08.17.06

Our honeymoon (the long version)!!

Posted in All the details at 11:53 pm by Nora

Together in Paris and London for 9 days - what more could we have asked for? Frequent flyer miles helped us get across the Atlantic to explore Europe and it was more than we could have imagined! After the brunch on Sunday, we packed our suitcases (that we got from our registry- thank you!!!) and left for Paris around 6 pm on Monday. We would definitely recommend leaving for your honeymoon on Monday if you can. It was nice not to have to pack before the wedding and rush off on Sunday.

Day 1 (July 17- July 18): So, we flew all night and arrived in Paris at around 9 am on Tuesday and were pretty exhausted since I only slept for about 2 hours and Julio about half an hour. We eventually found la gare (the train) after asking someone (vous parlez anglais? luckily he spoke a little english) and following signs. We (well Julio) figured out where to get off of the metro and how to get to our hotel in the Latin Quarter area. I was impressed how easily he found it. We then took a nice, 6 hour nap to catch up on our sleep. Julio and I agreed this was going to be a fun, relaxing trip, not a crazy one that we tried to see everything and were exhausted! So, we took advantage of our air conditioned hotel and rested up for the start of our trip. Our first meal was 2 gyros - Julio had  been craving one since we got off the plane. You walk around the streets and everyone is eating them so you have to try one!  Then we found a yummy dessert place and had a caramel crepe to finish off our first meal in Paris. Our hotel was near the Seine so we walked down to get our first view of the River and we realized we were very close to Notre Dame. It was spectacular at night being all lit up next to the river.

Day1.jpg          Julio-Notre Dame.jpg          Seine.jpg

That night, I couldn’t fall asleep. My brain would not stop replaying every single moment of our wedding weekend. I guess it finally hit me (3 days after the fact) that we were married. All the planning was over and we had such a wonderful wedding. I kept seeing everyone that was there that night and seeing everyone having so much fun on the dance floor. It felt surreal that night because when it’s all happening, you’re like, is this really our wedding reception happening right now? Our friends, Lauren and Brian, told us to savor every second b/c it just flies by. It really does go by so quickly and I wish there was a way to do it all again, but I’ve never felt happier than I did that night. To see our parents so happy and all of our family members and friends having so much fun, it really was a once in a lifetime night. I wouldn’t change a thing. That night in Paris, I the tears started flowing. I teared up on wedding day, but that night, all of the emotions hit me at once b/c it really sunk in that we are married and I am Julio’s wife!!!

So, eventually I fell asleep and got a little rest for the exciting next day!

Day 2 (July 19): Started out w/ shower issues…first I couldn’t figure out how to turn it on, then the nozzle kept moving around all crazy and I dropped the travel shampoo bottle so all of my nice Dove shampoo was gone for the rest of the trip. It was funny:) Julio laughed at me. We got a delicious breakfast of pastries, OJ, coffee and croissants and Julio had an omelet. And they served cake for dessert…I love cake for breakfast! We headed to the Louvre, well first we walked to the Expedia office to pick up our passes Julio had reserved. I decided we could walk there instead of the metro but it was a little longer than I anticipated. There are 3 different sections you can go to inside the Louvre, but we visited 2 of them, the Richelieu and the Denon sections. We started out looking at every single painting and sculpture but there are just too many! We got lunch there. I had a croque monsieur b/c everyone else in line was so I wanted to try it. It was yummy - ham and cheese sandwich with a spread of some kind. So, we spent the whole day taking in the amazing pieces of art. We were exhausted by the end. I’m glad I wore my tennis shoes! We took the metro back (no more walking) and took a three hour nap:) Naps are key. We went to dinner in the Latin Quarter…onion soup, salad, spaghetti, ice cream and beer. There are so many places to choose from and they all want you to eat at their restaurant. The menu is definitely the way to go in Europe - it’s cheaper and you get 3 or 4 courses!

