Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Babymoon in Europe Part Trois

David and Sarah are awesome travel buddies! We have been to New Orleans and the lake with them and the Gristys. It's funny…when we travel with Sarah we sort of just relax and let her be our guide. She is like the cool mom who knows all the cool stuff to do so she has an itinerary and we stick to it. In Paris, it sort of felt like Sarah was the mom, Jeremy was the dad (with the map and directions) and David and I were the kids just along for the ride to do whatever fun thing they had planned. :) 

Day 1 w/ the Houses

Our first day together in Paris started off with a great breakfast complete with eggs, croissants and coffee. (Don't worry, we stopped at a bakery for my pain au chocolate to have later.) We planned to spend the whole day at the palace in Versailles. I'd been there before and Sarah had been a couple of times, but David and Jeremy hadn't. We took the train out there, which only took about 30 minutes or so and got off to truck it up to the palace in front of the crowds. Mom Sarah moved us along so we could beat the crowd of people on the train with us. It was probably a good thing we "wogged" because the line was already CRAZY. We stood in line for a while to get through security and finally got into the palace, but not before taking some fun pictures (David loves taking goofy pictures) and laughing at this poor old man who was roaming around confused because he couldn't find his wife in the line that snaked back and forth. That sounds mean, but he looked a little crazy and and whipped his head back and forth all over the place so fast that there's no way he could have seen anyone! 

 In front of the gates at Versailles.

Versailles is where King Louis XVI lived with Marie Antionette. It's over-the-top in terms of decor and architecture, but I suppose that's why people love it so much. I think it's probably most famous for the HUGE gardens where the King threw extravagant parties and even had boat parties on the tiny pond in the middle. I feel like ole Louis might have been making up for something…I'm just sayin'. The palace had a guided tour with numbers at different stops along the way. So, when you wanted to hear about a particular point, you just punched in the number and a guy with a lovely British accent told you all about it. We walked through the whole palace (along with a jillion other people and some REALLY annoying tour groups). One of my favorite parts was the Hall of Mirrors. 

Hall of Mirrors

After the inside, we made it out to the gardens where we had the most fun. We stopped to get some lunch and sat on the grass to eat quickly before continuing into the garden. Some dude came by and told us we couldn't "eat, sit or stand on the grass." Apparently he wanted us to float (or just move along so we didn't mess up King Louis' manicured lawn).

Illegally enjoying our baguette sandwiches on the lawn.

When we had gone before, neither Sarah nor I had been out to the Petit Trianon built for Marie Antionette. Apparently Marie got tired of living the fancy palace life so she had this "mini-palace" built for her to get away. She didn't like getting all done up every day, having to be put on display, etc. Sounds like Marie and I would have gotten along! The funny part is that her little palace was still over-the-top ridonkulous! It wasn't just a small little house with a fountain in the front. It was a whole mess of buildings with its own gardens and a farm (that is actually still a working farm today). Yeah, rough life Marie. Anyway, Sarah kept forgetting I was pregnant so she marched us up to the estate which wasn't just a hop, skip and a jump away. We walked A LOT in Versailles. I am just kidding about Sarah by the way. She was very sweet about my being preggo and kept checking on me…until we got to the Eiffel Tower where she forgot. More on that later. :) We explored this beautiful area where Marie escaped her rough palace life and took some fun pictures. David was in a particularly "jolly" mood that day so he kept dancing all along the way. He never ceases to make us laugh! 

 The path to the Petit Trianon.

One of the many parts of Marie's palace. This is the front.

Making out in the Temple of Venus in Marie's gardens.

The Marlboro Tower.

David and I decided it would be appropriate to do some martial arts in front of the random bonsai tree collection.

Our next stop was back in the gardens in Versailles. We decided to take a canoe out on the pond and enjoy the beautiful sunshine. It's probably a good thing Jeremy didn't take me to do this on our first date since he wasn't exactly stellar at using the oars. To his credit there were a lot of other boats out there and at least he wasn't like one guy who literally couldn't figure it out so his girlfriend ended up trying. That couple ended up just sitting in the middle of the pond with people rowing around them…pretty funny stuff. Anyway, David ended up doing most of the rowing and cracking us up the whole time while he pretended to be Jeeves and decided Jeremy was Nigel. Jeeves gave us a great tour of the pond and told us some interesting facts about his rowing skills before taking us back to the dock to unload. Suddenly, Jeeves disappeared and David was back to his dancy, jolly self. On a side note, David was really hoping I would have a little boy so he could call him Nigel. Thank goodness for baby girl Quinn.  

