Hello from Paris!!
Last I posted, we had just arrived in Munich for the end of the South Loop/beginning of the North Loop.
On the day we were dropped off, we were a bit excited because we knew how to to get to our hostel (having gone there before). Wrong! They were doing works on the tram we would’ve taken, so we spent far too long finding out how to get there.
We just spent that day chilling out and going to the shops (spending far too much on Haribo lollies).
On day #2 we went on a tour of Dachau, the first ever concentration camp. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and the whole experience was humbling and very interesting.
The third day consisted of constant rain, foiling our plans for the English garden. Imstead, we hung out at the hostel, and went shopping for dinner food. I made sweet potato and chicken with ginger and lemon. It was really nice to cook properly after bits and bobs there and lots of processed foods and snacks. Unfortunately, someone stole A’s beef, frozen veggies and six bars of his Swiss chocolate (which were for people as presents!)
Next stop, STUTTGART, Germany!
The first day, we arrived in the day, found our hostel (without too much trouble), and went out into the city.
We went to the Stuttgart public library, which was well designed and quite pretty, but there wasn’t much on the English side of things.
Walked along the main street and lay down on the grass in front of the lake/opera house. Went back to hostel, and had pretzels with cream cheese for dinner.
Day two, we went to the main square and Nürremberg Castle and a modern/contemporary art gallery. Some weird things inside (including the video about the chicken who comes out of the bin and sews himself back together).
Went to St. John’s Castle which was beautiful!!!
Next day, we went to the botanical garden/zoo. There was a cactus garden, a chili garden, so many beautiful flowers; and in the centre of the park, a man made lake/pond with water lillies and lily pads.
We saw so many animals – from vultures to owls and a pygmy hippo; to flamingoes, many fish, birds (saw a toucan!!), cows, camels, jellyfish, a polar bear, a brown bear, normal hippos, wild dogs, meerkats, tortoises, bats, butterflies, more insects, spiders and of course more I can’t remember.
Had a salad (lettuce, salmon, cucumber and aioli) for dinner.
Day 4, we made pasta salad for our bus ride to Paris (10 hours), and it made so much more than we were expecting! We had to squish it into two large containers and a third small one.
We then went to mineral baths, which were awesome! There were two 36C pools – one a round one, and one a spa. Two big 30C pools, one inside and one outside – and you could swim from the one to the other via a ‘passage’. The outside one had a man-made whirlpool, which would carry you in circles. The last pool was 18C and bloody freezing. It may not sound cold, but to immerse your entire body in 18C water was not a fun time! I saw people drinking the water (from a tap) and I decided to try it because it’s rich in minerals and it was absolutely feral!! Went out for dinner in the town – had really good chicken burgers with coleslaw on the side.
Next stop, PARIS!!!
We spent 10 hours on a bus and because we were lazy/it was super close, we took a taxi to our Air Bnb.
Day one started off slowly, but it ended up being a 14.5 hour day! We went out for breakfast (scones w/jam and butter ad a cup of fruit and a chocolate pastry).
We metro-ed to Sacre Coeur in Montemarte – the highest point in Paris. Took photos of the pretty church and spent the afternoon walking around Montemarte, going into art, craft and design shops. We didn’t see people drawing on the side of the road (as I’d imagined), but I’m not sure if I was completely wrong or if it’s because it was a Sunday.
It had started raining by then, so we decided to go to the Georges Pompidou Museum, which is in an epic building – covered in industrial sized pipes of all different shapes and sizes.
On the way, we had macarons! Very French and very nice. We also went past the Moulin Rouge, which was pretty.
The Georges Pompidou museum was amazing!! It was free (which is always fun), but the expansive range and beautiful artworks in there were stunning.
After the gallery, we went to the Champes de Lysee and walked down to the Arc De Triomphe. As a treat to ourselves, we took ourselves out for a three course meal!!! I’ve never done it before – but why thought ‘why not, we’re in Paris!’
After dinner/after it had gotten dark, we hauled ourselves up the (infinite) spiral staircase of the Arc de Triomphe to look at Paris city all lit up, and the Eiffel tower sparkling in the distance. It was quite beautiful (although my phone struggled to get great photos because it was so dark and the tower so far).
Next morning (after a late night and early wake-up), we were (not so) bright and early for the Lourve! Only stood in the line for 15 minutes!!
So many marble statues (including (armless) Venus di Milo. Of course we saw dear old Mona, who, as everyone says, in quite small. Still cool to have seen her in real life (although would’ve been nice to see her up close).
Left after three hours (and a not too expensive blueberry muffin), and walked (in the rain), to the Notre Dame. Very incredibly detailed on the outside and of course beautiful on the inside.
Spent way too long in a doctors clinic (3 hours) because I needed something for my knee.
