Honeymoon Trip: Post Four

(Another in a series about my honeymoon/first anniversary trip to Paris and London, taken from a journal kept on the trip.)

14 Sept. 2012
6:42 pm London time

Hello from London! Not much to really write about, as today was a pretty laid back day, all things considered.

The day started out early, as we had to catch a fairly early train to London. We hung around the hotel just long enough to snarf some breakfast … which we found out WASN’T free as we left. Dang near 50 euros for breakfast for the two of us for two days. I should have had about a gallon of oj and 30 croissants each morning for that price.

We checked out and bought our last metro ticket and hopped a train to Gare du Nord. Once there, half the escalators (or more) seemed to be broken, so Brandon groused the whole time (he had two of the three suitcases). Eventually, though, we got to where we needed to be, checked in, cleared customs, got our passports stamped and got on the train.

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The train ride from Paris to London was fairly uneventful. I was super tired and tried to nap, but was unsurprisingly (for me) unsuccessful. After a while, I just gave up and read my nook. In no time at all, we were in London ready to start the next part of our journey. We figured out where we needed to go, bought a one-way tube pass and hopped the Underground to Green Park and our hotel.

We found the hotel with very little difficulty and, as we were super early, left the bags and went to go get a bite to eat.

We also got few pounds out of an ATM. For lunch, we decided on Pret a Manger, essentially a coffee shop with grab and go sandwiches. I chose tuna and cucumber on a roll (tasty) with some fairly sketchy lemonade and Brandon had a ham and cheese toasty (warmed-up sammich – also tasty). After eating, we wandered back to the hotel and read a little until our room was ready.

When we got our room, we found out we were upgraded to a king deluxe room … possibly b/c of Dad’s uber-Hilton status, but most likely because we mentioned we were on our Honeymoon while checking in. Either way, upgrade for us!

Once in the hotel, we kind of died for a few hours, just relaxing and reading … but it felt super good. We probably could have stayed lazy all night … but our stomachs decided we needed food. We walked down toward Leicester Square before Brandon decided Hard Rock was probably our best option so we backtracked down that way.

At Hard Rock, Brandon had a burger and I had some chicken avocado club … so very touristy and American of us, but meh. Tasty food.

After dinner, we came back to the hotel where I’m currently writing from. We’ll probably just continue to have a lazy day, but I know we’ll have more adventures tomorrow!

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Honeymoon Trip: Post Three

(Another in a series about my honeymoon/first anniversary trip to Paris and London, taken from a journal kept on the trip.)

13 Sept. 2012
~ 9:15 pm Paris time

Another day in the books … and it was a long and eventful one!

I woke up pretty early – around 7:15, but probably didn’t end up getting out of bed until closer to 8. We got up, showered and got ready for the day. We ate the free hotel breakfast (oj, pastries, hard-boiled egg) and went off to explore …

… for five minutes in which case I realized I wasn’t going to be able to wear my fabulous heels because I have a slight ingrown right now. So back to my boots and then off to start the day.

We walked down the Champs-Elysees all the way down to the Louvre, stopping at the Place de la Concorde to take pictures of the obelisk. We saw a few runners in the Tuileries garden, but there were very few tourists. At the Louvre, we took a few photos of the glass pyramid in front,

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but decided not to pay the entrance fee. Instead, we took off walking. We found our way to the Left Bank and walked toward Notre Dame, seeing a cool padlock art demonstration

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on a bridge along the way. Once we saw l’Ile de Paris, we crossed the Pont Neuf on to the Ile and walked to Notre Dame. We took quite a few pictures of the cathedral both inside and out.

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After Notre Dame, we stopped for a quick sandwich and got a ham and cheese baguette to split which was awesome. We then hopped the metro and got off at Louvre-Rivoli. I was hoping to find the Christian Louboutin storefront to drool, but wasn’t quite successful. I did see a whole crapload of other shopping though on the Rue di Rivoli.

Unlucky with our search, we hopped back on the metro to Opera to check out the outside of the Opera Garnier and to walk to les Galeries-Lafayette, a ginormous department store that’s really more like its own mall. We had fun wandering around

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looking at lots of stuff we can’t afford. We also had a small conversation with one of the employees sampling chocolate and ran into one of my biggest pet peeves:

him: “where in the U.S. are you from?”
Brandon: “Colorado.”
him: “oh, Cowboy, right?”

ARGH! Colorado does not equal Cowboy! Silly European stereotypes. After ending our conversation, we went up on the rooftop terrace for arguably the best free view in Paris.

Afterward, we came back to the hotel for a few minutes to relax and decompress. Thinking about it now, I should have journaled some then. Made my life easier now. Oh well …

Break taken and us hungry, we took off down the Champs-Elysees for dinner/late lunch. We stopped at Pizza di Roma and had pizza (and fries) which was huge but delicious. Mmmm. We then proceeded to walk the Champs-Elysees, stopping in stores along the way, although we didn’t buy anything.

