Note: Even though they are often the best sights on trips, I do not take any photos of the interiors of any of the churches mentioned.
I know it's been quite awhile since my last update, but we've been keeping pretty busy.
|William, Helle, Brice, me|
|Danny & Brice in front of cathedral|
Since it was Good Friday, we were able to view the relic the Crown of Thorns. Amazing! Next we delved into a Rick Steves (free) downloadable walking tour. This took us through some areas that we may not have thought to walk through so I do recommend checking these things out if you travel. (Ask me for more info.) We settled a little cafe to regroup and make our plans for the rest of the afternoon and evening. We had decided to get a Museum Pass so we walked over to the Pantheon to get that. Not wanting to activate it until the next day, we didn't plan to tour the Pantheon. However, apparently buying the pass there makes them happy enough that you can tour it for free without activating the pass so we gave that a look, too. After a stop at the hotel to unload a few of our heavier items and picking up a picnic at the grocery store, we took the metro to the Trocadero and walked down from there to the Eiffel Tower. The line was a bit too much that evening so we just took lots of pictures and enjoyed a picnic on the lawn. I think that was my favorite part of the whole trip :-) When it was dark, we strolled along the Siene and got a crepe (this would become a theme on the trip!) and then settled on a nice park bench with a view of the tower waiting for it to twinkle. Such a nice evening :-)
|Wedding at Cana|
|On level 2 of Eiffel Tower|
On Monday we took the metro to Montmarte and saw Sacre-Coeur. I really liked the design of the church and it was interesting since it was so "new". We shopped a bit for our Paris Christmas ornament and my spoon and then metroed back to Tuileries Garden for another picnic lunch. Next we popped over to the Orangerie which turned out to be my favorite museum in Paris (this is where Monet's Water Lilies are), perhaps because it was smaller and less crowded. Afterwards we did some more souvenir shopping and then tried to climb Notre-Dame but were minutes late. We took a break in a cafe before heading back to Montmarte for a fondue dinner. This place is really interesting and we found it on Yelp. Le Refuges de Fondues serves wine in baby bottles and packs diners in so close they have to assist you to climb over the table. It's a fun time and we recommend it. So easy to meet people there, too :-)
|Canal in Bruges|
Our next stop was Amsterdam. We went for the tulips, Van Gogh, and Anne Frank. We promise. Really. We spent most of Friday strolling around gorgeous gardens of tulips and other flowers and saw a few of those famous fields of tulips with rows and rows of color. Just gorgeous. The Van Gogh museum was great that afternoon and we highly recommend it. It was my favorite museum of the week and you know I saw all those museums in Paris. For dinner we used Yelp again and found some great Mexican food at a place run by an American expat. Quite a place you should check out if you're ever there. Saturday morning we took a canal cruise and then I finally found the ham & cheese croissant (another Disney Paris thing) I had been looking for since Paris. We took a New Europe walking tour in the afternoon. These are technically free but the guides work for tips only so they encourage you to give only what you feel they deserve and you can afford. They are available in many major cities in Europe, so check them out if you're interested. Afterwards we paid a visit to The Anne Frank house which was wonderfully done and very moving. We used Yelp yet again to find a great Thai Place for dinner and then found some of the best strawberry cheesecake ice cream ever made.
We returned Sunday afternoon and I've been working hard to go through all of the pictures and pare things down. I've uploaded two new albums and added pictures to the original album. Here are the links:
Our weekend with William and Helle (new material starts on page 8)
Brussels and Cologne
Paris, Bruges, and Amsterdam
We'll be staying in town this weekend and looking forward to it. We hope to get together with our conversation partners and find ourselves a permanent place for the remaining time we are here.
We hope everyone is doing well, staying healthy & happy and that you had a wonderful Easter. If you want any more information on the places we visited, stayed, or dined, just let me know and I'll be happy to give you details.