I'll be doing a bit of a redesign next, so you may see a new temporary layout in the new space! I will have a fun new makeover hopefully by the end of the year.
I'm not sure how long this will take, so be sure to follow along on instagram or facebook too! I'm also on pinterest as well.
Journal Day 06
06 October 2016
Palace of Versailles
We went back and forth on going to Versailles or not. I wasn't sure if we'd want one more day in the city. I was very impressed by all we were able to do in the time that we've been there, so I didn't feel like we'd be missing out if we decided to go.
So we decided to head out first thing in the morning to Versaille, there's a train that heads right there, and the stop was close to where we were staying so it was pretty easy. It was about a 45 minute journey from the time we left our apartment to walking up to the palace.
I wasn't expecting it to be essentially in the city. When we walked out of the train station there was a starbucks. For some reason I always imagined Versailles in the country side. Which it once was, but I suppose quite a bit has changed since it was first built.
We bought tickets there and there wasn't any line so we headed right in to view the rooms in the main palace. It is crazy how every inch of the place is decorated. It's really a bit overwhelming. There's a lot, and I believe it took us over an hour and a half to make it thought. We did stop for a break to grab some hot chocolate from Angelina's. It's known quite well and I was glad that they had it there, because we weren't able to get to it. It was delicious, of course.
Next up, the gardens. Truly, the most spectacular part of Versailles, they go on and on. They have more restaurants on the grounds so we stopped to grab lunch and found a spot in the gardens to eat.
We walked through the gardens a bit and headed to the other buildings on the premise. We first stopped at King Louie's other palace, which I enjoyed way more than the big one. The architecture was more simple and less overwhelming, it wasn't as busy, and had way more furniture.
In hindsight, I would have skipped the first one, or just spent less time and go to only a couple rooms. It's easier to say now that I've seen it, but we could have spent less time there.
The gardens just behind his second home were my favorite. The flowers were still blooming and there was a lovely mix of outgrown almost wild flowers with defined edges.
I got some photos, but at this time Jordan somehow that it was like three hours later haha! I was trying to get a family photo and he got all frustrated saying we needed to move on. He didn't realize until later that we had plenty of time until everything closed. So we slowed down our pace again.
We were very excited to see the Queen's Hamlet, a village Marie Antoinette created, because she loved the idea of peasant life. It was so beautifully bizarre. Sadly the main house, her house was being renovated, but we were able to still see the rest of the village. She had all different houses for livestock, gardening, and such. They still had some farm animals there, so we stopped for a bit so Ruby could see them.
Afterward we took our time wandering around the gardens, getting a little lost. We walked back to the main gardens and stopped for a gaufres with nutella, which is harder than you would like to pronounce in french. I tried really hard, but to me it just sounds like gopher. Jordan made fun and mocked my attempts of trying to say it correctly. It was delicious, it was essentially a waffle, but the best waffle and nothing like I've had before. I'm not a waffle person, so this was our first time getting one, and we are still kicking ourselves for not trying it sooner.
At the end of our Versailles trip it was around 6 o'clock (the time Jordan thought it was a few hours earlier) and we had spent way longer than we thought we would. We were just thinking a few hours, but we spent the entired day exploring Versailles!
We got on the train and headed back to the city, stopping Le Marais for dinner. Determined to make our first falafel experience right, we headed there. The initial place we were hoping to go, L'as du falafel was open so we were able to get in pretty quickly and sit down and enjoy some yummy falafel. It was so delicious, and a lot better than the last place we went to, so I am glad that we ventured out again for it!
Afterward we walked by the Pompidou center that we missed the last time we were there and then stopped the Amorino's across the street. We got another gaufres with gelato and nutella on top! Sooo good!
We went back home as this was our last full day in Paris, so we needed to pack up a bit. We watched the eiffel tower light up every chance that we could from the view from our window until we went to bed.
thoughts on trying to be a better morning person
Any morning people out there? Because I'm not. I'm the kind of person that walks around like a zombie before my cup of coffee. I need a solid hour before I can think clearly and am most definitely a night owl. I would much rather sleep in than go to bed early.
