Thursday, June 26, 2008

Greg and Hilary, Sitting in a Tree . . .


First comes love . . .

Then comes marriage . . .

Then comes the baby in the baby carriage!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Paris: Day 6

So this was our last true day in France (we packed up and headed to the airport around 10 the following morning) and it was another "free day". Greg and I didn't have anything on our agenda really except to go down town and just walk around and experience more of the French culture. We took the metro to the Eiffel Tower and then walked from there to Notre Dame, most of the time along the River Seine. It was a gorgeous day and actually quite warm!

For the first (and from what we are aware of, the only) time, a local tried to scam us! We were lazily walking along the river when a girl about our age walking the other direction stopped and picked something off of the ground. With broken English she showed us the gold men's wedding band and asked if it was ours; when we told her "no" she then tried to give it to us and was quite insistent about it - she said she had no use for it. So I finally took it from her, fully intending on placing it on the railing as soon as she passed (I promise!). We shook hands and she walked by. Moments later she turned around and said, "I gave you ring, you give me some money for food??" hah! Stupid Americans . . . I quickly returned the ring to the ground and repeated "Non, merci" over and over . . . We watched her walk away and try it again on another couple not far behind us. So that was fun . . . I guess it's true about your tennis shoes alerting the scammers that you're not from around here.

After our long walk, a pastry stop and finishing up some souvenir shopping we headed back home.

We had a wonderful time in Paris and are so thankful that we had the opportunity to go! It was definitely more than we expected to be able to travel at this point in our lives. It was a full week with many memories.

A lot of the metro stations had very different and 'artsy' type seating

House boats along the Seine

This bridge allowed you to cross the river both on the water front and about 30 feet above on the street level

These hot dogs reminded me of something that my dad would have bought

How the guys spent most of their evenings, on the back patio smoking Cuban cigars . . . and by the way, it's about 9 pm in this picture . . . The sun didn't set until about 10:30 every night we were there.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Paris: Day 5

Day 5, Thursday, was probably the highlight of the week. We took a day trip out to Normandy to visit the American Cemetery and D-Day Memorial.

We got there by taking a train ride from Paris into Bayeux, which is a small town about 7 miles from Omaha beach. The town itself was very neat and had an amazing cathedral which was built in 1077.

We took a local bus from Bayeux to the cemetery located at Omaha Beach, which took the heaviest casualties during the D-Day invasion in World War II. At this cemetery are 9,387 graves and a few memorials chronicling the history and strategy of the invasion. This was a truly somber and humbling experience to be among the endless sea of graves and the look at the actual beach. The beach si surprisingly long, at least 100 yards to the nearest dunes and gave a better picture of the sacrifice paid by that generation.

After the memorial we took the bus back to Bayeux and walked around the town and stopped for ice cream and a pastry before taking the train back to Paris.

We rode a "real" train this time, instead of the metro trains in the city

We passed several of these HUGE churches as we drove through the French country side. They seemed very random to us as they just popped out of the middle of no where.

In the town of Bayeux

The steps down the hill onto Omaha Beach

The US 101 Airborne Division (marked near the center of the map) is the division followed in Band of Brothers for those who have seen that mini-series

The Memorial

"Here rests in honored glory a comrade in arms known but to God"

A small chapel in the midst of the cemetery

Back in the town of Bayeux

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Paris: Day 4

Day 4, Wednesday, was one of our free days where everyone had the chance to break off and do things as couples rather than the larger group. We started off the day doing a test run to the main train station in Paris for our train ride the next day to Normandy. On our way to the train station we found a fun shopping area with lots of clothing stores and street vendors so we hit that up after we were done.

Our first activity was the National Aquarium, a little older than we were expecting, but still some very beautiful fish. Greg grew up watching Discovery Channel as much as possible (he still loves Shark week when we get the chance to see it) and even dreamed of being a marine biologist and swimming with the sharks. His career path took a different turn, but he still loves watching fish; and I do, too!

After the aquarium we were able to see the Arc de Triomphe and then the Eiffel Tower, which were both really amazing to see! Of course I had seen hundreds of pictures of the Eiffel Tower before we left, but I wasn't prepared for how TALL it was. We ended up not going to the top of the Eiffel tower because the waiting line was too long. Even the wait to WALK up the 400 and some odd stairs to the second level was 2 hours . . . so we passed that up and took a little get lost in Paris tour that was quite fun. The highlight was finding the first pastry shop we were able to purchase something! They were the best pastries we had all week!

The little family of swans that lived just outside our little townhouse

My home away from home . . .

Yes, this was the color palate throughout the whole store . . . no greens, pinks or purples . . . the French aren't quite into bright colors for their wardrobe

When I saw this, I thought of Jeanie . . . not one of my numerous friends or relatives that work for the company . . . but the person who keeps Starbucks stock up =)

Piranhas at the aquarium

You'll want to turn the volume down for this one, the water filters in the background are quite loud. This was Greg's favorite part of the aquarium visit . . . this guy kept running into the glass . . . and his teeth are just too awesome

Unicorn fish

Arc de Triomph

I believe that Greg counted 290 steps to get to the top!

View from the top

Approaching the Eiffel Tower

Isn't the sky beautiful? Nathan described it as seeing the sky in HD . . . we pointed out the serious flaw with comparing something REAL to tv; but to give him credit the weather had been pretty gross up until that day.

My favorite picture from the week

My delicious strawberry tartlet!

Greg describes this as a Reese's cup meets a Butterfinger and takes steroids . . . layers chocolate mousse with a layer of peanut butter crunch covered in cocoa powder.