Thursday, March 8, 2012

Europe 2012 Week 2

After we walked around Amsterdam a little more, we headed back to where the train station was, where the Briggs had dropped us off and where we had stashed our luggage for a bit.

Paris, France
That last photo in the last post was of Dave at the train station in Amsterdam.
We hopped on the 4:16 P.M. train to the Paris Nord station that was going to take us to Paris, France, not Paris, Texas. Though I think I should check out Paris, Texas.
Once we got off the train and headed out of the railroad station, I knew instantly we were in Paris. There was a guy laying right in the middle of the sidewalk smoking a cigarette and it smelt like some one had confused the gutter for a good place to go the bathroom instead of finding an actual bathroom to use. 
We found a hotel to spend the night in, and went to have dinner around 9:30, I of course got a crepe for dinner. The next morning we headed out early, dropping our luggage once again at the lockers in the railroad station.

Arc de Triomphe
This famous landmark is in a lot movies!
It honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. It was cool to see it up close and in person.





Eiffel Tower
From the Arc de Triomphe we walked to the Eiffel tower. 
The tower is the tallest building in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; millions of people ascend it every year. Named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, the tower was built as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair.
On the way, we found a very awesome street market, oh how I wished I had had a kitchen to use in Paris. I would have bought some fresh food and cooked up something delicious!
But alas, I didn't have a kitchen, probably a good thing, it was a little pricey.
When we finally got to the Eiffel Tower we found out the top was closed, we decided it was okay to not go up it if we weren't going to be able to go to the very top. We did have the best crepe I have ever had from a vendor across the street from the Eiffel Tower. Crepe, Nutella, homemade whipped cream, bananas and strawberries. Makes my mouth drool just thinking about it.














Notre Dame
I really wanted to watch the "Hunchback of Notre Dame" after seeing this, I think I still might need to.
Notre Dame de Paris is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in France and in Europe. 
Dave borrowed his sister's telephoto lens, and used it go get a close up on the gargoyles. It is amazing to see what people could make back then!






Musée du Louvre
The Musée du Louvre contains more than 380,000 objects and displays 35,000 works of art in eight curatorial departments with more than 60,600 square metres (652,000 sq ft) dedicated to the permanent collection. The Louvre exhibits sculptures, objects of art, paintings, drawings, and archaeological finds. It is the world's most visited museum, averaging 15,000 visitors per day, 65 percent of whom are foreign tourists.
We could have spent a couple weeks just here to see everything inside of this huge place!
We only spent about 4 hours and didn't even get to see all of one wing. 
While we there, we saw "Mona Lisa", she didn't say "Hi". She spends her days sitting behind a glass case. I noticed she is the only painting that gets to sit behind glass. Ain't she lucky?
We also visited the statue "Venus" she didn't bother to wave at us while we took her picture. 
I wish I could have taken my friends Lindsey and Meg who are into art to this place, just to listen to their comments and hear them say they recognized some of the artist's work. Seriously worth your time, just make sure you have lots of time to spare to see a little bit of everything 










"Winged Victory"


"Mona Lisa"

I will give cookies to whoever can name what movie this head is in. I can't remember what the name of this thing is called...


"Venus"



From The Louvre we walked around, stopped at a bakery for a baguette and a chocolate eclair. We took the subway back to the train station and found a place for dinner before we were to get on our train to London, England. Dave got a steak and I got steamed mussels. It's official, I love mussels. Our french fries were probably the best fries we had on the whole trip. We also had a boiled egg with mayonnaise for our appetizer and an apple tart for dessert.






After our wonderful dinner,we headed back to the train station to hop on our train headed to London, England.
We got in very late, around midnight, we tried to sleep in a little bit but I was anxious to get on the road.
We had to pay a taxi to take us to the other Holiday Inn where our car was. There are 2 Holiday Inns on Bath Road. 
Our rental car was a Fiat Panda. It was a true gutless wonder, they don't name cars "Panda" for their speed.