Once the shopping ran out, we decided to hit up the Eiffel Tower, so we hopped on the metro and wandered over. We got some pictures from further back

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and were walking toward the base when I decided I wanted our dino children in a photo. I go in my purse … and no dino children. I immediately start freaking out, tell Brandon who starts freaking out (slightly less so, though) and we head immediately back to the hotel, thinking of where we might have lost them.

As we got off at our stop, I think more certainly that they were in the room and thankfully, they were. I attack and hug them, as does Brandon. After a few minutes, we pack them up with us and head back to the Eiffel Tower, taking more pictures.

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We also snagged a Geocache. The first one we tried was a no go as the place we tried to get into was closed, but the second was a success. Woo hoo! We also grabbed some delicious ice cream while we were out.

After the Eiffel Tower, we headed back to the hotel, stopping at a pharmacy for some sleeping pills Brandon’s mom likes that you can only get over here. Then, back to the hotel to pack and journal as we have a fairly early wake-up call so we can catch a train to London!

I also almost forgot; after getting off the metro and before seeing the Opera and les Galeries-Lafayette, we stopped in a French Starbucks. The menu for drinks was very limited by comparison but OMG the pastry case was AWESOME. A few standards as well as warm pancakes and French toast. I tried the brioche pain perdu (French toast)

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and it was fabulous. Brandon had a very expensive cup of Anniversary and I had some hot chocolate. Our friend Jeremy collects the mugs so we got him both a Paris and a France mug … but the mini demitasse ones. We figured they were more European and thus cooler. The Starbucks also had a machine for making fresh-squeezed oj which I facebooked my manager about and asked if we could get it for our store. She said yes. Now to implement …

That’s all for today … be back tomorrow!

Honeymoon Trip: Post Two

(As I mentioned previously, this is in a series of posts about my September honeymoon/first anniversary trip to Paris and London, taken from the journal I kept on the trip.)

12 Sept. 2012
8:48 pm Paris time

France! We just wrapped up our first day here … though it was really more of a half-day, really. But let’s pick up where I left off …

Last time I wrote I was still on the flight to London. I didn’t end up watching anything else. I went through my 680 pg. InStyle (nice stuff in there, but $75 is not affordable, sorry. Not for all of us at least). So I went through that, listened to my iPod and then just read my nook.

Near the end of the flight, we got a small breakfast of a bread (chose a croissant), yogurt, fruit and meat and cheese. It was pretty good, actually.

We landed about 7 am, took no time to clear customs, got our bag to recheck it … and then had five hours to wait. We had two to wait before we could even check our bag again. So, we sat in an airport cafe wasting time (Brandon had an americano; me, a blueberry muffin). It was finally time to check in the bag – great! Let’s go through security! And now let’s sit … for another three hours. We seriously started running out of gas at this point.

During all this, we had no idea what gate we were going out of. They said that we’d find out at 12:15 … helpful, because our flight was at 12:35. But it got delayed until 1:05, so y’know.

After what seemed like FOREVER, we finally got on our flight to Paris. The flight was very uneventful because we slept through absolutely all of it.

After the flight, we collected our bag, got a few euros out of an ATM, paid a ridiculous amount of money for metro passes and got on a train from Orly into the city. While waiting for the train, I started to feel like passing out …probably because I hadn’t eaten anything in damn near 12 hours at that point (well, anything substantial). Therefore, I snarfed one of the emergency granola bars I had.

Once into the city, I got us off on the correct metro stop and almost got us to our hotel – I was just on the wrong side of the Champs-Elysees. We checked in to the Hotel Mayflower (ironically the same hotel we stayed in during the great Spisak family vacation of 1998), freshened up, changed and went right back out.

Dinner was at Leon de Bruxelles, a mussel joint I ate at with Genevieve last time I was in Paris back in 2001. Brandon had steak-frites (which were tasty) and I had moules (and frites), which were also good.

After dinner, we strolled down the Champs-Elysees for a while, rolling our eyes at a snazzy Abercrombie and Fitch

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before hopping the metro again near the Tuileries. We took it up to essentially near Montmartre or Paris’s true red light district – the Moulin Rouge … like, eleventy-billion sex shops were right off the metro stop.

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The reason we came up that way was to check out the Musee l’Erotisme. It was a seven-story building that essentially housed an erotic art collection – think erotic art museum. The first three floors were full of sexual/erotic artifacts, the middle floor was essentially a history of Parisian brothels, which was super cool and the last three floors were exhibits of more current work (which was … meh).

It was kind of cool, but not sure if it was ultimately worth the price of admission.

Afterwards, we wandered into one of the sex shops … and saw actual bestiality DVDs. Which I’m pretty sure are illegal stateside, as I’ve never seen them. Which I’m fine with.

To cleanse ourselves, we hit up a crepe stand – me for nutella and Brandon for nutella and bananas. Crepes in hand,

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we walked to the next metro stop, hopped on, got off near l’Arc de Triomphe, took some pictures,

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and went back to the hotel, where you find me now.

Sleepy time fo’ realz now, homies. Be back later.