July 1, 2011

Paris, the city of love!

Bonjour!  We arrived in Paris safe and sound.  My flight landed at about 11:30am after about a 10 hour plane ride direct from SLC to Paris, and Jason’s landed at about noon after a 4 hour plane ride from Armenia.

The plan was for me to meet him at his gate, with a backup plan of meeting at the luggage pick-up after customs if I ran into any problems since we didn’t have phone service.  All I can say is I am so glad we had a backup plan!  I went to meet Jas at his gate only to realize that the Paris airport is not marked with any signs on which flight is incoming at each gate, there are no attendants standing at the gates, and there are no gate numbers, so it was impossible for me to tell which gate Jas would be arrive at.

I went through customs, figured out which luggage carousel he would be going to and about 40 minutes later I saw his smiling face come down the escalator!  After 2+ weeks I was so happy to see him!!

Once we got our luggage it was off to our hotel to drop off the bags and put on our ‘touristy’ outfits (you know… a hat, tennis shoes, camera around the next, Rick Steve’s “Best Of Europe” book and a fanny pack…. alright, not quite that far but just about!)

We seriously wasted no time.  Once we got things settled at the hotel we headed straight to the Eiffel Tower.  We didn’t even really know where we were going, but we knew the the Eiffel Tower was close and with Rick Steve’s in hand, we knew we could find it!

This is just moments before we arrived at the tower.  Classic picture: back pack on. Diet Coke in hand.  and Rick Steve’s in my arms.  His book was like the Europe Bible for me.  It is awesome because it makes traveling so easy!

We have arrived.  The tower was SWEET!  However, it was smaller then I imagined, but it did not disappoint.  We wanted to go to the top and see the view but the line to the elevator was like 3 hours long (with no fast pass option) so to make the dream come true we took the stairs!  That line only had like 3 people in it, so we were on our way up in no time.  There are over 300 stairs to climb to reach the first observation deck and about the same to reach the second.  As we climbed higher and higher I seriously started to get freaked out.  Jas climbed all the way to the second observation deck and got some really cool pictures!  Some fun facts about the tower:

It’s 81 stories high.

Upon its completion it surpassed the Washington Monument as the tallest building in the world and held the title for 41 years until Chrysler building was built in NYC in 1930.  However, in 1957 there was an antenna added to the top of the building not making it taller then the Chrysler building.

It was named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel.

The tower was built as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair.

Standing right under the tower looking towards the city.

Views from the second observation deck.

I made it to the first platform!  It was high enough… don’t you think?!

Right after the Eiffel Tower we decided to go on a boat cruise around the city.  It was so fun to cruise around and get an idea of where everything was in the city.  Plus it was a nice break after climbing all the stairs at the Eiffel Tower!  🙂

We took this picture on our boat cruise and I love it because it just shows the amount of detail there is on everything.  Even bridges are so detailed with statues, lamps, and swirly things, not to mention the gold!  I loved it!

Day Two:  We wake up starving and end up eating at a little cafe across from our hotel.  There are an overwhelming amount of Cafe’s in the city.  Almost all restaurants have the name Cafe in them.  This particular one didn’t look so bad so we thought we would give it a try.  The waiter/owner came to our table to take our order… so funny!  He knows no English and we know no French.  Needless to say I thought I was ordering an omelet and this is what came out.  What you can’t see (or maybe you can) is that the eggs and lettuce/tomato side thing is all covered in butter!  Lets just say it was always a surprise when we ordering anything.  We’d think we were getting one thing and out would come something totally different!

Fries were the one exception to the rule!  That was the one thing that we could count on coming out the way we were expecting.  They were honestly a staple in the diet since they are not only delicious but they are also Gluten Free!

Oh the Louvre!  This place was insanely huge!   The pyramid behind us is the entrance to all the good stuff.   The Louvre is where the famous Mona Lisa is kept as well as as so many others masterpieces.

In order to get through the front door there was of course a 2 hour wait which I was moaning about while standing in line…. then out of nowhere two guys walk up to us and hand us 2 tickets, and with a big smile they walked off.  This was AWESOME!

We didn’t even know if the tickets would work that he gave us, but we tried it and they did work.  SCORE!  We bypassed the line and went right in and saved ourselves 80 bucks.  This was a game changer!

Seriously, I don’t know what was more fun, going inside the Louvre or taking these pictures outside.

We couldn’t resist!

Seriously my favorite one!  Took me forever to get him to do it too!

Mona, we finally meet.  I thought she was going to be much bigger then she was… I would have been a little disappointed had we waited forever and paid, but since we didn’t I just smiled right back at her!  🙂

Almost every room had something like this on the ceiling.  There is no wonder why it took hundreds of years to build these places.  There is tons of detail!

 The famous Venus de Milo.

There was no shortage of crazy looking sculptures/statues in Paris!

Obviously these would be something that one would want in a house.  Right?!

This statue was HUGE!  Instead of just having a boring old pillar, why not make it a statue and connect the head to the ceiling.   The French thought of everything!

Walking along the boardwalk.

Paris is split in half by the Seine River which runs down the middle of it.  You can tell where you are by knowing which side of the river you are on.  If your on the North side then you are on the right bank, if you are on the South side you are on the left bank with Notre-Dame right in the middle.  Thanks Rick Steve’s for teaching us what we needed to know!

