Saturday, October 20, 2012

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Snoopy Come Home, But After You Finish Your Trip

So I haven't blogged in a month, but the things we saw and did 2 months ago haven't changed, so you are getting the same thing you would have before, just late. But now I have had time to embellish the trip in my mind, meaning the post will be that much more spectacular.

So when we left off, we had just finished visiting the Eiffel Tower at night and were heading for a slumber. The following morning we woke up a little late, due to our lack off sleep the night before. We decided to tour the Louvre and brush up on our classical art. The Louvre is enormous, ornate, and a bit overwhelming. Instead of giving you our thoughts, I will post some of the art work we really liked, and allow you to interpret, or gag at, as you like.

The above paintings we like, but a trip to the Louvre, and the subsequent post about it, wouldn't be complete without the MONA LISA. Which is not that impressive to me, but very famous, and all humans have a weakness for the popular.

The part of the Louvre we both really liked was Napoleon's Apartment. It was a showy display of arrogance, especially when you consider the conditions his subjects lived in, but no point in wasting all that beauty. I hope the pictures below can do justice to what we saw.

The museum was tiring, so we went back to our room and took a nap, and some pictures. The room was rather small with hideous wall paper, but really close to where we wanted to be.

After a quick rest, we set out for another nice walk. We strolled down the Champs-Elysees, which is a beautiful area. The shopping caused Allison's eyes to grow wider and wider, and potentially my wallet to grow smaller and smaller. She ultimately decided window shopping was enough, and that we don't have a house to take out a second mortgage on anyways. Following this route, you run right into the Arc de Triomphe, which I was excited to see for the history behind it. It was nice, but looked better from afar. Our next destination was Mont Marte. It is a huge white cathedral overlooking all of Paris. It was a long walk, I felt like we had been hiking in the mountains when we arrived, but it was worth it. We then walked back to the hotel, had a nice dinner and lamented leaving such a beautiful city. Below are pictures of the Arc and Mont Marte.

The following morning we caught the train from Paris to Brussels. It was an easy trip as they are both in the European Union, making security nil and the currency the same.
The weather in Brussels was rainy, and it felt like Eastern Europe. We were there for a total of 7 hours, and that was all we needed. We were happy to go, the architecture was brilliant, and it was nice to hit Belgium. We spent the day shopping around the Grand Palace, window shopping all the chocolates, and hopping from cafe to cafe trying to stay warm and dry. Below are a few pictures from there, including a statue called Mannekin Pis (I know how to spell mannequin, but this is how they spelled it), which is very famous, but not that cool to see.

That night, we arrived in London and hung out with our host. The following day we slept in, had a disgusting English breakfast, visited Hyde Park, Harrod's and revisited what we had seen before. The English breakfast consisted of fatty ham topped with baked beans, french fries, runny eggs, and nasty sausage. It was fun to try, and did remove our hunger, but more from nausea than nutrition.

Our last day in England was spent at Brighton. A short train ride took us to this nice city on the English Channel. James was able to go with us, which was really nice as we hadn't hung out with him since our first day. We walked the beach and enjoyed the weather, it was a nice relaxing day capping off a very hectic week. Below are a few pictures highlighting the day.

After a quiet train ride back to London, we readied ourselves for the long travel day that lay ahead. The following morning we left London. We departed grateful to our wonderful host, full of wonderful memories to last a lifetime, and with a bug that left us yearning for more. Traveling is more than just an escape from every day life, its a yearlong course in culture accomplished in a week. It is a chance to think about your way of life, and things you are happy to have in your home. It is a way to gain a knowledge of people, a knowledge only gained when you leave your preconceived notions at the door, and realize the myriad of ways people choose to lead their existence. Life is an adventure, and must be treated as such, you cannot wait for experiences to find you, you must aggressively tackle the dreams in the back of your head. Alli and I will always fondly think upon this week, while at the same time forging ahead into what lies before us. What other wonders we can see, what other cultures we can learn from, while always remembering our culture, and the wonders in our backyard.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

It was a Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown! Part One

-It is not often that when you go somewhere for vacation, you end up more tired and needing another vacation when you return. That either means you had a great time, or it was an awfully chaotic trip. Ours was a great trip. The flight to London was very smooth, arriving exactly on time. The trip through customs was quick, and James was waiting to meet us. After quickly dropping off our luggage at James' rather small flat, we ventured out to see London.

This is the Tower of London, a mammoth castle in the heart of London where many royals held their court.

Here is a view of Tower Bridge from the Tower of London.

