Monday, September 25, 2006

Late Night Update

Updated 9-17 with the Saint Sulpice organ concert, the Lourve, and the Eiffel Tower.

Roman Holiday

Posted a few days today, four in fact, and I put the date on the post to match the day we talking about, so I'll give you the links here.

9-15 Cone or Cup?
9-16 L'etat, c'est moi!
9-19 La Vie en Rose
9-22 Take the last train to Roma

Friday, September 22, 2006

Take the last train to Roma

Melissa here summing up our day of travel. After two days of drinking, waking up at 7:30 am is a little rough. Jerry definitely had the roughest night of us all. I think he put down about 5 liters of beer. But even with the hangovers we had, the entire Munich trip was fabulous. We got to drink with the locals and that was the best part. Now, onto Rome. The train leaves the station at 9:33 and we should arrive in Rome around 8:10. This will be a long day, but the scenery should be great. We get to the train station early, (believe that), but a few pastries and get on the train with no problem. The train leaves about 5 minutes late, but that is no big deal. This train will make many stops, about 12 to be exact. At first, it seems like we are stopping every 2o minutes. People are getting off and on the whole time. We all fall asleep pretty quickly after getting on the train. We then notice the train is making stops in the middle of nowhere. There is no station, just a stop. Ok, is that weird?

About 1pm, a retired couple get on the train and sit next to the three of us. We start chatting it up a bit. They live in Arizona and are going on a hiking trip in Florence with a group of people. They seem really cool, and it is nice to have people to talk with to make the traveling day go by. When we start talking, we learn they have been all over the world, China, New Zealand, Australia, and all over Europe. They are retired, so that is what they do. The three of us all thought that was great. They told us they started traveling about 20 years ago. They have three kids and six grandkids and there children are all travelers as well. Chad and I had a discussion back in France to start taking week long trips to Europe whenever the price is right. If that means traveling in October, so be it.

We also got to experience the dining cart. That is very interesting. We were served a pork dinner with a salad and water. The dining cart on a train is not the most luxurious eating experience you can imagine. Like I said earlier though, the scenery is gorgeous. The train rode through the Swiss Alps and the Italian footballs. If we did stop, the scenery was nice. As the day rolled on, the train seemed to be getting farther and farther behind schedule. By the time we got to Bologna, we were about 30 minutes late. When we stopped there, the train sat for about 10 minutes. We don't know why. An announcer would come on the speaker and explain something, but it was in Italian, so we had no clue what was going on. Needless to say, it was a long day. The train car was very hot and made more stops then it needed to. I just don't understand why we stopped in the middle of nowhere for no apparent reason. We arrived in Rome about 9pm and took a little while to find our hotel. It was just a few short walking blocks from the train station. We went to the first little ristorante we could find. Man, I was so hungry and that food was so good. The Italians do there meals in courses, so we each had about three. You have an anitpasta, then a first course, then a main course, and the dessert. We I couldn't pass us the proscuitto. Damn good meat. I can't wait to try every Italian dish I can think of while we are here. Also, does anybody know if the Italians believe it a hot shower? If so, then it doesn't seem like it. I had a hell of a time trying to work the shower last night.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I'm So Glad I've Found This

Melissa here about to give you the second day of Oktoberfest. Last night was not too bad. I only had one beer so we were fortunate enough to not be too hung over. I think we were just too tired to drink that much. We get up at a good hour and hit the internet cafe for some breakfast. We are all able to check email and find out what is going on in the world. It is a nice sunny day, so it should be great for the Fest. But then Jerry mentions that everyone else will be there too. We would like to get a seat inside one of the tents to enjoy the music, food, and beer. I did not realize the only way you can drink at Oktoberfest is to be seated at a tent. I thought you could just buy a drink and walk around. Much like fairs I attended in New Orleans. We are deciding when we will go to Oktoberfest. Jerry wants to go back to the Haufbrau house to eat. He went there last year with his german buddies and he wants to take us. Luckily, it is not too far from the hotel. A quick subway ride and we are there. Chad keeps mentioning though that he wants to buy me a authentic bavarian Oktoberfest outfit. You know the one. When you think of the Sound of Music or german girls. Yeah, that kind of dress. Every single girl is wearing one. EVERY SINGLE GIRL. He is joking, right?

Well, lunch first. We head to the Haufbrau house for sausage and beer. I picture this dirty little bar with only about 10 tables, but actually is was quite large. We get a seat at a big table not too far from the live band playing German music. Jerry, being the band geek that he is, eats this up. I always find it better with live music anyway. Now, the menu is completely in german and our waiter doesn't speak a word of english. This should be interesting. Beer is a universal word though, thank god. Chad and Jerry naturally get the hefeweizen and I get the Oktoberfest brew. Man, the beer in Europe, especially Germany is so much better than the swill that is served in America. Chad and Jerry order brats with sauerkrat and I had some sort of sausage salad. It was basically just sausage in vinegar. It was actually pretty good. The Germans know their sausage! After lunch, we walk around a bit to look for some souvenirs. I bet you can guess what Chris is getting from Germany. In a weird moment, we run into a guy from Baton Rouge in one of the shops. We know he is from Baton Rouge because he is wearing an LSU National Champions baseball hat. Man, Americans stick out so easily sometimes. There was something weirdly comforting to tell a guy Geaux Tigers while being so far from home. After the souvenir buying, Chad is adamant about this outfit for me. Seriously? Dead serious. So we hit the shops for me to find a drach, bluse, and apron. I can't believe this. If I buy this, I have to wear it tonight. At least I should be drunk later tonight! The first stores we go through, the outfits are way expensive. Apparently, some girls spend well over $300 on their outfit. Not me, just here for the day! We do end up at one store with loads of german girls and loads of choices. I have no clue what any of these sizes are or what they mean. Really, I can't believe I am doing this. I start pouring over the dress looking for something I like. Black, that is a good choice. Can't go wrong with black. What size, 38, 36, 40? NO CLUE! I grab about 5 dresses to try on. Jerry and Chad are waiting patiently for this. Chad is determined for me to get this outfit. I am not leaving this store without the outfit. After some weird manuevering in the dresses room, I emerge with a blouse, drache and apron. The dress in black with pink and green flowers and I have a green apron. You will see the pictures. The entire outfit cost $85! I guess that is cheap, not really sure. After the outfit is purchased, we head back to the hotel room for me to change. I can't believe I am doing this.

