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 Message Boards » » Paris & London - 12.25.08 thru 01.04.09 Page 1 [2], Prev  
fleetwud
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12/26/2008 3:59:51 PM

jimmy123
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i'm gonna be at the eiffel tower for new years eve... looking forward to it! good tips on here, thanks all.

[Edited on December 26, 2008 at 4:08 PM. Reason : .]

12/26/2008 4:02:41 PM

OmarBadu
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this is from last night - the second post is from today

Not a big update - just went out to dinner at a wonderful spot - Les Philosophes. We had a great bottle of wine and some amazing food. Ordering is definitely not our strong suit. It takes us a solid 5-10 minutes to make sense of the menu and even then it's spotty at best. We ended up doing the Prix Fixe - 3 course meal. The first course we both got the soup de jour - the name of the soup was written on the wall but the translation wasn't in our book so we took a chance - however it started with creme and who doesn't love some creme. In the end it was basically cream of potato soup and quite delicious. For the second course [wife's name] got steak de thon (tuna seak) and up until the last second we really thought it was going to get some red meat - great save by our translator book. I got the saumon and I didn't even need the book for this one because if it wasn't going to be salmon then I would have been pretty upset with the English translation. [wife's name] ended with a cheesecake that was a bit more fluffy than I'm used to and even though it didn't mention a thing about lemon it might as well have been lemon merengue pie - I got the creme brulee and it was spectacular.



The meal was great - service not top notch but nothing to be angry about either. We still are skeptical about the whole tipping process and just leave a euro or a few depending on the cost of what we ordered - definitely not as much of a tip that we usually leave in the US though.

All in all it wasn't as great as some of the wonderful Christmas home cooked meals we've had throughout the years but still very good.

12/26/2008 5:52:19 PM

OmarBadu
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day 2

My feet are angry at me. My rest of my body is a little upset as well. We did quite a bit of walking today and at the end of the day it shows. I haven't longed for a bed like this in quite some time. We had a pretty busy day. This update isn’t nearly as funny as the prior ones – I’m just too tired to add much.

We started off the morning with a small breakfast at the hotel - nothing too much - just some croissants and bread. Then we headed off to the Musee D'Orsay. We have more or less conquered the train system now – not a single problem today. Even though we aren't "art people" we enjoyed this museum quite a bit and took some time to check out just about everything. We saw Degas, Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh, Delacroix, and Whistler at this museum. The real downside to the museums here is that all of the interesting stuff you want to read is in French – the only thing they print in English is a map. I think the most famous painting we saw was Whistler's mom (I'm fairly certain the only place we'd seen it before though was a Mr. Bean movie). One of the special exhibits they had was different masks from around the world – most were very old. The most memorable ones were of Medusa and Beethoven. We left there a little after noon and headed towards the Eiffel tower.



Once we got to the Eiffel tower we snapped a few pictures and immediately headed towards a river cruise we wanted to do that lasted about an hour. We bought our tickets and boarded the boat – we were hungry for lunch but the boat was leaving. Being the intelligent people that we are we headed for the uncovered top because there’s nothing better than a nice strong wind when it’s 30 degrees outside. We bundled up the best we could and took loads of pictures. We went up and down the Siene and there were announcements about the sights we were going by – in English no less. About 3/4 way through the cruise our camera battery decided to indicate that it was going to die shortly – let’s note here that I mentioned we should charge it the night before but [wife's name] said to not worry about it. Luckily I had decided to bring some portable batteries that had a standard plug adapter so that we could charge the camera battery on the go – unfortunately though the battery charger and the portable batteries were back in the hotel room. It was a short train ride back so we went back after the cruise to grab the charger and a portable battery.



It was way beyond lunch time at this point and we had previously decided on this pizza place up the street from us – we’re closer to Italy so it must be good right? We go in and wouldn’t you know – the menu lists all of the ingredients in French and English – score for the visiting team. They only sell 1 size - individual pizzas. We both ordered a ham and cheese pizza ([wife's name] got mushrooms on hers) because wouldn’t you know that the only options out of the 20 or so selections included cheese / mushrooms / ham / eggplant / garlic / egg / a few other uninteresting options – none of them being pepperoni or sausage. We also decided this would be the one time we would order a Coke in Paris – 4 Euros. Basically we paid $5 USD for a 20oz coke in a bottle and no the bottle wasn’t a souvenir – they did give us a clean glass and a whole 2 ice cubes each – I didn’t want to ask for more ice because 1 our waitress spoke no English and 2 I bet that would have increased the price. We leave the restaurant (after deciding on a small tip – unsure if it’s too little or too much).

Our next destination is the Pantheon and only a short walk away from the pizza place – this place has a few famous people in its crypt – François-Marie Arouet (we know him as Voltaire) and Louis Braille (yeah…he’s the guy who invented the dots). Another interesting fact is that this is the location that the world was discovered to be rotating using a pendulum – they explained it somewhat and I like to think I’m fairly intelligent and still can’t quite figure out how it works – I’ll Wikipedia it later. This place was pretty impressive and quite large – when we got there we looked for the coat check room because it seemed pretty standard at the Musee D’Orsay. We quickly found out why they don’t have one – the place isn’t heated. We might as well have been standing outside in the cold but at least there wasn’t any wind. At this point we attempted to Geocache but it didn’t work out in our favor – we couldn’t get a great signal and the destination was jumping around very sporadically (we still plan to find some caches though). We gave up in favor of going to the hotel for an hour power nap.



After our way too short nap we decided it was time to conquer the Louvre. We didn’t give this place the attention it deserves and perhaps if we have time we’ll go back. It was open until 10pm tonight so we decided it might be best to go tonight. We had read prior to the trip that there is 18 kilometers of exhibits in the Louvre and at this point our feet had already cried mercy a few times. We decided this was a feat best suited for someone else and quickly turned to our Paris: Top 10 book. We marked the top 10 spots on our map and quickly headed out. By the time we hit the fourth one we realized that to hit even only 10 spots was a ridiculous undertaking. We saw some famous sculptures and a few famous paintings – most notably the Mona Lisa and a whole room of Pablo Picasso (I never realized that he died just 30-40 years ago – I was quite shocked by that). At the very end once our feet were telling us that if we didn’t give them a rest they were going to make us crawl out I convinced [wife's name] that we should go check out the Crown Jewels and I must say that I’m sure those crowns were nice in their day but in today’s standards I wasn’t really impressed – woops. We left and we’ve never had so much trouble trying to leave a place – we were following the exit signs and referring to our map and then all of a sudden the exit signs stopped and we’re just looking around for a few minutes until we finally figure out what’s going on. We eventually made it out of there – I suggested we stop at the gift shop but that got vetoed pretty quickly.