We spent the entire first day wandering around London with James as our tour guide. We saw many sights, including Big Ben, The London Eye, Parliament, St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and (of course) Buckingham Palace, which was the least impressive famous building we saw all week. At night, we went to Leicester (pronounced Lester) Square and Picadilly Circus. This is the uptown of London. Here we ate Chinese, which was tasty, and not English food, which is very bland. Earlier in the day we had eaten fish and chips, which we loved while on our honeymoon, but loathed in this culinary hell.

The next morning, with James sick in bed, Alli and I set out to tour the Tower of London. This was the most interesting part of our trip. We were able to see where kings slept, beheadings occurred, and all sorts of English history happened. Best of all we were able to learn about Medieval weaponry, where Alli and I were able to help launch a catapult loaded with water balloons, see below.

During this tour, we were able to see many of the crown jewels, which is ok to look, but makes you angry if you envision poor people paying taxes so royalty, born of the right parents, can have extremely expensive "helmets" to wear very sparingly, but never for an actual purpose. Upon leaving the tower, Alli and I wandered around the city looking for a certain building, the Gerkin. It looks like a big pickle, and Alli did not see the cultural worth in viewing this building up close.

After dinner, we headed back to our lodgings early so we could ready our selves for Paris and Brussels.

Monday night I did not sleep at all, for fear of missing our train, and chance, to go to Paris. We rode the Eurostar, through the Chunnel, and under the English Channel, to get to Paris. It took a little less than 2 hours, so the excitement was able to build the entire time. After leaving the Gard du Nord (North Gate train station), we decided we could use our senses in a huge, strange city, to find the Seinne, and eventually our hotel. After two hours, we decided to look at our map, and realized we were walking parallel to the river, but at that moment, luckily for Alli, we ran into a huge shopping center. But luckily for Nate, this shopping center had an overlook of the entire city of Paris. Here we gather our bearings, and our first view of the Eiffel tower!

We then found a way to the Louvre, which was closed, as it was a Tuesday, then went to check in. After finding out they did not have our room ready, we decided to head over to the Notre Dame. This was an amazing building, especially when considering it is around 900 years old. We toured the inside and then went up to the top, where we were able to see the famous bell from the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The inside was extremely ornate, but I will not post the pictures on here, as it is necessary to see the pictures on a TV for accurate depth and color. But here are a few pictures of the outside.

It was very cold and windy outside, so after the Notre Dame, we went to check in to our hotel. The hotel was small, but in a very nice location. The elevator was so tiny, Alli and I barely fit side by side. In need of some sleep, we decided a nice nap would make the night a little more memorable.

Refreshed, we left the hotel and headed off to see the Eiffel Tower. We took a lovely walk along the Seinne, which after an hour brought us to the tower. Upon learning we could go up at night, we had a nice dinner right by the tower. French food, much better than English food, it has flavor and ingredients you don't mind eating. In fact, our favorite food was getting baguette sandwiches from vendors around the city. After dinner, we waited in line for an hour to go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and it was easily worth it. Just look at the pictures below.

After the tour, we walked home along the other side of the river, it was a lovely day in a beautiful city full of light.

Note: Part two of our trip to be blogged later, this takes way too much time.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Hi All,
Alli and I are tired, so back at James' we thought we might update once again. For Lara's sake I will not speak British. This morning we had a English Breakfast...ICK. Beans and french fries, and mushrooms, all nasties. We then set out with James to do a little shopping for his school. Next, James had to go to class, and we set off for Hyde Park. It is a beautiful, enormous park, right by Buckingham Palace. After freezing for a while, we went to the most ridiculous store I have ever seen! HARROD'S. It is a luxurious department store in the rich part of town. They had an antique pool table selling for 1 million pounds. A butcher shop with a 176 pound (cost) cut of meat, a 100,000 pound TV, etc. Way expensive. We then did more walking, which I think we have walked 100 miles since coming to Europe. Having a nice time, tomorrow we get to see Bath and Stonehenge.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Safely in London

We had a nice time, safely here, call on Sunday.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Hey All, just an update. Alli and I are here in London at James' house. It is beautiful, and even more interesting. The flight went smoothly and James was waiting right after customs. We went back to his place, dropped off our stuff, and saw the sights. I will blog in more detail of what we saw when we return. Today Alli and I took a wonderful tour of the Tower of London, and wandered around the city, souvenir shopping (for Alli), along the way. Tomorrow we head for Paris for 2 days and nights, then hop on a train to Brussels for one day. Then London for another day, travel the countryside Saturday, and fly home Sunday, will call those relevant when we return.

Happy Travels,
Nate and Alli

Monday, February 9, 2009

Dedication Takes All Forms

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally!

Alli, the ever dedicated teacher, became an instant hit with all the school when she sported this garb to teach the math principle order of operations. Please excuse my dear aunt sally is the phrase used to for remembering the order, and Alli really hammered that home. Don't worry she cleans up nice, she has to try hard to look this old.