My new drache and the guys then head over the the Festival. Still can't believe I am wearing this outfit! Thankfully, so is every other girl. It is now about 5 pm so everyone is showing up to the fest. We walk around to a few tents, but unfortunately, every seat is taken. I guess we will have to sit outside. Man, I sure hope I don't freeze in this outfit. We scoot into a table with an older german couple. The don't speak english, but like I said, beer is a universal word. We "Proust" and everything is good. After about 30 minutes, the couple leaves and we scoot down the table to make room for more people. These 6 guys sit next to us. I think they are from Italy. They seem a little squished next to us, so they moved when another table frees us. We notice the table next to us has a bunch of drunk germans having a very good time. The rest of our table doesn't stay empty for very long. Four men sit down and they are speaking english. GOOD! Wait, they are British. EVEN BETTER! One of the German guys next to us notices we speak english and turns around to talk to us. He wants to practice his English. Needless to say, they become our new best friends for the night. After a little while, the Brits start talking to us also. One guy is from Ireland. Ok, now let me get this straight. I am now drink with the Brits, the Irish and the Germans all at the same time? SCORE!!!! Could this night rock anymore? It is true, the Irish and Germans can drink! Well, I think we talked, ate and drank for about three hours. We talked about our trip, New Orleans, Katrina and Texas. They taught us a German drinking song and a few German words. The pictures barely do this night justice. Over the course of the night, we all drink about 10 liters of beer. Jerry drinks the most and ends the night in the WC. Yep, "calling the dinosaurs" as he likes to say. This is the best night of this trip so far. Man, these Germans can drink! And remember, this is Thursday night. What is it like on the weekend? I can only imagine. As we drunkenly walk back to our hotel, I tell Jerry how glad I am we decided to come to Munich. This was fantastic. I think stop and buy a handful of chocolate covered strawberries. So good. We have a 9:30 train to catch tomorrow. Ouch! Funny thing, we went to bed around 11 pm.

Yes we are alive

Our days and nights in Paris were pretty busy and with our three hour dinners and hot hotel lobby, we didn't have much time for posting. We have kept track of what we have done and will provides updates the moment we have wireless access again.

Right now we are in Munich at an Internet cafe. We enjoyed a few hours, and a few beers, at Oktoberfest last night and plan to go back later this afternoon. Have to make a 9:30 train tomorrow so can't get too smashed. Weirdly enough things seem to shut down pretty early out there, around 10:00 or so. Maybe it's a weekday thing since the locals have to work in the morning.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sausage is the beer's girlfriend

We arrived in Munich around nine in the morning. None of us had gotten much sleep due to the night train bunks and getting moving was pretty rough. And then we had to find our way out of the German train station, navigate the streets of Munich, and find the hotel. The area of town around the train station is filled with hotels, and strip clubs. OK then. We find Hotel Monaco without too much trouble and drop off our luggage since our room isn't ready. At a nearby pedestrian mall we find a coffee shop and grab some caffenine. And then it hits us. We're in Germany, our third country in seven days, and it's Oktoberfest. Awesome. Now if we could only keep our eyes open.

With a little more time to kill before we can check in to the hotel, we head down the pedestrian mall to the center of town called the Marienplatz. The whole area looks new but done in an older style. And it turns out that is true since most of the area was bombed to shit in WWII. And upon realizing that, it gets a little weird to be in Germany. Moving on. On one side of the Marienplatz is the "new" town hall. I say new because it looks to be a few hundred years old and the guidebook says it survived the bombing. This building has a giant clock with dancing people kinda like a cococlock and a glockenspiel inside. Melissa goes off to do some shopping and Jerry and I wait for the show. It's a little odd. I mean it's just a big coocooclock. Anyway, was interesting to see. We head back to the hotel, get into the room, spend some time getting settled, and go back out to get food. We find a place back on the pedestrian mall and we all get authentic German food and beer. Jerry had wurst, I had weinerschnitzel, and Melissa had German meatloaf. German food, with beer of course, is awesome. We go back to the hotel, shower, and nap.

Felling a little more refreshed, we take the fifteen minute walk to the Weisen, where Oktoberfest is held. Imagine JazzFest, cover it all in tents and rides, now add in all the track space and green space and any spare space you can think of and put more tents and rides. And by tents I mean huge structures that don't look temporary at all. And by rides I mean things like six loop rollercoasters. It's a sight to see. We should all go next year.

We walked through some tents, but couldn't find a free spot inside, so we grabbed a seat at a table outside in the Paulener area. For as much drinking goes on at Oktoberfest, you can't take the drinks out of the tent area, so you do all your drinking at the table. We order a round, liters of course, and get to drinking. Feeling a little hungry, we get an English menu. On the menu is written "Sausage is the beer's girlfriend." Hell yeah it is. I order bratwurst. Who cares what everyone else ordered. We order more beer. Liters are big. Yo.

After finishing our food and beer, we walk around again. It's like a big fair, people everywhere, all the girls in the Bavarian outfits. A few guys wearing the lederhousin. We find another tent, not sure which one, and order more beer. It's a little chilly but there is a heat lamp nearby so it works out. All the bangs inside the tents play 80s music all the time. The highlight was hearing 99 red balloons, in German of course. They also play some German drinking song, but we had no idea what they were saying. They even did the Ziggy Zoggy thing a few times. For as nutty as the whole event is, it shuts down early, shutting things down around 10:15. We finish up our beers, and get back to the hotel around 11.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

La Vie en Rose

This is our last final day in Paris. We will get all the culture we can in one single day. The train to Munich if for 10:40. The plan is to hit the Orsay and Rodin museums, Sacre-Couer and take a walk around the Montmartre area. I have notice many little jewelry shops in the Marais area and decide that will be my souvenir in Paris. I wake up before the guys (no surprise there) and head over to grab a croissant then a jewelry shop. Unfortunately, it seems nothing in Paris opens before 10, so I am stuck waiting for the shop. I head back to hotel to check on the progress of the men. Still slow. We leave the hotel around 11:30 and the shop is open. Hooray! I buy a really cool necklace then we all head off to the Orsay. The Orsay musuem is mostly filled with impressionist artwork. I have been told by most people it is better then the Louvre. Hey, I saw the Mona Lisa yesterday. What is better than that!? Well, turns out this place was really cool. We saw alot of Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas and Van Gogh. I have decided sculptures are my favorite, especially the ones made of marble. There are a few Rodin sculptures here, but most will be in his museum which we are headed to next. The Orsay was very busy today, because the Louvre is closed. Luckily, we have a museum pass that gets us in without waiting in line. Score! We have a quick lunch at the cafe in the museum. We breezed through in about 2 hours. It might not seem like much, but it is more than enough time. My favorite and worst painting at the Orsay is what I called, "Jesus and the Twelve Gay Apostles." Only the pictures will do it justice. Trust me, it was terrible. I was waiting for the figures in the paining to start singing Age of Aquarius!

