Summer 2017 has been breathtaking, stunning, memorable, and so many other things.
I wish I could put all of it into words, but I really don’t think I can. I mean, how do you explain everything you’ve experienced when you visited so many places and when you’ve created so many memories with your best friend.
I thought the summer that Trevor and I got married would be the best summer of my life. Don’t get me wrong, that summer had so many amazing things going for it, but this one tops it. We worked through struggle and this summer was a celebration of conquering hard things in our life together. Despite all of the ick going on early in our marriage, we got to feel some of the most amazing feelings in the world this summer. We felt a heck of a lot of love. We felt a pulse for adventure and a spirit of exploring. We pushed ourselves out of our comfort zones and found something even more miraculous. We focused on our marriage in ways we didn’t know was possible.
While I don’t think many future events will top this summer’s adventures, I can’t wait to see what is ahead and how I’ll be proved wrong in this way.
(Psst… Hoping to write about Portland soon-ish, but we’ll see…)
Hey, y’all – sorry for the little (okay, kind of long) hiatus from sharing about our traveling this summer! I just got back from a wonderful lake up north and am feeling rejuvenating and wanting to share about our final (full) day in Europe earlier this summer.
Day 3 in Paris, we were hoping to hit up some items on our itinerary that were not on my list of things I had already done in Paris. I was pretty excited for all that we had planned.
We had left our luggage with the concierge at our hotel as we were transferring from our fancy hotel to an AirBnB for our final night before heading out for breakfast!
Number One on the list after breakfast: the Paris Catacombs.
I had heard lines there could be over 2 hours at this time of summer, but little did I know what we were getting ourselves in for… Through rain and shine, hunger and bladder needs, we stood in line for OVER 7 HOURS. Yes, you read that right. We stood in line for not just 2 hours, but 7 total hours (actually I think it was about 8, but I’m having a hard time recalling the specifics). It was a day of grueling boredom. On the plus side, we got to go through the simply intriguing catacombs. We paid the extra few euros for the audioguide, which I highly recommend at the catacombs or you’ll miss a lot of interesting and important information about the history of the catacombs and Paris. I definitely recommend visiting the catacombs, but either buy tickets ahead of time (which is difficult because the site to buy the tickets through doesn’t translate well on Safari or Chrome) or be prepared to stand in line for a long, long time if you go during peak season. Here are some of the photos that we took during our time in the catacombs as well as while in line!
The experience within the catacombs was such a unique experience and is in many ways indescribable. How do you put into words what it’s like to be around so many bones of humans? Those were people! They had stories! Like, wow.
After we finally finished up at the catacombs, we took the metro to Notre Dame to meet up with our friend, Maria! So glad she snagged this photo for us!
We then headed to eat some delicious dinner and enjoyed a final dinner in Paris! We also got some amazing gelato with a macaron in it!
After a late, late night, we grabbed our luggage and headed to the AirBnB and hit our pillows soooo quickly.
The next day, we headed home. We had a rather dramatic departure from Paris as some technological pieces of ours were left in our AirBnB. Big, long story, trust me – I’ve saved you an hour of your life by not sharing.
We arrived home from our trip and were glad to be back. Honestly, it was very easily one of the best trips of my life. For sure, it was better than my first trip to Europe, but I think a huge chunk of that was because I got to go with Trevor and we got to do everything together. I cannot wait for all of our future adventures and I am really hoping we someday get to go back to Europe!
Paris, France is a city I hope everyone gets to experience. Day 2 I had a bit planned, but also had enough flexibility that we knew we could go off track of plan, too.
Our day started off fantastically, waking up in a ginormous bed in a luxury hotel was amazing. We went out and found some breakfast (which may have more likely been considered brunch at that point). We ended up back in the Tuileries Gardens for some morning crepes and enjoyed those with a beautiful view of the Louvre. The picture below doesn’t even compare to the actual beauty of the Gardens.
After my delicious Nutella crepe, we headed over to the Louvre. We went through the entrance underground and saved major time by doing that instead of using the main entrance by the Pyramids. I definitely recommend this strategy if you’re visiting! Trevor also enjoyed getting to see another Apple Store (how cool, I know).
Inside the Louvre we enjoyed so much phenomenal art. It’s honestly so overwhelming. Some rooms feel like every square inch is covered in amazing art. I also love the architecture of the museum!
While we easily could have spent the entire day in the Louvre, we decided it’d be a better decision to keep on schedule. After the Louvre, we went to Notre Dame. As you’ve probably noticed in previous posts, I super love cathedrals. Going to Notre Dame was high on my list because of my last visit there.
The line outside was crazy long, so we ate some macarons in line. Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted the only picture of the only macarons we ate on the entire trip, so *insert imaginary image of delicious coffee and vanilla macarons here*.
Another wonderful part of Notre Dame, you’re allowed to take pictures inside!
Once we enjoyed Notre Dame, we headed over to Shakespeare & Company. We were going to go inside and experience the beauty of books but the line was crazy long to go inside. We walked around the Latin Quarter a bit after and then headed to Arc de Triomphe!
Arc de Triomphe was a bit underwhelming and quickly turned into both of us being hangry. Unfortunately timed, we didn’t find any food for quite a while and ended up going back to the hotel to find something that would be open before “normal dinner hours”. We went and got some delicious sandwiches and brought them back to the hotel to eat in the comfort of our hotel room with Netflix.
