogger Natalie Grinnell Travel Blog Spain Costa Brava Hotels on the coast of Spain, Spain blogger, American in Europe, Blogger Natalie Grinnell Travel Blog Spain Costa Brava Hotels on the coast of Spain, Spain blogger, American in Europe, BloggerMusical Motivation: Jason Mraz: 93 Million Miles from Jeff Coffman on Vimeo.

My Must-Try New(ish) Restaurant in NYC

Rosemarys NYC Miss Social Blog 1

Rosemary’s

Neighborhood: Greenwich Village

Address: 18 Greenwich Ave, NYC 10011

Why I love this place:  3 words: PROSECCO ON TAP.  Need I say more?

What to get: You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but I especially love starting with a round of focaccia (try all 4 types) for the table.   If you really want something interesting, try the Octopus salami.  For a main course, the lamb and steak are delicious, but my favorite is ordering the Linguine with a side of shrimp and a pinch of chili pepper, and mixing them all together.  It will blow your mind.

Be sure to check out their rooftop garden where the grow all the vegetables for the restaurant.

Rosemarys NYC Miss Social Blog 2

Rosemarys NYC Miss Social Blog 3

Images via RosemarysNYC.com

Claude Monet’s Home & Garden at Giverny- Vernon, France

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Today I had the humbling experience of visiting the home and gardens of Claude Monet.

Getting there was quite an undertaking.  After hours of waiting for trains, then changing trains, and waiting for busses, this is what I found to be the best way to get there (by public transportation):

1. Take the metro to Gare St. Lazare.

2. Purchase a SNCF ticket to Vernon from the Billets desk.

3. Board the 45-minute train to Vernon.

4. Once you arrive in Vernon, check the Giverny bus transit times.  I had to wait 45 minutes for the bus, which gave me an opportunity to have an espresso and make friends with other people traveling to Giverny.  The bus to Giverny is 8 Euro round trip.

You can also walk (1 hour), take a taxi (15 minutes, 15 Euros each way), or ride a bike (rentals available in the cafe across the street from the train station for 14 Euros for the whole day).

It may seem a little complicated, but believe me, it is well worth it.  Here are just a few of my photos from walking around the Monet estate:

Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France Claude Monet's house and garden at Giverny in Vernon, France.  Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Travel Blog Paris France IMG_4126

Be sure to check the Giverny website before planning your trip, as it is closed from November-March.

American in Paris.

Bonjour!

I arrived in Paris yesterday morning around 8am.  I’ve packed for 3 months (optimistically) so getting from Charles de Gaulle to the apartment where I’m staying with my friend Nora was quite a trek.  By noon I was all settled and my new strategy for jet lag actually worked!  This new strategy being to stay up all night before my flight, then sleep the entire 9 hour flight.

Nora had to go to work, so I set off the explore this familiar city.  My first stop, as always, was Montmartre, my favorite part of town.

IMG_3891 IMG_3910 IMG_3915I came back around 6pm and took a short nap, and then went to the theater to see Woody Allen’s latest, Blue Jasmine, which was by far the most depressing film I’ve seen in a while.  But it was in English, which was a welcomed break from spending all day reading my French-English dictionary.

I’m here for a little over a week…what are you suggestions for things I should do?

 

Happy 4 years!

natalie-grinnell-san francisco barcelona spain travel blogger

4 years ago I decided to take a new approach on life: To view my life as an adventure…one worth writing about.  So I registered misssocial.wordpress.com and made sure my life and travels would be something worth reading.

Writing in my blog gives my life a sort-of accountability.  Ever since that first blog post I’ve lived in sync with this motto: If you don’t know what to do, go with what makes the better story.  I’ve never looked back, and I’ve had countless adventures with friends all over the world.  Here are just a few of my favorite memories over the past 4 years.  Some are exciting, some are heart breaking.  But they are my memories, and you’ve been there for all of them…

My first apartment.

Discovering my true love was travel.

The day I got back from a trip to LA where I met my first love.

My first San Francisco apartment.

When I began to doubt my decision to leave my home town and move to the big city.

Traveling in Istanbul.

Turning 25.

The best advice I’ve every received.

When I decided to move to Europe.

The most romantic trip I’ve ever been on, with my love.

When my love and I broke up, and I was completely broken.

When my sister and I jetted off to Paris to cure my blues.

When I got my shit together.

When I left my 9-5 to completely devote myself to Studio 41.

The new plan.

The article that changed my life, The regrets of the dying.

And, now, I’m moving to Spain.

Thank you so much for sticking with me through all my ups and downs.  I invite you to stay for the next chapter…Life in Barcelona.

2 weeks from today…

Two weeks from today I will be embarking on my biggest adventure yet: Traveling throughout Europe for 2 1/2 months.

Two weeks from today I’ll arrive in Paris, France for a week of non-stop preparation for a client event, The French International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC), where I will be doing PR and social media for The McLoughlin Gallery.  [You can follow my journey at the art fair on the McLoughlin Gallery Twitter, Instagram, and blog.]

Paris Travel Blog France Europe Miss Social

Paris Travel Blog France Europe Miss Social

After a week in Paris, I will traveling to Spain, to realize my dream of living in Barcelona.  As of right now, my return flight is not decided on, but I intend of living in Spain for at least 2 months, all the while running my business from my balcony over looking Las Ramblas.

