Life: Honeymoon Day 9

On day 9 we woke up early and took a train to the Gare du Nord Station.  We were sad to be leaving our beloved Paris but since we plan on going back sometime in the near future we weren’t too concern.

I had my last pastry in Paris at the station.
We took a TGV train from Paris to Calais, France.  Seeing some of the French countryside on the train was pretty amazing.  The station itself was a tad confusing since they wait until 10 minutes before our train departs to tell you what platform you should wait on.  Once they list the platform you have to dash to the train and find the right car to go on.  The train we went on was very quiet and relaxing.
The little town of Calais was very cute.
If you have been reading about our honeymoon adventures you know what when we first went to Paris we arrived via the Eurostar but since we wanted to experience something different we took the P & O Ferry from Calais to Dover and then a train back into London.  From the little town we decided to take a taxi to the ferry terminal but you can take a bus if you want to save some money.
  
We had yummy Indian food onboard the Pride of Calais ferry.
The ferry provided a shuttle that took us to the terminal and from there we took a taxi up to Dover Castle.
If you haven’t been following our adventures then you might be asking yourself what about our luggage?  Since we like to travel lightly and we bought very few souvenirs we carried our bag backs with us to the castle. 
  

Can you see the hubby waving at me?

When we got tired of walking around the beautiful castle we asked one of the workers if they could call a taxi for us and we went on our way.  We took a train from Dover Priory to the Victoria Station and from there the underground to the Earls Court Station.  The train ride was lovely since we got to see a lot of the countryside. 
We stayed at Base 2 Stay in Kensington  and we love the room we got. What we loved about our hotel was that they recommended a great place to eat and we got 10% off because we were staying at Base2Stay.  Orjowan was so good that we had it for dinner the night we arrived and for lunch the next day.
For dessert we had the hubby’s favorite, baklava.
…To be continued…

Life: Honeymoon Day 8

Our last day in Paris we decided to visit the top of the Eiffel Tower but in order to accomplish that we needed to wake up bright and early.  Please note that you can schedule a reservation to go to the top but we decided not to since our hotel was about 10 minutes away from it.

We got to the Eiffel Tower about half an hour before it opened and waited in a line along with other’s that were there before us.

We purchased tickets to go to the very top since it was our first time there.  Oh, by the way have I ever told you guys that I’m afraid of heights?  When we got to the very top my knees began to shake uncontrollably.  I was so afraid to go to the ledge and see the stunning views but I did it anyway.  Since my knees were shaking I couldn’t hold my camera still so I had the hubby take a few shots for me.  All the cars underneath looked like micro machines and the people like little ants. 
The views at the top are pretty cool but I think that the ones on the second floor are more impressive.  I believe that everyone should go to the very top at least ones in their lifetime but if you only have time or money to do one you should at least go to the second floor.  Can you tell how much happier I am on the second floor?
Once we were finished seeing the incredible views we walked around looking for souvenirs at the shops they have up there.  I had a yummy muffin on top of the Eiffel Tower.
Take a look at the line below that can be avoided by either getting their early or by having an reservation.
From this point the hubby decided to walk down the stairs and I took the lift since my knees were still shaking from being so high up.  We headed back to the hotel for a bit before heading back out to do some last minute sightseeing.  
Have I told you guys how much I loved the hotel we stayed at?  
We headed out to see Notre Dame de Paris and other things we hadn’t yet seen. 
With our museum pass we were able to go up to the roof of the Cathedral. 
From there we went right next door to the Crypte Archeologique where we used our museum pass to get in. 
Since we were close by we decided to walk a tad further to see Sainte Chapelle at the Courtyard of the Royal Palace.  We were able to use our museum pass once more.  
I went to the restroom in the Royal Palace and somehow I ended up getting lost for an hour.  The hubby was really worried about me and for the first time during our trip we both were home sick.  My french isn’t really good and trying to communicate with people became very frustrating.  When I finally found my way back to Sainte Chapelle we decided to head towards the Latin Quarter to get something to eat.  
By this point we became home sick and when we saw a classic 50’s dinner we went right in and had ourselves a burger.
For dessert we had this amazing gelato. I still have dreams about this deliciousness! The best part about it was that the cashier was extremely nice and sweet and it was the perfect way of ending our lovely night in Paris.
…To be continued…

Life: Honeymoon Day 7

Our seventh day in Paris was simply lovely we ate a baguette in front of the Eiffel Tower, we walked around holding hands while taking everything in, we visited the Louvre, we went to the Champs-Élysées, and we saw unbelievable views from the top of the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile.  We couldn’t have asked for anything more.