"Jeeves" rowing us along.

 A great view of the fountains behind us!

We made a few other stops in Versailles for some good photo opps and of course some video footage of David's amazing jigs (which Jeremy did with him at one point). David brings out the kid in everyone! 

 My 16 week preggo belly pic in Versailles.

David and Jeremy dancing a jig in the gardens.

Our final stop at Versailles was to see the fountains go off with music playing in the background. It was a little anti-climactic and nothing like the choreographed fountains at the Bellagio in Vegas, but it was pretty cool. I mean, who can complain when you're sitting on the grass in the middle of a French palace garden! Before heading back into Paris, we decided to stop at a really random Mexican food place that was just next to the train station for drinks. I mean really…how random is that? The food looked awful, but the guys got to have some beer and Sarah sipped a margarita (which tasted like a snow cone) while I hydrated with more water. 

When we got back to Paris it was dinner time so we headed straight for le Relais de Venise, a restaurant that had been recommended by a few people. The place was tiny and didn't take reservations so you basically just go and stand in line to wait for a table. It was a long wait but totally worth it! This place is famous for serving steak and french fries. Period. That's it. You literally sit down and they ask you how you want your steak. You can have as much steak as you want and they just keep bringing food to the point that you are sick. The steak is covered in some sort of green sauce which tasted like a buttery, pesto garlic sauce. It was pretty good, but very rich for this preggo. Oh, and don't even think about asking for ketchup for your fries. I have never gotten a more evil look from a woman than when I did that. It was pretty hilarious. After dinner we were SO done so we headed back to the apartment to get some good sleep for our next day that Mom Sarah had planned for us. :)

Day 2 w/ The Houses

We started our day by heading straight to the Ile de la Cite. Since Jeremy and I hadn't been able to go to Ste. Chapelle when we were there we stopped there first. By the way, I forgot to mention this earlier. If you go to Paris and you plan to go to a bunch of museums and whatnot, get the museum pass. I don't know that it saves all that much money, but it lets you skip the lines…totally worth it!! At Ste. Chapelle, David and Sarah waited in line to get a ticket while Jeremy and I went in for a bit to explore part of the church. We bought our only souvenir inside (a Parisian Christmas ornament) and then headed up to the main chapel with David and Sarah. There is absolutely no way I can describe how beautiful and ornate this chapel is. The stained glass windows are breathtaking and as I mentioned before, it's incredible to think of the people from so long ago who worshipped the very same God I do. So humbling! Here are a few pics that capture a fraction of what it looks like inside. 

 All the windows tell stories from the Bible.

The rose window.

After Ste. Chapelle, we went to have some brunch where I had my first Crepe Suzette. It's basically a crepe drenched in an orange liqueur. It wasn't my favorite and I ended up eating half of Jeremy's yummy egg and ham crepe, but I can say I've tried it. Our next stop was the catacombs. This is a creepy place I hadn't explored before, but several people recommended it and it was in our walk book as well. Before entering the crypt we had a couple of the funniest moments on our trip to Paris. 

Moment #1: David randomly decided to become a writer for Laffy Taffy candy wrappers and make up the most ridiculous jokes about the catacombs. Things like "Why didn't the skeleton go to the prom? Because he didn't have any BODY to go with." Yeah, stuff like that. Anyway, the line at the catacombs was so long. It wrapped around this little park and at one point we came up on an old phone booth-looking thing. It had a piece of paper posted to it where some other poor bored souls had played some tic-tac-toe. David decided this was the perfect place to write his jokes for the entertainment and benefit of anyone else who came behind us. He wrote his jokes on the piece of paper and also drew an arrow with a note that said "Three hours from this point." (Luckily that wasn't true.) As we moved along in the line, we had the most fun looking back and watching people as they passed the piece of paper and read the notes. David kept calling them his customers and judged them based on how much they laughed. One couple, who I assume saw the arrow, actually looked at it and left the line. Oops. 

 A couple reading David's jokes.

