Thursday, August 9, 2012

Grandma's 90th Birthday

My grandmother is turning 90 years old next month. To celebrate, my dad and his brother organized a surprise family get-together in Greenfield, Ind., where some of my relatives live.

My grandmother is such an inspiration, and I hope to be as healthy, happy and active as she is at an old age! My dad and uncle broke the news to her last Thursday night that nearly 50 of her relatives (grandkids, nieces, nephews, great-grandkids, etc.) would be coming in town to celebrate her birthday Saturday afternoon.  Needless to say, my grandmother was quite surprised and overjoyed that everyone came together in her honor.

My cousin, Tracy, and her husband were kind enough to host all of us.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Our Honeymoon

The last wedding-related post: our honeymoon adventures. This post comes about two months late, but I wanted to make sure I captured our trip to France on the blog!

When planning our honeymoon, Brian and I knew we wanted an adventure. Since his first trip to Europe after college graduation, Brian has wanted to go back. And knowing we probably wouldn't have another opportunity to travel abroad again any time soon, we decided to go to Europe -- well, France. Paris and Nice to be exact.

We left on Sunday, May 20 -- the day after our wedding -- and returned on June 1. Our first few days were spent in Paris.

We stayed at Hotel Elysees Mermoz, near the Champs Elysees in Paris. After leaving Memphis at about 2:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon, we landed in Paris at 10:30 a.m. Monday morning. The time change and travel left us a little tired, but we spent the afternoon walking around Paris and dining at a nearby cafe. Because we were tired, we decided ordering take-out pizza from a place next door for dinner sounded like a good idea. We sound like such Americans -- but pizza, red wine and Champagne in bed in Paris is pretty cool.

I accidentally took a bite of the crust before snapping this photo. And those brown things are mushrooms.

We woke up before 5 a.m. the next morning, decided to try to go to back to sleep for a little bit...and accidentally slept until 2 p.m.! Panicked, we quickly got ready and headed to breakfast lunch at Cafe Renard, a cool cafe in Jardin des Tuileries. We spent the rest of the day sight seeing and then ate dinner at Villa Spicy, one of our favorites. After dinner, as the sun was setting, we hurried to the Arc de Triomphe. We bought tickets to the top and made it up all the stairs just in time to see the Eiffel Tower light show. Pretty cool.

 Day Two, we ate breakfast on our balcony and took the Metro to the Montmatre area of Paris to see Moulin Rouge and Sacre Coeur.

More sights seen on days two and three...

On Thursday of the trip, we headed to Nice via train. The ride took about six hours, but we enjoyed all the scenery along the way.

In Nice, we stayed at Hotel West End on the Promenade des Anglais along the Mediterranean. We arrived close to dinner time and had a drink at one of the hotels with outdoor seating and views of the ocean.

Much of our time in Nice was spent walking through the streets, shopping and lounging at the beach.

While in Nice, we decided to take a 15-minute train ride to Monte Carlo one afternoon, where the 70th Grand Prix -- a Formula One race -- was going on.

We spent a few more days in Paris before flying out of Charles De Gaulle and were able to visit the remaining sights we'd hoped to see.

We used our bus tour passes to see much of the city. We, of course, had to see the Eiffel Tower and waiting more than two hours to buy tickets to the very top. The views were pretty amazing.

The last few days, we were really craving some familiar American food. We had lunch at Chipotle and dinner at Hard Rock Cafe! I was able to finally get the margarita I had been craving.

Brian had arranged for us to take a bus to the Palace of Versailles, about 45 minutes outside of the city. This giant place was home to three of the Louis kings, including Louis the XIV and his wife, Marie Antoinette. Their "backyard" pond shown below stretches more than two miles into the distance!

We scored free tickets to the Louvre! A couple who was just leaving gave us theirs. We saw all the main stuff -- and Brian made us stay longer looking at all of his favorite painters.