Day 281: Journey Home 7/11/2016

Wally

What a day… All in all Syd and I traveled for over 23 hr and 4 time zones…

London

Woke up at 6:00 in order to take part in the hotel’s breakfast. We then gather our shit to get ready for our journey home. We decided to try and leave early and beat the morning rush hour. Well since we ran out of cash we ended up walking about a mile with our shit down to the train station and then we took off on our 1.5 hr commute to Heathrow.

Heathrow

Sat around and read some books/magazines until our flight was announced.

Flight 1/3 London to Reykjavik

This flight wasn’t that bad, we had a row to ourselves and able to get comfy, buuuuuuut we were also right next to the restrooms…

Rekjavik International Airport

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We get off and book it to our gate and actually end up a bit early. I guarded our shit while Syd went to hunt down some food for us. And she came back with some shitty pizzas because that’s all they had… When we were about halfway through our meal Syd says,” FUCK wegotchangedtoanotherflightanditleavesin20minutes! “ So…….. we booked it to the other side of the airport just as they were calling people into the plane.

We gather all our stuff and make our way into a line, buuuuuut they seated the plane by sections and ours was the last to get called… Oh and we find out that because we got pushed onto another flight we now have separate seats… So we wait….. and wait….. and wait…. The entire flight was full of people looking to do connections in Denver. Anyways back to the seating arrangements. I’m sure you’re thinking oH Wally don’t worry I’m sure it’s ok, maybe you’ll be able to trade with someone by explaining your situation right???? Well?

NOOPE!

First of all I was seated in the middle seat on the right side of the plane… I fucking hate the middle seat…. If you got the window seat sure, you’re crammed in there, but you get a nice view here and there and you have something to lean on when you want to rest. When you have the aisle you can kind of pivot your hips a bit and stick out your leg in the aisle for that precious leg room. Buuuuut when you’re in the middle you get jack shit! You won’t be able to rest both elbows on the dividers, there’s nothing to lean against other that the seat directly in front of you and it’s just SHIT to be stuck in the middle between two strangers.

So keep in mind I have all those negatives already going for me and double it because LOOK AT MY LUCK! The person who sits next to me is a morbidly obese woman that had the faintest bit of BO. You know the kind! Like it’s about that time to reapply your deodorant so that you don’t offend anyone else with your odor? Or you know like a faint wafting of BO. I think that’s the best way I can describe this smell. Anyways if you’ve gone too hot humid basement filled with nerds polishing off a 30hr LAN party than you’ve gone too far on the body odor scale. ANYWAYS she plops down next to me and without skipping a beat asks for a belt extender… her arms and thighs oozed over the arms rests and set up camp on about 1/8 of my chair. Oh and she is RADIATING heat onto me because of her climb up the stairs to get into the plane. So yeah… No one wanted to switch with me.

Flight 2/3 Reykjavik to Denver

Kill me… There IS NO COMFORTABLE POSITION! I ended up watching some movies I had downloaded onto my phone. The Man From U.N.C.L.E, not a bad film at all I actually really enjoyed it and I watched Goodfellas again, I love that movie.

During the flight though I had to piss really bad, buuuuut Jabba sitting next to me had fallen asleep and seeing as how it’s such a laborious act for this woman to stand up I just waited patiently till she went herself…

The woman next to me kept shriveling up into the corner because I, through no fault of my own, invaded her space a bit, but she kept squirming and moving and setting up a pillow between us…. I’m not that close to you lady and believe I don’t want to be either.

Denver International

The instant we land, Syd and I are gathering our shit and running out the plane because we had to go through customs, get our bags, check our bags again, go through security and run to the other side of the airport in under 30 min…

It was freaking stressful, but we managed to do it.

Flight 3/3 Denver to Phoenix

It was so good to be on the plane that will ultimately take us to our final destination. Once you’re on you know that your job is done. We sat down and got situated and the day just finally caught up to me. I’m in and out of sleep on our final flight home, so it went rather smoothly.

One negative about this flight was that when we were running onto the plane they said I could only have 1 personal and 1 carryon. I had 2 personals; a fanny pack and a side bag. Both of these items are small and both of them fit easily underneath the seat in front of me. I’ve flown over15 flights and never had to worry about it, but on our last flight home they stop me… I look them in the eyes and use the clips on the side of my backpack and clip them to it. Similar thing happened to Syd to! She had to jam a painting into her little purse because it counted as an additional item. So she’s walking down towards the plane with painting that’s too big to even fit into her purse. Now miraculously we’re ok! C’mon people! I understand rules are rules, but use your own freaking judgement every once in a while!

Arizona

It’s good to be back in the US, kind of a weird feeling actually. We made our way to baggage claim and Neal and Dianne were already there waiting for us. It was so awesome seeing them in person! We hugged and caught up for a bit while we waited for our luggage, buuuuuuuut turns out American Airlines lost our shit….

Whatever, Syd talks to their baggage claim people and when they find it they’ll deliver it to us.

The Village Inn

Syd and I just wanted to eat a nice white meal, so we went to the Village Inn, similar to Denny’s or IHOP. The waitress that took our order is actually planning a big trip herself next year to Europe and was elated to hear about our travels. She’s only 18, but already has the know it all to want to travel and see the world. I wish her the best of luck in all of her future adventures.

OMG WHITE PEOPLE FOOD AGAIN! So happy…

Home

We just unloaded our shit, did a couple of things and went upstairs to shower and KTFO.

Side note

We’re finally connected on our phones again! You don’t know what it’s like to be disconnected for vast periods of time. I mean sure we’ve gotten use to it, but now we can have a trivial argument about some C list actor and be able to look it up on the go now! Or just being able to make and receive phone calls from someone has such a surreal feeling to it.

U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!

Syd

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It is crazy to think that this is our last morning eating a shitty hotel breakfast. We eat and get cleaned up. London has been amazing but now it is time to go home.

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July 11th, 2016 7:12 AM Holiday Inn Greenwich, our journey begins.

We make our way to the metro and it is about a mile walk. It was cold and windy but we made it. We get all loaded up and head to the airport. The metro ride was not bad but the transfer to one line did suck a little. We got to the airport and got checked in. We found out that we got to check another bag for free so we were able to check my Superdry bag and that is one less thing we have to worry about carrying around. Security was very light and we were able to get through no problem. We found some seats, got some magazines, and relaxed before the first leg of our trip. We had a couple of hour before getting on the plane.

The called our gate and we loaded up on the plane. It was so nice having the row to ourselves but it did suck being right next to both bathrooms. Whatever, we slept and watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I love HP. The flight itself was fine and the stewardess gave us some Icelandic Chocolate flavored with toffee and sea salt. It was so tasty.

