Monday, March 15, 2010

Almost Au Revoir

Today is our last full day in Paris. (Insert pouty face here.) We've been able to do nearly everything we've set out to do. Here, in no particular order are the things we've seen/done/enjoyed:
  • 6 hours at the Louvre, including visits to the "Big 3" - Winged Victory of Samenthrace, Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa (which was surrounded by tiny asian tourists with HUGE cameras)
  • 4-hour Segway tour of Paris, which - despite the dork factor - I would totally recommend
  • Ate a nutella crepe in the Tuleries
  • Stayed out late enough to miss the last metro of the night, and took a cab ride back with a cabby who greeted us by saying, "Yes we can! Obama!"
  • Saw the Musee d'Orsay, and declared my new favorite old painter as Manet
  • Visited Napoleon's tomb (if you aren't sure about his ego, take a gander of that thing -- holy egotism, batman!)
  • Saw the Eiffel Tower, in the daytime and at night
  • Went to the top of the Arc de Triomphe
  • Walked through Notre Dame
  • Drank French wine at every dinner
  • Saw a mime on the street
  • Ate baguette, escargot, steak tartare and lots of cheese
  • Successfully navigated my way home without a map
  • Walked through Montmartre and experienced the circus it is
On the agenda for today:
  • Find macaroons
  • Shop
  • Visit the Holocaust Memorial
  • Have fallafel
  • Let it sink in that tomorrow we leave for Spain
I'm terribly sad to leave Paris. We've had such a lovely time here, and have enjoyed ourselves every moment. My feet have the blisters and calluses to prove it. Our time in Spain will be completely opposite, spent mostly eating, drinking and not seeing sights. The city we're going to is not a big cultural hotspot, but will be mostly about partying and enjoying ourselves.

So, au revoir, Paris. I will do my best to love you as much as I can today.

Edit: I forgot to mention that I got a very kind email from the Haven in Paris team, assuring me that my late arrival wouldn't be charged. They wanted to ensure I had an excellent time in Paris, not to start it with such a stressful day. I was pleasantly surprised by their concern, as I had resigned myself to paying the fee, fair or not. Luckily, it looks like our greeter may have just been a bit grumpy (and I can't totally blame her, having to wait for so long for us), and now we've learned from the experience. Needless to say, next time I come to Paris, we will do what we can to have this apartment again!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Our First Day in Paris

We've arrived! I'm sitting this morning, drinking a cup of coffee, and looking out the huge windows of our Haven in Paris apartment at the Montmartre Cemetary. It should feel morbid, looking out at a sea of what can only be described as glorified dead bodies, but it doesn't. It's beautiful, and I can see the dome of Sacre Coeur poking out over the top of the hill.

We had a very long day yesterday. Our flight arrived almost two hours late, making us two hours late to the apartment, and our greeter was very upset by this. I thought this was the reason I gave them my flight information in the first place - so they could be aware if we had a late arrival. As our plane was landing, I was supposed to be at the apartment. When I called, she informed me that "of course you will be charged for this," something that irked me greatly. How could I have called from the air to let them know I would be landing late? I did wait until we got our baggage, and settled into a taxi cab before I did call her, which was apparently also "unacceptable." And when we ended up in the wrong place and had to take the metro the last few miles, she was quite upset. We landed two hours late, and arrived two hours late to the apartment. Seems logical to me, but to her, not so much.

Ah, well. What are you going to do? I'll just cross my fingers that the penalty isn't the entire $350 deposit I put down for damages. If it is, I might raise a stink.

We're getting ready to head to the Louvre for a day of art. Greg is excited, and I am, too. Just like looking out over the cemetary, art museums are like looking out at a sea of dead artists. I love to sit and watch people look at art in museums. They make for great character sketches (in writing, not in art; I could never draw). I'm going to finish my coffee and head off to the museum with my Mister, who is probably agitated that I'm even writing this right now.

A bientot!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Au Revoir! (Or, The One In Which I Brag About Being a World Traveler)

The talented work of littlebrownpen. I envy.

Tomorrow at this time, I will be on the first leg of our trip to Paris.

Can I just repeat that?

Tomorrow at this time, I WILL BE ON MY WAY TO PARIS!

Ahem. Excuse me. I feel better now.

I’m halfway packed, my to-do list only seems to be growing, and I’m wrapping things up at work. I’m envisioning giant wheels of cheese and beautiful shoes in my future. I’m imagining fine art, people watching and seeing friends for the first time in four years. I’m thrilled. I’m ecstatic. I’m apoplectic with glee.

