Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Au revoir, Paris!

Yesterday (Sunday) was the official end of my month-long vacation.  Jared and I checked out of our hotel and then had a few hours before we had to catch the shuttle to the airport.  We walked along the Avenue des Champs Elysses and did some last minute souvenir shopping, grabbed a crepe, and sat at a fountain in the Jardin des Tuileries.  It was a lovely end to our vacation.  Then we made it to the airport, flew from Paris to New York, then from New York to DC.  Home, sweet home.

And so my adventure abroad has ended..... until next time!    I've always heard that international travel is addictive - and now I'm addicted!  Where next?  Thailand, Australia, Japan, Brazil, Kenya?  Time will tell.

To end this travel blog, I'd like to include a few quotes about traveling that I've stumbled upon over the last few months for you to ponder.  Au revoir!

"When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money.  Then take half the clothes and twice the money."  ~Susan Heller

"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow."  ~Lin Yutang

"Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind."  ~Seneca

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.  Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."  ~Mark Twain

Louvre and Night Bike Tour

Saturday was our final full day in Paris.  We started off the day with breakfast in the room.  Eggs, croissants, chocolate delicacies, and orange juice.  YUM!

Then we walked from the hotel to the Musee du Louvre.  The Louvre is, as everyone warned me, huge and overwhelming.  Jared and I decided to strategize our visit and just focus on the more famous pieces in the museum, rather than roaming about aimlessly.  Here are a few of the cool pieces we saw:

"Winged Victory"

"Mona Lisa"

"Venus de Milo" (Aphrodite)

Inside the Louvre

After an exhausting visit to the Louvre, we decided to split up for a while because I wanted to shop, and Jared couldn't care less about shopping.  I went to the area around the Opera, which includes "Printemps" and the "Galeries Lafayette," both of which are huge and ridiculously overpriced.  I did buy a dress and some jewelry at the Galeries Lafayette.  Mom told me to buy something nice for myself for my birthday, on her... so I did!  :)  Thanks, Mom!

Jared and I met on the steps of the Opera at 5:00 pm to have dinner.  We got distracted, though, because as we were about to leave, police started swarming the area and evacuating people away from the streets and the Opera.  We stuck around to see what was happening.  Out of nowhere, a helicopter starts flying low and lands right in the middle of the street!  It was nuts!  Turns out it was some type of medical emergency because we saw a stretcher being loaded into the chopper.

And so we didn't have enough time to grab dinner before our night bike tour.  Instead, we opted to get food from a street vendor.  BAD IDEA!  I ordered a hot dog, and Jared ordered pizza.  They were both ridiculously disgusting.  The "hot dog" was actually two sausages served on a baguette with cheese that was smushed in a George Foreman-like grill.  It was so gross I couldn't even eat a third of it.  Jared didn't even want it (which indicates just how bad it was... he always eats my leftovers!).  

After our "dinner", we headed over to the Eiffel Tower to meet our group for the night bike tour.  This tour was even better than the daytime one!  The tours visited different places.  The day tour included a few more monuments and more historical commentary, whereas the night tour involved more biking, a few monument stops, a stop for spectacular sorbet in the Latin Quarter, and a boat ride!  Here are a few pics:

Jared biking at the Louvre

Musee du Louvre at sunset

Love locks on a bridge -- couples write their names on a lock
then throw the key into the river, symbolizing they'll be together forever.
So romantic... I absolutely love it!

View of Notre Dame from the back

My bike's name was "Precious Cargo"

Boat ride

Everyone waved at us as we went by on the boat

After the night bike tour, we took the Metro home and passed out from exhaustion.  Great day!