Tag Archives: Spring Break

Visit: Paris

1 Apr

The City of Light had a lot to live up to in order to meet my expectations, but any place where I was encouraged to start my day with a chocolate croissant and my favorite coffee is an instant winner in my book. We had perfect weather during our 3+ days in the city, and enjoyed walking through the neighborhoods and people watching everywhere we went. Some of the sites were very crowded, and we seemed to move from place to place with a horde of Asian tourists, but the locals were friendlier than expected, and my French was far worse. Overall, seeing Paris was a highlight of my trip, and surely a place we will return.

Stay: We stayed at Le Meridian Etoile, which is located in the 17th arrondissement. We were just a few blocks from the Arc de Triomphe, and walked home every night on the Champs Elysees. The metro stop was on our block, and we were able to get from place to place very easily. I loved the 17th, which seems very much the traditional Parisian neighborhood. There was a patisserie and grocery down the street, and cute little restaurants without lots of tourists.

Eat: Lots of bread, cheese and wine. Our french was shaky enough to keep us out of most of the fine dining restaurants, but that provides an excellent opportunity for some language tutoring and a return trip. A life where eating pastries for breakfast every day is the norm is certainly one I was meant to lead. Coupled with quiche, baguettes and wonderful coffee breaks – I loved eating in Paris, even without trying many of the traditional foods or high-end restaurants.

Shop: Every store imaginable can be found in Paris, most too expensive for me to even set foot in. My darling husband did buy me a new bag while in the city, as a souvenir, but only after I convinced him that the prices were better in Euros. I may have also mentioned that I’m looking forward to returning when I’m fabulously wealthy in order to have the consummate Parisian shopping experience. He didn’t seem amused.

See: The Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Elysees, Parisian architecture, stylish people, Versailles, cute cafes, the Louvre, the Eiffel Towner, Notre Dame Cathedral, charming side streets, the Seine.

Visit: Amsterdam

30 Mar

Steve’s study abroad roommate is an Amsterdam resident, and a former tour guide to boot, so as soon as US Air allowed us to deplane, miss our train and navigate the Belgian mass transit systems, we headed from Brussels to the Netherlands.

Stay: We stayed with our wonderful friend in his teeny, tiny studio apartment. After two days, I longed for the suburbs. Amsterdam is currently in a building frenzy as they try to increase the number of hotel rooms in the city, so rooms are a bit scarce most weekends, but we were told to avoid the Hard Rock. I think that’s universally applicable.

Eat: Our host quickly explained that the Dutch have absolutely no unique cultural foods, as they are like Americans and just steal everyone else’s ideas. However, we found this to be a bit untrue. Appetizers consisting of fried molten cheese and fried sausage, and snacks that were just like small pancakes covered in powdered sugar and butter. Exactly the same actually.

I will mention that day 2 started my love affair with European coffee, which is nothing different from ours other than it is made with really expensive machines that make the coffee frothy and smooth. None of this drip brewing bullshit for me anymore. I’m a little unsure what these machines are and how they work, but I’m very interested in finding out so that I can force Steve to buy one.

See: Bicycles, people nearly getting hit by bicycles, canals, night canal tour by boat, Red Light district, Maarken Harbor, the North Sea, Haarlem, Dam Square, cool old bars, and more bicycles.

How Very European

28 Mar

Our quick trip across the pond has come and gone, although US Air did everything in their power to keep us from coming or going. Three destinations in eight days meant we packed a lot into our vacation, but we loved every minute. It was an amazing first Europe trip for me, and Steve got to relive his study abroad and backpacking memories. Everything was perfect, at least until I was served cheese cubes and summer sausage for lunch on day 7. Recaps to come.

On the Continent

9 Mar

Steve likes to pretend he’s still in college. Like the one time he hosted an “Amateur Day” party and made us all do jello shots and play drinking games in his garage. He also wanted to bring back spring break. Unfortunately for me, he went for classy rather than authentic – so we’re not going to Panama City or Daytona. A bit of an upgrade really, to western Europe.