And upon my return, I will be joining Weight Watchers and started a real workout regimen again. Because 7 days in Paris = approximately 15 pounds on my rear end. And thighs.

I’m not sure I’ll be posting much while I’m gone, but I’ll certainly try. I may be too involved in my fabulous life to do anything other than drink wine and eat bread, however.

Did I mention the 15 pounds I plan to gain?

À bientot, mes amis!

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Proud Mrs. of a Talented Mr.

I married a very talented man. He transformed a huge exhibit at the aquarium he works in. It went from dark, uninteresting hallway, to gorgeous, exciting exhibit space in a matter of months. He drew, designed, sanded, painted, wrote and imagined his little heart out, and now he's all over the local news, sharing his talent. I couldn't be more proud. To see some more pictures go here.

I'm a proud wifey.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fashion Week? Be still, my heart.

I just found out that the mister and I will be landing in Paris on the last day of Paris Fashion Week. I'm trying to decide if we should attempt to walk near the Tuileries to try to catch a glimpse of the Sartorialist in action, or maybe try to take some Sartorialist-style photos of my own. We'll have just stepped off a plane at 8:30 that morning, after jumping forward 7 hours, and going through 14 hours of travel. I'm not sure we'll be in the mood, but we'll just have to see what it's like. Hopping on the metro to check things out certainly doesn't sound hard, especially if I get to see some high fashion in action. As in, see people walking out of the shows, wearing clothes that I would only dream of owning. But we'll see. It may be that the only thing we have energy for is a good meal and a little wandering.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Do you see the resemblance?

Real spain:
Muncho Chip my friend thought looked like Spain:

I call bull.

The Looming Tower (d'Eiffel)

Today, I am freaking out a little. Why am I freaking out a little? Because in 8 days, at this time, I will be frantically running around my house, trying to remember everything we could possibly forget to pack for our nearly 2-week trip to Europe. I will undoubtedly forget something important, or think I need more than I do, worry that I have overpacked, and fear that somehow, the airport will not let us in.

So, in no particular order, today I am making a list of things I will have to do in the next week. If someone could hire me a personal assistant for the next 7 days, I would appreciate it immensely.

1. Stop our mail, so that I don’t have to rely on anyone to pick it up.
2. Figure out what post office I need to go to stop said mail and also where to pick it up when we get back.
3. Make copies of all of our important documents: passports, social security cards, drivers licenses, etc. and pack said copies in a safe place for the trip.
4. Buy a money belt and feel retarded that I’m buying a money belt.
5. Write four papers for class, to get ahead on my work while I’m gone. I’m not sure when I’ll have time for this one.
6. Run a 5K that I signed up for on Saturday. I’m not sure what I’m thinking on that one; I’m out of shape and have no time.
7. Get travel insurance.
8. Find my electric converter or buy a new one. Probably the second, as I have no idea where to begin looking for my converter.
9. Clean every nook and cranny of my house so that it will look nice for our return. After which it will immediately become a mess again.
10. Pack up Tonks for her 2-week stay with her grandparents (food, dog toys, dog bed, etc). They’re even installing a doggy door for their “grand-dog” this week, since she’s so used to having one at our house. If they do this for the dog, I’m beginning to wonder what lengths they’ll go to for our kids when we have them…
11. Ask the sister-in-law to come check on our house a few times, invite her to use our laundry and lounge on our couch.
12. Make hotel arrangements for the night before our flight home.
13. Set up international calling on my cell phone and figure out how to turn data roaming off while we’re there so that we don’t end up owning $500 for calls.
14. Write up an itinerary to send to loved ones and friends so they know how to contact us while we’re away.
15. Pack.
16. Wrap up anything pressing at work and make others aware what they’ll be covering for me while I’m out.
17. Find a day bag to use while we run around Europe – something light but big enough to carry bottled water, maps, phone, a few snacks and other necessities.
18. Make a list of restaurants, museums and sights that are MUST SEE, Want to See, and Might-see-if-we-end-up-with-extra-time.
19. Create a loose budget and transfer money into bank accounts to cover that budget.
20. Make a list of people I should buy gifts for.
21. Find something to carry wine back in, so I can bring some of France home with me.
22. Pack all medications that might be needed including allergy meds, birth control (no Paris babies for us!), and some magic pills for the Mister, to keep his minor lactose intolerance in check while we ingest as much cheese as possible.
I could probably go on and on. But I’ll stop here, as you’ve probably gotten the idea and stopped caring around item #7.

This is going to be a very busy week.