Sunday, May 19, 2019

My big life change

We interrupt the Europe recap posts to talk about my big life change. I'm sorry the vacation recap is taking me so long to get through! I ended up with so much content, and then in the middle of all of that, something big has been happening over the last 3 weeks that has left me a bit distracted. After 13 years, I decided it was time to leave my job for reasons I won't go into on the blog. But I will say that I made this decision in January, right after the new year. The ideal plan was that I would find a new job, put in my notice, go to Europe, then come home to a new life. Somehow I'm only about 4 weeks off that schedule and it happened really fast after Europe. It really is ironic when wishes come true the second you decide to let things go.

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Monday, May 6, 2019

Europe recap day 4: Versailles

Palace of Versailles statues, the gardens
Palace of Versailles statues

Well, you have made it to day 4 of our Europe Trip! We covered a lot in day 4 as well, so this will be split up into two separate posts - this one covering our tour to Versailles and then our own visit to Notre Dame as well as a boat tour! This was the only day of our entire trip that our group split up. Half the group had already been to Europe together before so they were off to venture some new things for them. We debated on touring the Louvre or Versailles, and the consensus was Versailles. It was only a half day tour - the shuttle left at 8:45am (ish), and we planned to be back in Paris by 1-2pm.
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Friday, May 3, 2019

Europe recap day 3: Le Grand Colbert

le grand colbert
Photo credit here

Day 3 has already been a crazy full day! We started at 7am, took a 3 hour roadtrip to the beaches of Normandy, visited the small city called Bayeux, then traveled 3 hours back to our AirBNB, We had two organized dinners on our trip and this night was one of those two dinners. Our dinner reservations were at 8:30pm at Le Grand Colbert.

48 Avenue de New York, Paris, balcony view, airbnb
Top: Bailey 44 | Bottoms: American Eagle | Sandals: Sam Edelman

First, what I wore. I bought this top knowing I wanted to wear it in Paris. And sorry for the boys who might be reading this, but I knew I was going to start my period later in the trip, so I figured I would wear my white pants while I knew it was still safe! These sandals were the only heels I brought and I knew the chunky block heel would be way more practical than a stiletto. We were riding the subway to dinner, but we still had to walk a few blocks from the train station to the restaurant. I would say it was a solid 15-20 minute walk and it was rough. The block heel was better, yes, but the walking surfaces are just so precarious - uneven, uphill, downhill, construction, dodging cars in streets, plus it was dark/not well lit and difficult to see my footing... I was wishing I was in a flat - not even a wedge, a flat. And you know how much I love my heels! We took Ubers for the ride home, so I was relieved about that.

Le Terrasses de la Tour Eiffel AirBNB, view of eiffel tower
Balcony view at our Airbnb

You guys, this Eiffel Tower view is hands down my most favorite part of our Paris trip. It just never gets old, and why not have it as a prop for all your photos?! We couldn't resist a photo shoot on our balcony before dinner.

Le Terrasses de la Tour Eiffel AirBNB balcony view
Balcony view at our Airbnb

We managed to get a tripod set up so we could take a group pic with the Eiffel Tower as well! And this is not filtered. That is just the natural beauty of the sunset! Sigh. I just love this view.

Paris train station outfit photo
Paris train station

I had to take this photo in the train station. This is Courtney, our trip planner! She truly is amazing and did a wonderful job on our trip! It's not her day job, it's simply her hobby. She stalks Pinterest for travel ideas. She put together Power Points for us to get general consensus on how our trip would be structured. She put together binders with all of our travel itineraries included. Seriously, amazing. We wouldn't have gone to Europe had we had to plan it ourselves.

Reservations were at 8:30pm at Le Grand Colbert, and we arrived a little bit past our reservation time. Our table was ready, so we didn't have to wait long, however, service was pretty slow. That's not just specific to this restaurant though. We found service in most restaurants in Paris were slow, so our expectations were pretty low going into it. We also found that Parisians eat really late - they were still pretty full with new parties coming in at 11pm. We waited a shameful amount of time for our drinks and when we asked our server if we could order, he told us no and came back later. Alright then! Just be prepared to never be in any kind of hurry.