So, I’m hitting Amsterdam, Paris and Brussels over eight busy days. I’ve done my shopping, chosen my wardrobe inspiration pics (sure to be uninspired once I unpack) and converted dollars to euros. I’d love to hear any of your recommendations for those cities, or just for European travel in general. We have some definite plans, like hotels, train tickets and sight-seeing to-do’s – but suggestions are welcome, as I will otherwise spend quite a bit of time being dragged for eight-hour walks through each city by Steve. Which would be awesome, of course, except that he never sits down or eats or rests. Just walks. Help?

Merci.

Visit: Charleston

18 Apr

Our last stop on the girl’s spring break tour de force was Charleston. My sister recently moved to the city with her boyfriend, so we had the perfect tour guides. We broke out our best chinos and boat shoes for the occasion – oh hell, I don’t own either, but whatever.

Stay: We stayed with Leah and Adam. They are not yet offering their B&B services to the public. Stay tuned. Our hosts were extremely generous, and I’m already hoping for a return visit.

See: Leah was a fabulous host and pseudo tour-guide, and spent the day taking us around to see all things Charleston. First, we hit up King Street for some lunch and shopping. Again, if there is a J.Crew store in the vicinity, I have to stop. It’s my version of crack. Possibly just as expensive in all reality.

After shopping, we walked around the Battery, and took just as many pictures of beautiful houses as we did spanish moss-covered trees the day prior. The whole area is like a HGTV dream come true. Gorgeous historic homes, renovated and perfectly maintained. Of course, when you live in a small ranch in suburban Bloomington, Indiana – I basically felt right at home. Totally similar from a design standpoint.

Eat: Dinner at Chai was my favorite meal of the entire trip. As a small plates and tapas restaurant, we decided to share a couple of bottles of wine and everything else we ordered. HIGHLY recommend the ceviche – the chef changes it up weekly, but it was pretty damn awesome the night we were there.

So – where to next year? I’m thinking a fall break girl’s trip may be in order as well, just to stay sharp. I’ll bring the wine.

Visit: Savannah

7 Apr

After a few days of relaxation and beach reads we decided to spice things up a bit with a day trip to Savannah. SAV is about an hour by car from Hilton Head, which was enough for our lazy asses to postpone the trip three consecutive days. Everyone had previously been to Savannah, and my younger sister is a former Savannah resident, so we decided to skip all the cool stuff and focus on taking pictures of trees and taking advantage of the lack of open container laws.

Stay: We didn’t stay overnight. We did for a minute consider staying on River Street, however unsavory that might have ended up.

See: River Street, historic parks and City Market.

River Street. Tourist trap. One in the same. Plenty of bars, plenty of beer, plenty of sweet little candy and souvenir shops.

All the famous little parks and squares that made Savannah so famous. Strolling through the parks was the fruition of our spanish moss and live oak tree obsession. We spent the afternoon sitting on little benches, telling stories and enjoying the sunshine.

City Market. A sweet little section of the city where we amused ourselves with some live music and a couple more drinks. Another perfect spot to waste away an afternoon – and so we did.

Eat: The Charter House. Amazing lobster bisque, outdoor balcony seating, scenic river views. Great place to end a wonderful lazy afternoon in Savannah.

Our day trip served as the perfect end to our stay in Hilton Head, so after one last night, and one more bottle of Cab, we headed north for one last southern city.

Adult Spring Break

5 Apr

Last week, I skipped town. You totally noticed right? I took a girl’s trip, or more accurately an “adult spring break.”

We went south and met up with friends from many different locations as we explored Hilton Head, Savannah and Charleston. We also consumed quite a bit of wine. Maybe a few Bloody Mary’s. And got a bit of a tan, old school style.

Details and pictures will follow, but it’s safe to say that a great time was had by all. Except for our front passenger tire, which gave up on the trip rather early. Party pooper.

I’m pretty damn lucky to have had such good times with such good friends.