Rodin in next. He is considered the best sculpturist since Michelangelo. It is easy to see why. He musuem is in a house that he once lived and worked. There is a beautiful garden also holding is most famous sculpture, The THinking Man. The Gates of Hell and Victer Hugo were also on display. This museum took about an hour to go through. It is about 4:30 by this time, so we are looking for a place to grab some coffee and a snack before out walk through Montemartre. We take the metro over to this area in town and sit down at the first cafe we see. The Montmartre area is where the Mouline Rouge is located and also Pigalle. This was considered the seedy part of Paris around 1900. If you have seen Moulin Rouge, you know what I am talking about. After a quick snack, the walk begins. It is about 2 miles and may take up to two hours. The first square if filled with artists and creperies. The descendants of Renoir and Monet are said to be walking this area looking to sell paintings. Jerry is curious to buy a painting, but they seem a little high in price. After walking through the square, we come upon Sacre Coeur. This is a beautiful church built on Paris' highest point. It took about 44 years to build and was completed in 1919. Thirteen bombs during WWII were dropped near this church. No one was killed and the church was untouched. There is a plaque commemorating this inside when you walk in. As you walk around the church, you follow the stations of the cross until you are behind the altar. There is a statue of St. Peter there with a bronze foot. Everyone touches his foot, looks up, and says a prayer. This is for good luck. It was very cool. After many pictures, we head out the church to another church. This one is Church of St. Pierre de Montmartre. This is Paris' oldest church from 1147. King Louis VI's wife, Adelaide is buried there. They founded this church together. Also, there is a statue of St. Pierre with a bronze foot. AFter exiting this church, we head to the more bohemian part of this area.

We first pass the Cabaret de Patachou where Edith Piaf began singing. We walked by the Montmartre museum, the boulangerie dating back to 1900, La Maison Rose restaurant, and the Clos Montmartre vinyard. This is the only working vineyard left in Paris. We then strolled past the houses of Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. I must stress that this area is very hilly, which I don't think we were expecting. So every turn we makie is either uphill or downhill. It was quite a walk. It finishes right in front of the Moulin Rouge, windmill and all. There was some sort of burlesque show going on that night because people were hanging out outside all dressed up. We took a bunch of pictures and decided then to head back to the Marais for our final dinner.

The subway was crowded, like usual, during rush hour. We get back to the Marais around 8 and have dinner at a cafe down the street from our hotel. It was cafe St. Paul and of course we had our bottle of wine with dinner. We went with white this time. After dinner, we realized we never had a cheese course while in France. We quickly ordered it, ate it and got back to the hotel. The cheese was very good, different front what we are used to. On the way back to the hotel to grab our bags and a taxi, Jerry and I run into a chocolate shop and grab a big back of chocolates. This will be sweet on the train. Hailing a cab was more difficult then we realized. It took about 20 minutes. By this point, I am afraid we won't make it to the train on time. The cabbie was great and got us there on time. We actually made it to the station before the train. The train arrived, we found our very small cabin. There was three bunks which went straight up. The three of us couldn't stand up together in the cabin. That is how small the place was. Pictures will do it justice. If someone needed to get into their suitcase, the other two needed to get into their bunk. The bathroom was down the hall. We had a sink in our room. It was enough to brush your teeth. This train also left exactly on time. We all managed to squeeze into our bunk before midnight. The train will get to Munich around 9. They will supposedly serve us breakfast somewhere. This should be a bumpy night.

Monday, September 18, 2006

DeGaulle Arrives in Algiers

The hotel we are staying is in the Marais area of Paris, and we have walked through the area to get to the Metro and to get to places to eat, but we hadn't really taken a tour of the area. So today we decided to do the Marais walk in the Rick Steve's book. We walk through the yard of the Hotel de Sully and it is at this time that we realize that all the big hotels on the map and actually former residences of the big shot noble families in Paris. That makes the Hotel de Ville make much more sense. Anyway, we walk around a square called Place des Vosges, and pass by Victor Hugo's house. Thinking about him living there writing Les Miserables and imagining it taking place in the streets around us was pretty damn cool. Next we walked over to the Picasso museum and spent a good hour in there. The museum does a good job of giving you an idea of the progression of Picasso's work through his life. Right around Picasso is when I check out of art, but Picasso I can still appreciate. Some of the sculptures were pretty impressive. After the museum we walked trough the Jewish Quarter area and then down the main drag in the gay area of town. Not too many sights to see and a good bit of walking so we were ready for lunch and stopped at a cafe and just grabbed some sandwhiches.

With some food in us and feeling refreshed after sitting down, we hopped the Metro over to the Hotel des Invalides to check out Napolean's tomb and the accompanying war museums. The whole area around the tomb is interesting. The tomb itself is a level below the area you walk in on, and all around the main level are other tombs and monuments to people like Foch and other Lakeview streets. They also had a number of items that Napolean actually used including swords, an overcoat, and a hat. That gave me goosbumps. We were intending to only walk through the WWII part of the war museum, but they had recently rearranged it to make it one big walk through, so we started in about 1870 and worked our way through. We didn't want to spend all day here, so we breezed through, stopping to read some interesting things about trench warfare in WWI, and spending more time in the WWII area. For me it was a little weird to see WWII presented from the the French perspective. They upplay their role in things and seem to downplay everyone else's. But it makes you think how much our own museums, such as the D-Day museum, do the same thing. We left the museum for a nice snack and break at a cafe in the Tuileries Gardens. I really enjoyed this break. Nice scenery, good coffee, just all around pleasent.

From the Gardens we began the long walk down the Champs-Elysees. We walked past where all the people were guilloteened, through the opening garden area, then down past all the shops. Melissa restrained herself and only went in to one. Of course most of the shops were pretty expensive so that likely helped. The finale was the Arc de Triomphe. It's huge. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was way larger than I thought. We didn't walk up it, because we are wussies, but we spent a good bit of time looking down the Camps-Elysees and admiring the Arc itself.

Our plan for the remainder of the day was to grab some food to eat in the park and watch the Eiffel tower light up as the sun went down. That proved a little more difficult that we thought. It took a while to find a bakery, then it took a while to find a bathroom, but we finally made it to the park with about thiry minutes to watch the show. I know it seems silly to watch a building for thirty minutes, but if you have a chance to do it, try it out and tell me what you think. After the twinkling ended, we caught the #69 bus to get a above ground view of Paris at night. It was less impressive than I had hoped but we still had a few good views.

