Tag Archives: honeymoon

Paris in Pictures

Since my last Paris post was mostly about the food, I thought it might be nice to show you some of the pictures of our actual time in Paris. I’ve said it a million times since returning, but I really want to go back. I can’t wait 10 years again fore I make that happen ;) Enjoy! <3

 

Pretty pretty :)

Climbed up the Tower!

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We couldn't go all the way to the top, but this was just as cool :)

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Pyramid at the Louvre

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Art clockwise from left: Mona Lisa (as close as I could get to it :P), Venus de Milo, Winged Victory and Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss (one of my favorite scupltures of all time <3)

 

Photography wasn’t allowed in the Orsay. This wasn’t the case 10 years ago, but it is now :\ They also took out the huge clock. And you can’t get to it :( Glad I got pics the last time I was there with my sister <3

 

My favorite monument in Paris <3

Goooorgeous!

<3

 

When in Rome

The last stop in vacation was the ancient city of Rome! Our travel agent, who is also a very dear friend of mine, told us that we needed to have a train ride through Europe. I forgot how much I love to ride through Europe by train!

But one thing I haven’t ever done is ride through Tuscany. Can someone buy me a vineyard there? ;)

If you're lucky enough to find someone to be awkward with you, you know it's for real :) <3

 

We are capable of taking a good picture though :-D

A four hour train ride can seem like forever, but we finally reached Rome!

We were staying in the Piazza Fiume at the Hotel Fiume. This hotel was PIMP (for lack of better words). We had stayed in pretty quaint hotels in the other cities. And by quaint I mean really small and not very modern ;) This was the most modern hotel we stayed in, but as the last stop in our trip, we needed that extra comfort.

Only one good picture at night of the place. ...whoops

Once we dropped our bags, we decided to walk to the Spanish Steps. But before that, we grabbed some lunch at a pizzeria near our hotel. I got the Roman style pizza and REB got the Napoli style.

You might remember in the previous post that we weren’t a huge fan of the Roman style pizza. We preferred the Venetian. I know it doesn’t look it, but the minute we let our pizza cool and we cut into it, it just fell apart :\ The flavors were kind of there, but they weren’t as seasoned or flavorful as the pizzas in Venice. Kind of a shame, but that didn’t stop us from eating the entire thing ;)

A good end to lunch!

So something I didn’t know about Rome is that we actually stayed in the ancient city of Rome. Outside the city wall (which is still in tact by the way!) is the rest of the city of Rome. I assume that’s where most people live and work and drive. The ancient city is actually super tiny and we could have walked every where, but taking a cab ride there is ridiculously cheap. However, we did walk. We walked through this underground tunnel to reach the Piazza di Spagna and went to see the Spanish Steps!

From there we walked up to the Medici house and walked around their gardens. Then we walked to the Piazza di Popolo, which actually faces directly to St. Peters Basilica in the Vatican City. But before we walked through the Medici gardens, we got a good view of the ancient city.

That dome waaaay in the back is St. Peters!

After walking through the gardens and seeing the Steps, we headed south towards the Trevi Fountain. It was CROWDED when we got there. It was getting to be evening time by then, so we decided to get some dinner and then go back to the fountain at night.

Gorgeous by night :)

The fountain is absolutely beautiful in person. The details in the carving, the columns, it was just gorgeous. We did throw a coin in while we were there. I guess that means we’re going back one day ;)

The next morning we got up super early to beat the crowd at the Colosseum. It was also REB’s birthday that day! Beating the crowd is one of the best tips I can give anyone wanting to see a huge famous landmark in a huge city.

Besides, the light is so beautiful in the morning. Made the whole place glow and look golden!
We did go inside the Colosseum, and it is just magnificent in there. I really can’t describe it in words…

SO WE’LL USE PICTURES! HOORAY!

We actually did the “Caesar Shuffle” from the Colosseum to the Palatino, Roman Forum, up to the Campadoglio (the capital house), and then up to the Pantheon.

Augusta's Palace in the Palatino

 

The Roman Forum

 

From there we walked to the Pantheon, which is another fantastic monument. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a good shot of the whole thing since it was so ridiculously crowded there. But I did get a few shots of the details…

After that, it was time for one of my favorite things: time to eat!
Like I said earlier, it was REB’s birthday, so we had to have a nice feast. We knew we weren’t going to eat until much later, so we made the most of our mid-day meal.

