S: Europe 2009
BC: Back to the States!
FC: Paris, France | London, England | Europe
1: Jetlag! | When we arrived at the Paris Marriott, our room wasn't ready, so we ordered three bottles of Pepsi in the hotel lobby. Our little trip started off with quite a memory when the bill arrived for 24 euros which translated to approximately 36 dollars! After settling into our room, we crashed for a little nap.
2: After we dragged ourselves out of bed, we walked down the street to see the Arc de Triomphe. We chose not to walk to the top because it was very hot inside and there was a long line. (And I had a migraine of course.) | Arc de Triomphe
3: Next we figured out how to navigate the subway to get to the Eiffel Tower. (Considering how cultured we are, we had to take a picture of our first "naked guy" sculpture!) | The Eiffel Tower
4: We stopped for dinner at a little French Cafe'. | Roaming the streets of Paris
5: We decided to soak in the ambiance and find our way back to the hotel on foot . Actually we got lost, hence the maps!
6: Cathedrale Notre-Dame | The first phase of building began in 1163 and lasted until 1240. The remaining construction went from 1245-1345. The architecture, based on French Gothic, is beautiful and along the front are carvings of the 28 Kings of Judah.
7: The gargoyles all along the exterior are functioning water spouts.
8: Inside Notre-Dame
10: This crypt was built to protect the ruins found under Parvis de Notre-Dame discovered in 1965 during excavating. | The archaeological Crypt of the Parvis de Notre-Dame
11: After leaving here we decided to go see the catacombs. After spending close to 2 hours in line and about 20 people from the entrance, we were told they were closing for the day. So much for French hospitality.
12: Larissa was excited to see that Claire's was in Paris!
13: Miranda in a gift shop, of course.
14: The Eiffel Tower | We didn't go to the top of the tower because we don't do lines that are hours long! We found a nice spot by the fountain though to wait for nightfall and the big light up.
15: Day to Night of the Eiffel Tower
16: L O U V R E
17: Outside, the Louvre was stunning, inside it was overwhelming, hot and crowded! We only saw one third of it, but felt like it was enough to sustain us!
18: Inside The Louvre | The artwork on the ceilings was spectacular.
19: Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Winged Victory (or Nike) of Samothrace were must sees.
20: On the wall opposite the Mona Lisa, this is the Louvre's largest painting.
21: We traveled from Paris to London on the bullet train. The cool part was going through the Chunnel which is the underwater tunnel connecting France and England. While aboard we were quite surprised by how good the food was. We had a fabulous dinner and the best hot chocolate we've ever tasted. | Bullet Train
22: London Calling
23: In London we stayed at the Marriott which is the old County Hall. The London Eye was outside the hotel and Big Ben across the river.
24: We cruised the Thames to the London Bridge where we exited to visit the Towers of London. | Towers of London
26: Phantom of the Opera | Later that evening, we got to see the Phantom at Her Majestys Theatre. The theater was incredible, but of course we forgot to bring our camera!
27: Houses of Parliament | The tour of the Houses of Parliament was very interesting, but unfortunately we couldn't take any pictures. While touring the House of Commons where all legislation takes place, Miranda had to touch her little butt on one of the benches because sitting on them is not allowed by commoners. | Most of Parliament was rebuilt after WWII. The Westminster Hall was one of the original parts not completely destroyed.
28: Kensington Gardens | Here we are on our adventure through Hyde Park trying to find Kensington Palace. Mark entertained us with one of his fits, when after looking at yet another map, he stomped his foot and declared, "That's it! I'm going back to the hotel!" We took over and all was well.
30: Kensington Palace | The King's Gallery
31: Kensington Palace is home to the royal ceremonial dress collection, which included débutante memorabilia through the 1950's. There was also a collection of Princess Diana's dresses.
32: The Clarence Pub | The Wulfhorst's behaving badly as usual. Mark was happy to try his first pint of British Ale in this pub that dated back to 1862.