Our next stop was dinner – it was about 9pm or so at this point. We had read about this really good Japanese restaurant on TripAdvisor and wanted to give it a shot since it was very close to the Louvre. We get there and quickly get seated (there were maybe 20 seats in the whole place and it was packed). We had heard the Udon noodles were amazing. We spent the next 5 minutes translating the 15 or so selections they had under the Udon heading. We decide on an Asahi, a Kirin, and 2 Udon dishes – the waitress comes over and sees us looking at the Udon and after a bit of confusion we figure out she is telling us they are out of the noodle that we wanted. At this point we just laugh because it’s going to take us a lot longer to translate the rest of the menu – we eventually get to an English word she understands – wait. Once we decide on 2 dishes – duck with rice and shrimp tempura we called the waitress back over – she speaks to her coworker and he heads over to us – this guy knows a little English – woohoo. We tell him our order and he lets us know that [wife's name]’s dish doesn’t come with rice and maybe we should order the same thing but with rice (it was on the menu but we didn’t really know the difference). After about 10 minutes the most amazing Japanese food I’ve tasted in a long time arrived. The duck was spectacular and the sauce/rice/egg/onion combo was delicious – really the only downfall to the meal was near the end when the sticky rice was much more conducive to a spoon or a fork than some chopsticks. We finish eating and our feet are still crying. We convince them though that they only have a short distance to go and then they are done for the day. We make our trek back to the train station and head to the hotel. Once we get off at our stop I decide that I’d like a beer or two so we stop at a convenience store on the way back and I pick up some beers.



I’ve only finished 2 at this point so the third will have to wait until tomorrow. [wife's name]’s already sleeping and it’s time for me to go as well. We’re off to Versailles in the morning.

12/26/2008 5:54:27 PM

OmarBadu
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This day is summed up by spending a large portion of the day at Chateau de Versailles and the Eiffel Tower. It was between 20 and 30 degrees for most of the day today. We saw a wide array of outfits - the most interesting were the girls in skirts without stocking or leggings - I'm convinced that either they know some secret that I'm not privie to or they were mainlining liquor.

We started our day off again with breakfast at the hotel - I had the hot chocolate instead of coffee and it was quite impressive. We woke up a bit later than planned so rushed through the food and headed out quickly. We were headed for the C5 train to Versailles and finding it was actually rather easy. Once we were on board it appeared that the rest of the city had conveniently followed us - including a group of Spaniards that was sitting near us that decided everyone would like to know what they were talking about and thus screamed the entire 40 minute train ride.

We get off the train and thanks to one of [wife's name]'s friends that lived nearby for a semester we had a general idea where we needed to go without looking at a map. I'll started with a quick bio of the Chateau de Versailles - it used to be a hunting lodge for one of the Kings of France and then later was turned into the King's Palace by Louis XIV in 1664 and then multiple kings and queens lived there until the French Revolution when Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette fled in 1789 . We arrived and the place was enormous and there were 2 large lines - one for tickets and one for entry. Previously we had bought a Paris Museum Pass that allowed us to skip ticket and entry lines and had worked before flawlessly - today had some hiccups. We found the sign that matched our pass and proceeded to enter only to be met by a lady that said there were too many people trying to get in and our pass wouldn't allow us to skip everyone - well what in the hell is it good for then. I really thought that the reason we bought this thing was to skip the masses and sure enough if the masses are too large we can't skip them. Today included another part of the pass that upset me but we'll get to that later. After waiting in the line to get into the Chateau which moved pretty quickly we were immediately confused. We wanted to get a listening device for the audio tour as well as go on a guided tour. The information desk told me however that the tickets for the guided tours were back outside - the same line for the entry tickets - the one that was extremely long. We angrily vetoed that and went to pickup our listening devices. If you've ever been on an audio tour this was the same as them all basically - enter the # that's listed in the room and it'll tell you about the room. I was impressed with most of it and it was very informative. We snapped a bunch of pictures of the inside where we were allowed to go and then headed out to the gardens - to say gardens doesn't do this place justice - maybe a vast array of gardens that stretched miles might be a better description. We walked what seemed to be miles but in fact was only 2km or so until we got to the King's home away from home - the Grand Trianon. I'm assuming sometimes the queen was just too much to put up with - where do I sign up for my own Trianon, heh . Let's note here that there was a 6 Euro round trip tram that took you here and back that was packed solid every single time it passed us - bunch of pansies if you ask me - at this point our feet would slap us if they could but we trudged on. We toured the Grand Trianon and it was your typical bachelor pad - complete with a pool table and a bunch of beds for your friends. After this we decided enough was enough and it was time to head back to Paris. I found a shortcut on the map and convinced [wife's name] to follow me on it - it seemed like a great idea but [wife's name] was highly skeptical - in case you're wondering…which I can't imagine why you would be...it worked out in our favor.



We high-tailed it back to the train station and I fell asleep on the ride back only to be woken to [wife's name] to say that our plan to go to the Eiffel Tower was canceled and it was nap time - I grunted and went back to sleep until she told me we were at our stop.

After nap time it was dark and time to head back out. We made it to the Eiffel Tower pretty quickly after a minor setback - [wife's name] hasn't seemed to be able to get the tickets right just yet. Part of the problem is that we aren't 100% certain when our tickets are good and when they've expired - so we typically just use the same ticket until the turnstile beeps at us and won't let us through. I just let [wife's name] run at it first while I watch and once she fails I sweep in with a new ticket and breeze right through. Instead of being prepared, [wife's name] digs through her bag for a few minutes and finds her ziploc baggy of tickets - finally after fumbling with it with her gloves still on she finally convinces a ticket to escape from the bag. By this time we've missed the train we were trying to make and I'm laughing hysterically at the whole situation - I get to see this at least twice per day (the best one was at Versailles where not only the ticket had expired but our tickets were no good altogether and we had to purchase a new one. We didn't get to the point of realization though until [wife's name] had tried the old ticket at least twice and a new ticket probably three times. Eventually we gave up and went to ask the ticket lady - she nodded that our tickets were no good - we then were pleased to have to buy 2 more tickets to Paris). Once we finally arrived at the Eiffel Tower we were presented with a few different lines to get in to make our way to the top. None of them mentioned our pass that I was rather sure that I read got us up to the top for free. After talking to a security guard - by talking I meant showing him our pass and him waving his hands franticly in a fashion that could only mean NO - we decided that since it was only 30 degrees at this point that we'd love to wait in line for 30 minutes to buy a ticket to the top. While waiting to buy our ticket there was a large LCD screen that flashed a few messages - most notably that once you rode the first elevator up to the 2nd stage (about 2/5 of the way up) that there was another line to the very top that was about 45 minutes long. [wife's name] was not happy about this but I told her that there was no way in hell we came all the way to Paris and I'm not going to the very top. 24 Euros later and we have our tickets - the line to get to the 2nd stage elevator was fairly short and then once we got up there - the next elevator line was only about 15 minutes. We made it! We were on the top of the Eiffel Tower - the lower level was enclosed and the top was outside. I looked at [wife's name] and she looked back upset knowing what I was about to say - it's outside time. We head out there to do a slow lap and the cold wind was so ridiculous that if I had a sleeping bag I'd have gotten in it and crawled around out there - all you could do was laugh at how insane the cold was. I tried to snap a few pictures but they were pretty unsuccessful - oh well. We headed down and were on our way to dinner.