Although these days my sleep schedule has changed a bit. After traveling for so long and on top of that, struggling with jetlag, our normal rhythms are a bit off. The seven hour time adjustment was rough, but has meant that we've been getting up earlier than normal. I'm actually awake and ready to go in the morning. It's weird. (or maybe it's because on the inside I'm still in Paris and it's the middle of the afternoon) One morning this week we were all up at 5am and decided to make a big breakfast before Jordan went into work. It was such a sweet time together and all before the day even started!
All of this has inspired me, and I really would love to be a better morning person. To accomplish daily tasks first thing. Or really just enjoying a nice breakfast instead of what I can grab from the pantry.
I like change and preparing for the colder seasons seems like a good time to try and switch it up. It can be so dark in the winter, so I like the idea of waking up with the sun.
Before my morning energy fades, I would love to hear from you. What routines do you do every morning? Any recovering non-morning people out there?
What do morning people do? Teach me your ways.
Journal Day 05
5 October 2016
Today was our last full day to explore the city of Paris. Our goal today was not to see everything we could but to enjoy Paris fully. And to eat good food.
We set out in the late morning for breakfast. Learning from past mistakes, we researched the best place in out neighborhood. We settled on a place called Kozy which was on our way to the Eiffel Tower. We must be getting better at finding quality restaurants, because this one was delicious. We didn't try too much, I got a latte and we split a slice of quiche and a chocolate chip cookie. Everything was so good, I can still vividly remember everything about this moment. We almost went back a couple of times. Also yummy espresso to boot.
We had scheduled to climb up the eiffel tower at 1130 so we headed there next. We can see it outside our window and had already had a picnic by it, so we were excited to be able to get inside and to see the view of Paris from the tower.
We spent about an hour picking out different sights we had already visited. We even were able to point out our apartment. We only went up to the second landing, which was maybe 2/3 of the way up. We still felt very high up. We took the stairs down to the first floor, which Ruby loved.
We stopped by the playground next to the eiffel tower for a little while to let Ruby play. There were quite a few other kiddos there, one even poured sand on Ruby a couple times. haha
Our apartment is close to the eiffel tower so we walked back and let Ruby take nap there. This was the first time that she took a nap at the apartment, besides the first day that we were there. We've been so impressed with her ability to nap on the go. While she napped Jordan and I planned out the rest of our day, picking out some restaurants and such.
Ruby was napping extra long, and we were getting a little antsy to get going, but instead of waking her up, Jordan grabbed pizza for lunch. We had walked by the pizza place down the street many times, so it was nice to still enjoy some delicious pizza and some Orangina, even if we were stuck in out airbnb. The nice thing about our place is that we could open up the big windows and see the eiffel tower and still very much feel like we're in Paris. This turned out to be one of my favorite meals we shared together.
Once Ruby woke up from her nap we took the metro to Montmarte. On the way there we realized we didn't pack diapers for Ruby. So once we got there we had quite the experience trying to find some diapers. 12 euros later we found some pampers at a local pharmacie. I was definitely disappointed that they didn't have some cool European brand.
We stopped by a playground for Ruby to play located next to the wall of love tiled mural.
We continued on toward the Sacre Coeur, we toured the inside and then decided to walk the 300 some steps up to the top. It was so incredibly beautiful to see all of Paris from that view. We ended up staying at the top for over an hour and a half and watched the sunset. Ruby loved running around the top and talking with the other visitors. One even gave her a bit of her ricecake, which Ruby now has a newfound love for.
Afterwards we walked around Montmarte while Ruby slept. It was dark at this point, so we made our walk pretty quick.
The Renoir painting of Montmarte that I wanted to see wasn't at the Orsay when we visited. So, thankfully I was able to stop by the place where he did the painting which was so fun to do. Many of the artists that I admire once lived and created in this area of Paris, so I mostly just imagined walking around the streets just as we were.
Instead of eating dinner there we decided to head back to near our place and we had dinner Le Bosquet which I read had a yummy vegetarian ravioli gratin. Which was by far my favorite meal of the trip, it also came with a delicious simple salad.
Today was just as we wanted, enjoyable and yummy.