For dinner we walked over to the square where Melissa and I had dinner the first night and sat at an outside table at LaMarche. The food was tasty, and Jerry had creme brulee again, but too much time has passed and I can't remember exactly what we had. After dinner we went back to the hotel, getting there around 12:30. Long day.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

So Dark the Con of Man

Melissa and I got up a little earlier than Jerry, had breakfast at the hotel, and went off to Church. Originally I figured we would go to Mass at Notre Dame as that is the church in Paris, but then I found out about the Saint Sulpice organ concert. It seems that Saint Sulpice has a very famous organ and a very famous organist, and before, during, and after the 10:30 Mass, he has a little organ concert. With us much as Jerry and I like music, and especially organ music, I thought this would be a good idea. Melissa and I got there a little after 10:15, in time to hear the opening concert. The Mass itself was kinda nuts as they had visting Catholics from some French part of Africa helping to say parts of the service and singing their own songs. Odd and yet cool. The organ during Mass did not disappoint. After Mass, around 11:30, the real fun began, pure organ concert for thiry minutes. Jerry showed up right as the concert started so he timed that well. The music was excellent and it just sounds so right in a church. After the concert, we head to the magic door. After the concert he opens the door to the organ loft and lets people in to see the loft and him play during the next Mass. There are a few people waiting but we make it in OK. It's a small spiral staircase. Up top you have a nice view of the church from above and an up close view of the organ. After about thirty minutes he starts to play. It's five keyboards and footpedals and all these knobs. Nuts. And awesome. I have pictures and Jerry had video.

After a quick lunch in the mallish area below the Louvre, we buy our tickets and head in. It's huge. I mean really huge. I suppose former royal palaces tend to be on the large side. Our plan is to do the Rick Steve's walk through to see the higlights and get out in a reasonable amount of time. We quickly hit a snag. The whole first are of our tour, the Greek area, is under renovation and everything is moved around. We eventually find Venus de Milo. For some reason it was less impressive than I imagined. Not sure why. Very cool, and mobs of people around, but it didn't move me like some other pieces of art that I have seen. After Venus we backtrack to find the remaining Greek items of interest. Roman was next I believe, busts of emporers and what not. Then out of classical times and into medieval meaning 2-D Mary scenes. And then the Grand Gallery. Now that's a room. Crazy long and filled with awe inspirining Italian Renaissance paintings. Da Vinci over here, Raphael over there. We make a turn into a middle room and come upon the hightlight of the tour, the Mona Lisa. I had been prepared to be underinspired. Too small they said. Too dark they said. Bull. She's perfect. I had to fight the crowd a bit to get close but enventually I had a spot in the front to contemplate the painting. That pose. That smile. Very different in person than in a text book.

It's all downhill from here. We take a quick dash through some French paintings, Coronation of Napolean and later Liberty Leading the People. Then its downstairs to end the Rick Steve's tour with Michelangelo statues. Whew. Saw the highlights and didn't die on the trip. Good deal. Of course since we are touring a museum with Jerry we aren't done yet. He likes to go in every room. Now in the Louvre that really isn't possible to do and retain your sanity, but we at least figure we should hit some wings that we haven't gone through. First, Hammurabi's Code, or as Melissa called it, that Hammurabi shit. Then quick walks through a bunch of French statues and rooms of Medieval tapestries. We also walked through a Rembrant room I believe. It all started to blend together, which is how we knew it was time to leave. We left out the main entrace, the giant glass pyramid and walked around the Tuileries Gardens a bit before catching the Metro back to the hotel.

Having been reinvigorated by a break in the hotel, we head back out into the world, this time the plan is to go up the Eiffel Tower. On the Metro ride over, Jerry bumps into a girl he chatted up on the train over from London. Small world. The view of the Eiffel Tower after we get off the Metro is amazing. Right as we start walking toward it, the lights come on, and it starts to twinkle. More amazing. Then we finally reach the base, and see the long line, not so amazing. Forty-five minutes later, we are ascending in the elevator to level two. After another thirty minutes or so, we are ascending in the elevator to level three. Nine hundred feet over Paris and what feels like a tiny piece of steel is a very weird place to be. Nice views at night, Paris is well lit, but it did freak me out a bit to be that high. After what seemed like an eternity of Jerry taking pictures, we went back down to level two. More pictures and sightseeing of Paris at night. Then down to Terra Firma. Walking away from the Tower it really is amazing to see it lit up against the night sky.

We had to hunt for dinner but found a nice place not too far away called the Dome Cafe. I had an omelet I believe, not sure what Melissa had, and Jerry had a crepe, checking off another on his list of Paris cuisine. After catching what was likely the last Metro of the night, we got back to the hotel for a night of much needed rest.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

L'etat, c'est moi!

Before I read through all the guidbooks, I didn't really want to leave the major towns to do any day trips. I figured it would be best for us to just stick to the metro areas, not have to travel, and try to get a feel for the area we were in. For the most part we have stuck to this plan. Today was the exception, Versailles. As Rick Steve's says it, "If you see just one palace in Europe, see Varsailles."

We got up fairly early, which is to say around eight, did our usual bakery croissant and cafe cafe au lait, took a short Metro trip to the the train stop, then hopped the train to Versailles. The trip out was uneventful. It was a nice to see some of central Paris from a far and was interesting to see some of the further out areas of Paris. We arrived at the Versailles station, and walked the palace.

The palace from the front isn't all the impressive. The whole front area is basically a parking lot, so it just feels like walking up to any big building. The size becomes more and more impressive as you get closer. It's not that tall really, just a few floors, but it's very spread out. We bought our day pass ticket thing, then lined up to see some of the less busy sights. The first two things we did were the Madame area and the Dauphain area. These are the lesser sights inside the chatlet. While seeing old rooms in a palace was kinda cool, the whole thing just wasn't as impressive as I thought it would be. Part of that likely had to do with the audio tour. Most of what they talk about are the paintings and the furniture. It gets old after about two rooms. I could have done with more history, but I suppose that's information you are supposed to already know.

Next we saw the main area of the chatlet, the State Rooms and the Hall of Mirrors. This got more interesting. Seeing the actual bedroom and Louis XIV and the room where Marie Antoinette hid from the mob was a step up from the tour before. But the audio guide continued to disappoint. Another downside, the hall of mirrors was being renovated so we only saw about one third of it. C'est la vie. On the other hand we did get to walk through the Opera House which I believe has only recently been made accessible. So overall the chatlet was OK but not great. We had lunch in the basement.

