Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Climbing the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is a must see, must do, when in Paris. 
Last time Nate and I were in Paris was in April and the weather wasn't the best.
This made the views from the tower not the greatest with all the fog so we just took pics from the front.
But this trip, we made it a top priority to climb to the top and see the gorgeous views. 
And it was totally worth it. 

You have two choices when going to the top.
You can either take the elevator or climb up the 710 stairs. 
We wanted to do the stairs because it was a better, more memorable way to do it,
but also, the line was WAY shorter.
Everyone else wanted to take the elevator. 
So we skipped the line and up the stairs we went!

Here are some views from the top:

You actually can't climb the stairs all the way to the top for safety reasons.
You can only climb to the 2nd level which makes up the 710 stairs. 
All the way to the top would be around 1,665 stairs, 
but now it is required to take the elevator during the last stretch. 
On the 2nd level, there are lots of restaurants and some stores. 
There is a really nice restaurant up there as well that is about $100 bucks a person. 
Maybe someday we can eat there when we have money like that to splurge. 

We had a great time and a great workout! 
Paris is such an amazing city!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hello Paris!!!

When Nate's parents booked their tickets to come and visit us in London they said they wanted to do some traveling as well as visit London. Nate and I thought about what places would be best for them to see since it was their first time in Europe. We both agreed that Italy and France were the top destinations in Europe that are "must go to" countries. So we booked tickets to Venice and Paris. 

Here are some of the highlights from our Paris trip:

1. Eiffel Tower Night Pics
Every hour after 10PM,
 the tower has a light show where it sparkles for about 10 minutes straight.
2. Laduree 
Of Course. Can't go to Paris without eating my fill of French macaroons!
3. Angelina. 
This is my new favorite place. 
Nate found it online and it said it was rated, "Europe's best hot chocolate."
So of course we had to try it out, and yes, it was true. It was that good. 
It tasted like you were drinking the best European chocolate bar in liquid form. 
I tried the milk chocolate as well as the white chocolate. Both yummy. 
Their pastries were quite tasty as well. 

4. Crepes. 
Who could go to Paris without eating crepes? That is a must. 

5. Pastry Shops.........

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Disneyland.....In Paris!

So did you know that they have a Disneyland park in Paris?
Yep they do.
I am not joking.

Nate's parents are complete Disneyland fans. They go almost every year. Nate has been there pretty much every year of his life. I on the other hand had only been once when I was 6 years old......until I met Nate. Now I have been 3 times since we have been married. I guess I am becoming a real Hembree now and Disneyland has become my new home.

Disneyland will always have a special place in my heart since Nate proposed to me there in July of 2010. Ever since then, we have been back every summer. I hope to keep up this tradition.
It really is the happiest place on earth......
Especially in Paris!

So when Gail and Jim found out about the Disneyland in Paris, they were so excited. They didn't even think twice about going. We didn't even have any kids with us but who needs them? The little children side in each of us came out as we ran around like kids in a candy shop throughout the park. :)

Ours faces in this picture kind of explains it all....we were that excited.

This is the spot where Nate proposed 2 years ago, except in a different country. :)
This year was their 20th Anniversary of the Paris park opening! It is a newer park and the only Disneyland in Europe. I would always hear kids talking about going there for holiday in the British schools and at Southbank. It is a popular destination.

If you are wondering at all what I wondered before going there.....wonder no more.....
here are some answers for you below......

Friday, July 27, 2012

Gondola Ride

When you think of Venice what is the first thing you think of? Gelato? Romance? Italian food? Shopping? 

For me, it is a gondola ride on the little canals. When you go to Venice you have to take a gondola ride. Going to Venice and not going for a gondola ride would be like going to Hawaii and not going to the beach. Or like going to Paris, and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. Or like going to Vegas and not walking down the strip. I think you can see what I mean......

So even though it was a little pricey, we decided it was a must. It was 80 Euros for a 40 min. ride, but it was worth every cent. It was perfect weather which made the ride even more pleasant. Our gondolier was so charming and spoke pretty good English. He told us stories along the way as he pushed us through the narrow little canals. There were so many beautiful things to see. I love all the buildings in Venice. 

If you want, you can hire an Italian opera singer or an accordion player to sit on your boat and serenade you during your ride. We chose not to because of the price, but we heard the music from the other boats so it felt like we had one of our own! 
The two pictures above are of one of Mozart's old apartment. 
Our gondolier told us that he lived there as we floated on by. Pretty amazing huh?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Murano Glass Blowing

So most people don't realize it, but Venice is actually an island. When we landed in the airport, we had to take a boat for about an hour to get to the island of Venice. Around Venice, there are a bunch of other islands. One of those islands is called, Murano. Our hotel offered to take us over to this island in their water taxi so off we went. Driving in the water taxi was a lot of fun. Of course Venice of all places would have a taxi that is made for water since they don't have any roads there for cars. There is not a single motor vehicle on the entire island. No cars, buses, taxis. 

Here is us riding in the water taxi:
 Murano is a very cute little island. But if you think Venice is small.....think again. Murano is even smaller. You can easily see the whole island in about 5 hours which is what we did. We spent the day walking around the shops and eating at a little cafe.
 Murano is famous for one thing. Glass blowing and creating the most beautiful glass items. They make everything glass you could think of like china, vases, frames, decorations, chandeliers, and jewelery. When we first got to the island, our taxi dropped us off at the main glass blowing factory on the island. We had an amazing experience there. So amazing that it would easily make the cut off to be on the "Most Amazing Things that Mikelle Has Ever Seen" list. So cool. We watched the men make vases from start to finish by melting the glass, rolling it, cooking it in the oven, shaping it, decorating it, blowing into it to make the round vase shape, and then finishing it off and letting it dry. Wow.
After our glass blowing adventure, we found a little cafe with great sandwiches. Yum. They grilled them there right in front of us so they were nice and hot and the cheese was perfectly melted. Here is Nate and Jim enjoying their lunch........

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Beauty of Venice

Venice is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been to. When I was there, I found myself taking pictures of everything and not being able to ever put my camera down. There was just so much to see and so many beautiful things. My eyes never had a bored moment. Venice is one of those places where you can be completely entertained by just walking around and taking pictures of all the beautiful sites around you. 

Here are some of the shots that I took. I hope you find Venice and pretty as I did!