Journal Day 4
4 October 2016
Tired from the previous day in Normandy, we slept in and took it easy in the morning. Taking notes from our last day in Paris, before heading out we mapped out all our spots and some good eateries.
We hopped on the metro and went straight to Notre Dame, we made it there by early afternoon. We walked around the entire cathedral first and stopping by the little garden in the back, letting Ruby run around. We also stopped at the playground that was right inbetween the Seine and the cathedral, Ruby obviously didn’t realize the significance of the location.
Then we toured the inside of the Notre Dame. This was the first cathedral in Europe that I visited and it was crazy to see it in person after studying so many cathedrals in school. I was happy to throw out my knowledge of flying buttresses.
We stopped by to see Saint Chappelle, but chose not to wait in the line to get inside, maybe someday.
We grabbed some Berthillon ice cream. The chocolate was incredible.
Then we walked over to Le Marais and followed Rick Steves walk for the area. I did some shopping as well, stopping into Zara and Mango.
We planned to grab falafel while in the area and were disappointed that the place we picked out was not open. Thankfully there was one open across the street. At this point we were definitely hungry and we weren’t communicating well. I wanted to sit down and Jordan just wanted food as fast as possible. I may have had a little breakdown at this point. Granted, I wasn’t feeling the best, was frustrated that the place we had researched was closed, and I hadn’t had a glass of water yet. I’ve learned that when walking around the streets of Paris, it’s really important to take time to slow down and stop for a bit.
So, after that we grabbed some water and some macaroons from a place down the street and took a little break. Ruby woke up and most of my raspberry macaroon, she’s a smart girl.
Conveniently located across the street were more treats, we grabbed some gelato in the shape of a rose from Amorino and all was right.
We soaked up some sun and sat on the grass in front of the fountains while ruby ran around in the grass at Place des Voges. Ruby also enjoyed the playgrounds that were there. This was probably one of our favorite gardens and playgrounds, it was very small and not too touristy.
Afterward we toured Victor Hugo’s house which was located on the square. It was so interesting to see inside one of the buildings.
The sun was close to setting so we took the metro all the way over to the Arc de Triomphe. We had driven by it yesterday, yet it was much more massive standing underneath it than we imagined.
We ended our evening by walking along champs elysees and mostly window shopping. We did pop into a couple stores including the beautiful Laudree.
We ended our night with another disappointing restaurant. The food was decent, but we knew better. Ruby was asleep and we didn’t want to wake her to get on the metro to head to place closer to our home.
So, after dinner we headed back to our apartment, at this point it was pretty late.
Today, a Sunday, the first Sunday of the month, our second day, first full day in Paris, also happens to be the day most museums are open free to the public. We took full advantage of this and crammed in as many museums as we possible could. It was a packed day, but we had a lot of fun, and saw a lot of Paris.
Here's what we did on Day two:
We woke up later than we planned. I had made an itinerary in advance to make sure to get to everything. We got to the Louvre about an hour late than I was hoping. We did our research and planned to use the typically short underground entrance instead of the famous glass pyramid entrance. Unfortunately, a large number of tourist groups had lined up in front of us and the wait was two hours. We managed to find the end of the line and I was trying my hardest to not blow up at Jordan for snoozing his alarm earlier that morning. Thankfully, a woman from the Louvre intervened and sent us gave us priority access and we jumped to the front of the line. We definitely have Ruby to thank for this one.
We made it through the Louvre fairly quickly. I mapped out everything I wanted to see and we stuck to only a couple of hallways. I knew I would enjoy more of the modern art museums more, so I tried to limit what we saw to only some of the masterpieces I studied in school. It was incredible to see in person.
I was so impressed by how quickly we made it through, we were ready to move on to the next museum in probably less than an hour.
We walked out feeling like we were back on track. The Musee d’Orsay was just across the Seine. We had to cross one street to get there but there was a huge 10K race going on and we couldn’t get across.
So, after wasting a lot of time trying to figure out how to cross the river and to get around the race, we conceited. We walked through the Tuileries Garden outside of the Louvre and stopped for a cafe creme and a nutella crepe which lifted our spirits. Just to the end of the gardens is the Musee de l'Orangerie.