Limoncello and Paparadelle con Funghi

He got a shot of Limoncello and got this amazing ribbon pasta with the mushrooms. We love all kinds of pasta, but he’s always wanted to try this particular kind. …So when in Rome… ;)

Me? I wanted risotto. I asked the waiter what kind of risotto they had because their menu just said “risotto” on it. He asked me what kind I wanted. He suggested mushroom and I said “Sure”. So what did they do? They made me something not even on their menu.

I don’t think I need to tell you that it was absolutely delicious. The picture speaks for itself!!

After our wonderful lunch, we had a lot of time to kill. I actually surprised REB with a ghost story tour of Rome at night, and we had a lot of hours to kill. So we hopped a cab and decided to go to the Vatican City.

St. Peter’s Basilica is quite beautiful. And I don’t mean any disrespect, but…it seemed a little over the top.  Just wasn’t our thing, I guess. They claimed to have strict rules about who they let in based on what they’re wearing (as in, dress nicely because it’s a place of worship), but we saw them letting in girls with the shortest shirts or low-cut shirts. Just seemed more like a show than anything else.

But I won’t lie, it is beautifully constructed.

Pope's window to address the people

 

This doesn't even show the whole thing, but it's at least the main part. Someone buy me a wide angle lens so I won't feel deprived next time ;)

 

So the ghost tour of Rome at night was so much fun! We also took a crypts and catacombs tour the following day, but photography wasn’t allowed on that one since we were in churches and places of respect or whatever. Anyway, before we set off to meet our group at San Andreas Basilica, we had to get some gelato ;)

There was this great gelato shop by our hotel called Flor. And it was SO good. It was also open until the wee hours of the morning. The nicest people worked there so we made sure to stop in there at least once or twice a day :)

So! We met our group at the church and found out our tour guide, who went to both Michigan State and Michigan (woot!). So we learned some cool stories based on the areas we were walking around.

The first stop was in the Piazza Campo dei Fiori to see the statue of Giordano Bruno.

The story goes that the pope killed him because this guy was a scientist like Galileo and his ideas were “dangerous”.  Anyway, they burned him at the stake while he was alive. When Rome became its own democratic country, they built this statue facing the Vatican to remind the church of its past crimes and why people should have democracy. We just liked how you know, they built this statue as an apology to his family. 200 years later.

Then we walked to the next site and on our way we passed by this old church that had skulls all over it.

This church was used to bury the people who died from the plague. Except, these were people who didn’t have families or have money for a burial. So the monks would just scout the streets for dead bodies and if someone clearly didn’t have a family, they would take the person and give them a proper burial and put them in the catacombs below the church. This is very similar to the church we saw the following day on our catacombs and crypts tour. We went to the Capuchin Crypt, which has six “rooms” made entirely out of the bones of monks.

From there, we walked to another little piazza and our tour guide asked us, “So which one of these buildings has a window where you think a potion maker would live?” So we all looked around and looked up and then we saw this window:

The top window there was the home of a woman who was a potion maker. The story goes she used to make an odorless, tasteless poison (I always think if Iocaine powder from the Princess Bride haha), disguise it as holy water and sell it to women who were in bad marriages where their husbands beat them or whatever. However one woman had a change of heart about killing her husband so she turned this potion maker in to the police and she was killed. The story goes if you’re a man with wickedness in your heart, you can see her ghost wandering the piazza at sunrise.

The last part of our brought us here, the Castle of Saint Angelo. It’s an absolutely beautiful building, with a dark story behind it… ;)

This was home to the Barberini Family. The head the of the family was a bad dude, so the rest of the family killed him so they wouldn’t be caught up in beatings, lashings, etc. The pope didn’t like this so he had the family killed. If you remember from the story of Giordano Bruno, the pope used to be the mayor of the city, not just a religious figure. So, because he ruled the city, he had the mother beheaded and the other children killed for turning against this rich man Barberini.
However, the youngest in the family, a boy, was about 12 years old and couldn’t be tried as an adult. So his punishment was to be castrated so that he couldn’t carry on the Barberini name or inherit the estate. If you’ve been to Rome before, make sure you stop by the Piazza Barberini, named for the family. What is it with Romans building monuments in the name of people wrongfully killed as a form of apology? I guess better late than never!
Anyway, the story goes is at sunrise you can hear the screams of the mother as she worries for her son’s punishment, and you can see her ghost holding her head wandering the bridge looking for her son. That is, you’ll only see her if you are a man with a wicked heart ;)

This tour and the one we took the next day were so amazing and interesting. It was a great way to see the city and hear some of the stories that people still talk about today!