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We got off the plane and found a spot next to our next flight to rest until it was time to board. I went to get us some food and log into WIFI. My phone started to go off with all these emails and I find out that we have been moved to a different flight. We race with the food and all of our shit to the other side of the airport. I talk to the ticket one and she says I have to go to the service desk. I leave Wally with all of our stuff and head to services. The woman is asking if I requested to change flights. WTF?! How could I have requested to change flights?? I was flying and landed and got an email that told me I was on a new flight. She said ok took our tickets and printed new boarding passes and retagged our bags into Denver then Phoenix. Well I did not look but she put Wally and I in different rows. We now have a 7 ½ hour flight not together. They bussed us over to the plane and I gave the stewardess her chocolate and said my normal thing and she said I never deal with assholes and I do not know why you would give these to me but thanks I guess. SERIOUSLY! Fuck you!! Yes, I do it with the hope I will get something in return but no need to be a dick. Not a huge fan of Icelandair btw. Also, Iceland airport is awful! There are no water fountains, you can only buy water, and the bathrooms are 15 minute walk from where all the transfer flights are and only 2 people working the info desk. We sat in the plane for over an hour waiting for people to get from connecting flights. It was so boring but Wally and I made the most of it. When everyone did show up we got situated and started our flight into the good ole U.S of A! AMERICA FUCK YA! I finished HP, watched the end of Dances with Wolves, some movie with Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley, Deadpool, Friends, and Frozen. The woman sitting next to me was not as bad as the one sitting next to Wally but she was still pretty awful. She would constantly lift the window shade up and down and we were on the side with the sun so it got really hot and really bright. She was bumping me and was complaining that they would not use her miles to buy food. Granted mine was not nearly as bad as Wally’s. I love him and feel so bad.  I watched as our plane crossed the border from Canada into the U.S and started tearing up a little. I cannot believe we are home. Well close enough. We are in our own country!!! SWEET JESUS!! It seems like forever ago yet not that long ago at the same time. That last hour into Denver was killer!! It seemed to drag on.

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When we finally landed we had less than 40 minutes to clear customs, go to the American Airlines desk, rescan and check our bags into the flight, go back through security and race to the other side of the airport to get to our gate. I have never had to do that on a connecting flight back into the states ever! Denver is the worst international airport in the states I have ever been too, it takes the cake from Jersey tenfold! The people are unhelpful, the customs dude was a dick, and it does not make any sense to have to do all of that to go to a connecting flight, especially since we were delayed coming in and now have to go to another section of the airport.

The customs agent takes the passport and our card, I explain that is for me and my husband then he asks Wally is this your wife. Wally, “yes, she just said I am her husband.” They ask where we were since leaving the USA and we explain the situation, then he starts grilling us on if we have household items, coconuts, or monkey skulls. WTF, no sir I do not have a monkey skull. It was really weird and frustrating. We head to the American Airlines ticket counter (oh, when we had the flight into Boston we were going to be flying Jetblue into Phoenix but our flights changed and we went into Denver they put us on American, which I do not like and never fly for multiple reasons. After everything that happened Wally sees why we will never fly them.) The woman at the counter has us re-weigh our bags and tells us that it is 3 lbs over but she will let it slide since she does not want us to miss our flight. Thank you so kindly for letting that slide!! Seriously, I have been on 2 flights already and the bag was fine how it that it is overweight now is?? It wasn’t when we left and I have not put anything in it! She was very incompetent and could not even pick our bags up Wally and to move them to the conveyer belt for her.  We raced through everything and ran to security. Well now for the first time in 8 weeks I have to take my shoes off at security. So we stripped down and run through. Well Denver has multiple terminals and you have to ride the metro to the right terminal, we caught it and jumped off at our terminal and sprinted through to the very last gate to get in line for our flight. We did it! OMG!!! The lady scans our boarding pass (mind you everything is still out from security, so we have a lot of loose items) we start to walk onto the jet way to the plane and she stops us and says can you come back here. You are carrying too much you will need to put everything away since we are only allowed one carry-on item. I explain everything fits we just were racing to get here and she still pulls us off to the side. I stuff my camera into the rolling carry-on and only have my normal size purse, the painting, and the roller, she tells me I have to put the painting in my purse because it counts as a carry on even though it is the size of my lap!!! I will let Wally explain his predicament with all his shit. I gently put the painting in the purse until we round the corner onto the plane and take it out. YOU DUMB BITCH, it fits under the fucking seat if I want to but I will carry it on my lap since it takes up no room at all!!

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UGH, American is the worst. This whole time I have an awful feeling that our bags are not going to make it all the way. Even though we scanned them and they are at least in Denver as of now. We get on the plane and Wally put something on the seat next to him while he got situated and when the guy came he said hey threw up his hands and said move it. Sorry bro, you could ask nicely we did not see you and we are getting situated ourselves. The stewards were rude from the get go so they did not get their flight chocolates from Wally and I. We will save it for the flight home from Phoenix to Cali. Wally and I slept a little on the flight and then we landed.

Hello Arizona!! We made our way to the baggage claim and found my aunt and uncle!! We gave them the painting and they loved it! It was so great hugging them and not having to rush to another flight or anything. We were stationary for a while. We waited for our bags but they never came. We went to the American Airlines ticket desk and they said that the bags never got on the plane. We filed a claim and will worry about it tomorrow. 9 months, 15 or so cities, 9 countries and not too many problems with flights and no luggage problems, we get back home and have the worst flights of our whole journey and they lose our luggage. Welcome back! Also, my step dad texted me a pic that I have a jury summons waiting for me. FML!!! Whatever at least we are home to deal with the problem, it is just so frustrating since we had all the bags in our hands in Denver and they just were not put on the very last flight.

We loaded up the car and made our way to the Village Inn, basically a Coco’s/Denny type restaurant. I had refills of ice water, pancakes and extra crispy hash browns! Hells to the yes! It was amazing and everything I could have hoped for. I am so happy to be here with my aunt and uncle! I am sad we did not get to travel with them but at least we get to end our journey with them.  We made our way back home, gave them their gifts (which they loved), got our phones working again and headed to bed. Only 1 more week of writing the blog and then our crazy adventure will be over and we will be on to the next chapter of our lives.

 

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Day 280: Last Day 7/10/2016

Wally

We originally had planned to do a few museums in the city, but in order to save time, money and sanity we decided not to and just stay around Greenwich.

Greenwich University

Turns out the second Thor movie was filmed here. The climax where the alien ship comes crashing through the portal onto earth was filmed in the massive courtyard that’s there. So, it’s cool to say that we saw it for ourselves, but unfortunately there was some sort of event going on and the courtyard was filled with chairs and a massive stage.

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Royal Observatory

It’s here where you can stand on the prime meridian. So we paid 20 pounds to get in and stand on a physical line that represents the imaginary line of the eastern and western hemisphere. So that’s kind of cool.

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Lunch

We walked around for a bit and saw a place with a lot of locals in it. We went in and I ordered a Meat Pie and Mash. It’s a traditional British meal and honestly it’s not all that great, but just had to try it. Afterwards we went to another restaurant and got some fish and chips along with a PITCHER of a cocktail! Gooooooood times!