Seeing the Waterlillies by Claude Monet span an entire room was more incredible than I imagined. There are two large rooms with a painting that circles the entire room. It's lovely. We spent our entire time in these two rooms. I chose not to see the rest of the museum, although I wish I had. I was pretty anxious to get to the Orsay museum as I knew I wanted to spend the most time there. This was by far one of my favorite experiences.
With the race now over, we were finally able to cross the Seine to get to Musee d'Orsay. Even though I had done quite a bit of research and have some art history classes under my belt, I was incredibly overwhelmed. I wanted to see everything. It was fairly easy for me to narrow in on a few things I wanted to see at the Louvre, but the Orsay picks up where the Louvre leaves off, my favorite part, the beginning of modern art. I basically ran around the museum like a madwoman seeing everything for a brief second. It was crazy and wonderful. I definitely needed to slow down a bit, and maybe even take a break for a moment and grab some coffee at the cafe. Although, to be fair I spent a lot of time trying to track down a couple paintings, one of which wasn't even there at the time. In the end we spent a good amount of time at the museum, and I left feeling satisfied in seeing everything. I’ll do a run further rundown of this museum later of everything.
After the Orsay museum, we made a terrible mistake of not sitting down for lunch. We grabbed a quick bite to eat at the first place we saw, and it wasn't that good. By this point we were making excellent time and could have sat down for lunch. Instead we ate as we walked to the Rodin museum, Jordan had a disappointing croque monsieur and I had a pain au chocolat.
I actually wasn’t sure we would be able to make it to the Rodin Museum, but we had plenty of time to explore the grounds. It was a perfect end to our museum tour, Ruby was able to run around and we were able to admire Rodin’s sculptures. We were all tired so we sat down in the gardens to enjoy another café crème. Ruby continued to make friends with every other kid that would pay attention to her.
We were finished with everything a lot earlier than I anticipated. We surprisingly still had a lot of energy left and wanted to see more of Paris. We were close to the park, Invalides and were going to see a playground with Ruby. She of course fell asleep when we got there, so we decided to go to a bistro to sit down for a real meal. Picking a restaurant was a challenge for us without yelp. There were so many and after our snack mistake we really wanted to make a good choice. We walked by several, and picked the one that looked best to us.
Ruby slept through our meal and it was really nice to enjoy a meal together and gather our thoughts. Even though the food itself was pretty basic, it was fun to enjoy our first street-side Parisian café meal. Ruby even woke up just in time to help us finish our plates.
With a full evening ahead of us we decided to head to the Luxembourg gardens. It was a good choice, because they are beautiful. The only bummer is that everything costs money including the playgrounds, though it’s free to get in. So we stuck around the pond in front of the palace. Ruby loved watching the little sailboats and birds.
They started kicking everyone out at sunset so we headed out in search of frites. Kaytea had mapped out a good frites place by Luxembourg gardens to try out, De Clerq. We needed a win in the food category for the day, and this was it, they were so good.
Oh, and on our walk to the frites place we realized we were very close to the Pantheon, so we swung and were able to see it in the last of the daylight.
At this point we had a choice to make. Our Navigo metro card didn’t start until the next day, so we could either pay to take the metro back to our apartment or walk.
We made the very poor decision of walking back, and while it was a nice way to see a lot of Paris, it was much longer than expected. Needless to say, we were exhausted. In total we walked 13.5 miles, that’s a half marathon, folks.
A photo posted by katelyn ryan (@katelynmryan) on
We were all a little miserable and hungry, so it was a sweet way to end our vacation. These 16 days of traveling have taught us a lot about how to make the most of something. And usually that involves food.
Unfortunately, Jordan had to go to work right after our breakfast. Ruby and I were back to our old grind, we managed to get out to the grocery and make soup for dinner tonight.
Here's to getting back to a normal schedule tonight!
Hi all! I thought I would stop in and give a quick update on all our travels! It's 10:30 here on a Friday night in Amsterdam and we are nearing the end of our trip. I'm sad that all our adventure is coming to an end, but I'm really excited to get home and start sharing it with you.
I thought I would have a little more time, but someone in our group seems to keep me from doing so.