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Day 3 (July 20): We checked out of our Paris hotel and stopped for a scruptious breakfast at the Stop Cluny Cafe. Croissants, omelet, french bread, coffee…love it! We had to take the Metro to the Gare du Nord stop to get to the Eurostar trains. We didn’t buy our tickets to London ahead of time (should have) but we weren’t sure of our schedule. So we waited in the wrong line for like 20 minutes and then waited in the right line for another 30 minutes. The Eurostar man was very very nice! He spoke English and helped me get a cheaper ticket b/c I’m under 26. Unfortunately Julio is not under 26 so his ticket was like $300 more! He didn’t even check my passport so we probably should have said Julio was under 26 but oh well. The nice man felt sorry for us so he gave us 2 passes to the Premier Business Lounge inside the terminal. We didn’t have time to use it then but it was a fun story for the return trip! Who knew traveling to London was so expensive? We learned to make those plans ahead of time!

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The trip took about 2 1/2 hours. It was nice - we got to write postcards and Julio bought a splitter so we could both listen to his iPod. How sweet:) We had to get ready for the She Wants Revenge concert!! We got some train food which included some very interesting mini sandwiches. They were like dollar roll sandwiches but one had salmon, one had just cheese, one with ham and one with a mystery sauce. Fun times with foreign train food!

We took a cab to St. Gregory’s hotel on Shoreditch Street, near Liverpool in East London. It was a really nice hotel - Julio picked it out - and it was much bigger than our Paris one. We walked around and found our way to a bank to exchange money. England doesn’t use Euros so we had to get Pounds. The exchange rate is awful - Julio gave the woman $200 and got like 100 pounds and some change. We were like wow, that really sucks! We got lunch and had a drink. I had to try the fish n chips which was very good. We took a little nap at the hotel before we headed to the She Wants Revenge concert. We found our way to the metro and to Club Scala where the show was. It was a small club (like Cats Cradle for my Durham people or The Pageant for you St. Louisans) so it was really cool. We saw the opening band, SoHo Dolls and then She Wants Revenge performed for about an hour!! They were awesome!! So, why did we go to this concert? I surprised Julio with 2 tickets to the concert for his wedding day gift. I kept it a surprise until our wedding day but it was kind of hard when I realized it’s not that easy to travel from country to country in Europe. I defnitely didn’t think it was so expensive. So, I had to tell Julio that we should go to London instead of Switzerland like we had originally planned. I couldn’t tell him why, just that he would like the reason. It turned out great and he was so surprised that I found tickets to his favorite band (right now) in London while we were going to be in Europe. It was an awesome show! I’ve heard a lot of their songs b/c Julio is always playing their cd so I loved it, too. It was definitely worth the money and the crazy change in plans to see them perform on our honeymoon!! And of course we enjoyed a slice of pizza after the show to end the night in a yummy way:)

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Day 4 (July 21): Our crazy day of touring started at 6 am. We paid for a full day tour through Expedia and it was great to see everything in one day because we were only in London for a few days. We asked the people at the hotel how long of a cab ride it would be to the tour office and of course we allowed way more time than necessary so we got there so early. Luckily there was a breakfast place but we got there at like 730 and didn’t leave until 9ish. But we didn’t miss it! The tour was on an air conditioned bus with about 40 people and a tour guide. She was very good - she knew everything and was kind of funny even that early in the morning. Our first stop was Westminster Abbey and we got to go inside for a tour. There is so much history in the Abbey so we were glad we got a tour instead of guessing what everything was. The history and the stories are fascinating. We got to walk around a little on our own and there was a Winston Churchill statue in the square nearby. I had to check it out since I worked at Churchill Center & School, named after Winston Churchill, while I lived in St. Louis.

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We headed to Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guard ceremony. I had no idea how many people come see this every time. It’s quite the production with horses and three different groups of guards playing music and marching into the palace gates! It was very fun to see and we got a great view of everything.