Barcelona Travel Blog Spain Europe Miss Social 2 Barcelona Travel Blog Spain Europe Miss Social 1

I’ve loved Antoni Gaudí’s works since I first saw them pictured in a travel magazine.  Then, a few years ago I traveled to Barcelona to see his brilliant works in person.  They were even more interesting and colorful than any photo I had seen before.  Since that first trip to Barca, it has been my dream to live amongst the vibrant art and colorful people that fill the city limits.

Gaudí Barcelona Spain Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Blog 2

I have 3 goals of this trip:

1. To practice my Spanish.

I’ve taken over 5 years of Spanish throughout my high school and college education, but years have past seen I’ve been conversational in the language.  I’m hoping that these months in Spain will allow me to become at least conversational again, if not fluent.

2. To devote a significant time to exploring, reading, and writing.

I already have friends in Barcelona that are preparing various activities for us to do while in Spain, but I’m also planning to get some exploring done on my own.  I’m anxious to take weekend trips to visit friends in various places all over Europe including Italy, France, Germany, and other places, although these are conditional on how safe I feel and my work load.

Among the authors I will be studying this trip are Hemingway, Mark Twain, Joseph Grinnell, and Gertrude Stein.  Seeing a trend? That’s because although I’ll be living in Europe, I want to delve into the minds of the great American authors and explorers that have inspired my travels.

3. To decide what I really want and need out of life.

Is it time for me to settle down or keep pressing forward exploring the earth?  Or maybe I’ll decide that it’s best not to decide?    Maybe after being away from home, I’ll find that I don’t want to be anywhere else besides with those that I love.  All I know is that I want to enter this adventure with an open mind and an open heart, and see where that leads me.  After all, travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection. -Lawrence Durrell

Follow my adventure here by subscribing (enter your email to the right) and on Instagram (@MissSocialSF).

Stay tuned!

Not all who wander are lost.

New York City Travel Blog World Travel Miss Social

For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamed of traveling all over the world.  My dream was not  to spend 4 years in college, only to work in an office 300 days a year.  It was to be a writer and photographer; to bring faraway places into the homes and minds of those people who were working in offices; in skyscrapers far above the roads they weren’t traveling on.

When I was around 20 years old, I tried to talk my best friend into going to Europe with me.  We were riding in the car with our mothers at the time.  My mother backed me up, exclaiming the great adventures we would have together as single, young women in such beautiful places as Paris, Venice, and Monaco.  Seeing my friends excitement, her mother immediately shut the idea down, saying that we should wait until we were married and then would have our husbands protect us as we travelled.   My mother gave me the look to let this one go, as though she could tell my strong opinions were about to boil over.

When we stopped for gas, my mother got out of the car, and I immediately spoke up.  “I’ve been traveling for years.  It’s not about having a husband to protect you, it’s about being smart; about watching over each other and looking out for yourself.”  My friends mother responded that she didn’t want her daughter to have the same outlook on travel that I had; which was (in her opinion) that I had no home, and that I don’t develop any lasting relationships because I’m never anywhere long enough to.

At the time I was too enraged by her ignorant comment to respond, but now I realize that no response would have been better than J. R. R. Tolkien’s, Not all who wander are lost.  That is the only explanation needed, and that anyone who doesn’t understand the meaning of that quote is, simply, not worth trying to defend myself to.

I know what traveling has meant in my life.  Experiencing cultures and meeting people from all over the world- even just the small fraction that I’ve experienced- has changed my life.  I have great friends that live thousands of miles away and we have memories together that are now etched in my heart that I will always cherish.

For some, ignorance is bliss.  For me, true bliss is opening up as much of myself as I possibly can before my tiny fraction of time on this earth is up.

My advice for someone who does not yet know themselves: Travel.  If you can’t afford to travel yet, then read as much about the world as you can, and meet as many people as you can, especially older ones, and listen to their stories.  You can only grow from this.

Last Days of Summer in San Francisco

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Happy Travel Tuesday!

For the second week in a row, I’m writing to you from the city.  I was able to head home to San Clemente for a few days last week, but alas, I am back in the city I so dearly love.  I just can’t leave you, San Francisco.

Yesterday, I had the honor of shooting with Cheshire Issacs again (see our nightlife shoot here and our city portrait shoot here).  The theme for this shoot was San Francisco Glamour, so we headed to famous spots throughout the city: The Fairmont Hotel, Fort Point, Coit Tower, and North Beach.   Below are a few behind-the-scenes type shots Mary, the photography assistant, took from her point of view (iPhone 4S).

I can’t wait to see the prints in a few days!  In the meantime, I’m headed to Kauai tomorrow, so I’ll be showing postcards from my trip along the way.  As always, follow me on Instagram for the latest photos.

San Francisco Photo Shoot Cheshire Dave Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Best Blogs San Francisco San Francisco Photo Shoot Cheshire Dave Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Best Blogs San Francisco San Francisco Photo Shoot Cheshire Dave Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Best Blogs San Francisco San Francisco Photo Shoot Cheshire Dave Natalie Grinnell Miss Social Best Blogs San Francisco

San Francisco at Night - Miss Social - Best Blog San Francisco

Musical Motivation: Last Days of Summer in San Francisco – Matt Nathanson… I wish there was a music video for this song!

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