I have some journals of our days here saved like the one I posted recently, mostly unfinished rambles, typos, and lists of our days here in Europe. I'll probably share them mostly how they are, if you don't mind. I'll save the slightly more polished stuff for later, to go with my processed DSLR photos, how does that sound? :)
I visited the Van Gogh museum today and left feeling so inspired, so I'm ready to get home and start creating again.
We have a long train ride tomorrow, so if all goes well, maybe you will see some of those journals from our days pop up over here. don't feel like you need to read them all! they're more to remember and look back on when out memories start to fade.
I miss you guys, I can't wait to get back to this blog of mine! If you don't here from me this weekend, I promise I'll stop in on Monday if anything to just say hi, we will see if we can survive the jetlag!
Our travels went incredibly smooth, way better than we could have imagined.
As we were walking around this evening Jordan and I kept talking about how it was just way too easy to get here. That they whole flying over an ocean to a new country thing went way better than some of our quick trips to a couple of states over. We just woke up and we were in a new city, a new country, we were in Paris!
Here's a recap of our journey so far:
Day 0 | Travel Day
11:30 am | driving.
We hopped in the CRV to drive to Chicago O'Hare, this was about a 4.5 hour drive. Jordan had to stop in Springfield, Illinois at Maid-Rite sandwich shop to get some of their famous chopped meat sammiches.
4:30 pm | arrive in Chicago, eat pizza with my friend kelly and head to the airport
Kelly is a good friend from our bloomington days. She graciously agreed to drop us off and save us the outrageous long term parking fees. I'm sure we can find a good souvenir!
6:00 pm | arrive at O'Hare International Airport
Security and checking in took quite a while, they were suspicious of all of Ruby's beverages. We walked around and everything moved very quickly and before we knew it we were boarding our plane.
Jordan and Ruby were disappointed to not have a little extra time in the airport to explore and find some big planes, but Ruby did get to walk the wrong way along the moving sidewalks as much as she wanted. We were all disappointed not to be in a terminal with a USO. They do such a great job of easing the stress of travel on military members and their families.
8:00 pm | board plane.
We had two seats and three people. It's safe to say we weren't looking forward to a long, cramped trip. Shortly before takeoff, an Air France crew member offered us to move to seat with a bassinet. I had looked into this, but didn't think she would be able to use this, since she hasn't used a bassinet for over a year, but she was just fit and it worked out wonderfully! She was already worn out, and didn't nap much and we gave her a little benadryl and she slept soundly the entire night. I was so jealous.
Day 1 | Arrive in Paris
October 1, 4:00 am (Central Time ) /11:00 am (Central European Summer Time) | arrival.
After washing down a better than average airline dinner (complete with mini-baguette) with a glass of red wine, cognac, and a benadryl, we woke up with only an hour or so left in our flight. The seven hour time difference was like a time warp and the few fellow travelers that opened their windows to take a peak outside were not well liked, at least in our row. They gave us a light breakfast and before we knew it we were taxiing to the terminal. Jordan was surprised to find customs was a breeze (only 5 minutes). We picked up our luggage, grabbed some euros out of an ATM, and walked to the RER metro B line to Notre Dame - St Michel stop.
Noon | luggage haul to the apartment.
Worst part of the trip by far. We were all tired. We had too much stuff and we had to climb too many stairs to climb. Then we went to the wrong apartment (Airbnb sent us to #9 instead of #8 on our street). Eventually, we got in and crashed for a few hours
6:30 pm | time to get out and explore
by this time we were all waking up from our naps. we were hungry and ready to explore. We stopped at the grocery to grab a baguette, formage, rose, olives, and macaroons. We are staying very close to the eiffel tower, so we walked and had a little picnic and let Ruby play at the playground near the foot of the tower. By the time we were sitting down and enjoy our picnic which was 8:00pm the lights on the eiffel started sparkling. We finished up our dinner and walked back home along the river Seine.
We're back now, we put away or clothes, organized a bit and are ready for our stay here in Paris.
We have a long day tomorrow, we are lucky and are here on the free museum day! So you know this art major will be dragging her family around all day to see all of the museums. It will be a long day so, we need to get some sleep! Let's hope we get accustomed to Paris time quickly.