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Did you know that Notre-Dame is 700 years old?!  And that Notre-Dame translated means “Our Lady” referring to Mary who is center stage of the cathedral.  I seriously loved this place.  I could believe how detailed it was for being built 700 years ago, but that was the theme through out Paris.

I love these statues that are carved into the side of the wall next to the entrance.  The guy holding his head in his hands is St. Denis who was beheaded for converting to Christianity and became a warning to others who thought about forsaking the Roman Gods.  The legend goes that when his head was cut off, he got up, tucked his head under his arm, paused at a fountain to wash off, and headed North until he found the right place to meet his maker.  The Parisians were convinced by this miracle and that’s when Christianity gained ground.

We walked a lot in Paris, but everything changed for the better when we decided to purchase a pass for the Hop on-and-off bus.  The buses picked up and dropped off at all the hot spots every 15 minutes so that worked out great!  We had so much fun listening to all the facts about things as we passed by the major sites.

Arc de Trimphe

This was such a cool place.  I actually didn’t know much about it before our trip but was of course excited to learn.   Napoleon had the Arc built to commemorate his victory at the battle of Austerlitz. There is no larger Arc in the whole world.

There are 12 converging boulevards that all have entrances ports around the Arc which turns out to be quite a site!  It must be the worlds largest round-about.  🙂

After admiring the outside we climbed the 284 steps up the Arc to see the view at the top!  I seriously thought the stairs were going to go on forever.  But we made it to the top!

And this is what I looked like….

Deep Breaths!

As we reached the top of the steps, this is the very first thing that you see…. Are you for real?!

Not warm and welcoming after the climb to the top!

The view from the top of the Arc.

I LOVE how they groom the trees down the Champs-Elysees.  It’s like they chop the tops off but it looked so cool! I really want to do that to my own trees some day.

We just had to!  🙂

I love this guy!

Public Restrooms on the street!  As soon as you walk in the door closes which caught me off guard!  I seriously thought they were going to be nasty (because if that was in NYC all the homeless people would be living in them) but remarkably it was super clean!

Taking the subway out to Versailles!

In the Gardens.

Overlooking the lower gardens.  Notice that all the grass is formed into shapes!  This place has the most amazing, detailed, designed gardens I have ever seen.  Crazy!

Growing Oranges!

Louis XIV had a thousand of these to amaze his visitors. In winter, they were kept in the greenhouses that surround the courtyard. On sunny days, they were wheeled out in their silver planters and scattered around the grounds.  This was to prove how amazing he was to the people to grow oranges in chilly France.

Get tried from all that walking?  Not a problem, we have just the solution;

Step 1:  Unwrap amazing chocolate.

Step 2:  Put into mouth.

see below for step 3…

Step 3:  Smile due to pure happiness!

Love this picture!

The fountain shows in the gardens!  They only have these going for like 2 hours a day, so make sure if you go to Paris that you check the times for the fountain “show” otherwise you will miss it.  We just happen to go late in the day and got to see them by chance.

At the gates of the palace, of course they would use Gold.

Heart shaped bushes and grass.  Cute!

Full size cathedral inside the palace.  This was crazy because all the people would be on the very bottom level, the King would be on the middle level, and there is a painting of God on the ceiling.  The idea was that the people would look up to the king, and the king would look to God.  Interesting set-up.

Hall of mirrors.

This is a PERFECT example of when we ordered something and got something completely different then what we thought!  We ordered a fancy cheese platter (or so we thought) and these gross things are what came!  Warm clumpy cheese, a caramel type of sauce, and a raspberry jam thing.  So SICK!

Thanks Paris! We had lots of fun… now we are off to London!

All Aboard!

June 30, 2011


I finally leave today to meet up with Jason in Paris, France!  Yahoo!  Its has been 2 long weeks, but the wait will soon pay off.

Jas has been in Yerevan, Armenia for the last 2 weeks working with the At Task development team there. He has loved his experience working with the team, going on adventures around the country nightly, and building new friendships. When he was first asked to go, the wheels in my mind started turning and my life motto of “Go Big or Go Home” started going crazy!

We figured since he was already going to be on the other side of the world, that we should make a summer vacation out of it and have me come meet up with him!  We first wanted to go to Thailand, then it was Holland, and then we finally settled on Paris and London.

I am over the moon this morning, knowing that in 20+ hours I will meet up with him in Paris, after not seeing each other for 2 weeks!  Let the adventure begin!

This post is out of “order” so I will just have to catch up on our other adventures later like our Honeymoon and what’s been happening since then.  For now, its all about the our European Adventure!

I’m going to posting while we travel in order to keep track of what we’ve done and to let our families know we are alive and safe.  Visit often over the next 10 days if you want to see what we’ve been up to.

Au Revoir!

January 20, 2011

Happy 4 Month Anniversary!

Well, 4 months and 10 days to be exact!  The last 4 months have been the happiest of my whole life.

Being married rocks!  Seriously, I don’t think we’ve stopped smiling in 4 months!

I love you Jason!  You make me a better person!

I can’t imagine a life where I couldn’t hold you and see your smiling face everyday!