We walked around for awhile around the neighborhood where our hotel was at.  

We had a lovely breakfast also known as petit déjeuner.

When we got tired of walking around we decided to look for the perfect sandwich that we could eat in front of the Eiffel Tower and we found it. It was the best sandwich I’ve ever ate.  The hubby still brings it up.
After our quick lunch we went into our hotel where we could get some sweets.
After lunch and dessert we went on our way to the world famous Louvre. 
We followed Rick Steve’s guide to the Louvre since we didn’t have a lot of time to spare.  We also took the entrance in bottom level of the mall entrance and we used our museum pass to get in.  There were a lot of people at the museum but we didn’t mind since we decided to take it slow and see the essentials.  We got to see the Mona Lisa and I took some picture of the painting but I was more fascinated with the people standing in front of it instead. I love people watching especially in museums. 
When we got tired of walking around and looking at all the magnificent art we made our way back into the mall area.  We wanted to try out the food court and settled for some pizza.  
Once we were finished eating we walked around the mall looking at cool shops and afterwards we went outside the Louvre to see the rest of Paris. 


As we got towards the end of the ChampsÉlysées I asked the hubby if he wanted to go on top of the Arc de Triomphe to check out the view.  He didn’t realize we could actually go up there and he ran there when I told him we could use our museum pass to get in.

When we got up there I could believe how beautiful the city looked. I have seen several sunsets but none compare to seeing it on top of the Arc de Triomphe over looking all of Paris. 

To end our perfect day in Paris we went to Ladurée.

…To be continued…

Life: Honeymoon Day 6

After the fantastic day we had in Versailles I ended up waking up with a cold on our sixth day in Paris.  If I was at home I probably would have stayed in bed and rested but since we were in Paris I decided to have a fun filled day.  We first headed out to les Invalides to see Napoleon’s tomb before going to Disneyland Paris.  Our hotel was about a fifteen minutes walk away from les Invalides.

I can’t say I really enjoyed being here since the cold medicine I had purchased hadn’t kick in yet. The tomb was unbelievable and it fits what is said about Napoleon perfectly.  We used our Paris Museum Pass to get in.

The hubby is a huge history buff and since we finished looking at the tomb early on we decided to use our museum pass once more and went into the Musée de l’Armée.  We saw several war propaganda, weapons, uniforms, videos, and other articles from several wars.  I have a lot of photos so let me know if you guys are interested in some.

Once we were done at the museums we took the RER from Paris to Disneyland.  Please keep in mind that it costs a tad more than the regular train ticket to get to Disneyland and its about 45 minutes away.  The coolest thing that happened on the train was when a gentleman got on with an accordion and began playing traditional French songs.  It was simply amazing!

We were not sure if we wanted to visit Disneyland but we figured since we were already there we should check it out.  Who am I kidding? You know I love Disney so you bet I was going to go check out Disneyland while I was there.  A couple of my friends had visited Disneyland a week before us and they loved it.

I love the Disneyland Hotel in Paris. Doesn’t it look incredible? I wish the one we have here in California would look like the one over there.

Being the Disney geek that I am I couldn’t wait to go inside and see the castle.
I was so happy to see the castle but I was still sick with a cold so I made a stop at first aid to get some much needed medicine.  I don’t know what the lovely nurses gave me but I felt great and I was able to enjoy the rest of my visit in the park.  Can you tell I’m sick?
The best attraction by far was Space Mountain: Mission 2.  I can’t even begin to tell you how good that attraction is.
The park was so busy that we decided not to go into all the attractions. We chose specific ones that we love and focused on those.  We went on Pirates of the Caribbean and we thought the one at Disneyland is actually better. One of the attractions that surprised us on how much fun it was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Before we did Pirates we got a fast pass for Thunder Mountain.  It seemed like Thunder Mountain was much longer in Paris which turns out to be true but only by 30 seconds not the extra minutes we thought it was.  We LOVED the Paris version of this classic attraction.
After we finished with Thunder we headed to another one of our favorite Disneyland attractions, Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril.  This is by far the only attraction that we thought was not worth the 90 minutes wait time. The attraction is a little over a minute long and is really cool but not worth the wait.  I guess we’re just used to the Disneyland version of it.
We went on our honeymoon in late September and although we were too early for Haunted Mansion to be dressed up for Halloween some of the decorations surrounding the castle were delightful.
Once we were finished going on some attractions we went to Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor and got ourselves some yummy treats.  I ordered a waffle with ice cream and the hubby once more decided to get a crepe.  By the time I took this photo he had already finished his crepe. 
I am glad we went because now we can cross another Disney park off our list.  Afterwards we decided that not to go into the Walt Disney Studio Park since I was still sick.  We ended our day with a little shopping at the Disney Village. 
…To be continued…