Scallops dinner at Le Grand Colbert, paris
Scallops at Le Grand Colbert

There is something magical about the bread and butter in Paris. I couldn't get enough of the butter specifically. I can't recall if I got any kind of appetizer or soup or salad before my main course, so I will just go right to what I had for dinner! I decided to get the scallops and they were amazing. I had no idea that scallops lived in these shells - that was certainly something new for me.

Scallop foot at Le Grand Colbert
Scallops at Le Grand Colbert

I also didn't know that scallops had a "foot" and that Europe is one of the very few regions of the world that eat it. At first, I thought they simply mixed in lobster meat with the scallops - it had the same consistency as the meat from a lobster claw. But, when I realized these pieces were actually attached to the scallop, I was completely confused. I still ate everything - it was all super delish, but then I decided to google what this was - thankfully after I finished my meal... I will leave it at that and let you do the research.

Anniversary celebration at Le Grand Colbert Paris

Another nice thing Courtney did when she booked things for us is let people know of our anniversary. 2019 marks our 10 year wedding anniversary (in September) and 5 years for Courtney and her husband. That's half the reason why the husband agreed to finally make it out to Europe this year since it was our big milestone anniversary year. We ordered creme brulee for dessert and they sang for us and gave us a little fireworks show, too! The husband ordered a coffee with his dessert and the server laughed at him. And never came with a coffee, so apparently that's not a thing in Paris? 

Even though service wasn't the best, the ambiance was great and the food really was delicious. Again, slow service was definitely the norm with every place we ate there, so we weren't surprised they were lackluster especially since the restaurant was packed and they were in the weeds!

That officially wraps up day 3 in Europe! Day 4 was the last day in Paris and consisted of Versailles, Notre Dame, and a boat tour. Stay tuned!

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Europe recap day 3: Bayeux

It has been so fun recapping Europe in these posts, but holy hell, it really does take a lot of time and a lot of remembering! I wish I would have taken more notes, journaled more, etc. because it's amazing how fast all of the little details escape you. Looking at the photos certainly helps a ton, but I know there are so many things I'm forgetting. I didn't even bring a laptop with me on the trip, but even if I had, I had exactly zero time to actually blog. It is what it is!! I'm breaking day 3 up into 3 posts due to SOMUCHCONTENT, and this is part 2 of day 3! The last post was all about our D-Day tour in Normandy.

What to wear on tour to Normandy
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Sunday, April 28, 2019

Europe recap day 3: Normandy

Wounded soldier memorial statue, Omaha Beach
Wounded soldier memorial statue, Omaha Beach

Friday marked Day 3 of our trip, and we had a full day ahead of us! So full that I'm going to separate this day into 3 different posts - Beaches of Normandy, Bayeux, and then dinner back in Paris. One thing that was great about this trip is that we not only experienced the big city, we also traveled to the outskirts to feel the small city life as well. This day was one of our "small city" days. We booked this D-Day in Normandy private tour and the van picked us up in front of our AirBNB at 7am. The 8 of us plus the tour guide fit comfortably in the van, which was good because we had a 3-hour commute each way. The drive was scenic and our tour guide, Fredrick, did a great job sharing some history along the way, pointing out monuments, castles, etc. as we approached them.
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Sunday, April 21, 2019

Europe recap day 2: Paris day 1

eiffel tower view from airbnb 48 avenue de new york paris
View from our Paris AirBNB

Alright! I got the first post out of the way and that seemed to be the hardest part - just getting started! I decided to document Europe one day at a time. You can get yourself caught up on any previous Europe related posts (including packing) here. The first full day was dedicated to just getting ourselves across the pond, so it's really day 2 that starts all of the action! Let's get to it!
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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Europe recap day 1: Travel day

"and so the adventure begins"

We've only been home for about 4 days now, but I still feel like this blog post is long overdue. I've been going back and forth about where to start in terms of recapping all of the Europe events on the blog, and I decided to take it one day at a time - literally! So, I will start with day 1, recap the activities and sights for the day, and further split the days up into multiple posts as needed depending on the amount content. So, all that being said - let's just get started!
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