Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Le Honeymoon: Day One

So the cat has officially dragged me back in--we're home! We got back on Sunday late in the afternoon, and since then I've been cleaning, reorganizing, and trying to get back on a normal sleep schedule. But my goodness I'm tired. I've been waking up über early every morning and it also feels like I might be coming down with some kind of cold or virus.

But really, who cares?!! Let's talk about the vacation! To sum it up, it was great. It felt a tad longish and we were ready to come home. But it was also fabulous because it gave me and David a chance to reconnect and really focus on us. Without all the distractions of constant emails, phone calls, meetings, etc., it felt like we remembered who we are as a couple. Does that sound sappy? Yah, that's because it is. But seriously, I can't imagine how people with kids sustain their relationships if even in our relationship--one without the demands of kids--we needed the time to recharge.

Anyhow, back to vacation. I'm not sure how many posts this will take, but I'm going to do several posts over several days to make sure I get all the good pictures and details in.

I'll start at the beginning: Paris.

We flew into Paris and arrived at seven a.m. in the morning. Remember that seven a.m. in the morning in Paris is approximately eleven p.m. in Colorado, so just when we'd be expecting to go to sleep we were now starting our day--yikes! Despite being tired, we made it to our rented apartment in Paris with no problems. We decided to rent an apartment on VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) to get a more authentic feel for Paris, and it was a great decision. Our apartment was in the fourth arrondisement of Paris, in a district called Le Marais. Le Marais means "The Marsh" in French, and in recent years this area has become a hotspot for art galleries, restaurants, and generally hip schtuff. Because I'm a dumbass I don't actually have any pictures of our apartment or Le Marais, but we'll get to some photos asap here. I'll just leave this topic by saying that we really enjoyed coming home to an apartment every night. And, even better, we enjoyed that we had a stove and a fridge and were able to eat breakfast at home on several mornings. The French don't really "do" breakfasts "out," and the most you can really find if you go looking is one of several go-zillion boulangeries (bakeries) were you can really only get pastries and bread. (Yummy, but perhaps not the most complete of breakfasts.)

So, after arriving at seven in the morning, taking the metro to our apartment and getting acquainted with it, we headed out to get a taste of Paris. There are, quite literally, about two boulangeries on every block, so we didn't have trouble finding a spot. Once there, we got right to work on Operation: Eat Butter:

Those would be pain au raisin and pain au chocolat.

We also had a small quiche with a green salad, and a plate of poached eggs with buttered toast:

I'll talk a bit more about French food in another post, but for now I'll just say, yumm!

After eating, we went back to our apartment for a quick two hour nap. And then we set out to explore a bit of the city, starting with the Eiffel Tower of course!

A view of the Seine River from near the Eiffel Tower

A view of an underpass. I love the old-fashioned light hangings, as well as the view of the windows and terraces.

These bears are part of an exhibit near the Eiffel Tower that is meant to symbolize cultural diversity. There is a different bear for every country, and the little guys stretch out for some ways, all seemingly doing "Dance Like an Egyptian." As Americans, David and I found this quite funny, since _never_ would you find this kind of exhibit in the US. The French, however, strongly believe in the importance of art and "culture," and thus spending tax money on teddy bears is totally legit. 

As you can see from some of the pictures above, the weather in Paris can be quite bad. But, it wasn't cold, it didn't rain, and thus we were able to be outside for most of the day without being uncomfortably hot, cold, or wet--a good vacation combo, I think!

After touring around for some time, we decided it was time for an early dinner and bed. If you've been to Paris, however, you know that an "early dinner" isn't really possible. I knew that the French preferred to eat late, but I was surprised to learn how few restaurants are open before seven or seven-thirty. On our first night we found a falafel place that opened at six-thirty, and that little detail thus pretty much made our decision for us. Unfortunately, it was pretty mediocre food. We had two vegetarian plates that included falafel, hummus, eggplant, those rice things with grape leaves??!!, and the like.

Oh yah! And frites! (On the right, below the pita.) 

Apologies for the bad lighting--the restaurant had bad lighting. (Duh) Something else interesting that the restaurant had? Waiters who were clearly smoking while working. They didn't smoke inside, but would instead stand at the entrance to the restaurant, with the door half-open, smoking and trying to stay warm at the same time. I'm sure they all washed their hands after smoking. Heh. 

After dinner we capped off the day with a walk to look for a power adapter. We brought one we'd used in England, but alas it didn't work. So we walked up to the Place de la Bastille and searched the markets for adapters.

In case you're not familiar, the Bastille is the former location of a prison that Parisians stormed and took over at the start of the French Revolution. The column, then, is meant to be a reminder of the importance of liberty, something that the French are very passionate and vocal about.

So, there you have it. Our first day. I don't think I'll do such a lengthy description for every day, but I do have lots of pics left so I'll definitely do at least four or five more posts about our trip. (Unless all five  of you readers message me to say you'd rather hear about what kind of oatmeal I ate today.)

*When you are on vacation do you feel justified in eating chocolate or dessert everyday? Just curious.


  1. That was nice of Steve to invite you to follow his blog :/

    As I read through these posts again I realized that while I love them, I also kinda miss the day to day stuff too. I mean, what did Haruki do yesterday? Was it cute? I bet it was. I will never know.

    The bears. First of all, that little girl has a giant head. Just saying. There are towns in the Midwest that have done kinda similar things. Years ago Cincinnati (flying pigs are a big deal in Cincinnati) did a city wide art show called The Big Pig Gig. I have the book if you don't believe me. Artists decorated these giant pigs any way they liked and they were displayed all over town. It was fun to visit them all. It wasn't necessarily the same theme as the bears, but if you put them all in a row it could seem that way. Local businesses sponsored the pigs and they raised a ton of money for charity.

    I kinda like that last bad lighting picture . . . the purple is artsy. You could totally say you did it on purpose and get away with it.

    1. On this day Haruki was being spoiled by our friend and house sitter Adam. I'm almost done with the honeymoon stuff--two more days, I think, so you'll get a Ruki fix soon.
      I like the flying pigs thing. Flying pigs are much more fun that tall bears, as you can imagine them stopping for lunch during their travels. I suspect that quite a few of them made a pit stop at Skyline Chili.