They had these markings all around the Eiffel Tower to well known locations.

We rode the train back to the St. Michel stop (the closest train to us that went to the Eiffel Tower) and just off the stop spotted place that seemed decent so went in and ordered. We got a bottle of Rose wine and I ordered a crepe and [wife's name] got a beef dish. Both were decent but not very impressive - this was our least favorite meal so far. The only upside was that the wine was good and cheap to boot. We can't tell whether or not this is a place we should tip or not but since the food wasn't impressive we decided to just leave quickly - it was probably included.

Our plan now is to head over to a Chocolatier that we had read about and have some dessert. Even though it was Saturday night - both of the ones we tried were closed. We settled on this place we saw on the way there and ordered 2 things that looked delightful - once we got back to the hotel and opened them up to eat them it went south quickly. They both now reside in the bathroom trashcan - we should have just waited until the places we wanted to go were open.

It was a long day but we didn't go to that many places - both were pretty amazing though. Tomorrow we head off to Montemarte to do a walk there and then perhaps a tour of Notre Dame and St. Chapelle. With only 2 full days left it looks like we're going to be able to do the things we had wanted and have some time to relax as well.
As a closing note - if you've ever been to the Biltmore house in Asheville, NC - the Chateau de Versailles makes it look like a guest house. The vast size and exquisite ornate décor were definitely impressive.

12/27/2008 6:44:03 PM

OmarBadu
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Our nonstop full force ahead attitude finally took its toll this morning. We were woken up this morning by the front desk calling us at 10am to ask if we were coming down for breakfast – the alarm I had set for 8am didn’t go off because I had set it for Saturday instead of Sunday. Even after the phone call we decided it wasn’t time to get up just yet and went back to sleep until 11am when we finally decided it was about time to head out. On our way out the guy at the front desk that knew us pretty well by made a joke about us waking up so late – we’re at a really small hotel (only 33 rooms) so the staff knows everyone pretty much.



Our first stop today was at the Notre Dame – we’d gone by for pictures earlier but we were going to go up the towers and inside the cathedral today. On the way we picked up some street crepes to fill our bellies and they were quite delicious. While waiting in line we met a mother/daughter from Tulsa, OK that we chatted with for a bit – it was nice to have a conversation with some Americans. [wife's name] said the Notre Dame was her favorite thing that we’ve done so far. I was pretty impressed as well – we went up the towers and climbed 400 stairs and I’m very glad we did this first because if this was last I wouldn’t have been happy. We got to see the famous bell that the Hunchback of Notre Dame rang in the famous book – there was even someone dressed up as the hunchback outside taking pictures with people for a small fee or as we chose to do – taking a picture of him with someone else was free, heh. After we went up the towers we went inside of the Notre Dame and it was spectacular but they were milking it for all it’s worth. They were asking for 2 Euros to light a small candle and 5 Euros for a large candle – however to watch people light candles was free – we aren’t big candle lighters and thankfully so. We made our way out of here and headed to the Saint Chapelle.



We waited in a somewhat short line to enter the Saint Chapelle – well known church for its stained glass. The security at this place was at a higher level than anywhere we’ve been so far – including the Louvre. There was a family in front of us and when the girl went through the metal detector she beeped so they made her check her pockets and go back through. She placed some change on the conveyor belt for the x-ray machine and tried again. This process went on for the next 5 minutes – now we know why the line was as long as it was. Literally, every time she went through the metal detector she set it off and then took something else out of her pockets – the 4th or 5th time she pulled 4 batteries out – I’m fairly sure she’s not a frequent traveler or the country she’s from just doesn’t care about security. Eventually they made her take her coat off and she still didn’t get through – for a moment I got excited thinking they might just make her strip down in front of everyone – this never happened – they eventually got the wand out and let her through. We made it in and were disappointed almost immediately – it was a small room that was taken up mostly by the gift store. Eventually though we found a small unmarked staircase in a corner and decided to try it out – it lead to the main event. We were presented with an amazing display of very large stained glass windows. They went up probably 50 feet or so and were quite impressive. We snapped some photos and after admiring the scene left and headed to the Louvre gardens.



Once we got off the train we headed towards the Louvre gardens that were very nice (it’s worth noting here that again [wife's name] tried to use an old train ticket multiple times before resolving to use a new one – I need to take a video of this process). After admiring the gardens for a bit we made our way to a famous restaurant known for its hot chocolate that [wife's name]’s friend had recommended to us. There was a line out the door to get in – it must be good. We waited about 15 minutes for a table and once we got one were presented with a large menu of entrees, desserts, and drinks. We both ordered their famous hot chocolate and I got a crème brulee unlike any I’ve ever had and [wife's name] got a cheesecake that was just as unique. The hot chocolate was like melting down the most amazing candy bar known to man and putting in our cups – it even came with a separate cup filled with whipped cream. We left Angelina’s and head to the Arc de Triumph at the end of the Champs de Elysses.



We got here to find a few policemen guarding the entrance – after speaking to one of them we found out there was a demonstration going on and it was closed until tomorrow – thanks for the update on the website guys. We snapped some pictures and headed down the Champs de Elysses – for those that don’t know this is basically Paris’ 5th avenue. We did some window shopping at Cartier and saw many items well over 10k Euros. We continued down the street stopping at a few places to take some pictures – it was quite impressive. Ever since we’d seen our first McDonalds in Paris I wanted to have a Royale with Cheese (note the Pulp Fiction reference – if you haven’t seen the movie just skip ahead). I settled with going inside to take a picture of the menu. I still might order one before we leave if I get the chance. We made our way to the end of the Champs de Elysses and decided it was time to head back to the hotel for a quick rest before going out for dinner.





We decided to not do anything else tonight other than dinner and some drinks with the hopes that we might get to bed early. We have a somewhat busy day tomorrow – we’ve hit almost everything in Paris that we set out to with just a few items left. Tomorrow is our last full day here so we need to make it count.

