Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Honeymoon: Paris Part 2

On our second full day in Paris we decided to take the train to Versailles and tour the Palace of Versailles. It was a surprisingly easy place to reach. The train drops you off about 2 blocks from the Palace. Words don't really do it justice. My pictures don't do it justice either but here you go....






The flowers in early spring.



 This is the Queen's Hamlet. A nice little place for the kids to play.....

 I was in love with all of the daffodils! They were beautiful and they were everywhere in Paris and London!

In the low season the gardens are free so people would be jogging, dog walking, bike riding and leisurely reading the news paper in the gardens. How fun!

We had such a lovely time on our Honeymoon!

Some observations from the trip:


There were many more panhandlers in Paris than I've seen anywhere else. It was amazing how many people found gold rings around us and randomly walked up to us trying to block our way asking us in a French accent if we speak English.

We did not find the rumor of the super rude French to be true at all. Everyone we dealt with were kind and friendly.

Museums are free in London, churches are not (the famous ones at least).

France has great Pizza!

Chips as in Fish n Chips are best from a Fish n Chips shop. Real chips are not the same as fries.

Unless you are at a fancy hotel, your Continental breakfasts are probably not very good in London or in Paris. Luckily in Paris there are pastries on every corner it seems.

London's public transportation is very expensive but it's easy to use. Paris's is cheaper and just as easy to get around with.

London was a much trendier place fashion wise.The Parisians had a much simpler style.

I packed lighter than I ever have and wore everything! It's a first!




So did I miss anything big?

Anyone been to Paris and London? Which did you like more?

You can read about the rest of the trip here, here, and here.


Talk to you later!

Josie

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Honeymoon: Paris Part 1

Paris is where we started our honeymoon trip. It was lovely! The bread is better than I imagined and the croissants melted in my mouth! We had a croissant when we went to London and it was rock hard. It will be hard to eat a non Parisian croissant again! We walked down the Seine river over and and over again (thinking "we're strolling around in PARIS"), drank French wine, and had delish pizza!

London felt like it had so much to do and was a busy and happening place. Paris was much more relaxed.

While in Paris we walked, admired, ate, drank, and smiled till our hearts were content.

Here is a rundown of some of the things we got to do in the city.


We hiked up to see the Sacré-Cœur. It was beautiful. We were staying in Montmartre so every morning when we walked to the end of the street that our hotel was on to the main drag we could look to the left and see this beautiful Basilica. On our way home we would get to see it all lit up and gleaming at night.
We saw first at the Basilica, then the Eiffel Tower and at Notre Dame French soldiers walking around holding guns. It seemed like the norm to the passers by but it kind of put me on edge.
In Paris they had all of these beautiful flower shops with immaculate flowers displayed outside.
The Moulin Rouge was underwhelming. It was near where we were staying so we didn't have to go too far out of our way to see it.
The Acr de Triomphe was much bigger than I had expected.
I am in love with the square trees. These were on the Champs-Élysées. We also saw some at Château de Versailles.

Me nerding out overlooking the Seine river and Eiffel Tower.
We went to a market and got some cheese, fruit, wine and bread in an effort to have a picnic under the Eiffel Tower. Note to self, bring a blanket next time. We ended up on a bench so we were close to our plans. Below is E sneaking bites of bread on our walk.
You might have seen this thing before!

I am going to admit that I am a total tourist. I don't have to do all of the touristy things but I do get excited at seeing the monuments that you've seen all your life in person. I was a total nerd about seeing the Eiffel Tower. We didn't go to the top. For some reason I wasn't really interested in it. I was just exciting to have it as the backdrop while exploring the city.
Seine River
Were weren't sure what these locks were for. They had names on them and people were selling them but we never did find out what exactly the significance they had.
I was so disappointed that we didn't get to go to the Musee d'Orsay. I just wanted to run in a see a few things so we kept trying to go at the end of the day and it kept closing earlier than it's posted times. Guess I will just have to go back to Paris someday!

We did make it to the Lourve and saw Miss Lisa.


Here is E at Notre Dame. The inside of this Cathedral is may favorite of all the churches I have visited. We were treated to a choral performance when we were there. It was breathtakingly beautiful.

We took a night cruise down the Seine. I definitely recommend it! We loved it! I got giddy when the Eiffel Tower started to sparkle!

I will be back later with Part 2.

Talk to you later!

Josie

Thursday, April 21, 2011

DIY: Wall Art

I am not a fancy photographer by any stretch of imagination but I love to take pictures! We redid our small guest bathroom and to decorate it I framed black and white pictures from our trip to Italy. I placed them on the wall as the wall art. I felt it turned out really well since the wall color is so bright. The bright color and the black and white photos really pop off each other. For our living room I have been dreaming of having various pictures of the Eiffel Tower over my chair. With the trip to Paris I got to finally get it done!

Unfortunately my little non fancy point and shot camera wasn't working very well. It kept wanting to zoom in half way, so I didn't get exactly what I had planned but I think it turned out OK.

I'm not certain about the height of it but I'm getting used to it. I also put large pictures from the trip on the other side of the pass thru.