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Hotel

We chatted with some friends and caught up a bit and did some last minute packing.

It was nice just having a relaxed day before a crazy day of traveling tomorrow.

Sydney

This is it. The last day out of the country. Come on London let’s make today the best. We went for a walk to the Royal Academy and the Meridian Line. The walk up to the museum of the Meridian Line was intense. It was about 3 miles but fun. The weather is weird today. It was cloudy and rainy then hot when we were walking home. Standing on the line was so funny and Wally and I were just laughing and joking the whole time. This was so much fun and I am very glad we did it. We took some pics and saw where they filmed Thor 2.

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Once we finished up we made our way to a restaurant with meat pies and it was so cute to see Wally so happy. The food was not the best but this restaurant was very British and fun to eat at.

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We walked down to the Thames and ate some fish n chips at another restaurant and had a pitcher of cocktails. It was called Purple Rain and it was the best thing ever!!!! We walked home and chilled the rest of the night. I Skyped my mom and Bianca and I talked for a minute but she was heading to breakfast so we will talk another time.

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We packed and watched some tv. A relaxing last day in London.

Day 279: The Spoils 7/9/2016

Wally 

Big Ben

It’s a really big clock and it rings on the top of every hour.

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West End

We went to watch The Spoils which stars Jessie Eisenberg and Kanal Nayyar. Eisenberg plays a privileged rich kid that feels like his life is going nowhere and brings down others so he can feel better about himself. He’s manipulative, self absorbed and all around just an egotistical asshole. There’s nothing redeeming about his character and you can’t sympathize with him at all. It’s overacted and at times feels like I’m watching a cartoon because of how Eisenberg presents his character. I honestly didn’t enjoy the play, but I can now say I’ve seen an original play with the original cast on West End. The review below conveys exactly how I feel about the play just in the most eloquent way possible.

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2016/jun/03/the-spoils-review-jesse-eisenberg-trafalgar-studios

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Afterward

Syd had an old coworker in town as well and we decided to meet up with him and his friend. We chatted about their wordly adventures, they gossiped about people that came and went from work and all in all we just had a great time chatting.

Tomorrow’s our last day of our world tour…

Sydney

SO excited for today because we are seeing a play on the West End!!!! We got up and had breakfast at the hotel and got all dressed up. We made our way to Big Ben, today is so warm and windy! We heard it go bong bong bong at 11 and took so pics. It is so crowded today but then we realized its Saturday so that makes sense. The line for Westminster Abby was way to long so we chatted and looked around at the outside. We had a few hours until the play started which was great so we could get a little snack.

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Wally saw a cute little cafe that had afternoon tea so we popped in for a snack. We had some cappuccinos, tea, scones, clotted cream, sandwiches, and cute pastries. Finally, I got my British Afternoon Tea. We sat for awhile and enjoyed the time we spent together just talking and chatting. We met some really nice people from Northern Ireland and chatted with them for awhile until we were ready to head out.

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We walked around Traflagar Square, while walking around we found out that it was the end of Ramadan and this was the British Celebration for the 3 days of eating, drinking, etc. It’s a super cool thing that we were in the middle east during Ramadan but then we saw the festivals that they have in the end. Fun times!! We headed back to the theater and went to the bar.

I got a daiquiri and chilled. We had a little bit of time and I messaged my old coworker, Calvin, that we were in the bar. He is also in London. We decided to meet up at intermission.

The play, The Spoils, was not great. There is a reason I stick to musicals. The silver lining is that we saw an original cast of a West End production, which is super cool. I have never seen a play before so that was a fun experience. The theater was small so there was not a bad seat in the house. It was so hot in there though. OMG we were sweating so much! I will let Wally go off on the play a little bit. The only thing I have to say is Kunal Nayyar’s character was the exact same as Raj, it was just a different name. I joked that it was like watching a live taping of Big Bang with just Raj haha.

After the play we went to St. James Park with Calvin and Jeff and enjoyed some drinks and good conversation. It was so nice catching up with Calvin and hanging out outside of work. We finished at the park and made our way to St Ermin’s Bar. I had a delicious drink called the June Bug. It was amazing. We all chatted and hung out for awhile. Poor Wally got a bloody nose. I felt so bad for him, his allergies have been awful.

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When we finished we said bye and made our way home. We also passed the new Scotland Yard and the beautiful building it has. The metro ride back home was super quick and efficient. As soon as we got on the train I had to pee and it was the longest train ride for me but I made it!!! We came back to the hotel and I talked to my dad for a few. Tomorrow is our last day and I am a little scared, excited so many emotions.

Day 278: Harry Potter 7/8/2016

Wally

Harry Potter Studio Tour

It took us nearly 2 hours to get to it… It’s on the other freaking side of London!

Now prior to getting with Sydney Harry Potter had left a bad taste in my mouth because an ex of mine who was OBSESSED with it. But since Syd and I have been together I’ve welcomed it back into my life. I’ve watched all the movies and at one point started rereading the books. I’ve slowly started becoming a fanboy again.

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Either way it’s super cool being able to see the actual sets and props used in the film itself. It really is something seeing these things in person, the films only capture so much detail, but when you’re able to take the time and see for yourself a whole other world is opened up to you. Another thing that I found interesting was that the films were really a labor of love and everyone involved genuinely wanted to do their best, not only for their own pride, but for everyone else as well. The best example is the scaled down model of the Hogwarts Castle. Now calling it scaled down is a bit of an understatement because it’s still pretty damn massive! They used this model in order to take the panning aerial shots of the school grounds and they would just digitally add in the characters later on. Because it was used in the movies it is EXTREMELY detailed and looks absolutely amazing.

Brew Dog

I was able to enjoy a pint of beer at a pub and enjoy some tots. Check that off the list! It really reminded me of the Brewery back home and it was a welcome feeling. The beer was awesome, I only wish I was able to drink more and spend more time there.

*sorry no picture of the beer drank it too fast. =P

Movies

Syd wanted to watch “Absolutely Fabulous” it’s based off an old BBC show. The two main characters are Joan Rivers types that like to drink and party hard. These two got into all sorts of shenanigans and that was half the fun. For me personally, the film wasn’t all that great, I missed out on a lot of running jokes as well as the random celebrity cameos. But I didn’t hate it either.

Sidenote

The fucking metro here is balls expensive! It cost us 30 pounds to reach the other side of London today, but back in Shanghai literally less than 1 USD! So….. On our way back we kind of lied our way in and out of the metro. We simply tried to enter with our used ticket and told one of the attendants that it wasn’t working and just got waved through. Keep going till someone stops you right? But I didn’t want to push our luck after that because I saw a sign that it would be an 80 pound fine for those who do that and we don’t have that kind of money to fuck with.