After lunch we headed out to the Gardens. Wow. Way more impressive than the chatlet itself. Seeing all the land sculpted perfectly was pretty darn cool. We were there at the right time to see the fountains running with classical music accompaniment. Sitting on the steps looking out over the grand canal and looking back at the chatlet is one of the cooler experiences of the trip so far. It just felt grand, large, royal. We walked around the gardens for a while trying to catch the highlights and eventually made our way to the Grand Canal. Around this time the fountains went off, so we stopped to catch our breath, then walked over to the Marie Antoinette are.

The walk over was a little longer than expected and so we, and our feet, were quite tired. We quite literally ran through some of the sights, the Grand Trianon and the Petite Trianon, took a quick peak at the some of the grounds around, then headed back to the train station. Forty-five minutes later, we were only a train headed back to Paris. It was a very long day, and despite the disappointments, still worth it.

Later that night we went to dinner at a nearby Rick Steve's recommended resuarant. When we sat down, I laid the book on the table, and the owner of the place, upon seeing the book, gave us a free round of a drink called bryyh, just like the book said she would. Awesome. Our dinner that evening was long and enjoyable and we knocked out a few classic French dishes such as escargot and creme brulee. Jerry liked the creme brulee so much, he was only half way through his when I was finished. It's true. I have pictures.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Cone or Cup?

Melissa here. It has been a while. We are having trouble getting internet connections and having time to write a post. So, I will be going back about a week. On Friday morning, Chad and I did our usual routine of grabbing a pastry then walking down to get a coffee. The coffee here in France is wonderful. It is strong and tastes great. They aren't fans of artificial sweetner, so I am putting sugar in my coffee. It is actually quite yummy, but just a little sweet. We have the morning to ourselves until Jerry arrives. We decide to take a walk along the Left Bank of the river. It is overcast and a little rainy. This is weather I haven't felt in a long time. We start walking over the bridge and Chad describes what we are looking at. We pass by the statue of Voltaire and take a quick picture. We then stroll past Oscar Wilde's and George Sands house. There is also a Delacroix museum. Le Petit Prince is a big deal over here in Paris, not surprisingly. There is one little shop dedicated just to this book. Towards the end of this walk, we come to two churches. One is St. Germain des Pres and of course St. Sulpice. St. Germain is Paris' oldest church dating back to the 11th century. St. Sulpice is the church I want to see. For those of you who have seen the Davinci Code, this church is three times the size of what was depicted in the movie. The church is enormous. I think it is almost similar to the size of Notre Dame. Of course, we find the obelisk and Chad takes a picture of me about to smash a tile like Silas. No tile was broken of course. WE will come back to this place for mass on Sunday. It has the most amazing organ and I think it considered the best in Europe.

We then decide it is lunch time. We find a cute little creperie where we can get some food. THe place is packed with all types of people drinking and eating crepes. CHad of course orders some cider and a crepe. The crepe was good! By this time we need to meet Jerry. We head back to our hotel and wait for Mr. Centanni to arrive. THe cab pulls up with him around 4pm. We drop off his stuff and then head out for lunch for him and snacks for us. We return to another bakery (there are three on every block) and buy a sandwich, a coffee, and pain au chocolat for me. Man, I can get use to this bakery thing! We walk around the neighborhood a little to show Jerry around and then decide to head over to the Ille St. Louis area of town. Chad and I walked by this area and saw a bunch of gelato shops. NOw, that is what I want. After a bit of a walk, we decide on dinner. We usually have been doing dinner around 8 pm and having it last til about 10. This seems to be the culture in France and we are openly embracing it. We settle on a littel Morrocan restaurant. Of course, we order a bottle of wine and two courses. We all get a salade then an entree. It is good food as we have all had this trip. AFter dinner, we head down to one of the gelato shops. We taste all types of Gelato and decide on two each. I actually get a cone. I haven't had a cone since I was about 12. She puts two flavors on the cone is the shape of a flower. How cute. Now, we all have our gelato and decide to walk to NOtre Dame to see it lit up for the nighttime. I grab a napkin for the walk. Chad does not. By the time we make it to the church, the gelato has melted all over CHad's hands and close. It was so funny Jerry and I also wet our pants. There are pictures, you have to see them. The gelato was great, but Jerry keeps reminding us that it will be nothing compared to Italy. By this time it is around 11 so after taking a bunch of pictures of the church, we walk back to the hotel. We are trying to get to bed before midnight, but somehow, that doesn't always work.

Word Verification On

Got hit by a bunch of spam comments so I turned on word verification. I'm sorry if it inconveniences anyone but I felt it had to be done.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Le Poisson, Le Poisson, How I Love Le Poisson

We took our first full day in Paris pretty easy, mostly because we really had to wash clothes. In the morning we had a croissant from a local bakery then had coffee at a nearby cafe. After breakfast we went back to the hotel to start washing clothes. Luckily there was a washer and dryer in the hotel. While the clothes were washing, we decided to do a leisurely walk through the area near our hotel. Turns out, Notre Dame was close by, so we just walked around that for a while. Very impressive. Very gothic. And the front is now very clean. We grabbed some lunch at a nearby bakery, Melissa using every bit of high school French she could remember. When we got back to the hotel we had a bit of bad luck. The clothes were still in the wash. Ugh. I moved them to the dryer and then we decided to hit a museum. I wanted something that wouldn't use a day on the Museum Pass so we hit the Marmottan museum. It's mostly a Monet museum with a very other things. The basement is all Monet and was very cool. We saw some of his early sketches and his Impression:Sunrise. Awesome. On the walk back we walked through a park that was full of children at play. Very peaceful. Once back at the hotel, I moved the second load to the dryer, and we went to dinner at the Italian place just two door down from the hotel. Another long leisurely French dinner began. I love long dinners with appetizers, wine, and dessert. Melissa and I split a bottle of wine. After dinner, we used the hotel cafe for a little Internet and then went to bed.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Don't Be Scared of Anything At All, Everything We Have is All We Need

NOTE: Two posts in one day. Be sure to check below.