So after a short stop off at the the hotel so we could rest before we headed out for dinner. I can't even adequately impress upon you what a disaster this idea was. We were set out to go to this place that was recommended but unfortunately it was closed. For the next hour we wandered around the city trying to find a place and after a few tries - one we even sat down at and then subsequently left - we settled on a place called Dalton. For those of you that aren't familiar with French, Dalton translates to Crappy Food. [wife's name] ordered a paella and I ordered a ribeye. When I saw ribeye I really mean something closely resembling a steak but meant worse than a McDonalds hamburger. The only redeeming fact was that the wine was pretty good. We sucked it down pretty fast though as to leave as quickly as possible. I present to you a picture of the my steak below as well as the price we ended up paying.



Clearly unsatisfied we turned to ole reliable - the wonderful golden arches. We knew of one on the way back to the hotel that we'd passed before - [wife's name] grudgingly went along for the glorious ride. I was determined to have a Royale with Cheese and [wife's name] couldn't decide between eating my fries or having a McFlurry - she ended up going with the fries. While in line I quickly looked up the words ketchup and only (already knowing the word for cheese) and I think perhaps I fooled the guy behind the counter into thinking I was French for a moment - that is until he started speaking English to me. Regardless the order was in and we waited to eat. We went to sit down and I quickly pulled out the camera - a moment like this just has to be captured - a better picture would have been of [wife's name] as she sat there barely believing we were in Paris eating at McDonalds - a place we avoid in the US. The fries and coke tasted just as they do in the US - the burger was slightly different though and had almost a sugary taste to it. In the end the only thing I can say is thanks Samuel L Jackson for this great idea (if we want to get technical I guess I can thank Quentin Tarantino). After brightening up the end of our day we headed back to the hotel to go to sleep. Tomorrow we plan to go to Montemarte and to the Opera house.



p.s. [wife's name] would like me to note that I am now the keeper of the train tickets and when she had trouble yet again today - I gave them to her to try - I still laughed when she made her valiant attempts.

12/28/2008 5:30:56 PM

David0603
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You forgot to take out your wife's name.

[Edited on December 28, 2008 at 5:33 PM. Reason : le thanks]

12/28/2008 5:32:25 PM

David0603
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Haha. Any time pal.

12/28/2008 5:34:38 PM

OmarBadu
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Quote :
"Haha. Are you really that worried about people knowing your wife's name?"


she just really doesn't like personal stuff on tww - she's against me posting this blogI honestly don't

Quote :
"know how you'd distinguish "the gay part" from "the rest of france"

Were dudes just openly blowing each other in the street or something?"


a guy that worked at the hotel told us that the area he was sending us in was the gay part - we had forgotten though until we got there - the 2 guys at the table next to us had basically a gay porno mag on the table and were looking through it

12/28/2008 5:35:26 PM

David0603
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Maybe she doesn't want to be associated with a riffraff such as yourself?

12/28/2008 5:38:06 PM

Smath74
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if i were on a vacation with my wife, i don't think i'd be spending time on TWW posting a damn blog about what you are doing.

jesus go enjoy the vacation

12/28/2008 6:27:16 PM

jbrick83
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When I went backpacking I knew I was going to look and sound like a tourist every where I went...so I pretty much said "fuck it." But holy shit...you make me look like a born and bred local every where I went with this blog.

12/28/2008 7:29:36 PM

OmarBadu
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Quote :
"if i were on a vacation with my wife, i don't think i'd be spending time on TWW posting a damn blog about what you are doing.

jesus go enjoy the vacation"


i'm writing the blog for mainly us - so we remember everything years down the road - but also for our families because they wanted updates - i just c/p the blog to here from where i'm writing it

my wife also writes in a journal each night so we have both accounts

Quote :
"But holy shit...you make me look like a born and bred local every where I went with this blog."


i'm okay with looking and sounding like a tourist when i'm a tourist i have no problem calling myself out when i do something stupid

12/29/2008 2:51:51 AM

DivaBaby19
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go and take a picture of Chanel's residence for me, please

12/29/2008 12:58:53 PM

OmarBadu
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Today seemed more relaxed but my feet wouldn’t know that. Today we wished that we had a pedometer with us - in the past 5 days I guess that we’ve walked 30 miles. We went to the Garnier Opera House this morning and took a guided tour. Later in the day we went to Montemarte and saw the Sacred Heart which is a beautiful church located at the tallest point in Paris. We ended the touristy part of our day with St. Sulpice and the Luxemburg Gardens.

[wife's name] hasn’t been sleeping well - our room is somewhat hot even with the heat turned off (the A/C won’t turn on) so about half way through the night she opens the door to our balcony to let some cool air in. In fact most of the time we’re in the room that door is cracked. The best part is about 7am while it’s still dark outside the trash truck (or something else similar that is very loud) comes by and makes a racket and wakes us both up if we aren’t already sweating and awake. We aren’t on that busy of a street but it’s definitely not a side alley.

We headed downstairs in the morning to enjoy the breakfast again and the bread seemed to not be top notch today but we ate it up nonetheless. Then we were off to the famous Garnier Opera House where we waited in a line that put us just inside the doors. After waiting for about 5 minutes we noticed a ticket counter on the right that said guided tours so I went to check it out. There was a guided tour in English starting in just 30 minutes. I tried to pay but they only took cash and I was 2 Euros short - I asked where the nearest ATM was and she said just outside. I went back out into the cold (it was 28 this morning) to find it. I saw it across the street and headed that way - I slid my Wachovia card in and the machine said for me to enter my PIN in both French and English. I did and then it asked how many Euros I wanted - easier than I anticipated. I ran back inside to the Opera House because before I left I asked if the tour was almost full and she said it was. I didn’t bother to tell the guard at the door that I’d be right back so when I went back in a side door he put up a fuss that I wanted to bypass the line (for unaccompanied tours) and head straight to the guided tour line - eventually he let me by once I said my wife was up there. I bought our tickets and then found [wife's name] waiting in line - she had made it all the way to the front and was wondering what was taking so long. We waited for the tour to begin and it was worth every penny. We had a great guide that thoroughly explained everything - I wish we would have had her everywhere we went. She led us through the entire Opera House except for backstage (nobody has been allowed back there since the early 1900s except for people that will be on stage). One of the more interesting stories she told us was that back when the Opera House opened up back in the late 1800s rich married men often had a ballerina on the side. Wives would actually brag that their husband’s ballerina was nicer than other ones to show off their wealth - oh how the times have changed. We saw the famous box where the Phantom of the Opera supposedly resides and although we didn’t see him - we heard the truth behind parts of the tale that were based on real events. I’ve only been to one opera in my life and I was too young to appreciate it (or maybe I never will) but this place was very impressive. Based on a conversion of money into Euros and the price of some common items of the day such as bread they estimate that it cost 300 million Euros to build.