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We got to take a cruise on the Thames River and got a little commentary along the ride. I like seeing things from the river perspective. We got to see the Houses of Parliament, the Millenium Wheel, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, the wibbly wobbly bridge, London Bridge and we got off at the Tower of London. We ate lunch (another good meal of fish n chips) and rested our legs a little. The Tower of London was first tower built in London in 1066 so there was so much to take in. We toured the crown of jewels, the bloody tower with so many conspiracies, the beheading site, and the white tower. We were on our own for this part of the day so went into the white tower last which wasn’t the best idea. It’s the first tower they built, so there were so many stairs!! There were a lot of exhibitions about the purpose of the tower and lots of guns, gunpowder,  and armor displays. Around every corner, I thought it was going to be the exit but it kept going on…I needed some fresh London air by the end! We were the last people to meet the group back on the bus to go back home - good thing we made it! We stopped to get a picture of a church used in The Da Vinci Code movie and took the wonderfully air conditioned bus back to the metro station. We got dinner on the way back to our hotel and were just exhausted! We went to bed at like 8:30 that night!  I guess that’s why they tell you to travel when you’re young…

Day 5 (July 22): I woke up to Julio bringing a delicious breakfast back to the room:) He woke up early and got yummy croissants and coffee for me and he tried eggs, toast and sausage served with baked beans and tomatoes. It was a different combination but it was cheap and really yummy! We checked out that morning and the hotel was nice to keep our bags b/c we weren’t leaving until that night to go back to Paris. We walked around the Liverpool shops and got lunch at Giraffe Cafe. It rained for the first time so we got dessert while it rained. It was very quiet on the streets (it was Saturday) compared to happy hour the night before! It was crazy to see everyone in their work clothes on the streets outside the bars loving happy hour!

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We got a cab to the Eurostar train station. We got there really early so we people watched for a while…we finally got to check in and we found our way to the Premier Lounge with our free passes. This was great - free beer, soda, snacks, internet, good air conditioning! We had time to check our email and saw we had wedding pictures from Jenny and Jamie so we got to look at those. We had time to send an email out to say hi from Europe!

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We got back to Paris at 11 that night and checked into our hotel. It was down the street from the one we stayed in the few days before. The AC wasn’t working so luckily we were on the 5th floor and there was a good breeze so we slept with the nice, big windows open.

Day 6 (July 23): We woke up and checked out of the hotel and checked into our original Paris hotel where the AC worked! We got lunch and had our first taste of creme brulee - yum! We got on L’Open Bus Tur that takes you around the different tourist sights of Paris. It’s really nice because you see so much and they have little headphones so you get some history as you go. The Tour de France ended that day in Paris (we didn’t realize this until we were on the bus) so we couldn’t go past the Arc de Triomphe or down the Champs Elysees. It turned out good, though because we got off at the Eiffel Tower and spent the day there. It was a beautiful, clear day and maybe a little less crowded because of the Tour de France going on. We bought tickets to go to the top! We got off at the second level and took in the amazin views of the city. We waited in a long line to take the little elevator to the very top but it was so worth it. It was really cool to see everything from the top! I trusted Julio with the camera for the pics from the top because I didn’t want to be the one to drop the camera off the Eiffel Tower. To get down we had to wait in an even longer line to take the elevator down. There were so many people! We made it back on ground level and laid in the grass in front of the tower to relax and enjoy the moment. It was such a gorgeous day! It was neat to see everyone loving the nice summer day…people playing soccer, reading and just relaxing.

Day 6.jpg          Eiffel Tower.jpg          River.jpg          us-tower.jpg          tku pic.jpg

We got to the bus station so we had to take the metro and the train took forever to get there. We ate pizza, greek salad and beer for dinner and got dessert and a local patisserie. We called our parents to say hi and walked over to see Notre Dame at night. It was lit up and was a very cool sight to see.