Wednesday September 14th

Today, we leave for Paris. But first, I must get a little shopping done. I did a little bit of looking on Thursday the first day we got to London. I just wanted to do more and I knew Chad did not need to be with me. So, after a long day before, I get up early to hit the streets. I eat breakfast, pack my bag and head to the tube station. I only have til noon, so I need to make it work. The place I really want to go is Topshop. If I have extra time, I will also go to H&M. I make it to the tube station for about 10 and get to my train all by myself with no problem. The tube is rather empty. I get off the stop and the shop is right behind me. Perfection! I walk right in. It is definitely crowded for a 10:30 on a Wednesday, but not like it was last week. There are definitely more Americans milling around the store as well. I start to look around. Ok, I definitely want something hip and trendy from London. I don't want something I can find in the Gap in Austin. I find three really cool pieces. One is a boxey gray tie cardigan. Jerry asked me if I can wear it alone or with a top. It definitely needs a camisole underneath or it would be obscene. I also buy this really cool scoop back top. It is black and blue and has a low scoop back. The really cool part is that it buttons down the back, not the front. Awesome. And the last piece I am definitely jumping on the trend. It is a long tunic/dress top to wear over pants. I know some people don't necessarily agree with this trend, but I am doing it. All I need now is a big belt to wear over the dress. That I actually did not find at topshop. I check out and am complete. I also must add, Dashboard was blaring over the radio in there. Awesome! I finish up at Topshop a little after 11 and then head across the street for some coffee. I stop at Cafe Nero (the coffeeshop of choice for us here in London) for a cafe au lait. I only have 30 minutes left, so I decide H&M will have to wait. I jump on the tube and head back to Portobello Road. On the walk back to the Gold, I stop by a quick boutique to look at their tunics. There are cute, but I have already spent my limit. I continue back to the hotel. One boutique on the street is blaring the new Justin Timberlake album. I should probably check that out.

I get to the room at precisely noon. Chad and Jerry are finishing packing and cleaning the room. We are set to go to the train station to catch the train to Paris. We jump on the tube at Notting Hill and ride to Waterloo station. Jerry will buy his train ticket to Paris here and meet up with us on Friday. Walking through Waterloo station, we just pop into a market and grab a few sandwiches. We only have time to eat on the train. We walk to the train station with about 20 minutes to spare. Jerry eats his wraps, then Chad and I board the train. We sit about 30 seconds and the train leaves exactly on time. NOTICE: TRAINS LEAVE EXACTLY WHEN THEY SAY THEY WILL! BE ON TIME. Five minutes later, Chad and I would have been SOL. The train gives us time to sit for three hours. I begin to read my latest Vogue and listen to my ipod. Wow, haven't done that for a while. The train trip is three hours long. Wow, this is my first train experience cool. The French countryside is wonderful, for people who haven't seen it.

We arrive in Paris at 5:20 pm. We got off the train and I am immediately overwhelmed again. Different country, different language. Wow, ok, stay calm. We need to find an ATM. That takes a little while, but we do manage to find one. Now we need to find a cab. Chad keeps asking me what are certain french words he can use. I immediately whip out the dictionary to help. Some words I can remember, others not. I am trying to jog my memory from those three years of french lessons at MCA. We get to the hotel just fine.

We are staying at the Hotel de 7e Art. Quite a cute place. Old time movie pictures everywhere. We flip on the TV to see no channels in English. Wait, except for the BBC. Thank you BBC!! Next dinner, what to do? Chad wanders us down towards a little square with about 6 restaurants. All have seating outside. We choose a cute little one where I can kind of read the menu. We sit to dinner at 8 and leave around 10. Dinner in France is an all night affair and it is wonderful. It is a Wednesday night and the entire quarter is packed with people. I love it. I got some fish and Chad got steak. The waitress spoke a little English so it worked. SECOND NOTICE: Everyone smokes in Paris. EVERYONE! You feel out of place when you aren't smoking. We get back to the hotel around 10:30 for bed. We are actually exhausted and get to bed before midnight for the first time in a week. WOW!

On a side note, I learned today my brother Chris and his fiance, Bridget will be married on January 26, 2008. To the Captain, the CED III's and the LeSaicherre's will have an issue on that day! :) As they say in London, Cheers!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I do bite my thumb, sir.

Tuesday Septmeber 13th

With only one full day left for the three of us, this had to be last remaining biggies day. So that meant Westminster Abbey and Tower of London. Our idea was to catch the changing of the guard first. That required being there at 11:00. You'd think that would be easy. You would be wrong.

We as a group stay up late and wake up late. It takes a lot to get one of us up and moving early, much less all three of us. We wound up getting the Buckingham Palace around 11:25. In time to be there for the festivities, but not in time to see much. Jerry enjoyed the brass band, and I have to admit it was pretty funny when they broke out into a Billy Joel medley, but otherwise this was a disappointment. Likely would have been better with a better view. Still, it was nice to see the Palace up close and see all the pageantry involved with having a monarchy.

We walked toward Westminster, stopping at a pub for lunch along the way, and entered around oneish. Westminster Abbey was the best thing we did the whole time we were in London. Seriously. I mean sure in one sense its just a big church with a lot of monuments and tombs, but to see the grave and memorial of Elizabeth I? Amazing. We did the aduioguide as I heard it was well worth it and I knew this was a site Melissa would be into. It did not disappoint. I had goosebumps on more than one occasion. After picking up some souvenirs, we took the tube to Tower Hill.

The Tower of London, with it's Beefeater guided tours, is one of those things you think will be a let down and too touristy. Then you read every guidebook and hear everyone who went tell you it's a must see. For me, just seeing the White Tower that William the Conqueror built was cool enough. But truly it's the Beefeaters that make the Tower a must-see, and possibly the Crown Jewels too. We arrived just in time to catch the last tour so that worked out well. The guided tour was great, the jewels were amazing, and just seeing it all there, so old, was pretty cool. I especially liked all the Lady Jane Grey history. The whole site could do with a more comprehensive guided tour or a better map, but since we didn't map for the guidebook or the audiotour, I suppose I can't criticize too much. I just have the feeling that we missed a lot, but since people do live there, its likely not all open to the public. Leaving the Tower we headed downtown to one of the older pubs in town, Ye Ole Cheshire Cheese, for dinner. Very cool.

After dinner, we took a cab across the Thames to attend what may well be the crowning cultural activity of my life, a Shakespeare play in the rebuilt Globe as a groundling. It was fantastic. We were three rows from the stage staring up at the actors, turning from left to right to take it all in, dogging spit olive pits and thrown water. I felt like I was in the 1600s seeing Antony and Cleopatra for the first time. Watching Octavius insult women and seeing the girls in front of us get all pissed of was a particular highlight. That just doesn't happen when you Netflix a movie. One downside, man did my feet hurt. How did those 1600 peasants do it? After the play we grabbed dessert at a nearby place, walked across the Millennium Bridge, and took the tube home.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sweet Sweet Naan, So Sweet

The last two days have been busy. Sorry for not posting. Here goes.

Monday morning we caught the tube to Victoria station and took the Big Bus Tour. You sit on top of an open air double decker bus while they drive you around London and describe the sights. It was a good way to catch a little glimpse of just about everything and to hear a little history from the tour guide. We took a lot of pictures. I need to upload them.