After there we headed onto Montemarte to see the Sacred Heart. We got off our train and headed towards it. It’s the highest point in Paris so of course there were a lot of steps presented before us. Just what we needed - some more steps - and of course we saw a skylift once we got to the top. The Sacred Heart was beautiful and the view from there was very nice - it’s supposed to be one of the great sunsets of the world but it was much too early to hang around for that. We headed into town - we passed by a large square where artists were selling their paintings as well as painting people. We didn’t see a single one that wasn’t impressive. There were a bunch of cafes all with seats facing towards the square so you could have a glass of wine or vin chaud (hot wine - tasted somewhat like a warm sangria - ours even had fruit in it). After walking down what seemed like an endless hill we arrived at our train station and headed back to our part of town to see St. Sulpice and the Luxemburg Gardens.



Once we arrived at St. Sulpice we were disappointed because the left half of it was undergoing a major renovation and we decided to pass on it - instead we headed for the gardens which were a short walk away. Once we got there we walked around a bit with only one thing in mind - there was supposed to be a miniature (typical statue sized) Statue of Liberty. We walked around quite a bit and even found a map of the place - it was nowhere to be found. Eventually some guards came through blowing their whistles indicating that the gardens were closing. We headed out and went back to the hotel for a rest before dinner.



Once back at the hotel [wife's name] was going to give a go at washing some bare necessities in the sink - of course it didn’t hold water and neither did the bath tub. Here’s to hoping that we have better luck at the Marriott we’re staying at tomorrow because I’m sure the laundry service won’t be cheap. I’m looking forward to the 5 star hotel - the one we’re in now is nice but the bed is a bit hard and the pillows just plain suck. When it comes to hotels I’m spoiled due to traveling so much and being able to get great corporate rates almost anywhere.

We headed off after a rest to dinner at a place recommended to us. It was recommended to another couple staying at the hotel by the same guy that recommended our best dinner here - [wife's name] overheard them say they were from Wilmington, NC so I walked up to and started a conversation with them this morning. We arrived at La Marée Verte - as almost every single restaurant we've seen in Paris they offered a selection of items and then you can choose from them (or sometimes a subset of them) and do 3 courses Prix Fixe. We started off by ordering a bottle of wine which was very good. Then [wife's name] ordered the escargot and tomatoes as her first course and after I was told they were out of the mussels I ordered the escargot as well. Thankfully the first course was a sign of great things to come - it was mouth watering delicious. For the second course [wife's name] ordered the sea bass and I ordered the duck with cherry sauce. If you have a chance to order duck in heaven I'm quite certain this is the dish they'd serve. I've had a lot of great meals in my day and this dish is among the top. We tried each others and were both impressed. We both finished with Creme Brulee which was good but it was the third time I'd orderd it in France and this was my least favorite but still quite good. Things move a little slower in the restaurant industry in France and it there is always quite a bit of time before the waiter/waitress makes their way back to the table after each visit. The entire meal took well over 2 hours but was well worth it. This was the best meal we've had in Paris I believe - what a great way to end things.

Tomorrow we are off to London - the train leaves at 1:00pm and is about a 2.5hr trip through the Chunnel. We upgraded our train tickets to first class so hopefully it's worth it.

12/29/2008 4:35:48 PM

OmarBadu
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been a bit since my updates - we don't have internet access in our room so updates came less frequently for a bit - here's the past few days


We set off for London. It was sprinkling in Paris this morning - our first hint of bad weather and we were leaving. It was a short train ride to the Eurostar (high speed train from Paris to London that goes through the Chunnel). We decided to upgrade our tickets to leisure select (somewhat like first class although there is a class higher even). I pulled out the GPSr on the way and it read in between 180-185mph while I had it out - quite fast. We were served a nice meal and the champagne and wine kept flowing. [wife's name] was tipsy by the time the train arrived in London at St. Pancras station.



We had arrived. The station was extremely busy - much busier than a typical airport I thought. We quickly found the place where we could buy train tickets and headed on. What a delight to be able to read the signs again. It took about 20 minutes or so to make it to our stop and then we headed to the hotel. Another thing to note about the London Tube is the Oyster card - a typical business card sized RFID card. It can be used anywhere on the Tube or buses to pay for a ride - of all of the subways I’ve been on this system is my favorite.

It was a short walk to our hotel - the Grosvenor House. The outside looked rather elegant. It was situated right next to Hyde Park. When we arrived we were upgraded to a corner suite but unfortunately our view isn’t spectacular from the 5th floor. The room was very large - at least 3-4x larger than the room in Paris and it even has a separate sitting room. We proceeded to lay in bed for the next 2 hours while we awaited our chocolate covered strawberries and bottle of pinot noir to be delivered. Having platinum status with Marriott has its perks - the hotel was paid for with points. After our rest we went up to the concierge lounge and had some snacks and champagne. This was one of the nicer lounges that I’ve seen in a Marriott. We definitely will make our way back here for more wine and champagne. While up there we asked about a nearby pub we could have a pint and some food. We were told there was a proper pub just up the street that the staff there frequented named the Audley. We made our way there and both ordered the fish and chips. The fish was very good and the piece on my plate was about the length of my elbow to my wrist. About midway through dinner [wife's name] decided I should finish her beer because she was drunk. The champagne and wine we’d been drinking throughout the day had finally taken its toll. We left and headed back for bed.




We are in a car lover's dream. I've seen more luxury cars in London than I have in my entire life possibly - we're talking about cars on the street - not the Chicago Auto Show. This is a picture of me getting into my new Audi R8.

Not an overly exciting first day in London but we were so tired. We are worn out and it’s showing. [wife's name] wants me to mention how she fits in very well here due to the large number of red heads. I don’t think we saw a single one in Paris but they are everywhere here. The big downside to our hotel is that internet access costs 20 Pounds per day but it is free up in the concierge lounge.

1/3/2009 4:07:07 AM

OmarBadu
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We woke up decently early and went up for breakfast in the lounge which was decent. After breakfast we walked around Hyde Park and it was pretty nice. We stumbled onto the well known Serpentine lake and some sort of winter carnival. We didn’t spend too much time in the park as we were on our way to Kensington where our next destination was the natural history museum. Here we saw a large dinosaur exhibit / a very detailed human body exhibit (much more detailed anatomy-wise than you’d see in the US) / a bug exhibit. We were slightly disappointed by the museum as a whole - it was free though so that helped.



After the museum we stopped for lunch on the way to Kensington Palace at this amazing pub / thai place - Churchill Arms. The menu had a lot of typical Thai dishes and they had 4 levels of spiciness - mild / spicy / hot / very hot. I chose a spicy and after eating my mouth was on fire - I finished my beer, [wife's name]’s beer and the second we left the first stop was to buy a bottled water. Both of our dishes were excellent. We decided to skip the Palace while eating and instead went to the British Museum where the highlight was the Rosetta Stone. We also visited 2 amazing exhibits on money and clocks - these museums were a nice departure from the typical artsy museums we’d spent a lot of our time in Paris in.