Normally I just go in and try to hang the pictures free style but I decided to not try and make myself crazy; so I made templates.

It was especially good since the frames had these annoying hangers....

I first taped together printer paper to make big enough patterns but then I realized newspaper would be easier, lighter, and less wastefull.

I taped everything to the wall (make sure you mark the hanger point first)

Then I hammered the nails thru the paper and then removed the paper.

This picture doesn't make them look slightly off but the level says they are correct!



This side also looks off in the picture.


 I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. Fairly inexpensive personal artwork!

I think I might change out some of the bigger ones and add a few from Italy. Spread a little Italian around the house.

Talk to you later!

Josie



Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Honeymoon: London Part 2

We had so much fun in London. You can see what we did inside the city here. On our last full day in England we headed outside of the city on a guided tour. This is the first tour of this sort I've ever done. I normally like to roam around myself and get lost several times. This tour basically took you to and from places and then when you get there you can explore on your own. We had a great experience with it. Here is where we went.

Windsor Castle

The Queen's (or the sovereign's as they say in these parts) weekend shack. We got to see the changing of the guard during which the military band played Earth Wind and Fire's Say that you Remember, I'm not kidding. The church on site was very interesting as well and had many former Kings and Queen's buried inside including Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, the Queen's mom and dad and our (America's) last King.







We got to wander around the castle a little bit and see all of the imperial treasures amassed by the royal family. 

Bath

I really wish we had had more time in this sweet little city. It's in the beautiful rolling hills of the English countryside. The reason for the trip to Bath was to see the Roman baths. It's so amazing to me that the ground builds up around ancient buildings so much so that you build on top of them and have no idea that they are there.

Nerd alert! I also got to see where Jane Austin lived in Bath!


Stonehenge 

This is the whole reason we went on this little bus tour. You can take a train to Windsor and to Bath but not to Stonehenge. I was thrilled to get to see it! It's just in a field across from a field of sheep. People drive by it everyday like it's no big deal. Seemed a little odd to me but it was exciting to see it.




Like I said earlier I don't really do the organized tours but this one was really good. Our guide was amazing. This is what he looked like. 

Normally he would also have a long black umbrella hung on his arm as well. This is not his uniform, he just likes to dress this way. He knew everything about everything and had everyone laughing the entire trip. He was able to point out man made hills and old chalk drawings on the sides of hills, the oldest jail cell in the UK (it's a little round thing on the side of a road) and why they were there. Things we would have missed if we were just driving by. He could also give you pub recommendations and let you know which tube station to get off at to get back to your hotel. If all guides were this good I would probably go on more tours.


London had great shopping and for the most part really friendly people. It was a really expensive city. Plus the fact that we are getting around 60 cents on the dollar didn't help. But it was worth it for sure. There is so much to do and learn in London. I would love to go back and shop more, (even with the weak dollar) go to the Tate Modern, and visit a few more places outside the city.

What do you guys think? Did I miss anything super fun and cool?

I'll be back with some pictures from Paris later.

Talk to you later!

Josie



Honeymoon: London Part 1











E and I had a lovely time in London. We tried to fit in as much as possible but there is too much to do! (Please excuse some of the missing pictures. I took way too many and with the way I had to transfer the pictures I can only see them if I preview each one.) Here's some of what we did get done.

Downing Street

Can't really see number 10 from the street, at least not with the gates closed. 

Trafalgar Square/National Gallery

This is where Londoners like to gather to ring in New Years for this view (so I'm told).






This is also where they are counting down to the 2012 Olympics!


Most of the museums in London are free including this one. We went in for a quick look. They have paintings from da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Cezanne, Monet, van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Botticelli to name a few.

Tower of London

I love history so this was fun for me. The first part of the castle was built in 1066. It has a moat, twisty stair cases, and jewels, just like I imagined castles would in my younger days. We took a guided tour which was fun since the guides are funny. I don't have many pictures from the Tower of London since I was so interested in everything. I didn't really think to take any pictures. The one place I really wanted to take a picture of was in the chapel but they don't allow it. 

Tower Bridge

We drover across the bridge and got to see it up close. It is really beautiful.

Westminster Abbey

You know what I found out when I arrived in London? They are having some fancy wedding here at the end of April. I think it's a good choice of location. I also found out that they charge you to go into the churches. The museums are free but not the churches. The complete opposite of what I've found everywhere else I've gone.

Parliament

This is a stunning building. The inside is beautiful as well. We didn't get a full tour of it but we did get to get some snazzy badges made and go watch the House of Commons debate. I'm nerdy so I thought it was really cool.


Buckingham Palace

We went in the evening and I pretended that the one light on in the front is the castle was in the Queen's room. I gave her a quick wave. It's a cool place to see since it's the Queen's main residence but it's not that interesting of a place to see visually, at least to me. 

Thames River

We took a little cruise down the river got to see the Globe Theater and enjoyed the city from a different perspective.



Hyde Park

Yeah that's for real. Riders with top hats taking a morning trot thru the park.


This is most of what we saw in the city. I will be back with what we did when we took a little trip outside the city.

Talk to you later!

Josie
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