After the bus tour, we went over to the British Museum grabbing a quick pub lunch first. The Museum was not quite what I expected. It was smaller then I thought and yet more crowded in the rooms. The covered middle area is pretty impressive. We mostly went through the Egyptian, Assyrian, and Greek wings. We really were running through it since we only had two hours. The Egypt stuff was fascinating as I have been into Egyptian stuff for as long as I can remember. The Assyrian wing was interesting once you realized they were recreating the entryway to see the king. The Greek wing was awesome. They have most of the stuff from the Parthenon in this wing laid out similar to how it would have been. Very cool. After paying closer attention in these wings we ran through some other stuff, the Africa and America areas. The jeweled serpent was a highlight.

Next we went down to the river to pick up our tickets for the London Eye. The London Eye is like a giant ferris wheel with glass bubbles that take you on a 30 minutes ride around with breathtaking views. None of us freaked out or threw up and the views were pretty amazing. The Eye itself is an impressive piece of engineering work.

We met up with Dave from Lakeview in the evening and had some beer over on Brick Lane, the Indian/curry area of town. After we left, the three of us grabbed some Indian food. Getting in to eat was interesting. Imagine Bourbon Street or Sixth Street but instead of them offering deals on drinks, they were offering deals on dinner. Anyway, once we picked a place, the food was amazing. I've never had Indian food that good. The sweet naan was especially tasty.

On the way home we stopped at the corner pub on Portobello Road from some late night drinks. All in all a very busy and very good day.

More later.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Hardcore Downstairs

Woke up at a decent hour in order to make the 10:15 Sunday service at St Paul's Catherdral. The closest Tube stop was closed so we had to walk a bit. The bells announcing the service made it pretty easy to figure out which direction to go. It also got me very excited as we walked through the City. The service we attended didn't have a Eucharist, and it was called Mattins and Address if that means anything to anyone. Most everything was sung by the choir. The congregation only said a few things. The deacon, a woman, made some excellent points in the homily like part of the service bringing in Ricky Gervais and Iraq. All in all I was very impressed by both the service and the Cathedral.

Got back to the hotel around noon in order to pack to change rooms and to wait for Jerry. Jerry found the pub/hotel just fine, we changed rooms, then we met British Dave in the pub for a beers and lunch. We had the beer from the cellar, mine was called something like Tea, and then had a traditional British dish for lunch, Wellington something and Yorkshire pudding. After lunch, we all headed down to Covent Gardens to get some good people watching in. Stopped at a bar to have coffee, then walked through SoHo to get Jerry a good view of the gay bars and sex shops. Dave headed home and the three of us took a break at Cafe Nero. Then we headed to Chinatown for dinner. Good Chinese food and it seemed to be a very authentic restaurant.

Back at the hotel we caught a little of the live Sunday night music, relaxed in the room, had beer in the pub, then went to bed.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Paul lives and Roxy gets off

We woke up this morning a little earlier than the day before, but not by much. Our plan was to do the Beatles Tour, and we had to hustle to get there. Jumped in a train just in time to make it. The Tour itself was quite good. The guy really knew his stuff. We saw places where they filmed "Hard Days Night", we saw houses they rented, we saw Jane Asher's basement, and we finished the tour at Abbey Road studios and the famous Abbey Road crossing walk. I've got some good pictures to upload when I have the chance. Melissa loved it, in case there was some question. We had lunch at the train station near Abbey Road, at a place called the Abbey Road Cafe. Bought some souvenirs, and little sandwiches, fought off a wasp, and hopped on a train.

Being in London, the town famous for West End musicals, we figured we should see one. Thankfully the tkts booth is a great way to get cheap tickets for that day. I remember using the one in the Twin Towers weirdly enough. Anyway, we went to Leicester Square and got half price tickets to Chicago. Melissa clearly couldn't have planned this day better. But wait there's more.

With a little time to spare before we had to head back to the hotel so we headed down the South Bank and walked one of the Rick Steve's self guided tour. Basically the South Bank is where the naughty part of London was back in Shakespeare's day, so it was pretty much the only place he hung out. Pubs, brothels, the Rose, the Globe, the Clink prison, you get the idea. We didn't tour anything since we didn't have much time, but just walking down those cobblestone streets where people walked way back when was amazing. And of course we picked up groundling tickets to a Shakespeare play on Tuesday. Awesome.

The restaurant was at the hotel was booked, so we went down to the theater district to find some food. Wound up at a place called Garfunkle's. Took a little while to get seated but the food was decent. I had bangers and mash just cause and Melissa had some pizza thing.

The play was fantastic. I truly believe Chicago works much better as a play than as a movie, though it did take me a while to get used to a tall leggy blond playing Velma. Anyway, the presentation was great, they band on stage was hot, and it all just worked. If only the 50 foot Amazon woman in front of me would have stopped wiggling around. Ugh. Melissa seemed pretty impressed with the whole thing and that to me was a good sign.

After the play we went back to the hotel, had some beer from the cellar pull in the pub, and went back up to the room.

Tomorrow, St. Paul's and ... Jerry!!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Just another day, nothing in my way

Melissa here. Day 2 recap.

