Monthly Archives: March 2015

Europe Day Four… 12 hours in PARIS!

We spent less than 12 hours in Paris.

We got on a train at 5am.

A two hour train ride and we arrived in Paris.

Walked around for 12 hours.

A two hour train nap took us back to our London home.

We were already beyond exhausted, luckily we paid for this trip in advance otherwise I feel like we would have said, “Eh, we’ll see Paris another time.”  But all in all, I’m glad we went.

Not for the weather.  Not for the warm welcoming locals.  Not for the super lack of public bathrooms. But for everything Paris is stereotypically (but oh so truthfully) known for… The architecture, the food, the wine, the cheese, the Eiffel Tower.

We were famished when we arrived and luckily had closer to an american breakfast (with eggs) than we had so far.  If you’ve ever eaten a real French croissant: you will die, go to heaven, come back, eat another (or two), and then never eat a croissant from any other country, baker, or croissant maker again.

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Notre Dame.  Uh!Maze!ing.  Spectacular.  Worthy of only one word descriptive sentences apparently.  The detail was intense.  And Mass was definitely being held while hundreds of people were shuffling through being touristy, which felt a bit intrusive and rude, but apparently its appropriate.

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Is it just me or does the shadow on that wall look like a person with a hunchback?  I don’t remember why I took that photo.  Maybe it was because I saw the shadow.  But seriously.  Common.  Thats just too coincidental.

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Hello, Parisian streets.  You are looking very Paris-like today.

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The Luvre, which is all too fun to pronounce LooVray (no disrespect, Paris, but its good to have a bit of humor in your life.)

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We went inside for all of maybe 2 hours.  It would take you DAYS to see everything inside.  But we were on a time limit.  The pyramid behind hubby, Jay, and C here was actually the entrance.  You take steps underground through the floor of the pyramid and it opens up to an bottom floor and then take steps up to each wing.  It’s crazy.

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I think we were a bit slap happy at this point because for some reason we spent an awful long time hanging out in this area doing nothing but being obtrusive spectators.  haha

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And finally we head on in.  This is the stair case you descend from, the elevator was even more cool as it was just a cylinder you stood on the top of and it just drops down into the floor.  I can’t explain it, I don’t know why I didn’t take pictures of it.  It was very techy and genius though.

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We went in, we saw what we needed to see… and we left.  Good ol’ Mona.  It was small, protected behind a crazy amount of bullet proof, UV proof, air controlled glass, and the room was crowded.  So this is as good as this picture gets.

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And then we ate.  Devine.

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The next piece of this trip needs no introduction…

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The closer we got, the bigger it got.  You may be thinking, “well, duh, thats kind of how perspective works right.”  No, but seriously.  There is no number, no scale, no description, no words that can put this into the correct and accurate perspective for those who haven’t seen it. It is just amazing… the size is incredible.

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This is just one of the legs standing underneath.  There are four elevators from the ground.  Each go up into the legs.  Then you have the first platforms you can stop at.  The last stop is the tippy tippy top, which also has two platforms.  The first two platforms have inside stores, a restaurant, cafes, all inside and then outside is you can walk all the way around in the open air.  The tip top has an inside observation deck and the a small staircase up where you can actually go up to another deck.

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This is standing directly underneath looking up.  Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 10.45.25 AM

So much fear in C’s eyes.  haha The height is no joke, and to actually be next to the fencing was not an easy task.  This photo was taken by Sven actually – he took my camera up to the tippy top when he and C went.  I eventually talked Hubby into going up there with me, we just made it to the first tippy top observation deck.

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At one point we lost B and Jay, they didn’t go up in the tower at all.  WE came back down and they had disappeared.  We paid a cabby 10 euro to use his phone to call them and they had headed back to the train without us.  I guess we spent more time up there than we thought.  After a few photos we high tailed it back to the train station and made it just in time.

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Thanks Paris, for the day.  It was exhausting and exhilarating.  And I think I gained 10 pounds, which I know you don’t approve of – but why do you make your food so dang good!

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London England – Day 3… Very Belated

So I’ve had computer issues.  I’ve had work issues.  I’ve had health issues.  But I couldn’t let this trip go unshared, the stories untold, or the pictures undone.  So lets just pretend I’m still there, blogging from a tiny hotel room in Europe, sharing all of this loveliness with you…

We spent most of our last full day in London at the Tower of London.  Google the history and you’ll be amazed.  Basically a tiny city within the city surrounded by stone walls, self sufficient, and the ability to protect itself.  The architecture was gorgeous, the history was mind blowing, and yes, we got to walk into each of those towers because the preservation over hundreds of years old was near pristine.  The jewels of the royal family is also held here – no cameras allowed – but the biggest diamonds I’ve ever seen, most of it way too gawdy for me… not saying I wouldn’t indulge if I was royalty.

There is even a story behind the ravens of London.  Mostly just legend, but none the less, they’ve been raised at the tower for hundreds of years and are seen to protect the crown.  Legend says should the crows ever leave, the crown will fall and London will follow.  That’s a lot of pressure for some birds.

But!  Let me tell you, these birds are no joke.  They no doubt walk around within the tower walls like they own the place, with all the confidence a raven could have.  They are the largest ravens I’ve ever seen, and smart too.  This little kid must have been munching on crisps or something before he stuck his hand back into his mitten before losing it… whatever was in it the raven was going at it with ease and diligence.

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Within the castle walls…

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Everyone wants me to carry the camera kit and take the pictures… but its like pulling teeth trying to get anyone to cooperate when it comes to them being in the photos…

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I’m pretty sure I tripped, tucked, rolled, and got right back up on my feet right after taking this photo (camera unharmed!).  I can only laugh about my clumsiness, though slightly embarrassing.  Week ankles, unsupportive shoes, small feet, I just really don’t know.  I’d like to blame it on the uneven cobblestone ground that is everywhere in Europe.

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Changing of the guard was fun, and loud, and a bit abrasive…   Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 10.15.30 PM

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I’m a little bit weird when it comes to history and torture chambers and such.  Don’t judge.  I can’t explain it… but this was on of the towers they kept prisoners.  Messages were etched into the stone and still stand in that condition.  You can read some of the confessions or confirmations of the innocence.  Of course we ran out of time before I got to see all of the good stuff… like the actual devices used.

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Part of the original materials used when the tower was being erected.Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 10.16.21 PM

The London Bridge stands outside the walls, but the view is phenomenal.  Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 10.16.27 PM

Hubby likes stained glass.  It’s a quiet obsession, I know and it was everywhere within the tower.Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 10.16.35 PM

There were a few cheesy re-enactors for tourists amusement.  But this guy was good at playing…

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Ever wonder how many times you show up in other people’s photos?

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A very ominous and mysterious photo of B.

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So we ate at The Swan which is one of Hubby’s favorite places to go in London.  Fun Fact: way back when, pubs, restaurants, etc were named after animals because the animals could be drawn.  The photo would identify the establishment and would be easily identifiable to the illiterate.  I hope you can read the sign (not a illiterate joke – more of a photo in web-quality)… again with the history.

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continue: operation Europe mind blown… watch for more posts soon (sooner than the soonest, I promise).