Sunday, May 8, 2011

Paris.... (a.k.a. Eat)!!!!

The first leg of my most excellent vacation was Paris (make sure you pronounce it properly as you read : pah wee making a hocking sound between the two syllables)!!!!
Getting there was half the fun! We were able to upgrade to the first class cabin. Which meant we got the sleeper pods. They were so cool and comfortable and did I say cool??!!!!
And the food was divine! One of the best steaks I've ever had!

Of course, little did I know that the food was gonna just keep getting better and better!!

Here are my traveling companions upon arrival in the City of Light walking in front of what will soon become our favorite sidewalk cafe for breakfast!

Featuring such delicious items as....

The best almond croissant in all of Paris and beyond!!
* (and we should know, we tried a few)*

The liquid almond center just came oozing out!!!

And don't forget about the best waffle I've ever eaten!
And the hot chocolate comes very rich, dark and unsweetened served with sugar cubes to you can sweeten to taste!

And now for something completely different.....

The salads were divine. The Chez salad comes with usually toast and goat cheese atop. Or in the case of this one below a crepe with goat cheese inside grilled to perfection making the cheese warm!!

The one below right wasn't actually in Paris but in the South of France on the second leg of our journey but I thought I'd group it in here with these other Chez salads.
And.... the French Onion Soup MUST be mentioned

Ahhhh yes.... Paris was grand!!!! How can I ever explain just how wonderful it was!!!!
Oh! I almost forgot....
The sights!!!!!

The Seine River
It winds through the middle of the city
We took a scenic boat ride that began right before sunset so we got the best of both worlds. We saw the beauty of the city and the river both day and night!

The Eiffel Tower
It was awe inspiring. We spent several hours sitting at the base of the beautiful structure on the lawn taking pictures and people watching!!
This was the view of the Eiffel from our boat ride!

The Louvre

Such beauty and history inside these walls!!

How lucky we were to have experienced springtime in Paris! I will never forget you!!

I want to end each section with travel tips. So... here are my recommendations for Paris:
  • Paris is an easy city to get around. When choosing a hotel all you need to remember is to just book something close to the river. You can walk almost anywhere in the city. But the public transportation system is easy. Between the bus and metro (subway) you can get anywhere.
  • We enjoyed walking because then you don't miss anything. Comfortable shoes - a must!
  • The best part was walking by all of the patisserie's and grabbing a pastry or sandwich on the run! You can usually eat for under $5 a meal that way or under $10 at most sidewalk cafe's. If you are tired of walking by all means sit down and relax while you eat and watch the people go by. Just know that you will be sitting there at least 2 hours. The service there is very slow. But not in a bad way. The French (unlike us Americans) know how to relax and enjoy a meal! So the waiter's over there assume you want to spend the afternoon (morning/evening) visiting at your table. So, to avoid that just grab a bite on the run! But don't always avoid that. Relax!!!!! After all, YOU'RE ON VACATION!!!!!!!!
  • Macaroon's - another must!
  • A baguette, some goat cheese and a grassy area make for a fun afternoon!
  • Make sure you take a boat ride on the river. You can see almost all the sights from there!
  • I was surprised at how inexpensive things were there. From the hotel to the food.
  • The French people: very, very nice! Despite the reputation that they are not! I got some very good advise from a friend before I left that if you start every conversation with "Hello" "How are you" and "If you please" (in French, of course) then you will find them to be very helpful. And that was so true. Everyone we asked was very, very willing to help us with directions or suggestions or anything else we needed. Some going way out of their way to show us where we should go. Some offering assistance without us even asking. I guess we just looked helpless! smiley face So...
  • Figure out how to say the above phrases and you should be fine. Maybe even invest in a pocket size English to French conversational handbook. We didn't but we were fine for the most part.
  • And, if you have the opportunity.......... Get out of the city! After seeing all the sights of beautiful Paris (if you are able to) don't forget to check out the beautiful countryside in the southern part of France. The Provence is breathtaking!!! (Which leads you in to my next post coming soon!!)
  • If I think of anything else I will continue to add to this list ......