Life: Honeymoon Day 5

With the holidays finally over I’ve decided that its time to finish wrapping up our honeymoon re-caps.  This is where we last left off and now without further ado here goes the rest.

On our fifth day we got up bright and early and headed out to the château de Versailles.  Since I had done all the planning for our trip the hubby had no idea what to expect.  Every time we did something it  was very exciting to see his reaction. This is the entrance to Versailles and as you can see there are a lot of tourist making their way there.  We took a train from Paris to Versailles and if you ever do the same just keep in mind that it cost more than your regular metro ticket.

At the St. Pancras International Station we purchased a 5 day Paris Museum Pass and we first decided to use it at Versailles.  We had to purchase a separate ticket to access the beautiful gardens but it was well worth it.  The museum pass is pricey but if you’re anything like us then you’ll use it to its full potential.  There are two lines when you get there one is for people who have museum passes and the other one is for everyone else.  Once you get into the main area be careful not to be whisked away by all the tourist around you and don’t forget to be vigilant since there are pickpockets everywhere.  When you get inside you are able to get an audio tour device in whatever language you speak.  Everything works like clockwork and the stream of tourist are encouraged to go through the château first and the gardens last.  Since I tend to do things my own way I asked the hubby if he would join me in the gardens first.  As we were heading back outside all the employees we encountered kept telling us to go back into the château because they said it would get packed later on during the day.  We somehow made our way outside and as we did I just have to say the ambiance became more relaxing.

Nothing else compares to Versailles! We were amazed with all the beauty around us.  I loved seeing the gardens first since it felt like we had them all to ourselves.

We seriously couldn’t believe how amazing the gardens where. Isn’t the Bassin d’Apollon phenomenal? During certain days in the summer the fountains are turned on with music.
One of the coolest thing we did while in Versailles was renting bicycles.  We decided that it would be best to do it for half the day or 4 hours since the grounds are so big.  You can purchase a separate ticket if you want to use a tram instead of renting bicycles.  I really wished we would have had a picnic there like a lot of the locals did.  Please note locals are able to access part of Versailles but not all of it.  There are some places where you’re not able to take the bicycles into but they give you a lock so you can lock them up.
Once we did a quick ride around the grounds we returned to see the fountains turned on.  I felt like I was whiskey away into another time when things were so majestic. 
If you know me by now then you realize that we can’t go anywhere without trying something yummy.  By the way this was one of the best strawberry soft serve yogurt I’ve ever had.  The hubby opted out for some crepes instead but I was too busy eating my dessert that I didn’t take a picture of his.  
The grounds are so big that you need to take a couple of breaks in between to take everything in.
Versailles was simply magical and its where a little girls fairytale’s comes true.  I saw a lovely swan, beautiful flowers, little cottages, and I felt love in the air.
One of my favorite little cottage in the Hameau de la reine was this one. 
The inside of the château was just as lovely as the outside.  The paintings were amazing but my favorite part was the Hall of Mirrors.  If you’ve see this commercial you can get an idea of how beautiful that room is.  



Once we were done at Versailles and our eyes became tired by seeing all the beauty that magical place had to offer we headed out to eat before taking another train back into Paris.  Please don’t think any less of me but we decided to eat at McDonald’s.  We kept seeing an ad for le Big Chili avec une sauce Tabasco and the hubby wanted to try it and I just wanted to try the macarons.  I thought that the restrooms were so cool but it was odd to have the same entrance for both men and women. Can you tell that the hubby loved his Rick Steve’s book? The book actually came in handy when we wanted to learn about the history around the different aspects of Versailles. 
When we got to Paris we decided to have a real dinner and we headed out to a local joint.  This is what I had for dinner.  The crème brûlée was amazing just like all the food we had while in Paris.  