Movie theaters here are freaking legit! They have a deal for 17.99 pounds a month you can watch unlimited movies! Or they have another deal for 30 pounds a family of 4 can watch a movie and have snacks to go along with it! Seriously I hope this catches on back in the states.

Sydney

It was such a journey to get out there. When we finally got there it was amazing! This year marked the 15th Anniversary of the Philosophers Stone and they had extra memorabilia out and collectors items. I am in love with this place and I cannot wait to get to the one in LA.

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I am glad that we got to come back and see the studios again. Wally was able to appreciate and see what I love so much. He did compare it to the one we saw in Shanghai but this is on steroids haha. We walked around and had some butterbeer and butterbeer ice cream. I really enjoyed seeing everything again and picking up a few more trinkets. I will get more from the one in LA. We got a chocolate frog and a new wizard card in the box! YAY.

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When Wally would ask questions it was fun to see him really interested in what I had to say and he really started to like HP more. We also saw the bar The World’s End, which was cool!!!

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Side note – To add to Wally’s side note the metros are so expensive! We spend more on the travel then we do on anything else. Paris metros were cheaper than London. It is so crazy!!!! Not having to buy extra train tickets was also awesome and saved us money. Also, the movie deal for 17 pounds. HELL YES I would do that if they had it back home!!! I would see all the movies I want and not feel guilty. All you have to do is see 2 movies a month and it is paid for.

When we finished HP we made our way to Brew Dog. It was just like the Brewary back home. Beer and tots for an afternoon snack and then heading back to the hotel.

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I had been wanting to see Absolutely Fabulous and what better place than where it was created. We came back to the hotel and changed then walked to the theater next to our hotel. It is an IMAX and it is huge and awesome! They had salty popcorn, not quite American movie popcorn but at least it is not kettle corn. I really enjoyed the movie and am glad we got to have a movie date. It has been forever.

Day 277: Windsor, Stonehenge and Oxford 7/7/2016

Wally

Yay another bus tour!!!

I use to make fun of these things. Well mostly because I only saw the old Asians being shuttled around from one place to another, but now I see the benefits of doing a bus tour. You see a lot in a little period of time and you don’t have to think. Just show up and go.

Windsor

This is 1/3 residences the royal family holds up in. Walking through the castle I’m reminded a lot of the Palace of Versailles, but not AS grandiose. Instead of massive paintings they had large tapestries on the walls. The ceilings were still painted and they had a lot of armor and statues lining the hallways. It’s still something to marvel at, but it didn’t have the same effect on me as Versailles. At Windsor we also saw the St. George’s Cathedral and there Charles I and King Henry VIII are buried there. We didn’t actually get to go down into the area in which they were buried, but I stood on top of a massive slab of granite that marked where they were buried. I stood on a Kings grave!

Funny thing about Windsor Castle is that it’s located rather close to an airport and because of that there is a considerable amount a noise pollution due to the planes coming and going. It’s a funny thought to have to think that the Queen of England has to deal with that just like the rest of the peasants.

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Stonehenge

It’s pretty amazing that 3,000 years ago people figured out a way to move 40 ton slabs of rock from across the UK to get it set up and stacked up in a purposeful way in the middle of a freaking field. The level of coordination that must have took without the access of modern communication tools must have been daunting. That’s not even taking into consideration how they even managed to lift the 40 ton slabs and stack them on top of each other!

BUUUUUUUUUUUUT

It’s just a pile of rocks in the middle of butt fuck nowhere.

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Oxford

Beautiful college town, it’s interesting though Oxford doesn’t have a set campus. It’s ALL over town, literally all over. This house can be for history or philosophy the next building over can be for mathematics so on and so forth. So when you’re visiting the town of Oxford you’re pretty much walking through the campus. The architecture is gorgeous and because of the history and the people that have graduated from here it was an honor just to be walking the same grounds. I felt smarter just breathing in the Oxford air.

All in all this tour did its job. It got us from point A to point B and allowed us to take a decent look at the places we went to. We literally just scratched the surface of all these places and would like to go back at some point in the future and dive deeper.

Anyways Harry Potter tomorrow, I can’t wait to see Syd geek out at everything and to be perfectly honest I’m excited myself. Guess you can say I’ve become a bit of a Pothead thanks to Syd.

Sydney

Good Morning again London! Off on a tour today. We got up early because we had to head into the city to catch our tour. We ate and made our way to Victoria Coach Station. We are doing a different tour than the one I took last time. We went to the Evans counter and headed to the bus. We are going to Windsor, Stonehenge and Oxford today.

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Our tour guide, Dan, was cool and gave a lot of information. Our first stop was Windsor. We walked around the State Apartments, you cannot take pictures but I managed to sneak a few. They were beautiful but not as ornate as Versailles. It is crazy to think that this is still in use today. I must say that the grounds of the palace are amazing and just like the gardens of Versailles; you could spend a lot of time there. We hurried through the State Apartments in order to have time to walk in St. George’s Cathedral. We walked on top of the crypt of King Henry VIII. AWESOME!!!! The details in the church are beautiful. We finished up and got some food and enjoyed our lunch in the park before we had to go back to the bus for our next stop.

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We drove to Stonehenge next and they have actually redone the road and the visitor’s center since last time. It was very nice and much bigger than the other one. We walked around and took some pics. It is so much warmer than last time and I feel as though I appreciated it so much more instead of freezing my balls off! So that was nice! It was great to see again and fun seeing it with Wally. I picked up a little model, the exact one that B got last time that I regretted not getting. HAHA. We made our way back to the bus and we were off to Oxford.

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We passed where they have their horse races every year and saw the statue in the distance of King George. The English countryside is so beautiful and I would love to explore more of it on another trip. We both fell asleep for a little since it was an hour and a half to Oxford. When we got there the clouds started to roll in but we were still very lucky that it did not rain and was a really refreshing day.

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We had a walking tour around Oxford and saw parts of where they filmed Harry Potter. We grabbed a quick bite for our dinner and strolled through the town. All in all the tour was ok but we have definitely been on better. I would not recommend this tour company. We made our way back to the hotel and relaxed the rest of night. The tour was interesting and I would love to spend more time in Windsor if we were to come back.

Day 276: Exploring London!! 7/6/2016

Wally

Breakfast

Staying at a Holiday Inn is alright. The rooms are always adequate and at least the breakfast is included. However, the breakfast here is shit… The scrambled eggs are watered down, the baked beans are bland and the sausages have a funny texture to it… I guess I’ll just be having cereal and toast while we’re here. First world problems right?

Heading Out

Because this is the last leg of our journey our funds are TAPPED, so we’re staying out in the boonies of London and it takes us a 20 min walk to get to the metro and another 20-30 min to get into the city. It’s a bit of a journey, but gotta do what ya gotta do.

Tower Bridge

I’ve seen this damn thing on so many TV shows and movies, so it’s cool to see it in person. It’s rather impressive, but in the end it’s a bridge that  people walk/drive over it every day to get to and from where they need to without giving it a second thought.

