A Summer Like No Other

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…)

XO Elisebeth

Europe 2017: Paris Day 3

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!

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It was hardcore downpouring during part of our time in line – thank goodness for our umbrella we packed!

 

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This was how close we were to the entrance (just inside that green building) when we were told we may not make it inside by the time it closed.

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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!

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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!

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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!

I’m hoping to get up a post about Portland SOON!

XO Elisebeth

 

Europe 2017: Paris Day 1

We’re finally on to the next city! It probably seems like we were in London forever, but I honestly could have stayed even longer!

LEAVING LONDON / PARIS DAY 1

We decided to take the Eurostar to Paris rather than take a plane as we were pretty sick of flying at this point. I could not have possibly foreseen how much of a good decision this was. On the Eurostar, you stay with your luggage the whole time so you don’t have to worry about your luggage getting knocked around or anything. We bought tickets that were slightly more expensive but included a meal without having to go to a snack cart.

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We also got pretty nice seats with a lot of leg room and table space, which is where I edited a lot of the Amsterdam photos! All in all, the Eurostar was where I looked at some of these beautiful photos.

When we arrived in Paris, we realized we had no idea how we were getting from the train station to our hotel. We also had very limited data and all the signs there were, obviously, in French. Nonetheless, we made it to our hotel and the area was simply beautiful. We knew we were staying in a richer area of town because we had used free nights from a credit card to stay there. For real, this was the major money saver point of the trip. We stayed at the Park Hyatt – Paris Vendôme. It’s a 10 minute (or less) walk from the Louvre and even less from Tuileries Garden where we spent a lot of time.

After checking into the most luxurious place we’ll ever spend time at, we decided to walk around the area and begin finding some food. We walked around for awhile and ended up finding a cute place in the Tuileries Gardens to eat crepes.

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Following such delicious food, we walked around our “neighborhood” which was when we realized just how close we were actually located to the Louvre! We were there in no time. Although we didn’t go in on Day One of Paris, we did take a few pictures outside!

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We had a lot of time between when I had bought tickets for the Eiffel Tower and our time outside of the Louvre. So we decided we’d walk to the Eiffel Tower instead of transit. What better way to see the City of Love?! It was a bit of a walk and I was feeling it by the time we finally arrived but was it ever worth it! The pictures on the walk there are wonderful and the pictures of the Tower upon arrival were as well!

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Since we arrived in the area of the Eiffel Tower about 3 hours earlier than our ticket allowed us to go up, we decided to just sit and enjoy being there. We found a nice spot in the Gardens of Trocadero to people watch. We were offered wine, champagne, and beer and a million souvenirs by all of the people who try to sell them illegally in the gardens. It was just simply a great time to sit and relax and of course, prop up our iPhones and take cute pictures.

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As the evening progressed, we walked to the other side of the Eiffel Tower to Champ de Mars and watched the sky begin to turn colors as the sunset. Talk about a romantic experience!

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Our ticket to go to the top was bought for 10:30 pm because that was the earliest time available online which helped save us a lot of time in line. We bought only to go to the second floor, which was different from my first time there. 2013 trip to Paris, I went to the top during the day versus 2017 trip to Paris, I went to the second floor at night! I loved being able to experience the same thing in such a different way! Here are some of our pictures from the second floor and our time on the Eiffel Tower!

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Watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle from the Eiffel Tower was a little odd, and I think I preferred that viewing experience from farther away.

After we completed our time at the Eiffel Tower, we waited for a bus to catch back to our hotel. This took wayyy longer than we anticipated, but when we did get back we enjoyed the comfort of our beautiful hotel after stopping at a convenience store for some snacks and OJ.

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Day One in Paris was as amazing as the city itself! I can’t wait to keep sharing about Paris  (and eventually even tell you about our trip to Portland, too).

Keep on comin’ back for more travel reads!
XO Elisebeth

Europe 2017: London Day 4

Hey there!

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.

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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!

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The only picture Trevor snagged on our Nikon before getting yelled at about pictures. 😦

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!

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A visit to Covent Garden wouldn’t have been complete without Trevor stepping foot into Apple Covent Garden.

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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.

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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. 😉

 

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We got some nice London rain on this day – thank goodness for umbrellas!

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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 😦

XO Elisebeth

Europe 2017: London Day 3

Hey there!

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.

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Trafalgar Square ft. West End Live Construction
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Big Ben in the distance
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The Famous Lions of Trafalgar Square

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National Gallery
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National Gallery

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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!

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Regent Street
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Apple – Regent Street

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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…

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The gardens were beautiful!

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Kensington Palace (and ice cream)
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Kensington Palace

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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.

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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.

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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)!

XO Elisebeth