Well, our European travels were coming to a quick close at this point and we were really beginning to feel tired from all of the travel. We called it an early night for our last night in our really nice Parisian hotel before switching over to an AirBnB.
Thanks for checking back in for these wonderful adventures!
We spent a lot of great time in London and probably could have spent even more there! Here is another post about our time there!
LONDON DAY 4
We toiled with the idea of skipping our first stop, the British Museum, and just going to see West End Live in Trafalgar Square. We ended up sticking to our plan of the British Museum and saw The Rosetta Stone and a lot of amazing artifacts from Ancient Egypt.
I’m a sucker for beautiful ceilings!
The British Museum is also free, so we didn’t feel bad going in and not spending forever there. We headed toward Trafalgar Square after feeling like we spent enough time in the British Museum and listened to a little of West End Live! We heard hits from Mamma Mia!, Hair, Annie, and more, all while enjoying macaroni and cheese from Pret. We couldn’t stick around too long though because I had bought us tickets to see Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre! If you’re into musicals and you’re in London, I highly recommend seeing Phantom! It was perhaps one of my favorite things we did on the entire trip. Thanks so much Crystal for pushing me to actually purchase the tickets!
The stage set before the show started.
The fallen chandelier at intermission.
The outside of the beautiful Her Majesty’s Theatre!
By the time the show was over, we were ready for dinner! We headed over to Covent Garden to enjoy some street performers and some good eats. We ended up having a hard time deciding where to go because everywhere was so busy at that time! We ended up finding this amazing restaurant where I enjoyed an amazing passion fruit bellini!
A visit to Covent Garden wouldn’t have been complete without Trevor stepping foot into Apple Covent Garden.
Eventually, we moved on to the area around St. Paul’s Cathedral. During my last visit to London, I had really enjoyed my time at St. Paul’s. This time I didn’t time it well and the Cathedral was already closed. But we walked around and went to the top floor of the mall next door for some amazing views.
We also happened to be close to the Millenium Bridge. Any Harry Potter fans out there? Thankfully they’ve reassembled the bridge so we could walk across it. 😉
We walked by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on our way back to the hotel and stopped for another Mississippi Mud Pie McFlurry from McDonald’s. All in all, it was a much more relaxed day. It was definitely one of my favorites though.
Tomorrow’s post will entail our departure from London 😦
Sorry, I took a few days off from sharing our time in Europe, but I’m glad you’ve come back to hear more about our European Adventures! BTW (as always), you can check out the hashtag #tandeineurope to see some of the photos that I’ve posted there from/during our trip.
LONDON DAY 3
After a crazy busy DAY 2, I didn’t know if we could ever surpass the busyness and enjoyment of that day.
So Day 3…
The original plan was to head over to Trafalgar Square and do some people watching and just enjoy the morning there. Of course, we got there and they were setting up a stage and intense seating area. And then the MUSIC. We walked closer and they’re performing a soundcheck for Hair! As we did some more reading of the signage all over, we found out that West End Theatre was putting on an event the next day called West End Live with portions and excerpts from a large variety of their shows.
After listening for a bit we headed into National Gallery since that’s situated right on Trafalgar Square and is free! We didn’t last in there as long as I thought we would and ended up walking around Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus area. We also headed down Regent Street and saw another Apple Store. It was a beautiful day to just walk and enjoy the city!
We then took a bus to Hyde Park and Kensington Palace! Hyde Park had some amazing greenery! There was a cute little ice cream truck I just couldn’t pass up. Trust me, Trevor tried to get me to pass it up…
After Kensington Palace, we realized we were running a little behind schedule, so we hopped on a bus quickly to get over to the London Eye!
So Round 1 of London for me did not include the London Eye. I decided it would be a great thing for us to do as Trevor loves good views and great photo opportunities, so the London Eye seemed like no problem. If you know me, you know I’m afraid of heights. So, does the Eye sound like a good idea for me? Probs not. I figured once we got going, I’d be fine. I’ve been to the top of the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower before, so the London Eye should be no problem, right?! Nah, I was in panic and internal freak out mode for about 50% of the ride. Once we got to the top and began descending, I ended up being fine and we even got a picture! Would I do it again? Probably not. Am I glad I did it? Sure, I guess.
When we purchased our tickets for the London Eye online, we saw there was also a River Cruise provided through them that we decided to book. We had kind of an awkward amount of time left between the two, so we got food at Giraffe. They had super delicious soda that I wish was sold in the US. We made it back just in time for the River Cruise.
The River Cruise was an amazing experience. Not only did we get to see London from another angle (and quickly), but also we got to hear a lot of the really cool history of the buildings and city as well! Trevor was in heaven, constantly shooting the whole time. I’m not even sure he heard a single fact of history because he was so busy with photos.
After the River Cruise, we wandered back to our hotel for a good night’s rest along with a night cap of Doctor Who!
I forgot to include that on London Day 2, we ended up stopping by Platform 9 3/4 and enjoyed some Harry Potter loving!
I cannot wait to continue sharing about the rest of our trip! Check back for more (hopefully tomorrow)!