I know we had the most fun in Paris, but Rome definitely come in second. It’s such a beautiful, ancient city with gorgeous architecture and culture.

whoosh!

Our entire trip was just amazing.  It didn’t last nearly long enough, even though we were happy to be home (does that even make sense? haha). We’ve taken away so many memories and so many photos. We’re already planning our next trip to Europe! There is so much more to see!

I’ll be posting one more with just some pictures from Paris since I mainly talked about the food in that post ;)
However, I hope you all enjoyed the series of posts related to our honeymoon! Ciao lovelies! <3

European Eats – Paris

Like you even have to ask if I’m going to write an entry about the food we ate on our trip. I’d be a fool if I didn’t take pictures of the delicious foods we ate and then talk about it with all you lovelies!

Now, please bear with me. This will be a longer post, but I assure you it will be worth it! Well, maybe it won’t to you, but it is to me – haha – and I hope you stick around to hear about our adventures of eating! :) We’ll start with Paris since that was our first stop. Then we’ll move onto Italy.

For those of you who don’t know where we went, we spent two glorious weeks in Europe: Paris, Venice and Rome to be exact. We had a hard time choosing where we would go. REB mentioned his interest in wanting to see Paris at least once in his life and even though I’ve been there before, I haven’t been there with him, so we picked Paris. I told him that I spent a night in Milan and fell in love with northern Italy (Lake Como, Milan, the Alps, etc.) so I would love to go back there, so we decided on Venice since I haven’t been there before. Then we picked Rome because…well, why not? Haha. So that was our trip!

So our first stop was Paris and we spent about 5 days there. That may not seem like a lot of time, but it actually worked out perfectly. We knew what we were going to do there ahead of time and we had enough time to do it all and also just sit around and relax.

We stayed in the 7th District on the Rue Cler and oh. my. god. I fell completely in love with that area. We were about a 15 minute walk to the Champs de Mar and the Eiffel Tower and we were staying on the cutest street filled with cafes, cheese and bread shops, markets every morning. It was just so lively! After we checked in and dropped our bags, we walked across the street to the Cafe Central. This cafe ended up being our local spot where we’d get Cafe Garamonds, cappuccinos, lunch, wine, etc. And it was ALWAYS open. Anyway, we were starving after our long flight – our flight that didn’t take note that we asked for vegetarian meals and we never got them :\ We just ate the snacks we bought (candy and chips basically) so we were starving. The one thing I needed right away? Breakfast, even though it was about 1 or 2 p.m. by the time we reached our hotel. Lucky for me, the French eat bread for breakfast and things like salads and eggs for lunch ;)

Omelet with tomatoes

It was cooked to perfection: fluffy, flavorful and filling!

Now something we both totally support about the French lifestyle is snacking throughout the day. And REB’s favorite snack was eating crepes of course! There were creperies every where and I was actually surprised to know the most common filling was Nutella. Either way, we had our fair share of crepes every day.

Hard to see, but the left three photos show the dude making the crepe. So good!

They were so delicious and the perfect snack to eat while walking around.  They were also ridiculously HOT. But I suppose that’s a good thing. The Nutella was just melted right in and got every where, but it was worth it. Simple, light and delicious. This was probably REB’s favorite snack while we walked around.

My favorite snack? Cafe Garamonds. It’s basically a plate with three little desserts (usually mini creme brulee, pudding, a mini cake, macaron or eclair) and then it also comes with a little cup of espresso. I absolutely loved it.

Cafe Garamond at Cafe Central <3

 

Cafe Garamond at a cafe on the Champs Elysees

Another sweet treat we grew to love were macarons! And there were shops for them all over! They’re becoming quite the trend here in America and I can totally understand why!