London Tower

  • The Crown Jewels
    • Unfortunately I wasn’t able to snap pics of it, but Syd snuck some. They’re GORGEOUS it almost looks fake with how many diamonds, gems and gold is on it. They put you on a slow moving conveyor belt, which is pretty smart if you ask me stops people from lollygagging, and you gaze upon it. As you are moved along you watch light reflect off each diamond and it’s mesmerizing.
  • Bloody Tower
    • The tower is the sight of a tragic event. Some guy was to be king, but was too far down the line to get it. So he snatched up the two ahead of him both of which were young boys under the age of ten and had them locked up in the tower. No one is sure what exactly happened to them, but there they died. It wasn’t until centuries later that when renovations were taking place at the tower and they came across a box with the bones of the children. This event has been romanticized and dramatized by authors over the centuries.
  • Torture Tower
    • Here they housed some of the more gruesome torture devices that were used back in the day. Of course they had the Rack, in which you’d have your limbs tied and stretched out until they tear off. Or it’s opposite the Scavenger’s Daughter, this mechanism has you compressed with your knees to your chest and they turn a lever in till the point you’d be folded up.
  • Ravens
    • Nothing special there just some birds

Lunch

You know most of us have had beer battered fish and all of us have had fries. I thought getting some fish and chips wouldn’t be a big deal, but you know what they’re better than anticipated. Sure it tastes like something you’ve had a million times, but they make it just a little better. The fish was light and flaky and their fries complimented it well.

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Shakespeare’s Globe Theater

Nothing too special here, just wanted to see the outside of it. There was a tour available, but I’m just not a big enough Shakespeare fan to take part in it. Although it isn’t the real Globe Theater, destroyed in a fire, it is an accurate recreation over the land in which it once stood. It’s just cool being in the presence of the land and building that once housed some of the greatest pieces of works known to man.

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The Clink

This was just a random side attraction that we happened to come across while on the way to Piccadilly Circus. I’ve always been fascinated by medieval torture because of how barbaric it was and this little museum had it. It was cool being able to get hands on with some of the devices and feel the weight of them. It helps put into perspective just what some people had to go through. The museum also had fun stories and anecdotes from people that were locked up there. Some of them definitely deserved it while others were just debtors and got screwed. The conditions were absolutely horrid as people would be wading around in sewage whenever the river would flood. Corruption ran rampant as guards took bribes for themselves and made the prisoners lives a bit easier. All in all it was a shitty “roadside” attraction, but it was a fun thing to stumble upon.

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Piccadilly Circus

It’s like their Times Square, though not as impressive. We found a Cinnabon place nearby and indulged our sweet tooth as we sat in the center of the roundabout and watched cars wiz by us.

Buckingham Palace

On our way to the palace the street was shut down for a bit and we saw a motorcade come through. We think it was the Queen herself and if not at least someone important enough to get shuttled around in the royal brigade. It ain’t the palace of Versailles, but it’s still pretty cool just to be in the presence of it. We snapped some picks and started our journey home.

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Side note

Metro stops here are far apart man… We spent a lot of time just walking around from place to place or looking for the god damn tube! Once you’re in there though it’s really efficient and you get to where you need to go, but you just gotta walk a lot.

Also, it’s expensive here. Even with BREXIT their money is still pretty strong compared to ours. Today we bought to sweaters and it came out to 35 pounds and you’re thinking to yourself man that’s not bad… That is until you do the conversion and that’s close to 50 USD!!! Asia has ruined me…

Sydney

Our first day in London has been so busy! We ate some breakfast and it was not the best but did the job. We wanted to head out early because there was a lot we wanted to see. We got to the metro and there were announcements that the trains were delayed because of a person on the track earlier. WTF?! Ok, well I guess we can be delayed a little. WHile we walked to the metro we saw the O2 arena. Before I die I would like to see a concert there. Bucket List Goal!

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We finally got going and we made our way to the Tower Bridge and Tower of London. It was fun to watch Wally get so excited about everything and see it all for the first time. I have to say seeing the crown jewels again was super fun.

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The weather was amazing today and I am glad it is warm in London. The weather is just beautiful. When we finished the Tower we got some fish and chips and a nice break. It was tasty and the perfect afternoon snack. We sat and enjoyed the afternoon before continuing on. Also, we were able to pick up all our Starbucks cups! I am so excited when we actually have  a home to display them the way I want to under the cupboards.

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We saw Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and London Bridge. We also were able to pick up a few gifts. The Clink was actually really interesting and I am glad that we did this little side museum. It gave more information about the torture of the day and “The Clink Prison;” which was actually a working prison back in the day. It was pretty gross to learn that the place used to flood when the Thames would raise and all the prisoners would be in sewage and dead rats. Very interesting stuff!!! It was so cute watching Wally get so excited about seeing everything.We walked along the Waterloo Bridge and saw parts of Big Ben and the London Eye. We will be going over to Big Ben on another day. We also walked along a beautiful little park on the side of the river and saw the HMS Belfast.

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After the museum we made our way to Piccadilly Circus. THe hustle and bustle was awesome. We got a Cinnabon and enjoyed the life passing us by. Once we finished up we made our way to St. James Park and walked inside and headed towards Buckingham Palace. I found out that we did see the Queen as she was coming back to the palace to go to Wimbledon tomorrow. SO COOL!!!!!!! I would love to do the tour of Buckingham Palace but both times I have been here the tours have not been going on. It was getting late and we were both so tired. We walked into Hyde Park to look around then headed home.

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We did stay outside the city to save money and I cannot wait to come back and stay in the city and be close to everything, it will be much easier.

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Today was so much fun and I am glad the weather was nice for Wally. I am really enjoying being back in London and I am excited to see what tomorrow holds.

Dad – Paris Recap 

Day 275: Off to Foggy London Town 7/5/2016

Syd and Wally

Morning

Woke up and packed up some last minute things. This whole trip in Paris really went by way too fast. Seriously where did all the time go, it seemed just like yesterday we met up with Clint. We struggled for a bit trying to book a cab/uber. I, Wally, shopped around and tried to find the cheapest way to the airport. Every van I looked at was $150 to take us 13 miles!!! WTF!!! I found a sight there it was 60 Euros and tried to book it, but it said it would confirm pick up by calling me… Great now that’s out the window, we went down stairs and just hoped we get a van cab to take us to the airport. But luckily for us me booking the one service online worked! We all squeezed into a sedan with all our shit and got real cozy.

We chatted with the driver on the way to the airport. Every year he vacations to New York and Thailand. We made small talk over how great Phuket was and he gave us some tips for whenever we decide to go back. Cool dude, but when he asked us where we were going, London, he immediately responded with I hate that city, British accents are disgusting and their food is horribly heavy and greasy. Didn’t ask for your opinion, but alright!