Thursday, May 5, 2011

planes... trains.... and automobiles...

...would be what I could call the trip I just went on.
Or I could call it ... EAT,PLAY,EAT!!!
Either way it was magnificent!! We first flew to PARIS where we spent 3 days seeing the sights of that grand city. Then took a train to the SOUTH OF FRANCE to stay with friends. While we were there they were kind enough to let us borrow their car so we could spend a few days driving through the beautiful PROVENCE.
We then took another train to BARCELONA, SPAIN. It more than exceeded our expectations! Then alas, we flew back home to the real world.
I don't think I can cover it all in one post so I won't even try.
I think I'll break it up into 3 separate posts for each of the 3 places we stayed.
But for now... here are some of the highlights and lowlights:
Lowlights(from the beginning)....
  • The weather forecast said rain pretty much everyday.
  • Angie didn't make the flight to Philly (it got full-we were standby)
  • Angie's luggage didn't make it to Paris.
  • Our hotel in Paris was under renovation.

  • The free wi-fi didn't make it all the way up to the 4th floor so we had to sit in the lobby everynight to get online.
  • The first night we got to the gelato shop 10 minutes after it closed.
  • We got to Laudaree's 2 minutes after it closed.
  • Meals take forever because the service is so slow!!!!
  • Our train to Spain was delayed causing us to misconnect.
  • Our taxi didn't show up to take us to the train station.
  • Our hotel was 'just minutes' from the wrong train station.
  • We didn't get to actually touch RPatz.
  • Our trip came to an end.

Now for the highlights...
  • We had perfect weather every single day!!!!!!!!
  • Angie made it to Philly in time for our flt to Paris!!!
  • We got first class on our flt to Paris!!!
  • Angie's bag made it the next day!!!!
  • Our hotel in Paris was great!!!

  • We got plenty of Gelato while there!!
  • We got macaroons from Laudaree's!!
  • The food was to die for!!!!!!!
  • We got to the train station just in time, everytime!!!!!!
  • We found a great hotel the second night in Barcelona!!!
  • Arrived home safe and sound!!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Owls and things!!!!

So I have recently gotten into 2 things..... OWLS and GARAGE SALE-ing!
The owl thing started on my Virginia Beach last fall when I found this cute owl pitcher at a little shop in Williamsburg. Had to buy it! Had to display it! Which means I tore down my upper cabinets in my kitchen and put up open shelving. Yes... by myself!

Then..... I saw this cute OWL cookie jar on Modern Family and found it at Anthropologie. I WANT IT!!!!!!! Can't have it!!!!!!!!! $128!!!!!!!!!! Can you say OUCH?!!!!
So I've been hitting the garage sales. Found this:

Think I saw it on That 70's show....

Also found some cute things for my shelves including the other white pitcher and blue juicer in the picture above!

Also these cool vintage lawn chairs just yesterday...


And.... just got back from another fun trip with my girlfriend Holly! We went to Turks and Caicos. An island chain in the carribbean. Part of the British West Indies (or something). It was crazy beautiful there! We stayed at the all inclusive Club Med (adults only)! We snorkeled and ate in grand style, did a little sailing and the highlight of the trip was just laying in hammocks on the beach and reading and relaxing!!!!!!!! My camera broke mid trip so I didn't get a lot of pics but you can see how nice it was. The water was turqoise and the sand soft and white!!
I better get a new camera before my next big trip!!


Then............ in August I went with the fam to stay at Atlantis (again) in the Bahamas!! So fun!!!! The best part was being around my kids and grandkids!!

NEW YORK 05/10

Also did some traveling..... in May I went on a little girls trip with, well, my sista's! Kelly and Holly. We went to stay at a beautiful house on a lake in upstate NY. And visited Niagra Falls and Palmyra. It was a very relaxing and fun trip!!