Our favorite flavors were: pistachio, lavender, espresso, lemon and sea salt caramel!

 

Michigan State macarons ;) Go green!! <3

 

REB’s coworker actually stayed on Rue Cler when he visited Paris before and told us about this great little chocolate shop near our hotel. It’s the Jeff De Bruges chocolate shop. Founded by Phillipe Jambon, this brand of chocolate is ridiculously tasty. So we made sure to get a little cellophane bag filled with different kinds of chocolates.

Totally worth it!

Speaking of famous, there was another famous brand we made sure to go see. I record Barefoot Contessa regularly on the DVR because I love Ina Garten’s recipes and I love hearing about her adventures in Paris. She actually owns a little apartment in the 7th district off Ave. Rennes. One of the things she’s talked about in several of her French-related episodes, is the Poilâne boulangerie. It’s a pretty well known bakery in Paris known for their breads with the signature “P” on their loaves.

We found it!

 

Just beautiful

 

Let's eat!

We learned quickly that eating bread and/or pastries and drinking espresso is the typical breakfast for many French. Or eating baguettes on the go from a street cart. This is a tradition I can get on board with ;)

And yes, we ate the whole thing. We are not ashamed.

 

Beignets filled with chocolate!

 

Chocolate eclair filled with chocolate

and of course….

A cappuccino to wash it all down! (my preference over espresso lol)

I wrote a post a few days ago about the goat cheese salad we had in Paris and we tried recreating it at home. Well, now you can see the pictures of this amazing salad from Cafe Bosquet. We went there twice. We found the cafe since it was near our hotel and the first time we went, REB got the goat cheese salad while I got the provencal veggie dish. But I ended up grabbing more bites off REB’s dish than eating mine. There’s a reason why. This goat cheese salad, or salad chevre chaud, was one of the best things we ate in that entire city. And the way this cafe prepared it was just delicious!

Ok first you need to see the dishes we got the first time we went. So I had the Vegeables Provecal and in the back there is that gorgeous goat cheese salad that REB ordered.

So our last day in Paris, we went back to Cafe Bosquet for lunch and I ordered the goat cheese salad.

Yuuuuum

 

Here's a better look at it. Doesn't it look super tasty?! It was too. I still have dreams about this salad. I also know now what we need to do the next time we make it so it can be like this!

So while I enjoyed this salad, REB ordered a croque monsieur. Now, this dish is traditionally made with ham and cheese. However, our awesome server picked up on the fact we were vegetarians and instead of just omitting the ham and leaving it as a cheese sandwich, they put tomato in it. So cool!

Note to self: Order this next time!

As vegetarians, it’s actually pretty hard to eat in France. In a country known for its beef, hams and duck con fit, it was really hard to find something to eat on the menu aside from eggs, goat cheese salads or pasta. So we took it upon ourselves to see if we could find any vegetarian restaurants in the city.

We were able to find one that was vegetarian and also had a handful of dishes that were vegan, so we decided to check it out. It’s called Le Grenier de Notre Dame located in the Latin Quarter. It was a tiny restaurant on a side street off the main avenue.

 

We definitely took advantage of the outdoor seating

REB ordered this delicious chocolate pistachio milkshake. It seemed like an odd combination, but it was actually pretty refreshing and tasty!

Their menu was interesting. It actually had a lot of Asian and Indian flavors tied into a lot of the dishes. So for an appetizer, we ordered the spicy goat cheese, which came with vegetables and raita. It was a pretty good dish since it was served warm and the yogurt was nice and cool!

For our entree, REB and I split the casoulet. I’ll be honest. It was just OK. It was filled with lots of beans, tomatoes and other vegetables, but it wasn’t very flavorful. It could have used some kind of spice, herb or even just salt! But, it was filled with protein, and it was filling, so I guess that was good.

So there you have it! Our adventures in Parisian eating! It wasn’t super unique food or anything, but we had our share of foods we don’t normally eat. I hope you all enjoyed and maybe if you ever go to Paris, you’ll use these tips and/or restaurant recommendations and check them out for yourself!

And if not, then pull up a chair and have a glass of wine with us.