Windsor Castle
We stopped at this castle on the way out of London. Sadly we didn't go in, tours are a little pricey, so we decided if there was time on our way back we would take the tour. 
Do you think there was time when we got back? Not even the slightest. It was a beautiful castle, from the outside. The park in front of the castle was lovely. I believe this is the main place the Queen calls home. Not 100% sure on that, but I think I read that somewhere. 








Stonehenge
We stopped at Stonehenge on our way to Stoke-On-Trent.
I find it odd, that no one is for sure why those rocks are there. 
Stonehenge was produced by a culture that left no written records. Many aspects of Stonehenge remain subject to debate. This multiplicity of theories, some of them very colourful, are often called the "mystery of Stonehenge".
Once again we did not pay the pricey fee just to walk around the Stonehenge. We stayed on the other side of the fence to get pictures. Dave let me get up on his shoulders so we could get some decent pictures without the fence in it.
I wish someone could have taken a picture of us like that.
The English country side is so beautiful!! I loved it. After Stonehenge we stopped at The Barleycorn Inn, which was also a pub and we had lunch/dinner. 
I got the roast beef dinner, and blue cheese rarebit. Dave got fish and chips. I would definitely go back there for that meal again in a heart beat. 












Glasgow, Scotland
From Stoke-on-Trent we drove to Glasgow, Scotland. Scotland is where my Dad's Dad is from. It was awesome to see that part of the world he grew up in. I loved it, it such a beautiful place. I thought a lot about my Grandpa while we were in Scotland, wondering what it was like when he was here, why he left, where he grew up, and if he liked it. We didn't spend too much time in Glasgow, we saw a couple things, had dinner at and an Italian place (I know, I know, but it was good!) and then drove on to Edinburgh. Kelly Briggs, the sheep pictures are for you. 






Edinburgh, Scotland
We spent the night in Edinburgh. We drove around to find a hotel to stay in, I would say the one we found was pretty cool. Our carpet was plaid, you are a true Scot if your carpet is plaid. Oh I forgot, I also found a scarf with my family's Tartan in Glasgow. I was afraid they didn't have it at the store, cause I couldn't find it in the ties. The next day we saw Edinburgh Castle, it was a very cool castle! Mary the Queen of Scots lived there and King James the 6th was born there. It is also were the Scottish Crown jewels are kept. They have a lot of stuff dedicated to their military inside the castle. We also got to enjoy some delicious meat pastry pies before we left.



The haggis one wasn't too bad, at least I didn't mind it.



My family crest. It says Constant and Faithful, I would have bought it but they wanted $15 for it!

Edinburgh Castle








This was in Mary of Scot's chambers.










Stirling, Scotland
With the tickets we bought to see Edinburgh Castle we had passes to go see a few other things. One of those was to see Stirling Castle. It was worth the drive even if it was sort of out of the way. It's one of the largest and most important castles, both historically and architecturally, in Scotland.










This is where they would have kept their pet lion. No joke.

From Stirling we drove all the way to Little Hallenbury, it was a 7 hour drive. We stayed at the George Green Farms Bed and Breakfast. It was the cutest bed and breakfast I have ever seen. If it were closer to London we would have stayed there for the remainder of our stay. On the way to the B and B we saw a sheep farmer training their sheep dog, it was so cool just to sit and watch how the dog worked the sheep.





Big Ben and Westminster Abbey
After spending almost 2 hours to get to our next hotel in London, it's not because the B and B is that far away from London. It was because London traffic is extremely crowded! And stay away from the congestion zone of London or you will have to pay a fee for driving in it. We finally got to our hotel, which looked nice from the outside, looks can be deceiving. From there we took the rental car back, then hopped on a bus to take us to the tube station. We rode it all the way to Big Ben, generally referred to as the clock tower as well. Big Ben holds the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world and is the third-tallest free-standing clock tower. It is located by Westminster Abbey, which is where Prince William and Princess Kate got married.







