French Friday

Okay, okay, fine. I won’t be one of those people with the themed day of the week posts. Mostly because I’m not disciplined enough to post consistently on certain days of the week, plus, what if I want to write about something else next Friday?

Anyway, it’s time for a stroll down memory lane. The first time I visited France was with my French class in 2005. It started out with a few-days long tour of the Loire valley, including 2 or 3 castles, and then I had a week-long homestay with my French family, finished up with a day or two in Paris. My memory (of how many days things took and such) is really hazy! Must be getting old.

Here is a very young Staci in front of my favorite castle, Chenonceau. It’s hard to pick a favorite castle because… well… they are castles, and by definition, awesome. I really liked Versailles too, of course… isn’t that technically a palace? So Chenonceau is my favorite castle and Versailles is my favorite palace. Speaking of Versailles, note below: the hall of mirrors. Very blurry (my trusty old 2004/2005 fujifilm camera did not have image stabilization, but overall seems to have done okay). Also, the tops of my host family’s heads.

This is Da Vinci’s house. Very cool!! Filled with art and cool furniture. I saw the bed where he died! The grounds were filled with cool Da Vinci inventions, like this one (below) created for battle. It spun inside with a mechanism like Disney’s tea cup ride. Note my wallet chain. I was extremely cool (and thin, apparently!) in high school.

Aha, here is a shot of the Eiffel Tower. I climbed it to get the full experience, even though it was cold and windy and I was wearing high heels. We were dressed nicely because we had dinner in the fancy Eiffel Tower restaurant! That thing you see attached to the front of it says “Paris 2012.” Paris was trying to get chosen to host the 2012 Olympics, which at the time seemed EXTREMELY far in the future!

Well, that was fun. I’m also a little worried because the CD these pictures are on did not have any photos of Chambord, another castle I saw, or the inside of the Louvre. Maybe I didn’t take any? What was my 17 year old self thinking!

Another fun fact about the trip: I bought my first iPod for the overseas flight. A white one with no color screen or video capabilities. We have come so far.

Planning: Eurotrip

I am so excited to begin planning a trip overseas. I have been dying to travel extensively ever since I got back from my Morocco, Rome, and Paris trip in 2009 (the whole reason I started this blog). A number of months ago, my mom mentioned that she and my dad were planning a trip to Europe for their 30th anniversary and asked for my two-cents on locations to visit. We batted around ideas like Prague, Northern Italy, Germany and France, among others, and then didn’t talk about it for a while. My mom and dad settled on taking a two-week road trip in Paris, Belgium, and England and invited us to join them for at least part of the trip. Naturally we were delighted at the prospect and immediately began saving a few hundred dollars a month (not easy, especially since we’re still making car payments!). We are going this summer so we still have several months to continue saving.

So far, we have a general itenerary for the trip, and here it is:

Day 1: Arrive in Paris (hopefully get an arrival flight at the same time as my parents) and get in a rental car to drive to Trier, Germany. Along the way, stop and see a few sights in Reims and Luxembourg. Stay the night in Trier, the oldest city in Germany, founded in 16 BC!!

Image from Luxemblog. Click to view site.

Day 2: See a German castle, drive towards Belgium, spend part of the day in Brussels. Check in to Vacation home in Bruges. Stay night in Bruges.

Day 3: Sightsee in Bruges, including canal tour, among other things. Stay night in Bruges.

Image from Wikipedia.

Day 4: Spend the day relaxing on the beach on Oostende. Every vacation needs at least one relaxing day on the beach, weather permitting. Stay night in Bruges.

Day 5: Part ways with my parents (they will be taking a ferry across to England and staying there a few days). Take a train from Bruges or Dunkirk back to Paris. This day should be a Monday: get to Paris in time to visit Les Puces (Paris’s famous flea market!)  Stay the night in Paris.

Day 6: Sightsee in Paris, climb the Eiffel tower, shopping, etc.

Day 7: More Paris. There is no such thing as too many days in Paris.

Day 8: Get to the airport on time to sadly bring our Eurotrip to a close.

Originally we had decided to go to Brussels, Bruges, and Amsterdam, but in a moment of clarity decided that just because I’ve been to Paris was an unfair reason to rule it out, especially since that’s where we really wanted to go. This will have been my third time in Paris–I can’t believe what a lucky girl I am. I am determined to see/do/eat new things for me, while at the same time show Doug all the best Paris has to offer–playing tour guide is going to be so exciting!