Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Trip Calendar

I took a "vacation purse" with me on our trip. My regular purse wasn't roomy enough or secure enough to brave the pickpockets around the tourist traps, thus the need for a special one for the trip. (And we have the pickpockets here around our tourist traps, too, mind you, but I don't go to those places very often.) Anyway, I just cleaned it out and put my regular purse back together...sigh. One thing I pulled out was the calendar I took with me where I noted what we did each day. Here are my entries, with a little bit of elaboration:

Monday, May 4: Leave for London; wind up spending the night in Newark, NJ ~:-P

Tuesday, May 5: Spend the day flying; arrive LATE at night at London Heathrow; take a taxi (a really cool British taxi, mind you) to Pax Lodge with stop at The Sea Shell for fish and chips along the way; wound up with two dinners since the lovely girls at Pax Lodge set aside plates for both of us; (the fish and chips were really heavy since we don't normally eat fried food so we ate about half of each meal)

Wednesday, May 6: Participated in a WAGGGS flag ceremony after breakfast at Pax Lodge; Double Decker Bus hop on/hop off tour, stopping to see the Changing of the Guard; hang out at Trafalgar Square where we watched the Barcelona fans party and the street artists draw on the sidewalks; eat at the National Gallery and go through the museum; finish the bus tour (fell asleep due to jet lag; didn't mean to insult the tour guide!); picked up ham and cheese croissants for dinner from The Euphorium Bakery (We ate a few more times at the bakery, ahem.)

Thursday, May 7: The Eye, tea and shopping at Harrod's, La Cage Au Folles; picked up Chinese take out at the Wing Wah House for dinner

Friday, May 8: Tried to go to St. Paul's before lunch but it was closed to the public due to military services WHICH INVOLVED PRINCE CHARLES AND CAMILA, saw a parade when the military services let out; lunch at The Swan (not my fave); saw first part of Romeo & Juliet at The Globe; had to leave R&J to get to St. Paul's before closing, where we went ALL THE WAY to the top; shopping at the soccer store Lily White's

Saturday, May 9: walked to the post office in Hampstead and fell even more in love with the area; found a farmer's market and bought strawberries fresh from Kent; went to Westminster Abbey where we had a 3 hour wait due to a flower show; while in line we ate the strawberries which were the best I've EVER eaten; went to Camden Market where we ate Indian food for lunch and The Eldest bought stuff and she fell even more in love with the area; left for Paris on the Eurostar; checked into Le Meridien Montparnasse. (Thank you to my friend Lorena who works for the hotel parent company for getting us really good rates!!!)

Sunday, May 10: Took a bike tour of Paris and went up in the Eiffel Tower

Monday, May 11: We went to the Louvre but Abi got sick and we left early; called it a day and holed up in the hotel room where we ordered an extravagant room service dinner

Tuesday, May 12: went to the D'Orsey museum which we both LOVED; went to Notre Dame and went ALL THE WAY to the top; went to Shakespeare and Company book store where The Eldest fell in love all over again; ate at a cafe across the street from Notre Dame; went on a boat tour of the Seine

Wednesday, May 13: Marathon Day!! Went to The Orangerie where I was blown away by Monet's Water Lilies; had a FANTASTIC lunch at the Cafe Musee outside the Rodin Museum; toured the Rodin; went to see Napoleon's tomb at the Dome Church; managed to squeeze in a short nap at the hotel before heading BACK to the Louvre; ate really good paella at the food court in the shopping area next to the museum

Thursday, May 14: Versailles Bike Tour; took the bikes on the train to Versailles where we shopped at the market, then biked to the grounds for a short tour followed by a picnic lunch at the end of the Grand Canal; toured the palace which smelled of cat pee and had lots of gilding and portraits of dead French royalty; ate dinner at Bistrot du 7, which was recommended by the bike tour staff

Friday, May 15: walking tour of Montmartre, ending at Sacre Coeur; went ALL THE WAY up into Sacre Coeur; hung out on the steps where a musician was performing and The Eldest sang during open mic; walked around the tourist area near S.C.

Saturday, May 16: Giverny bike tour, which was similar in set up to Versailles. Rode the train to Vernon, a town near Giverny and picked up the bikes there; went to the market; picnicked on the banks of the Seine; rode to Giverny and toured Monet's gardens and house

Sunday, May 17: went to the Grand Palais to see the Warhol exhibit and a second exhibit about duality in art; (we liked the duality exhibit better than Warhol, especially the Arcimboldo paintings on loan from the Louvre) but it was so darned crowded!); Arc de Triomphe where we went, yep, ALL THE WAY to the top- help, the stairs!!; walked along the Champs Elysses; dinner at a cafe on the Rue Cler

Monday, May 18: HUNTED down La Maison du Chocolat; Pompidou Center; leave Paris on the 8:30 train

Tuesday, May 19: check into Hotel Gotico, eat, nap, freshen up and head out for the Barcelona bike tour

Wednesday, May 20: Walk up part of Las Ramblas to La Boqueria to buy a picnic lunch; took the bus to Gaudi's Parc Guell where we ate our lunch on the bench overlooking the dragon fountain

Thursday, May 21: To Figueres where we toured Fort Castell Sant Ferran, (very cool), the Salvador Dali Teatro-Museo, and The Toy Museum of Catalonia where we bought caganer figures; walked around Figueres before catching the train back to Barcelona

Friday, May 22: shopping; Picasso museum; took a hop on/hop off bus tour where we hopped off to eat lunch and then again to tour Gaudi's Casa Mila; finished the tour; had a snack at Cafe Zurich then walked the entire length of Las Ramblas ending at the Columbus Monument to view the revisionist history; stopped at the internet cafe; did a little shopping across the street from our hotel; saw a classical guitar performance in an amazing old church; ate at a tapas bar we discovered a few days prior

Saturday, May 23: Long taxi ride through Barcelona to the airport, where we finally headed home

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