Dropping off Clint

It was an emotional goodbye for Syd, but hey at least this time it won’t be another 9 months before we see him again. Only a few more weeks.

Flight

It was a smooth flight, but we were really bummed that our chocolate trick didn’t get us shit on our flight. Bitches….

Getting to our hotel

I looked online and it would have cost us $130 by cab to take us all the way to the other side of London… F that! We took their metro and it was relatively painless and it only cost us $15.

Side note

It’s nice being back in a country where we can look at the billboards and know what they say. Where we can talk to people and be understood.  It’s funny to think that it’s a novelty to be understood and understand what’s going on in our surroundings.

I, Sydney really do not have much to add today that is why we have a joint post. This trip went by way to fast and I cannot believe Paris is already over. I had a great time with my dad and I am glad I could experience this with Wally and dad. We had great conversations, funny pictures, and an amazing trip.

I have a lot of emotions about being in London and this being our last city but I am going to soak up every minute before we get home and are back to reality.

 

Day 274: Last Day in Paris 7/4/2016

Wally

Last day in Paris…

Cemetery

Walked around and took in the sights while trying to track down the more notable occupants of the place. It’s really interesting how people treat death and just how ornate and huge some of their mausoleums are. It really is a peaceful place just to take a stroll. We tracked down Jim Morrison’s grave relatively easily. You know you’d almost expect to see something a bit grander for a rock star, but it was relatively in descript. The only reason why you knew it was his was that it was surrounded by people and a fence. Oscar Wilde’s grave was interesting. It was completely surrounded by glass to keep people from messing with it. I had no idea it was a tradition for people to kiss his grave, but apparently it’s now frowned upon since it’s now blocked off. But if you really want to kiss the damn thing all you need to do is crawl up on someone else’s grave right next to his.

Arc De Triomphe

The first time around we had only walked by it and took some pictures, but this time we actually went into it. Once we got in we were greeted with another spiral staircase… Seriously everywhere we go… We huffed and puffed our way up the stairs and found a museum before the roof of the Arc. We walked around for a bit and read some stuff then headed up. Initially I didn’t really care to go up to the top, but I’m glad we did. Taking a look at the view from the top was definitely unique. It’s a great spot to watch life pass you by, cars zooming around the arc itself and people gathering around random street shows. Also knowing that you’re in one of the major centers of Paris was just a cool feeling.

Dinner

We headed home and got ready. There’s no better feeling than getting dressed to the nines and feeling like a million bucks. We ate a nice ass place that Clint looked up and my god was it fancy! The whole time we were there I felt like I was a wolf in sheep’s clothing and at any given moment the waiter will come by and say you’re not classy enough for this. We had some amazing food, I’d never had French style duck and it was like nothing I ever had before. The flavor and texture was just amazing I almost didn’t believe it was duck I thought I was eating a nice piece of fillet mignon.

Sidenote

I can now say that I’ve vacationed with both my in-laws and we had a great time together in both countries. Being in Paris with Clint has been a treat. It was great walking around with him and chatting away about the history of the places we’ve been visiting. It was nice listening to his perspective of the places we saw and just seeing how he reacted to seeing things for the first time. We can definitely travel more together in the future. Hey Clint! China has some beautiful national parks that are worth checking out. Let’s take you out of your comfort zone sometime in the near future and hike through a Chinese forest.

Syd

I cannot believe today is our last day in Paris!! Where has the time gone? We all got up and got ready to explore the city one last time before our big dinner today and flight tomorrow. We headed to the cemetery to find the grave of Jim Morrison. The cemetery was creepy but cool. It took us a while to find it but we did and took some pics. It is hidden behind other graves. I am not really a doors fan but still cool Next stop was the grace of Isadora Duncan. Her grave was not as impressive since it was just a plaque and not a whole mausoleum. The final stop was Oscar Wilde. His grave was massive and so impressive. The cemetery was fun and interesting.

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We made our way over to the Arc and went to the very top. The top was incredible and fun to see. The stairs going up were a bitch but we persevered. The weather cleaned up and we had a beautiful view. After the Arc we came home, packed, took a walk around the park and then got ready for dinner.

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We went for a walk around the park near us and it was very beautiful and peaceful. Poor Wally and his allergies though, they were acting up! He was so stuffy and sneezy.

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We all look good all cleaned up. We grabbed a taxi and headed to dinner. The restaurant was beautiful and better then we could have ever imagined. I got the tasting menu (froi gras, duck, sea bass, lobster, soufflé, cappuccino, mojito and wine.) FUCKING AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No words describe dinner. The ambiance, company, convo, food, and drinks were on point. We all looked great and had a great night.

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After dinner we walked to the river and watched the Eiffel Tower light up! It was great and a perfect way to end our last night. We came home, cleaned up and headed to bed. I am sad to say bye to dad but I will see him soon. Good Night Paris, you have been fantastic!

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Dad

Started our day w/me searching the area for cafe’. Found local bar w/take away cups. Again, why can’t you fill the damn cup! Good stuff, real  strong. Got ready & headed to the cemetery w/notable occupants such as, Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde are buried. Amazing crypts, mausoleums & headstones. Some have not been cared for in 50-100 yrs. Halloween in the graveyard anyone?

Metro over to the Arc de Triomphe. Hell of a view from top. Total chaos in the round about that circles the Arc. Napoleon’s promise to his troops turned out pretty well. It’s the center of a wagon wheel w/streets radiating out to the rest of France. Cool to see where we have been in the last week.

Took a little stroll thru the park next to the apt. It is an au pair hangout. Hundreds of kids, only handful of moms.

Well, last night in Paris. Planned for a fancy dinner, so we all got spiffed up. Wally in his new custom made suit & Sydney w/another classic dinner dress. Me, well I always look good in a suit! Got to the restaurant, La Fermette Marbeuf, early but no problems. We got a perfect seat to watch the dinner crowd arrive. Service was first class, as expected. Enjoyed some tasty local wine & other adult beverages. Most tasty food. Beef was top drawer. Syd noted earlier that their order was superb. The restaurant is 120 yrs old & has stained glass ceiling panels rescued from a sister diner from the neighborhood. Just made you feel good about eating & spending a ridiculous amount of cash. Walked out to the river, steps away from the Princess Dianna crash site. Took some amazing photos of Eiffel lit up. @ top of each hour, the sparkling lights are turned on for 5 minutes. Very cool.

As I’m typing this blog, realizing that I’m back home tomorrow, I feel very lucky to have shared this time/place with Sydney & Wally. First time experiences for all of us & some replays for Syd but from a different place in her life.

Viva la Paris’!

Hope all had a great/safe Independence Day celebration! Not much 4th of July celebration here. Ungrateful bastards! LOL.