Day 7 (July 24): We slept in and found a cute breakfast cafe that was still serving breakfast. It turned out to be our favorite little spot to get breakfast b/c they had the best croissants and french bread w/ butter and jam. We found our way to the Caberet ticket office to buy tickets for that night and on the way found a post office so we could mail our postcards!We got back on L’Open Tour for our second day of the bus tour. We got off at the Champs Elysees and visited the Arc de Triomphe. We ate McDonald’s for lunch - it was so crowded and it was huge. Everyone knows McDonald’s. We rode the rest of the way and got to see all the sights around the city.

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We got dressed up and went to the Caberet show that night. Julio’s parents said it would be fun to see a show so we had dinner and saw the crazy show! It was fun but we were definitely one of the youngest couples there. Julio told them we were on our honeymoon so they announced it which was cool. It was a fun date with dinner, a bottle of wine and champagne! We finished the night with a beer that we bought from a little stand on the street and enjoyed the walk back to the hotel.

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Day 8 (July 25): We had breakfast at the same cafe as the day before, got our bottles of Coca Cola Light and Water and headed to City Rama to try to get on the tour to Versailles. The tour was sold out so we decided to take the metro which sounded easy at the time. It turned out to be the hottest day of the summer and we were walking around outside for so long it seemed. It was the heat of the day and it was so hot. We got to the metro station which wasn’t far but found out it was closed. We waited for the bus that was supposed to take us to the next metro station (which I think was like a block down so we should have just walked there instead of waiting in the sun) and we didn’t know which bus was going to that station. Finally, we got on the bus and got to the metro station to get on the train to Versailles.

Julio was loving this day of sweating to go to Versailles. I really wanted to go, so he agreed to go. It was kind of funny b/c we worked hard to get there and it was so hot to walk around the rooms and the gardens but it was beautiful and full of so much history. I’m glad we went:) We went through the state apartments, the queen’s apartments and the gardens. We had an audio guide that explained what each room was and the history behind everything. We were glad we didn’t go with a tour group because there were so many rooms and so much to see. We went at our own pace and learned a lot about Louis XIV! The gardens were amazing and so beautiful. I took way too many pictures! Our feet were tired so we headed back to our hotel by train (this one was air conditioned)! We showered and got ready to enjoy our last night in Paris!

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We headed down to the Latin Quarter and did a little shopping in the numerous souvenir shops. I wanted to enjoy the river at night so we grabbed a beer and sat down by the river to savor every minute of the last night of our honeymoon. A lot of other people had snacks and drinks and were doing the same thing. There was a two man band playing U2, Pearl Jam, Bob Marley and other great songs which created an awesome scene by the river. It was a really cool way to spend our last night. We grabbed pizza on the way back to the hotel and had a nice walk through the Latin Quarter where everything was still going strong at 1 am.

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Day 9 (July 26): We woke up early, packed our suitcases, checked out and headed to our favorite breakfast cafe to grab one more delicous French breakfast. We took the metro to the airport and found our way to the right terminal. I got a little scared when we got off the metro and had to take a bus to the terminal but didn’t know exactly where or what we were doing. Luckily we found our way, got to the e-ticket check in and were ready to go! We flew to Boston on what felt like the longest flight. The VCR was broken so there were no movies to keep us entertained but I finished The Devil Wears Prada and we enjoyed so many drinks and snacks. I’ve never seen people get so excited about the snack pack toward the end of the flight! I didn’t know we got a snack so I was super excited! We had a 2 hour layover in Boston and got to Miami at about 9 pm (3 am Paris time). We were exhausted of course but we were home!

We had an amazing trip and I think you now know every single thing we did! We’re planning to keep the website going to post pictures and other updates on our lives!

1 Comment »

  1. Nate said,

    August 23, 2006 at 12:39 pm

    Nora, I love how you recounted all the food you ate throughout the trip. I recently found and read my China journal from 1988 and Europe journal from 2000 and they both seemed to be mostly about food :)

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