Europe: 2017

Alright, here we go, the last Europe: 2017 blog post! As much as I have enjoyed documenting my wonderful trips on this site, my hope moving forward is to blog about day to day experiences and thoughts more than I have been. I think the series I’ve done on here have been fun and I know they will always be a great documentation of my trips, but they can be overwhelming and, as we’ve clearly seen, difficult to stay on top of. I’m excited and a little sad this is my last post. Hopefully I’ll be blessed with another trip soon so I can start the “post and procrastinate” process all over again.

But onto my trip! A little background: after we finished in Nuremberg, the cruise continued its schedule on land by driving to Prague. My family decided to take a different route and fly to Paris to see everything we could possibly see in a day and a half.

France

Day 9: Paris

This morning we got up, had breakfast, and said goodbye to Janos (our self-self-proclamied “food guy” and waiter for the trip. He is the best!). While I was very sad to leave, I was excited to get to Paris. We flew out of the Nuremberg airport and landed in Paris around lunchtime. Flying in we could see the whole city from the sky and it was spectacular. The Eiffel Tower was way bigger than I thought it would be. Everyone told me it’s a monstrosity,  but I was never able to comprehend its size until I saw it towering over everything from the air. On our way to the Hotel Napoleon, we drove through the Arc de Triomphe roundabout and thought we were going to die. It’s probably around 7 or 8 “lanes”, but no one drives in the lanes, so cars are weaving in and out and it’s absolute madness.

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In front of the Arc de Triomphe. August 7, 2017

Our hotel was very old and beautiful and we dropped off our bags and headed to an Italian restaurant my Uncle Jon had been to before and likes. I had a great octopus salad and we all shared a mango tiramisu (weird, but surprisingly good). After lunch Leah, Pat, Grandpa and I all walked over to see the Arc de Triomphe. It was massive and extremely beautiful. I couldn’t believe we were staying so close to such an iconic landmark.

After we went back to the hotel to grab Uncle Jon we walked down the famous shopping Avenue des Champs-Elysees, window shopping and wandering through stores. We headed back to the hotel and Leah and I rushed to get ready for dinner in the Eiffel Tower. Oh ya, did I mention we had dinner inside the Eiffel Tower? We may have rushed to get ready, but man did we look good.

The restaurant, Les Jules Verne, is on the second deck of the tower and we had an amazing six course meal with a breath taking view of Paris. We were even inside for the sparkling light show the tower has at night. It was a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget. Tomorrow we get to tour the city!

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Right before dinner inside the Eiffel Tower. August 7, 2017

France

Day 10: Paris

Today was very on-the-go and we saw so many sites! Jon hired a private tour guide to show us around and it was a great way to see everything in a short amount of time. We had a comfy van and would drive from site to site, stopping at some to get pictures or grab food. Our tour guide Pamela was very sweet and really knew the city (which I guess is her job but still, I was impressed).

Our first stop was Montemarte, the city’s main and oldest art district sitting on a hill overlooking everything. It’s Uncle Jon’s favorite part of Paris and it’s easy to see why. Picture every movie you’ve ever seen about Paris, this section of the city looks exactly like the picture in your head. It’s insane. As I’m sitting in my dorm room bed writing this post, I’m sitting under a small canvas I got in Montemarte of the view of the city. I still can’t get over its beauty and I look at that painting often to remind myself how lucky I am.

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In front of the Eiffel instead of in it. August 8, 2017

After Montemarte we went to the Eiffel again, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, and much, much more. We had lunch at a very French bistro and then drove out to Versailles to tour the palace and its grounds. Its richness and overall grandeur was insane. Every room was either covered in gold or paintings of Greek/Roman gods and goddesses. Or both. The hall of mirrors was like nothing I have ever seen before and the gardens were enormous.

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The hall of mirrors inside Versailles. August 8, 2017

After the palace we went back to Montemarte and bought paintings and wandered around until we ducked into a very old building for dinner. I was feeling very dehydrated at the hotel so Leah and I went downstairs and each got an entire glass bottle of water and went back to the room and chugged them. We want to come back to tour the gardens more and do a few graveyard tours. Uncle Jon believes Jim Morrison is still alive so going to see his grave is a must.

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The view from Montemarte. August 8, 2017

We had an amazing time and I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful, caring family that is able to take me to see incredible sites and celebrate my accomplishments. God is so good and has filled our world with so much beauty that I would be lucky to explore only a tiny fraction of it in my lifetime.

I cannot express my gratitude for this trip and my love for the people on it and for the people who have always supported me and my dreams. You will never know how much you mean to me.

Click on images below to enlarge and view as a slideshow.

 

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