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Day 273: Versailles 7/3/2016

Wally

Versailles

 

There really are no words to describe just how grand and ornate the grounds of Versailles are. It really is a testament to man’s ego and narcissism. Walking around the gardens and looking at each fountain was amazing. Each one was hand crafted with crazy attention to detail, it’s just a cool thought to think that Louis and Marie could have easily walked down the same path we were on.

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Our first stop when we got to the palace was to check out Marie’s place. It took us over an hour just to get to it, that gives you an idea of just how big the estate is. We went looking all over the area to try to find her house, but it turns out they had been torn down a long time ago.

I really wanted to see the inside of the palace itself and Clint wanted to explore the gardens more, so we split up and Syd chose to come with me. =)

The palace itself is indescribable. Each room was more ornate than the last. I was flabbergasted when I walked into Hercules Room. The fireplace there literally took trees as fire logs, that’s how big it is. The ceilings vaulted up at least 40-50 ft and had biblical scenes painted throughout. The crown molding that lined the ceiling was expertly hand crafted. The tile on the floors appeared to be lined with gold. Everything about this place just SCREAMS look at me and my wealth. It really is impressive.

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The only problem with the palace was that there was way too many people. It felt like we were in China again because at some points we had to waddle through a narrow hallway. I thought I had escaped all that madness…

Home

We didn’t want to stay out too late due to the fact that France was playing Iceland in the world cup. We didn’t want to risk France losing and us being stuck out in the middle of a riot. So instead we brought home some pizzas, ate and chatted.

Syd

Good morning Paris!!! Today we had to set an alarm to get out of the house and make our way to Versailles. We made our way to the train station and were on our way. Today is super gloomy and we are hoping that the sun comes out but it does not look like it. It is crazy that they last time I was at Versailles it was super-hot and we were dying and today it turned out to be rainy, cold and cloudy.

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We got there and grabbed a coffee while we waited in line for the tickets. We decided to get the tickets that covered the Palace, gardens, and Marie- Antoinette’s estate. Once we got into the grounds we saw the line and it wrap almost 5 times in front of the palace we decided to do the gardens first. We knew we would have to hustle to see everything since the train leaves around 5 so we hurried to Marie Antoinette’s estate first. The buildings were beautiful and people kept saying that she has another building but it turns out that the building we were in was the only one. It took us almost 45 minutes to walk from the entrance to the back corner where all of her stuff was. Next time we are doing the golf cart tours.

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The ornateness of everything was out of control. She had chairs will her likeness stitched into the backing. I want this house. Wally really wanted to go into the palace so we split up and dad walked the gardens and we headed to the line for the palace.

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Wally and I took the train that drives around the grounds back up to the front and got in line. By this time it had started to rain a little more but still no one left the line. Walking around was like being back in China since we were herded around like cattle and there were so many people. It was cool to see the inside and see how these people lived. There was a fire place the size of a person, there was not logs in the fire they were full grown trees!!!!! I would love to roast some marshmallows in there.

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We had a plan to meet dad at one of the statues but since we finished early we decided to go and wait for him. When we all met back up we headed to the top of the gardens to take some pics and then head home. It was raining much harder and getting colder.

Getting the tickets to eave was a shit show, there were no lines and people were just crowding around machines trying to buy tickets. Then a group of Asians could not figure out how to work the machine and bought one ticket at a time when there was 9 of them!!! IT was crazy!!! Finally we got our tickets and made it onto the train with 3 minutes to spare! Whew! The train ride back was so cramped and we ended up missing out stop because we saw the previous stop and we looked and had 2 to go well it skipped one and went to ours and we did not get off. Oh well, we went to the next one and figured out how to get home from there.

On the walk home we passed a cookie place and we all picked up a fancy cookie. They ended up being very delicious.

We got home and the guys went to pick up dinner while I brought everything up and set up for food. Well I am getting out of the bathroom and I hear someone coming in and it is the owner of the apartment wanting to get a jacket. It scared the shit out of me. He came and grabbed stuff then left.

Wally and dad came back and said that the restaurant does not open until 7 so we sat and chilled for a few minutes. The guys left again and went to the store and to get food. They came back with an amazing dinner. We all relaxed and chilled the rest of the night.

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Iceland and France are playing each other in the Euro Cup 2016 tonight and most places are closing early or are already closed. It is going to get crazy so we decided to chill and hang in the apartment.

Side note – reading what my dad is writing is hilarious, he is so matter of fact and gives a lot of straightforward info!! I have been cracking up.

Dad

Versailles! Nice train ride to the city. As noted by Wally, cloudy, cool & off/on mist. To say the place is massive is an understatement. Hard to imagine the work that went into designing & building this edifice. I was particularly drawn to the grounds & outer buildings. Really enjoyed Antoinettes Estate. The oppulance & grandiose furnishings are over the top. But, when you’re spending the tax payers money, who cares? Fairly good walk from palace to estate w/beautiful scenery. After touring her digs, we split up. Wally wanted to visit palace w/Syd. I wanted to continue w/the landscape tour. It was amicable. The Canal & water works is extensive. I kept imagining what festivals, parties or events that may have occurred on the same spot I was walking. King Louis 14th may have looked around & said to his people, I need more gardens! Cause he got ‘em! Had to use the umbrella a few times but nothing serious. The mist added to the experience. Really need 2 full days to adequately explore palace, grounds & Antoinette estate. I probably walked 5-6 miles before meeting the kids out front. Good time. Sydney wanted some more pics of the Great Lawn & Canal, so we went back inside to make that happen. Massive human traffic jam getting on the train back to Paris. No harm no foul. Saw some Iceland soccer fans in the Metro station, hollering like school kids. Whatever they got skunked, so far, 5-0. Got some more Italian food, pizza for Syd & Wally, pasta for me. Again food was right.

Tomorrow our big fancy dinner on the right bank not far from Champs Elysses. Got nice suits w/ties & custom made dress for Syd. Hope there’s not more than 2 forks.

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Day 272: A slight chance of rain 7/2/2016

Wally

Catacombs pt I

Man… I’ve been excited to see the catacombs since we’ve gotten here. There’s just something so dark and mysterious about it that really drew me to it. We arrived an hour after the doors had opened and the line had wrapped around the small park near the entrance. I asked people towards the front of the line just how long they had been waiting and they mentioned that they’d been there for over 2 hours…

Not wanting to waste our day just standing around we decided we’d come back later in the day.

Sourbone

It’s just a nice university whose campus wasn’t too far away. Syd really wanted to get a sweater there. Clint and I really didn’t mind and were just excited for the possibility of seeing the campus itself. Just one problem… the whole campus was closed…. We ended up just appreciating the architecture of the school itself and picked up a sweater at a gift shop down the street.

Comic Book Shop

On the way to Notre Dame we saw a comic book shop and we just had to stop and look. And by we I mean me. It’s been awhile since I’ve smelled the interior of a comic book shop and man have I missed it… We looked around at the comics, toys and collectibles. There was something for everyone there. Syd found a Harry Potter book “The Artifact Vault” and Clint was looking for a very specific Tintin comic that was set in Le Mans. I on the other hand wanted to get EVERYTHING in the store, so we finally had to leave in order to ensure that I didn’t pass out from sensory overload.