33: The Streets of London | In the hallway outside of our room, we discovered that Mark dressed to match the carpet! We're so lucky to have him....
34: Westminster Abbey
35: The inside was amazing. We were surprised by all the elaborate tombs including the Poets Corner. You weren't supposed to take pictures but Mark sometimes has a problem with rules.
36: The Cavalry Museum | We laughed at Mark while he tried on the potentially lice infested helmet!
37: The Churchill Museum | We went back to the hotel to chill for a bit, but Mark couldn't slow down and went to the Churchill Museum by himself. After stopping at a pub for a refreshment, he came back to get us!
38: We decided to take a stroll one night on the outskirts of London to a Thai restaurant recommended by our hotel. Fortunately we didn't get lost on our adventure.
39: London History Museum | We loved the History Museum and were in awe of the number and dating of the artifacts. With over 7 million items from every continent it truly paints the history of the world with artifacts dating back to 10,000 BC.
40: The museum has the 2nd largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in the world besides Cairo.
42: Colossal red granite statue of Amenhotep III, dating from c.1370 BC | Gayer-Anderson cat from 600 BCE
43: The Nereid Monument | The Gates of Balawat from the Middle East | Aphrodite
44: Parthenon Sculptures | There was a separate hall for the Elgin Marbles which came from the Greek Parthenon dating back to 440 BC.
45: Parthenon Selene Horse
46: Mummies Everywhere
48: British Taxi
49: London Library | We saw some amazing literary treasures in the archival room of the library. Some included: * Original hand written works of Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Handel, Mozart and Leonardo Da Vinci. *Beatles songs written on paper scraps, envelopes, napkins, etc. * Codex Sinaiticus (Handwritten Bible in Greek which includes the oldest most complete copy of the New Testament.) * Gutenberg’s Bible (The first real book printed using Gutenberg's technique in the 1450's.) * Magna Carta (First limits set on royal authority.)
50: Riding through Hyde Park
51: While Miranda and Larissa were off riding in Hyde Park, Mark and I walked around and then had drinks and dessert at a little side street café.
52: We caught a double decker bus to get to the Hard Rock Cafe'.
53: Call Me
54: Buckingham Palace
55: The Royal Muse
56: The Changing of the Guard | We got a great spot to see the changing of the guard. Mark was very happy but Larissa and I were sick and tired of standing so long!
58: The London Zoo | We weren't actually looking for the Zoo but decided to go when we found it instead of the canal boats Mark was looking for. | These monkeys were running around in a cageless exhibit that you could walk through.
59: Our favorite part of the Zoo was watching how cute and animated the Meerkats were.
60: We ended up finding a canal boat at the zoo and took it to Little Venice in downtown London.
61: The entrance to our hotel was stunning. | We spotted Scooby's ride at a back entrance of County Hall while eating on the terrace of a little Italian restaurant.
62: The London Eye | It was amazing to be able to photograph many of the sites we visited through the week from such a high vantage point. Mark had one of his typical moments when he was sure that a baby in her parent's back carrier had stolen our London Tour book from his backpack! He couldn't stand it any longer and had to jokingly ask the parents if it was their book. (Ours was at the hotel!)
64: Warwick Castle | The castle was built by William the Conqueror in 1068 and was used as a fortification until the early 17th century, when Sir Fulke Greville converted it to a country house. The Greville family, who became earls of Warwick in 1759, owned it until 1978. The Tussauds Group purchased Warwick Castle in 1978 and opened it as a tourist attraction.
65: Mark taking pictures of the girls as they climbed up the castle torrent. When they got to the top he thought it was too high and had to sit-down so he couldn't see over the edge.
66: Inside the castle we were able to take a tour of the rooms. There were wax figurines depicting the lifestyle of the Greville family.
69: Waiting for our Train back to Westminster
70: Heading Home | Breakfast in the Crown room at the airport. | We were grateful that our Skymiles enabled us to fly First Class on the 8 hour flight. We were treated well with non-stop food including warm nuts and warm cookies. The bags of peanuts from Coach were not missed!