Monday, April 30, 2012

Our Favorite Place!

Our favorite place hands down that we went to while in Southern France was called Rocamadour. As we were driving, we were floored by the site from the road. The whole town was built literally on a cliff. It was amazing! We couldn't wait to get down there, park, and start exploring through this old city!
The most amazing part about it was how the buildings were built into the rock cliff. How is this even done? How does it stay put for all of these years? Here are some pictures so you can see for yourself what I mean.....

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Day Full of Medieval Towns

Driving around Southern France and exploring with Nate was so much fun. We went to a ton of different medieval cities some with castles and some without. We never knew what was coming up next which kept it exciting! The first stop that we went to on this day was a cute little town called Bruniquel. There was hardly anyone there. It felt like we had stumbled upon this old deserted town that know one else knew about. We saw a few other people but it was mostly just us walking up and down the narrow streets, exploring and taking pictures. Here are some of the pictures that we took:

 Here was the castle that was on the top of the city built upon a huge rock. It was built in the 12th century. Most of the castles in France are built upon the highest rock in the area. They wanted to be protected from attackers and to be above the rest of the town so they could rule over it. 
 The old church of the city that people still worship in today!
Here are some pictures from the inside of the castle........

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Carcassonne Castle

After leaving Paris, Nate and I caught a 7 hour train ride down to Toulouse, France. It was MUCH  better than the 8 hour bus ride up to Scotland that I posted about earlier. We actually got to sit by each other this time! And the people around us were pretty pleasant, except for the ladies that wreaked of smoke behind us that we had to smell the whole time. But we got to see a lot of beautiful French countryside and enjoy the scenery. We also got a good nap in. When we got to the station, we walked around Toulouse a bit but everything was pretty much closed because it was Easter. So we ate some Indian/ Middle Eastern type of food because that was literally the only restaurant we could find that was open! But we found a couple bakeries that were open as well, so of course we got us some pastries. :)

We rented a car from the station in Toulouse. After a big mess of them only having stick shift cars available when Nate requested an automatic, getting stuck in the parking garage, taking a short detour to the airport, we finally got going on the road. We drove to Montech which is only about 40 minutes away from Toulouse.

Nate had a friend from BYUH named David that he worked with at the PCC. David's family lives in Montech and let us stay at their house with them for about 6 days. They were the sweetest, most kind people ever. We fell in love with them and their family. I even cried when I said goodbye! The one difficulty was the language barrier because only the mom spoke English, but she isn't a native speaker, and no one else speaks really any. The 16 year old girl, Anicee, spoke pretty good from learning in school, but the dad and the 8 year old boy, Timothee, and the 6 year old girl, Claire, didn't speak a thing. Kinda hard getting to know each other when we can't really speak to each other. But we managed and Carol translated for us as best as she could! :)

The first night we were there, they had dinner all ready for us. They even let us sleep in their master bed and then the mom and dad took the air mattress! They were too kind to us! The next morning we woke up to a French breakfast with chocolate croissants, fresh baguettes, hot tea served in bowls, and jams and other break toppings including nutella. They taught us how they make their herbal teas and then dip their breads into the tea. It was so good! That day they arranged a barbecue for us and invited some friends from their branch over and the elders. One elder was from Idaho! They even did a little Easter egg hunt. They made us feel right at home and were so sweet. I found myself wishing over and over again that I spoke French though because I felt like I really couldn't get to know them as much as I wanted to with the language gap.

The next day we took our rental car out for a day trip to Carcassonne. Thank goodness for Carol and Pierre for telling us about all the cool places to go to in Southern France.We invited the two little kids to come with us. They were so excited. It was an interesting experience, but very fun! They spoke zero English and we spoke pretty much zero French.....but we got along all right. We used other methods of communication like piggy back rides, tickles, facial expressions, hugs....and the Ipad. :) The Ipad really brought us together because that was something that we could do together without really having to speak the same language. We played Marble Mixer during the drive and had a blast! Knowing small french words and phrases like yes, no, let's go, very good, I don't know, thank you, please, and sorry.....really helped out a lot. Those words are essential. I even know how to say, "You are so cute," so I told Claire that alot, and she would say back to me, "Merci!" During the day she got cold, so I gave her my pink wind breaker. She wore it and it was huge on her. So funny.

Here are some pictures from our day trip to Carcassonne:
Lunch was the time most during the day that I wished we could talk to these children. I felt so bad. They probably thought we were just super shy or boring...never talking to them. People around us probably wondered why we never interacted with our children! Hahah. It would break my heart when they would ask us a simple question and we couldn't even respond. We would just say, "I don't know, sorry," and shurg our shoulders. So sad. The menu wasn't in English at all and our waiter didn't speak any English, so we had a hard time ordering. It was hilarious though because the kids ordered very quickly and spoke to the waiter, and then we came to us and we just stared at him like idiots. We felt like the children at the table instead of the adults, not knowing how to order our own food!

The silence between us and them started to bother me so I made up a little game that went like this.....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Palace of Versailles

I thought I had seen castles. I thought I had seen and been to palaces. I thought I had been blown away by their grandeur and brilliance......Then, I went to Versailles and saw the palace there. Now I know why people come to visit Versailles. Wow.