Day 4 was my half-a-versary: 63 days down and 63 to go (our two months away also happened to fall on this day). We went to the Catacombes in the morning (which had a longer line than the Lourve). Was pretty cool (both temp and how they were) to see the millions of bones (mostly skills and femurs).
Climbed the Eiffel Tower to the second floor (all 669 steps!!) Was quite epic at the top : could see out into the whole city of Paris. Are lunch up there (baguette with avo and cheese). Took a million photos, and then down to the bottom and took more photos there.
Had a banana and nutella crepe to celebrate my half-a-versary. It was very good!!
Day 5 was Disneyland!!! It was extremely fun, quite exhausting but bloody amazing!
Arrived there via metro at 9.45, and as soon as the rides opened at 10, we were off! First we did Discoveryland and these rides: Space Mountain: Mission 2 (rollercoaster); ‘drove’ 1950s cars; went through the Nautilis (a boat set, not overly exciting) and the Buzz Lighting Blast (wherein I sucked).
Land two was Fantasyland – the biggest in Disneyland. Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is the main attraction and we took so many photos of it! Took photos with Excaliber. Rides: INCREDIBLE Peter Pan ride where we were in ‘ships’ that ‘flew’ across sets of the film: rooftops of London, Wendy’s bedroom, Neverland. So very very detailed and one of my favourites! My favourite was called It’s a Small World and it was a cruise through all different dolls from different nations of the world singing It’s a small world – and then at the end, all the dolls/nations were dressed in white and were singing together. It was such a happy ride!! Also did: a Snow White haunted house, an Alice in Wonderland maze, a cruise through fairytale miniatures and Dumbo’s circus train.
Land three: Adventureland. Many of the rides were closed, but we saw miniatures of the Aladdin film and I did this crazy rollercoaster called ‘Indiana Jones and the Tower of Terror’. Lots of loop de loops and high speeds.
Next was Frontierland. We only did the one ride: Phantom Manor (a great haunted house) – because everything else was closed/didn’t appeal.
Next, we walked to the Walt Disney Studios (of course after doing allll the shops on the main street).
We were a lil shorter on time (closed earlier than we thought), so we didn’t get everything done. First we did a Ratatouille simulation: sit in a rat, wear 3D glasses and go through parts of the movie as Remy – seeing and hearing as he does. When the ‘champagne popped’ we even got wet! It was a good ride.
Did two ToyStory rides: Slinky Dog Zigzag (which was a children’s rollercoaster) and the toy soldier’s parachute drop (which was fun!)
Next I went on this insane drop ride: The Tower of Terror (from the Twilight Zone). Pretty fun, a lil scary.
We did Armageddon: special effects, where we were essentially cast members and we were acting in this new movie. Sights and sounds and real fire! Last ride: a rollercoaster starring Aerosmith. This was the fastest, most loopy ride (lotsa barrel rolls) (and a lil scary when my bag shifted too much). Took some photos with the Singin’ in the Rain umbrella and left the (now closed) studios.
Walked back to the Disneyland Park (which closed later than the studios). Redid ‘It’s a small world’ and the Peter Pan ride (our two favourites), and decided we wanted a photo of the castle. Half the park was gathered there and I just thought, ‘woah a lot of people want a photo with the castle’.
As we were about to attempt to leave, a show started! Quite incredible: lights and Disney characters singing, and a water display and real fire and and projections shone onto the side of the castle. There were Frozen, Lion King, Peter Pan and Tangled songs.
I loved Disneyland! So much happiness and joy and being a kid again. So many photos and too much video footage (which I will think about at a later stage).
Day 6 was slower because we were exhausted! Lounged around most of the day – went out for breakfast: croissant and an apple pastry (v. good). Watched Man on a Ledge and ate lunch (leftover fried rice) at the park.
Went out for dinner – I had snails!! They weren’t actually bad – tasted of garlic and herb and had the texture of an overcooked mushroom. Shared a creme brulee for dessert.
Went to see the lit up Lourve – very beautiful – and blasted Pyramids (Charice and Iyaz), whilst looking at the Lourve.
Walked to the Eiffel tower. Ended up being about a 45 minute walk, but it all felt very Parisian. The lit up tower was stunning and of course many photos were taken. Got back at about 1am.
On our last Paris day, we went to the Musee d’Orsay: a converted train station turned art museum. Saw many incredible Van Gogh’s – including his self portrait – and there were also Monet’s water lillies (among others).
Ate a honey and walnut crepe and walked to the metro. The stupid metro station didn’t have a ticket machine and we couldn’t fare evade because we couldn’t club the barriers. Had to walk to the next station. Metro-d back, went via the shops (had a Madeline cake), went back to the Air BnB.
Chilled, packed, cooked rice for tomorrow and had eggs and nutella baguette for dinner.
Next is Bruges, Amsterdam(n) and then Berlin. Till then!