This was all we could handle so we went back to the hotel to rest before New Year’s Eve. We didn’t have a solid plan but we had heard that the Soho area was a good place to go. [wife's name] was worried we’d end up walking around aimlessly finding every place packed solid - I was more optimistic. We found a place rather quickly called the Three Greyhounds and settled in there. After a few minutes we commandeered a table but had no chairs - 30 minutes or so after that I wrestled away some stools and we were in for the long haul. At some point 2 British couples came over to our bar height table to rest their glasses and we struck up a conversation because one of the girl’s heels was broken (we later found out that the older lady and the younger guy were mother and son - we were shocked because she looked like she could have been his older sister - she aged well). One of the guys was using super glue to put it back together. I had to tell them to slow down when talking at times because even though it’s English here the accent threw me off a few times - [wife's name] and I both love English accents. We talked and laughed for the next few hours there and then they asked us what our plan for new years was. We told that that we didn’t have much of a plan and were probably just going to stay there. They thankfully invited us to go out with them - about 15 minutes before midnight we left the bar and made our way to Trafalgar square where the fireworks could be seen. The crowd had to have been about equal to Times Square in NYC. We were unsuccessful in getting all the way to the square due to the crowds but we got close enough to see the fireworks anyways. At one point the entire crowd began to sway as if in some massive pushing contest. We left the masses for a nearby bar that played a mixture of 80s and 90s music - we were in heaven. I was beyond drunk at this point and [wife's name] had switched to water before we left the first bar. I had now decided it was dancing time and for the next 1-2hrs [wife's name] and I danced the night away - taking breaks every once in a while to chat with our new friends, refill our beers and play the slot machine in the corner. All in all it was an amazing way to bring in the New Year and we made some new friends at the same time. At about 2am we’d had our fill and decided to head back to the hotel. The trains were free all night but we had no idea where we were at this point so we asked the nearest police officer how we could get to the Underground. We made our way back and the trains weren’t nearly as packed as we had anticipated.


1/3/2009 4:11:02 AM

OmarBadu
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Needless to say we woke up very late. We didn’t leave the hotel until about 1pm and we were moving pretty slow. We both have a cold now. I’ve had mine since the morning we left Paris and went to buy some cough drops while we were still there ([wife's name] had packed other cold medicine so we were fine in that department) - which reminds me of a story I forgot to tell. I headed into the Pharmacy in France and the guy behind the counter speak very little English which didn’t help because all of the medicine was behind the counter and I didn’t see Halls written anywhere. Eventually we got to a word we both understood - Losenge. He presented 2 options and I eventually made him understand I wanted the one that tasted better. He narrowed it down to Drill with 2 flavor options - Limon (clearly this was lemon - had a yellow dot on it) and Miel Rosat (had an orange dot). I asked if the Miel Rosat was orange and he shook his head no but didn’t know how to tell me what it the flavor was. I took my chances with the orange dot. Once back in the room I immediately looked up what Miel Rosat meant and it translates to Honey Rose so yeah this was a new flavor that we don’t have in the US. It tasted just as it sounds - like a rose with a touch of honey - I would have preferred orange.




Back to London now as we headed towards Buckingham Palace - both loaded up on cold medicine. It was a short walk from out hotel to the Palace and on the way we ran into the New Year’s Day Parade. We stopped and snapped a few pictures before continuing on. We arrived at the Palace and took some more photos - we’re going back tomorrow to see the changing of the guard. Then we headed to Westminister Abbey which was just down the road. This was our first place we had to pay to get in so far in London. It was unbelievable but unfortunately you couldn’t take any pictures. A few of the notable people buried there that we saw tombs for are Geoffrey Chaucer, Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin as well as numerous kings and queens. There was an audio guided tour that came with the admission fee that was very informative. We saw the Coronation Chair that’s been used for every single coronation since it was made in the 1300s. We left here and walked by Big Ben to take a few more pictures then headed back to the hotel.




On the way back to the hotel we stopped to buy me some new gloves because I lost my left one the night before somehow - probably worth noting I’ve also lost a pair of earmuffs and a toboggan that was replaced the previous day. I am uncertain as to where these items keep going but so far we’ve found some good cheap replacements. After a short rest and some champagne at the hotel we headed out for ice skating at the Somerset House. There’s just no way would could have anticipated how tired and sick we would be right now but we bought the tickets before we left the US. I was a little sick but [wife's name] felt miserable - she toughed it out and at least appeared to be having a good time. We were going to have dinner somewhere on our way back but instead just went straight back and ordered room service since [wife's name] felt so bad. Originally we were supposed to meet up with our New Year’s Eve British friends at the bar we were at last night at 9pm. We exchanged info last night but because we didn’t have a working cellphone it made things a bit more difficult. They mentioned Facebook earlier and said it was massive in the UK and we said we both had accounts so we decided that would work for communication. We sent them a Facebook message earlier in the day saying how unbelievably tired we were and probably weren’t going to make it - we hope they got it in time. It’s only 10pm and [wife's name]’s been asleep for a bit already.

Hopefully we’ll feel better tomorrow after a long night’s rest. We plan to go to the London Eye, the London Tower and to see the Changing of the Guard in the morning.

1/3/2009 4:12:38 AM

OmarBadu
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As the trip goes on - I can definitely tell the enthusiasm is dwindling - mainly due to us both being sick. Hopefully we'll both feel 100% tomorrow but we'll see.

We begrudgingly woke up today in time to head towards Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guard. It was a short brisk walk outside and amazingly enough we were able to see the sun for the first time from London - so it does exist! We arrived about 30 minutes before it was scheduled to start and clearly we weren’t the only ones with this plan. It was slam packed! We eventually found a piece of the gate where people in front of us were short enough for [wife's name] to see through/over and settled in. As it got closer to time more and more people packed into the area to watch the show. Eventually it started with some guards marching in - they weren’t wearing the typical red coats - I guess their winter gear is more of a grayish coat. There were a lot of formal to-dos and marching around. Eventually the band came in from somewhere in Green Park and marched through the front gates as well. It’s hard to really describe unless you’ve seen it or read about it but it was impressive. The timing was spot on with everything they did. We were serenaded to multiple songs - Indiana Jones theme song / Star Wars theme song / Eye of the Tiger / You Give Love a Bad Name / etc. After about 45 minutes the exiting began in multiple waves with the whole procession taking roughly an hour. We left afterwards and headed to the London Eye.