Westminster Abbey




The next day, March 1st, was our anniversary. Hooray to us! This was also our last day of touring. The next morning we were flying home. 
We woke up bright and early to get on the double decker bus tour. 
Some of the pictures aren't too great since I took them while the bus was moving. We saw lots of cool sites, I will try to label them if I remember them. We also got off for a little bit to check out the Sherlock Holmes shop. Which was conveniently located next to London's Beatles Store. I really wanted to go see Abbey Road but there just wasn't time. We also got off to tour the Tower of London.


Harrod's








This is the most expensive hotel in London.

Her Majesty's Theater, I really wanted to come back and see Phantom of the Opera but Dave wasn't too excited about that.

Well what do you know, Texas is even famous in London!






St. Paul's Cathedral, this is where Prince Charles and Princess Diana got married.

Tower Bridge


Tower of London
According to Wikipedia:
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was used as a prison since at least 1100, although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard the Lionheart, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.
We also saw the Crown Jewels while we were here. They had armor on display in the White Tower, which was neat to see.











After the Tower of London we got some fish and chips and waited for a boat to take us down the river. We got off at one of piers and booked it to Buckingham Palace, I really wanted to see the Royal Mews. We BARELY missed the last tour! What kind of tourist attraction closes down at 3:15?! It says it closes at 4, but the last tour they accept is at 3:15. Lame. The Royal Mews is where the royal carriages and royal horses are kept. We should have gone there first and then to the Tower of London. 




Buckingham Palace




This is all I got to see of the Royal Mews, besides going into the gift shop.

After Buckingham Palace, we got back on the bus tour to take us back to the Tower of London so we could go on a walking tour about Jack the Ripper around the area called Whitechapel. 
Not only was the tour about Jack the Ripper, our tour guide knew a lot of interesting things about London. Around the time of Jack the Ripper, not only could you not see because of the fog, you couldn't see mainly because of the pollution of burning coal. It was very informative to say the least. 
While on the tour Dave and I past some places to eat. After the tour we headed back to a Thai place I had seen called Mud Mee. That was the best chicken curry and pad Thai I have ever eaten!! What a way to end our anniversary and a wonderful trip!

Me reading the newspaper, while we waited a bit for the Jack the Ripper
tour.




The next day we woke up around 5 A.M., which is 11 P.M. Texas time, got on our flight around 9. We didn't take off till about 10:30, the flight was around 11 hours. We hurried off to go through customs, we found out the flight we were trying to get on was delayed so that meant we had time to get there but we needed to hurry! 
It took us about an hour to go through customs and re-screening so we could get to our gate. I have gotten very use to running through airports. Luckily, the flight still hadn't left yet. We really lucked out on that trip, the next flight to Lubbock was full so we probably would have had to sleep at the Houston airport had that one not been delayed. 
We got home and finally hit the hay around 8:30. We had been awake for 22 1/2 hours, sleeping on the plane doesn't count cause you never really get good sleep. 

We had a wonderful time!!! 
Dave didn't want to come home, he has decided he wants to live in Europe. 
Me, not so much. I loved visiting but I like the states too. 

We still have yet to bring Cosmo home, Dave tried to get out last night, but with it being spring break and 1 canceled and 1 delayed flight he wasn't going any where. I miss the little furball, hopefully this weekend proves to be more successful in bringing him back home. 

4 comments:

Mindy Dahl said...

Your trip looks amazing Hollie! I will admit I only read select parts and mainly looked at the pictures but it all looks so cool. I am glad you and Dave could have such a neat anniversary trip. And while all the food looks amazing I have to admit that last picture of Thai food really had me drooling the most;)

Kurt and Kristy said...

Wow! What great pictures!! Looks like so much fun! And the kids saw the statue and said "that's fromNight at the museum!!" What a fun and great adventure for you guys! And those crepes look SO yummy!!

Brandon and Krystyn said...

It looks like you guys had soo muchh fun!! I am so glad you guys were able to do all of that in only 2 weeks!! SOOO FUN!!!

Kelly said...

Love the photos of the sheep! Looks like you had a great time. Glad you guys survived such a long trip.