Notre Dame

I can now say I’ve seen the one in Vietnam and in France. I must say that the one in France is pretty fucking awesome! Nothing beats the original. The attention to detail and the sheer size of it all was awe inspiring. I’m personally not all that religious myself, but just looking at this building kind of stirs something inside you.

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Bastille

The storming of the Bastille marked an important historical event during the French Revolution. From everything I’ve studied and read is that it occurred on top of a hill and wave after wave of people were sent to break through. Well when we got to the area we couldn’t find the damn thing. We kept looking at our maps and just couldn’t find the damn thing. How do you overlook an old medieval prison?!?! Well turns out the Bastille has long been torn down and what’s left is a massive roundabout.

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Catacombs pt II

I was really glad we made our way back to the Catacombs, it’s way up there on my list of things to see and do. We waited about an hour and a half and made our way down. The stairs spiraled downward and each step you took you felt the temperature drop more and more. When we finally got into the entrance of the catacombs we saw a sign that said something along the lines of welcome to the tunnel of death. Don’t quote me on that. It’s really effing crazy to see ALL the skulls and bones that line the walkway throughout the tunnel. Each one was strategically stacked and placed there and each one was once a human being just like you or I. The person who originally started stacking them up did fun patterns and designs along the walk. There was one area where the skulls were arranged to look like a heart and another to look like a cross. It really is something you have to see for yourself.

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Dinner

Italian food. The owners there are full blooded Italians living and working in Paris. The meal was awesome and at the end we were given a lemon liqueur and whoooo weee! That’s a refreshing way to end dinner.

Sidenote

The sun sets SUPER late here. It’s really effing up our sense of time. When we feel like it’s close to 5 or 6 it’s actually 9 to 10!

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Syd 

Damn today was a good day. We had some coffee and relaxed with breakfast. Today we were going to do Versailles but decided to move it to another day. We started the day by going to the catacombs, Wally was so excited! It is so cute. We got out of the metro and it was a line wrapped around the entrance and Wally asked some people how long they have been waiting, over 2 hours yet the thing opened an hour ago!! WTF?! Ok we decided to bounce and head to the Sorbonne. Along the way we got some snacks and espresso at a little corner shop. I love these little stores they are so cute and quaint. We also came across a farmers market and we all picked up some gifts. I wanted to get a sweatshirt and see the campus. We walked along and ended up seeing a comic book shop. Wally was in heaven and about to pass out. I am only saying that half-jokingly; he really was about to pass out from excitement. I found a little gift shop and got my sweatshirt so I was happy.

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We continued our walk to the Notre Dame Cathedral. It was just as beautiful as the first time I saw it. We did not want to go in but we walked around and took some pictures. We finally found a café and got a cappuccino and a crepe. It started to rain but we all just sat and talked for a while. We had been walking for so long that we needed a break.

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Side note – I forgot to talk about this in Thailand, we had shark and it was only $4 USD. Shark back home would cost an arm and a leg and we got it for $4. It was not bad and actually tasted pretty good.

Yesterday I was almost shit on twice by 2 birds. I was only one step ahead of the first one and one step behind the second one. I was so lucky!!! I would have been so pissed if I got shit on.

After the café we walked around and found the King Louis bust we have been looking for. I am so glad we found it and now my collection is complete. We walked towards the Bastille and found out that today is the gay pride parade in Paris. The walk is from the Louvre to the Bastille. It was cool to see the parade route and see how all the buildings were decorated. Man, Paris is popping in the month of July. Once we got to the Bastille we figured out that the pillar is what represents the castle and read a little more on it. It was cool to see.

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Once we finished we decided to try our luck at the catacombs again. Luckily this time the line was much shorter and we waited to get in. I love seeing Wally so happy. It rained a little and dad got us coffees. The line only took about an hour and a half. Once we got down there is was even colder and we had to walk a crazy staircase to go underground. The catacombs were really cool. A little scary but interesting to see how they did everything. The walk is pretty far and all you can think about is that these were real people. WTF?! We made our way up and into a little souvenir shop. Wally got a shirt and I got a book. We found out that we were half a mile from the entrance and where we started but it sure did not feel like that when we were walking through the tunnels.

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We were going to head to Jim Morrison’s grave but the cemetery was closed so we will do it on Monday. We got on the metro and headed back up to the apartment. We got some groceries then headed to dinner. We found a cute little Italian restaurant and ate our lives away. Wally and I split a little pizza and tortellini. I LOVE TORTELLINI!!! This is the first time in 8 months I have had it!! I miss it so much. Dad got some red wine and as much as I want to like red wine, I cannot get into it. I always try but I just like everything else but red. After dinner we had some limoncello and some ice cream! SO GOOD!!! Today has been fantastic! The weather was beautiful, great conversations, and so much food.  Time for bed, as I am typing the blog my eyes are closing. Goodnight!!

I forgot to take a pic of the food but here is a pic of the ice cream we got for dessert.

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Dad

Well, Wally went for coffee this morning & returned w/same amount as I did the day before. Ha! Least we know that locals don’t discriminate against tourists. Moving on. Headed out on our latest journey, the Catacombs. Again we found a long line & just kept moving. On our way we found a street vendor market. Found a few things & also got some vittles to tide us over. Baguettes w/Jamon & Frommage (ham & cheese for you uneducated folk). Made our way to Sorbonne U.  Really cool old school buildings. Closed but did find a cool comic book store. Wally’s really “excited” about these things! Crossed river to Right Bank to check off Notre Dame. Impressive structure & architecture. God loving people like a good sanctuary. Settled in to a nearby bistro for crepes & liquid fortification. Delish! Paris LBGT was in progress so some roads were blocked. It did allow us to follow along & see different roads that we may not have taken otherwise. As we were storming the Bastille, realized that it is no longer there. Oops, just an obelisk w/the names of the dead from the revolution. It was the end point of LBGT parade, music, colorful outfits & heavily armed men/women of the Paris/State Police. Got big guns! Made call to return to Catacombs & hope line was shorter. It was. 62 feet down a spiral staircase to get to tunnels that are less than 6’ tall. Head hurts, you do the math, I’m 6’3”. Needed Ashley to remind me to duck, often (USS Midway & Iowa). Rather odd visual when looking @ tens of thousands of bones & thousands of skulls looking back @ you. Lot of work to make this happen & macabre sense of honor. But definitely worth a visit. Made our way back to the apt & dinner. Had a hankering for some Italian food, not pizza. Got to have my bucket list moment, sitting on a sidewalk café in Paris as the evening crowd strolled by. Luckily I was w/my favorite first born & son in law. All in all, a great memorable day.

May have fallen asleep watching that silly show, Rick & Morty.

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