Versailles is the most gaudy, massive, elegant looking palace that I have ever seen. I was amazed by it and blown away by how these people lived and what kind of pampered lives they must have had. Until they all were killed by their own people at least.....

But let me skip ahead a little bit....
On our way to Versailles, Nate and I had the worst luck ever. We had something terrible happen to us that definitely was the low part of our whole 3 week trip. I guess you win some and you lose some.

On our way to the bus station......

Monday, April 23, 2012

Paris,The City of Romance

I have wanted to go to Paris ever since I was a little girl. I have always been fascinated with France and its culture. I love French food and especially the language. I think it is the most beautiful sounding language. I took two years of French in high school and if I could go back and do it again, I would have studied more. I would have taken extra time out of class to memorize and practice as much as I could to develop that language skill. Instead, I treated it like another boring class to get a good grade in and then was done with it, never to think of it again. No one told me that it would have been cool to be fluent in French, so I didn't really take it seriously! I also wish I also would have taken French classes in college to further that skill. Oh well. Everyone has regrets in life. 

Anyway, Nate and I flew into Paris on Tuesday night, the 3rd of April. We have been anticipating this visit for a long time now. We were both so excited to be there! We stayed at the Marriott and it was so nice. Like I said before, we told them it was our honeymoon so they treated us like gold. They upgraded our room so we had a larger nicer room than what we paid for. We got into our room and they had matching robes and slippers for both of us. And of course the french macaroons and wine like I posted about before.....  The bed was so comfortable, the best one out of all the hotels we stayed at, and they had a Book of Mormon in the night stand. I guess they knew we were coming!.....actually....the Marriott hotels are owned by a Mormon guy, so that is a normal thing to see. :)

Here are some highlights of some of the things that we saw and did during our stay in Paris:

1. Eiffel Tower- Of course we had to see this and get a picture. This is the first night that we were there. We saw it in the light first and then later that night. It was so beautiful when it was lit up. Then after dark, they do a lighting show every 10 minutes where the tower sparkles and lights up even more. It was really pretty. We didn't get a chance to go to the top of it this trip because we thought it wouldn't be a good time with the foggy weather. So we are planning on hopefully doing this on our next visit. 

Site #2........

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Paris Knows About Good Food

As I was looking through our Paris pictures on my camera, I realized that a good majority of the pictures are  of food. :) I laughed a little when I realized this, but I am not surprised. France has some of the most amazing food I have ever eaten in my life. It really defines their culture. If I were to say which countries I could travel to just to eat, I would go to France and Italy. The French and the Italians really know what they are doing when it comes to the culinary aspect. I don't think I felt hungry even once while we were there. Pretty much whenever we would see something cool or French, we would eat it. And we would lick the plate because everything was that good that we didn't want to miss even the last crumb. 

So I dedicated an entire post on the heavenly foods that we devoured during our 6 day stay in Paris. All of you foodie people out there, this post is for you! 

1. Crepes

The first night we got to Paris we went to a little street called Rue Mouffetard that my friend Skye recommended to us for some crepes. The street was full of locals and very few tourists. There were so many cute restaurants and creperies. The hard part was trying to figure out how to order what we wanted in French. We didn't understand a single thing on the menu except the word, "crepe." But luckily, the girl next to me spoke pretty good English and walked through the menu with me. The guy making the crepes spoke some English as well. I ordered the Ratatouille crepe with ham, cheese, egg, and veggies, and Nate ordered the Mont Blanc crepe full of dulce de leche carmel and toasted almonds. Yum! 

After the meal, the guy making the crepes started talking to us as much as he could with the language barrier. We told him how much we loved the crepes and thanked him for them. Then he said, "Just a minute," and smiled and walked towards the fridge in the back. He brought out a surprise for us.....

A Scottish Weekend

On March 30th, a Friday, Nate and I got up early and caught the bus to the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh. Taking the bus was the cheapest way that we could find to get there, only £10 per person, but it was a long 9 hour experience that wasn't the most pleasant of memories. We got to the bus a little late, so all the double seats were gone, so we couldn't sit by each other the whole time. There went our plans to sleep, snuggle, eat our snacks together, and watch the movies we downloaded. Nate sat by a huge man that took over the whole seat. Nate said that they were "butt and leg snuggling" the whole time even though Nate was all the way on the edge. The guy next to me wasn't big, but he had the worst manners. He kept on burping and licking his chocolaty and chip fingers, not to mention his BO smell. Half way through Nate decided to switch seats and moved to the back of the bus. It actually got worse, because the people around him were drinking beers and looking at porn magazines! The lady behind me had a crying 2 year old with her, and the whole time she kept on telling her to shut up and that she was a bad girl, (in a Scottish accent.) It was a long journey.....

But we finally made it and we had an amazing weekend together. We stayed at Travelodge for about £10-15 a night which is so extremely cheap. We took so many pictures so it was hard for me to choose which ones to post, but here it goes....Friday night we got there and most everything was closed, so we decided to go see Hunger Games at the theater. It was cheaper than in London and we both were dieing to see it. Of course, it was amazing and we loved it!

The next morning was my favorite part of our Scotland trip. We took a ferry ride to......