…To be continued…

Life: Honeymoon Day 4 (Part 2)

After we were done taking photos at the Eiffel Tower we walked around until we found a patisserie, which we didn’t take long to find.  

You better believe I was in heaven with all the bakeries around me but my only problem was not knowing what to try.  The first thing I tried was a Croissants aux amandes. I can’t begin to describe to you how delicious it was.  Everything seriously tastes better in Paris! 
After we were done enjoying our fabulous pastries we did more sightseeing.  Since we were so close to the L’Hôtel national des Invalides we decided to pay it a visit.  Can you tell that I’m having a blast? Once again I was sad I had forgotten my tripod. 
We spent a long time there taking photos of all the statues and the canons.  The hubby loved all the weapons.
From there we went over to see the Seine.  This is one of my favorite shots since I got the Eiffel Tower in the background. 

I took countless photos of the Eiffel Tower from each and every angle that I could possibly take.  I simply couldn’t resist taking this photo and yes I know its really corny.

I kept seeing these locks around town and I had no idea what they meant.  Once I got home I googled it and found out they were Love Locks.  I wish I would have known about the locks I would have taken one to leave there.  Next time I go to Europe I’m definitely going to be brining one with me to put there.

After spending a few hours walking around taking photos we headed out back to our hotel but not before stopping at another bakery.  I decided to have a yummy eclair this time.  The only thing the hubby kept trying was chocolate croissants.

We were tempted in stopping into every bakery we saw especially the cute ones but we did manage to have a tad of self control.

Our first night in Paris we decided to have dinner near our hotel. I couldn’t help myself and I ordered a cheeseburger and fries.  We loved that unlike in London ketchup was plentiful.

Since we had purchased an all day pass for the Metro we decided to head out to the Champs-Elysees to see what all the fuss was about.  There are so many things to do there and since it was Friday night a lot of the things were open.

Life: Honeymoon Day 4 (Part 1)

After a good nights sleep we decided to have breakfast in the hotel and I was excited since I was finally able to try some crumpets.  So, what did I think of the crumpets?  They are pretty much the same thing as an english muffin so I liked them.

We had to check out early because we had train tickets to Paris but before we headed out we walked around our neighborhood for a bit.  We enjoyed walking around and looking at all the beautiful buildings.  We ended up getting a tad lost since a lot of the streets don’t really go straight but stop and start at odd parts of the street.

After we were done walking around we went to catch the Underground where we transferred to St. Pancras International Station.  As it turns out the Underground is very easy to use especially with the Oyster card we purchased when we first got to London.  One thing we noticed on the underground was that its pretty quiet since most people on board are reading.  Going on and off the underground was easy with the amount of luggage we took.

I wish we would have had more time to walk around the neighborhood where the station was located at because it looked really nice outside.  If you guys didn’t know by now London is hosting the 2012 Olympics and throughout the city you can see signs of it.  The station itself is full of shops and restaurants.  There is also a place where you can check in your luggage if you don’t want to be lugging it around with you while you wait for your train.

Before leaving on our trip I booked our trip from London to Paris on the Eurostar.  The cost of the tickets were very expensive but since we booked early we saved some money on them.  The trip from London to Paris was about two hours and fifteen minutes and I used this site to help me find good seats for the train.  The trip was great except for the popping I felt in my ears every time we went into a tunnel.

Once we got to Paris things got interesting since we don’t speak French.  I read in several forums that you need to beware of pickpockets and we did just that.  We were bombarded with people trying to get us to sign things, give them money, or buy things from them.  The first thing we had to do was to find change to use the bathrooms since they are not free.  Once we used the bathrooms we purchased a day pass for the Metro and we were on our way.

As soon as we got out of the Metro we saw the Eiffel Tower and we knew we were in Paris. We walked a little and we realized that we were going the wrong way.  While we were standing around trying to figure out where we were supposed to go a charming little old lady approached us and gave us directions.  We found our way to our hotel where we quickly rushed to set our things down and go to visit the Eiffel Tower.  The hotel we stayed at while in Paris was the Hotel du Cadran. When we walked into our room it smelled like sweet strawberries.  We loved our little boutique hotel.