It was short train ride to the London Eye - only 2 stops but we were feeling tired and the day had just begun. We waited to get on after picking up some tickets and the line moved pretty quickly. I calculated that in 1 hour they move roughly 1600 people through the Eye. It takes 30 minutes to go all the way around and presented a great view of London. We snapped a bunch of pictures and enjoyed the view. It was a fun ride around the tallest Ferris Wheel in the world - almost 450 feet tall. After we got off we headed north along the Thames to a Japanese restaurant called Wagamama - known for their noodles. We each ordered a different type of noodle dish and enjoyed them both. I had my first Tiger beer here and it was quite good (I used to briefly own a Tiger beer t-shirt that Jason Wyatt left at my house many years ago - [wife's name] eventually made me get rid of it though). After eating we made our way to a nearby drug store to stock up on some more medicine - we were out after constantly chowing down as many pills as the label would allow - the London drug stores are much more conducive to Americans than the French ones - they even had some brands we recognized like Halls, Vicks and Sudafed.




We then made our way back to the hotel to rest before dinner. It ended up being another short night - we made it to bed by 9:30pm but stayed up watching TV for a bit. Before that though we made our way to a Japanese restaurant nearby and had some very good sushi. 3 of the rolls we ordered were great while 1 had entirely too much lettuce in it and was quite a letdown. On the way though we passed by yet another R8 (although it could have potentially been the same one parked in front of our hotel a few nights ago) and this time I had [wife's name] take a picture of me opening the correct driver’s side door. Oh how I wish I could afford one. Tomorrow we are headed out to see a matinee showing of Wicked the musical. We also plan to see Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (even though it’s just a reconstruction) and the famous Tower Bridge earlier in the morning. The rough plan is to end the day after the Broadway show with a short rest and then a nice dinner. Tomorrow is our last full day and it looks like the great weather we’ve had the entire time will continue. [wife's name] says she’s ready to be back home but it’s just because she’s sick - I could use a few more days to see more of London I think though. I think we could both definitely move over here or to Paris after some serious language lessons.

Overall, what an amazing vacation thus far! I can barely believe all of the things we’ve seen and done since Christmas.

1/3/2009 4:13:47 AM

XCchik
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Go see Warwick Castle in England

1/3/2009 10:45:43 AM

bous
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still haven't read all this, need to

1/3/2009 6:46:51 PM

OmarBadu
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We awoke today again rather sick still. Overall though we both slept well with one minor inconvenience - the fire alarm went off for about 10 seconds sometime in the middle of the night - false alarm at least. We got up earlier than we had been and quickly headed off to the London Tower and to see the Tower Bridge. The sun was shining again today and inconveniently always seemed to be shining in our eyes for most of the day. Once you paid admission into the London Tower (basically a large British fort) there were free guided tours - our guide was extremely amusing although most people didn’t laugh at his jokes and he made note of it each time. He reminded us of Ricky Gervais quite a bit - part of this is due to his face but also the way that he spoke - much like a lot of Brits his lips seem to move quite a bit but their teeth stay put - it’s quite interesting to watch. After the tour ended we walked towards the Crown Jewels exhibit - I mean they were nice but the ring I bought [wife's name] is better of course, heh. We saw crown after crown and many more things including some of the objects used during the coronations throughout the years. There were 40+ guards on-site to protect the whole lot of them - we saw a few marching and standing around and took some pictures. We saw a few famous graves including that of multiple Catholic saints buried in one of the churches. The grave of Ann Boleyn was one of them and an interesting fact is that for the past 200 years on her birthday red roses are sent each year anonymously - it’s never missed. After we had our fill we headed out for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, but not before stopping off for lunch at a Turkish restaurant. We had some amazing hummus for an appetizer and then [wife's name] had a pizza and I had a “homemade burger” that was served on pita bread - it was one of the most amazing burgers I’ve ever had. We headed off.




It was a short train ride and then a walk across the Thames River to the Globe. We didn’t stay too long because we were running behind and needed to head towards the Victoria Apollo Theatre to see Wicked. We walked around and snapped a few pictures then slowly made our way to the Victoria.



It was a very crowded train ride to the Victoria and each stop it seemed more people tried to crowd in. We arrived about 30 minutes before the show and quickly found our seats - they were amazing - on the 12th row slightly to the right. The set that was visible before the show looked great and once the show started it only got better. There is really nothing negative to say about it - storyline was great / singing was great / costumes were great / music was great / etc. Next to Lion King this was my favorite show I’ve ever seen. It was pretty long as well - without intermission it was about 2.5 hours. After the show let out we headed back to the hotel to figure out what we were going to do for dinner while having hors d'oeuvres and champagne. We decided on a nice Indian restaurant and made reservations for 7:30pm.




We went to a place called Chor Bizarre for dinner and it was great. It was a very authentic Indian restaurant (I say this never having actually been to India - it sure seemed authentic though). We started off with some scallops and [wife's name] decided to go with tap water (you have to be very specific when ordering water in Europe - tap / still bottled / sparkling bottled are all very common) and Alan ordered a Cobra which is a pretty well known Indian beer. The scallops were delicious but [wife's name] was already tired and beginning to fade to thankfully the main course came pretty quickly. [wife's name] ordered a chicken dish that was on the dry side but had a nice assortment of vegetables to go with it and I got another chicken dish that was served in a bowl with a sweet and spicy sauce covering the chicken pieces. We also ordered 2 servings of Naan and it was really good here. I would say my dish was the best Indian dish I've ever had and I've had some pretty good Indian food before. We were going to get some Mango Lassi for dessert but were both stuffed and headed out. Our last European dinner was a success. We made our way back to the hotel to pack up (well [wife's name] packed and I sort of put things where she told me to and stayed out of her way). We watched a little TV and then finally made it to sleep. Throughout our time in the hotel room we did see some interesting shows while in England - the British versions of Deal or No Deal / American Idol / America's Got Talent / Family Feud / I think a few more as well.

Tomorrow we're headed to London's Heathrow airport and then back to the wonderful ole US. Hopefully the flight is uneventful and on time. We are scheduled to land just after 7pm. I'll probably write one more update regarding the trip home either tonight or sometime tomorrow. [wife's name]'s heading into work tomorrow (unless she decides to just go to the doctor instead) and I'm working from home. Our vacation is just about over - doh!

1/4/2009 4:58:28 AM

OmarBadu
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We're home! Our morning was pretty uneventful and consisted of the normal checking to make sure we packed everything and a short breakfast in the concierge lounge. We also made note of a family we seem to see every time we're in the lounge (they are also on our flight and [wife's name] noticed them in the restaurant we ate in at the airport and we saw them at the baggage claim area in Atlanta).