We slept til 10:30. That's right, 10:30. We went to bed around midnight. I guess we were sleep deprived. I threw on some clothes, Chad put on his shoes and we made in downstairs to the bar just in time for breakfast. It was quick, cereal and toast. Then we headed back upstairs to start the day. We walked down Portobello Road and hit the flea market. The fruit was amazing. Why don't our grapes look like those! I bought some apples because they were too good to pass up. The Portobello Road Market is blocks and blocks of food, clothes and antiques. I saw some really cool clothes. Very trendy London style. It was all still rather pricey. If the same venders are there later this week, I might go back.
After the market, we went back to the room to decide what to do for the afternoon. After pouring over our book, we chose the British library. It sounded interesting. We hopped on the tube and headed to King's Cross. By this time, we are hungry and looking for food. We stop at a pub called The Rocket. We both ate lunch for about $10. That was a good deal. Onto the library. It was just one floor of exhibition since this is a functioning library. One thing, the Magna Carter. Yeah, we saw the actual Magna Carter. Amazing. We saw original writings by Galileo, DaVinci, Isaac Newton. We also saw the Codex Sinaiticus. It is a 4th Century Greek Bible. Also, they had a little Beatles section. Yep, I saw the original writings of Here, There, and Everywhere, Strawberry Fields Forever, Ticket to Ride, and Michelle. It is just amazing how these amazing lyrics are scribbled on napkins and notepad paper. I Wanna Hold your hand was in this case as well. At the bottom of the paper it said, "This was written by Paul's hand and composed by John and Paul in Jane Asher's basement." How cool is that. By this time, it is starting to get chilly outside, so we head back to the room to grab an extra layer of clothing. Back at the room, we have some tea and decide to check out the Tate Modern Museum. It is open late on Friday nights. Back on the tube. This tube trip is a bit longer. We get to Blackfriars station around 8 and then decide to try to grab some dinner. We walk over the Millenium Bridge to the museum to turn around in time to realize we are right next to St. Paul's Cathedral. It is quite massive and I can't wait to see the inside. Dinner is in the Museum. That had a little cafe and that is all we could find. Dinner was quick and then we practically ran through one floor of the musuem. In about an hour, we saw some Picasso, Pollock, Klimt, Degas, and Monet. Since it was modern, we weren't interested in all of it. Once we left the museum, we grab a taxi back to the hotel. I think we were a bit skeptical of walking around at 10pm by ourselves. We got lucky and had an awesome cab driver. He drove us around and showed us a few things. I saw Buckingham palace from the outside and also the residence of Prince Charles. He said he had been to the states 9 times. All of them, Florida. Ha! That is so funny. I guess living in the south you take for granted the warmth and the beach. He advised us not to take a cab after 10pm because it is more expensive. Thanks! It was cool to take to someone. He thought Chad and I were newlyweds. Nope. Sort of a second honeymoon though. We spent the night in the room because I haven't surfed the web in a while. Flipped on the telly and got to watch the Mercury Music prize broadcast. Awesome. The Arctic Monkeys won by the way. Time for bed so we can take the Beatles walk tomorrow!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Traveling east to get to the West End

We decided to head out to the West End to do a little walking and a little shopping. Started with Carnaby Street, walked down to the Piccadily Circus, walked over to Leicester Square, then Covent Garden, followed by some walking through SoHo. Lots of theaters, lots of trendy shots, and lots of people in hip clothing. I'll let Melissa add some info on the shopping.

With our feet greatly hurting, we headed back to our hotel in Notting Hill. We had dinner at the restaurant in the pub/hotel, then had beer in the pub while browsing the web on the laptop using the free wireless, and reading some random British newspapers. And now it's time for bed.

Melissa's shopping summary: There are a few shops here I know I needed to hit. The first one is Lush. It is a bath and body shop that I have read about in countless magazines and does not have a store in the US. I walk in and buy a few of there delicious bath bombs. These are little balls you drop in your tub to make it fizz up like alka selter. Another shop is H&M. Now, if it is good for Madonna, it is good for me. It had a lot of trendy European pieces at decent prices. I didn't buy anything because I really couldn't make up my mind. Picadilly Circus and Carnaby street had the best selection of stores. I really want to be able to afford to shop at some of these places. I just can't now. The last shop I needed to go to was Top Shop. This is a massive store on Oxford street. Everyone shops there. It is the equivalent of a Gap in the US. It has tons of the trendy pieces at half of the designer prices. Now, I expected this store to be the size of a regular Gap store. Boy, was I wrong. Four levels, that's right, four. I walked around for about 30 minutes with Chad following helplessly behind me. I need a good two hours to really gauge what this place has. I didn't buy anything because I need to go back by myself. They carry pieces that are definitely hot now, which are just starting to show up in the States. Namely, the skinny pant and the big blousey top. I will go back when Jerry gets here and the two of them can sit in a pub while I shop. Can't wait!

Mind the Gap

We made it to London safe and sound and there is wireless in the hotel room so the London blog posts will be easy to post.

Long flights are just not fun. I mean sure we got to watch the Da Vinci Code again, but it was on a little LCD monitor that seemed to never be at the right angle. And it's just so hard to get your legs comfy in coach. The flights had a few delays but nothing too crazy. We got through immigration just fine, our bag were on the carousal, and we hit up an ATM for some British pounds. The train into London was a breeze, the tube to our hotel was a bit more confusing, and so far I find London streets difficult to navigate. The hotel room is tiny, but the hotel itself has a lot of character. We just finished our first British meal, a lazy lunch at the Lazy Daisy. Now we have to find something to keep us awake. It's weird to think that people back in the States are just getting up and all I want to do is go to sleep. Big cup of coffee here I come.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It's a magical world, Hobbes ol' buddy! Let's go exploring!

Woke up at six this morning. Went for a walk and had breakfast at Cafe Java before eight. Cut the grass and vacuumed before ten. Clearly something is wrong with me.

Our next post will be from another country, across an ocean, on a different continent. Wow.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Pack Light, Pack Light, Pack Light

The trip home to New Orleans worked out well and we got to spend a good bit of time with both of the families. Check out the pictures if you are interested.

Here are the details for the Europe trip. We're planning to post updates daily so check back for updates.

Flight to London Info

Flight Details:
Wed., Sep. 6, 2006
Depart: 4:45 p.m. Austin, TX (AUS)
Arrive: 5:49 p.m. Houston, TX (IAH)
Depart: 6:45 p.m. Houston, TX (IAH)
Arrive: 9:55 a.m. +1 Day London, England (LGW - Gatwick)

London Hotel Info

Sept 7 - Sept 13
Portobello Gold
95 / 97 Portobello Road
Notting Hill, London
W11 2QB
Phone +44 (0) 207 460 4910
0845 066 0 666
(local rate throughout the UK)

Train from London to Paris

Eurostar - Chunnel
Depart: 13/09 13:41 London Waterloo
Arrive: 13/09 17:23 Paris Nord

Paris Hotel Info

Sept 13 - Sept 19
Hotel du 7e Art
“the Seventh Art Hotel”
20 rue St Paul
Marais, Paris
Phone: +33 (0)1 44 54 85 00

Train from Paris to Munich

Depart: 19/09 22:45 Paris Est
Arrive: 20/09 08:58 Muenchen Hbf

Munich Hotel Info

Sept 20 - Sept 22
Hotel Monaco
Schillerstrasse 9
80336 München
Tel +49 89 54 59 94 0

Train from Munich to Rome

Depart: 22/09 09:33 Muenchen Hbf
Arrive: 22/09 20:10 Roma Termini

Rome Hotel Info

Sept 22 - Sept 29
Via del Viminale 19
00185 - Roma
Phone: +39-06-4820066

Flight home info

Flight Details:
Fri., Sep. 29, 2006
Depart: 10:10 a.m. Rome (FCO)
Arrive: 1:45 p.m. Newark (EWR)
Depart: 8:30 p.m. Newark (EWR)
Arrive: 11:31 p.m. Austin (AUS)