Our hotel was located about 10 minutes walking distance from the Eiffel Tower.  We stayed in the 7th arrondissement in Paris and it was simply lovely.

We couldn’t believe how big and amazing the Eiffel Tower is.  I lost count of how many photos I took of the Eiffel Tower but this one is the first of many to come.

…To be continued…

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Life: Honeymoon Day 1

On my last honeymoon post I was telling you about some of the planning that I did before our trip which you can read about here. The day we left on our honeymoon the hubby decided to work from home while I finished getting our stuff ready for the trip.  As he was hard at work I packed and unpacked our luggage until I got it just right or at least that’s what I thought.  I decided long before our trip that I wanted to travel light I mean I seriously didn’t want to be lugging around things from one country to the next, who would do such a thing? We purchased a luggage set a long time ago which included one carryon bag but that type of carryon was not what I had in mind.  I wanted something that I could throw on my back and go if need be.  I wanted something bigger than a backpack but lighter than a simple carryon.  I went to several stores before I settled on the ones I purchased.  Once gain my frugality came to play as I was looking for the luggage.  I knew I had to buy two and I didn’t want to spend much so I set out to places like Marshall’sTJ MaxxRoss, and even Target.  I saw different types of luggage but not the ones I envisioned us carrying throughout Europe.  The day before we left I finally found something that looked promising and I bought it.  I ended up buying our luggage at Burlington Coat Factory and although it was not as dreamy as I hoped it would be it did the job.  I ended up paying about $30 for each one.

I know they look a tad childish but I least they could be spotted out in a sea of luggage.  The two key elements when buying these were that they could be rolled and they could also be used as backbacks and these fit the bill. These look a tad full but keep in mind that I took this photo when we got back from our trip.  I also bought cute labels from Target to put our address and name just in case they got lost. When it was time to pack I used this list as a template of the things we would need.  I made some adjustments to the list to fit our lifestyle.  One IMPORTANT thing that I didn’t take into consideration when we booked our flight was the weight limit for our carryon luggage.  It turns out that although our carryon was the right measurements it did not meet the weight requirement that Virgin Atlantic has.  There goes my idea of not checking in our luggage but at least we didn’t have to lug a big bag around.  One of the best purchases I made before our trip was buying these Brita bottles because as it turns out drinking fountains are nonexistent in Europe.  Another great tip that I found on several forums was the use of a money belt which we didn’t go anywhere without.  I purchased ours at Marshall’s for less than $10 each and it was an investment that gave us great peace of mind especially after seeing all the “Beware of pickpockets” signs everywhere.  Besides our “carryon” bags we also took a small messenger bag where we kept important things like medication, our 3-1-1 bags, and our folder with all our reservations.  In my purse I took my camera, my money belt (I put it on once we were past security at the airport), and my 4 SD cards (I took a lot of cards since we didn’t take a computer to offload the photos into).  
Once I quadrupled checked all our paperwork which included the countless reservations I had made and I checked that we had copies of our passports deep inside our luggage we were on our merry way. Before we left home we checked in online and filled out all the necessary paperwork that was required of us and I went so far as to register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to cover all our basis while we were away.  To prepare to go through the security scan I made sure to pack our belts in the luggage, I wore a sports bra, and I told my hubby to take everything out of his pockets and put it in the messenger bag before we went through the line.  Once we went through security and were waiting for our flight we realized that we had gotten to the airport too early.  We left four hours ahead of our scheduled flight because we didn’t know what to expect. Next time around we’re planning on leaving two hours before our international flight is scheduled to leave.  We bought a few snacks for the plane and we waited for our flight to leave.  Once we were on the plane I was glad that I had used SeatGuru to pick our seats.  
Our flight left right on time at 9:15pm local time and was set to arrive at Heathrow at 3:50pm local time.  Overall we had a good flight with the exception of the cranky lady sitting behind me that kept hitting the back of my seat .  I do have to admit though if I could do it again I would have gotten a layover somewhere in the middle of our flight since we felt that 10+ hours is much too long to be on an airplane. 

We both thought that Virgin Atlantic was a great choice for our first time flying overseas.  All I have to say is that the food was good, the staff was friendly, the entertainment was great, and the goodie bag they gave us was a plus. 
…To be continued…
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