Moment #2: Jeremy's proudest moment of the trip. Sarah and I had gone to sit down in the park while the guys stood in line for a while. When they were getting close to the front, we walked back over there to find them fuming mad. Jeremy was like "I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I had cut in this line." I was so confused. I asked him if someone had cut and he loudly said "yeah these two in front of us." Oh no they didn't. This couple had literally just walked up and cut in front of David and Jeremy while they weren't looking. Who does that?! There was obviously a HUGE line! Jeremy kept making tacky comments about their integrity and how crappy it was. He said things like "Yeah, we have all day to stand in line, so their time must be more valuable than ours." Then the guy really pissed Jeremy off when he turned around, put his hand on Jeremy's shoulder and said "I'm sorry," and just turned back around. As you can imagine, that was not okay. At one point I got in front of them and told them to ask the people behind us if it was okay to cut in front of them because it was NOT okay with us. Then the girl turned around and told Jeremy she didn't think it would matter because they weren't paying attention and then said she didn't know there was a line!!! WHAT??! Jeremy got so mad he became British and said "Do you not see this queue!!?" Anyway, this went on for about five minutes until the girl finally gave up and said "let's just go." And this is when Jeremy's rage turned into gloating. He had literally shamed them out of the line. 

The catacombs are where Napolean dug up about six million bodies in Paris and lined the walls with their bones in an almost artistic way. We couldn't really take any good pictures down there, but here are a few that show you what I am talking about. 

 Going into the catacombs.

Part of the skull-lined wall.


It took me a while to get over the fact that we were WAY under ground where it was cold and wet and I was surrounded by real human bones. Ew. But, after I got over it, it was pretty interesting. 

After leaving the catacombs we decided to walk a bit more and head over to the Luxembourg Gardens and St. Suplice (the church that the Da Vinci code is based on...with the Rose Line). The gardens were beautiful and the modern day senate is located there along with the Pantheon. On our walk we even got to stop at a great little restaurant that was recommended by our handy walk book. This was a cute little place that Ernest Hemingway used to go to a lot to write and just hang out in Paris. The guys got the most expensive beers EVER and Sarah had some creme brulee while I had the preggo specialty...water. :)

Hemingway's hangout.

Luxembourg Gardens.

Our final stop for the day was the Eiffel Tower. We really wanted to be up there during sunset (which was SO late over there...like 9:30 or so) so we went to a touristy restaurant and hung out for a while eating and laughing at David and the waiter make up songs to sing to each other. David's were awesome because he tried to sing them in French. I can only imagine what the waiter was thinking! Here's how he asked the waiter to open our wine:

David's "Frenglish" song to the waiter.

When we finally made it over to the Eiffel Tower, it was pretty crowded. Remember how Sarah had been so sweet and worried about my preggo self before? Well, this is where she forgot. She decided we should just forget about the line and WALK UP the first part of the Eiffel Tower. At that point I threatened to throw her over the Eiffel Tower and told her she was crazy. Luckily (for both of us), they weren't letting people climb up. We did have a little entertainment while we stood in line watching the secret squirrely police tackle the men who were trying to sell crappy little Eiffel Tower key chains. I called them the "jingly-janglys" because they would walk up and jingle their rings of key chains in your face. There were also dudes trying to sell overpriced single roses to men to give to their women. At one point, a rose peddler stuck a whole bunch of roses in the trash when he saw a police officer coming. So dumb! 

The Eiffel Tower was awesome and it was fun to share that experience with Jeremy. While we were waiting in line to go up from the lower half to the top half, the Tower lit up! It was pretty awesome and romantic! When we were finished, we started to head down but the lines were SO long. At that point, I decided I could make it down the stairs so we started down. It wasn't too bad! My calves were a little sore the next day, but I was glad to be moving rather than standing in another line.

Video of the lights on the Eiffel Tower.

Our daylight Eiffel Tower pic.

From the halfway point up...

From the top of the Eiffel Tower.

The Eiffel Tower was a great way to end the trip to Paris! We had a blast the last couple of days with the Houses! We were sad to leave, but it was time to get home. I think for a pregnant lady, that was just the perfect amount of time in Europe. Baby Quinn is a world traveler already and she LOVES it! :)


The Houses

Awww we love this blog! I totally forgot about the jingly-janglys. Hahahaha. So many good memories!