We headed off towards the Hyde Park Corner Tube station - just a 5 minute walk - in typical fashion I remarked how it didn't feel cold outside today but of course within 2 minutes my tune had changed. We had looked up the route online and the Picadilly line would take us all the way to Heathrow Terminal 4 - however when we arrived we were presented with differing information. We checked the map printed on the wall and it only mentioned a bus service to Terminal 4 which contradicted what we'd read earlier online. However, the LED sign nearby listed 3 trains that were arriving in the next few minutes - 2 of them listed Heathrow and 1 of them made mention of Terminal 4. The first train came and it was luckily not the one that listed Terminal 4 as one of its end destinations - it was packed solid and there was no way our luggage would have been able to make the ride with us. The next train that was going to the terminal our plane was scheduled to leave from however was thankfully empty. On the way to Heathrow I managed to open one of the books I had bought and I'm very glad I did - Freakonomics. Not to say I have a big selection of choices to pick from but it definitely goes on my recommended reading list - especially for parents or parents-to-be. The book is filled with conclusions brought on by a lot of very thoughtful questions that others never asked and plenty of data to back them up. I wish I'd have read this sooner as it covers a topic that I have had an ongoing argument with my mother for a few months now - that we'd last decided we would finish the argument when we saw each other at Christmas but both forgot about. The topic at hand was the effect that parents do or do not have on their offspring - mainly surrounding the idea that other forces such as the media or peers play an equal/smaller/larger role. This is by no means a new topic but much as one can twist facts into supporting their opinion I feel that Freakonomics presents some strong evidence to support my viewpoint regarding the effect of parents to a child. I have probably told [wife's name] 10x since I started reading the book that she has to read it when I'm done - which I finished it shortly into our flight - it's a quick read.

The plane ride was pretty uneventful other than the very beginning which has a prelude that I'll go into shortly and a brief few minutes when we experienced some intense turbulence and of course the nearby large group of teenagers made a large racket. We arrived at the airport roughly 2 hours before our departure and made our way to the Train ticket counter to turn in our Oyster cards for a refund of our deposit (the machine where the cards are spit out of says 3 Pound deposit on it and we made a note when we got them that we'd be back to get our deposit somehow). There wasn't a line and we walked right up the guy asked us if we were sure we wanted to go forward with the process because it would take some time - we had plenty to spare so we saddled up for a 15 minute ride - they really don't want to take these things back it seems. He proceeded to strike up a conversation with me while [wife's name] chatted with another Tube employee nearby that told her what a jerk the guy I was talking to was. He asked me why was it that only Americans seemed to ever ask for their deposit back and I tried to unsuccessfully explain to him that if the process was a huge hassle they should remove the word “deposit” from the card dispensing machines - in America when I give a deposit I will be back for it at some point - I guess in London that's not true though. He filled out a bunch of paperwork and typed some things onto his computer while changing the topic of conversation to American TV - clearly I was the chosen representative from the country. He wanted to know why TV shows quit showing new episodes around the end of the year and didn't start showing new ones again until well into the New Year - I tried to think of something ridiculous to respond with because unfortunately the answer to this question wasn't in the American handbook. This guy sucked but I had to put up with him because he had our deposits! The story does have a good ending though - we ended up getting back just over 10 Pounds as opposed to just over 6 as we had anticipated - who are these idiots leaving 6+ Pounds on the table when they leave London.

We then left and headed to get our tickets and make our way to a restaurant inside the terminal. There were only 2 choices and 1 of them was in the opposite direction of our gate - Garfunkels won. If you need to do a study on inefficiency (one of my largest pet peeves) then look no further. Garfunkels failed to excel in a single category that a restaurant has a chance to with the first one being failure to seat people. This problem was actually caused by a few other things going on in the restaurant - there was nobody bussing tables so they just sat dirty for many minutes after guests left - as well as a few people not eating or drinking but rather just sitting and reading (one older gentleman as he was leaving made it a point to tell one girl that she was taking up valuable eating space with her novel and she told him to shove off quite nastily - she was still reading when we left). Eventually however we were able to get a table and looked over the menu and after the waiter finally made his way to our table we even were able to order our selections. Just as the food was coming our plane began to board - we could view it from where we were sitting. At least the food wasn't spectacular so we didn't feel too bad leaving a half-eaten chicken sandwich and some nachos. Had we been able to sit down in a reasonable amount of time then we would have had plenty of time to finish our meals. We arrived at the restaurant over an hour before our plane was scheduled to board with only 1 group in front of us - a family of 4.

We quickly ran to the restroom and then boarded and then made our way to our seats in the back right of the plane. We were on an actual Delta flight this time as opposed to the much nicer Air France operated flight on the way over to Europe. They only give out 1 free alcoholic drink unlike the endless supply with AF. The meal was nothing to write home about - the Chicken Marinara was left mostly uneaten by both of us - the only thing that was nibbled on were the crackers and cheese and bread. I'm pretty sure [wife's name]'s happy her sinuses are backed up and can't taste as well as normal. The plan is to stop at Zaxby's on the way home - mmmmm kickin' chicken.

We finally landed 30 minutes early but of course our gate was occupied and the plane wasn't going to be turned for another 20 or so minutes. I even broke out the laptop and got online to check a few things while waiting and after a short wait we made it off the plane. We headed towards customs and once we got there the line was ridiculously long. While waiting to go through customs we got to watch a girl freak out because she had lost her passport (she was with a large group of students from somewhere in Alabama) - she did eventually get through customs about 20 minutes later although I'm not sure how but I'm assuming it was due to finding her passport in her purse. We gathered our bags and headed home. It sure is nice to be home!

1/4/2009 9:30:04 PM

Hey_McFly
All American
1116 Posts
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dude looking through your pictures i felt like i was back on my trip to london and paris two years ago. i did a whole lot of the stuff you have pictured here, including seeing wicked at the victoria apollo

looks like you had a great time though

1/5/2009 6:46:39 PM

OmarBadu
zidik
24888 Posts
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heading to london tonight - staying here: http://tinyurl.com/2v6f669 - don't know this area too well - what's close by (walking distance) for a good meal and a few beers

only in town from 9pm to 6am

12/6/2010 6:57:19 AM

Wraith
All American
26000 Posts
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^Hey that's only a few miles south of where I was born

12/6/2010 12:01:55 PM

Fhqwhgads
Fuckwads SS '15
20602 Posts
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I am planning a Paris & London trip for next Fall.


Using the same tour operator that I used for going to Dublin this past January...Gate1 Travel.

12/6/2010 3:01:40 PM

OmarBadu
zidik
24888 Posts
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This trip was amazingly fun. Just went back for another work trip. Flew in Sunday morning to London - Tuesday night to Frankfurt - Wednesday night to Paris - Thursday night back to London - flew home Saturday.

One of the highlights of the trip was we happened to be in Paris during Fete de la Musique - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/F%C3%AAte_de_la_Musique - amazing experience with tons of live music everywhere - the streets were alive

6/25/2017 2:18:35 PM

David0603
All American
12592 Posts
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That delta rdu -> cdg direct is money...

6/25/2017 10:21:57 PM

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