Tuesday, October 1, 2013

europe pt. 1

after two weeks away from home galavanting around europe, we are back in austin. 
we had an absolutely amazing time (despite getting a sinus infection [tucker] and strep throat [me] while on the trip), and are so thankful we got to spend two weeks abroad. let me tell you though, getting sick (and i mean, sick) while on a trip in another country is no walk in the park! we didn't let it affect our trip - we still walked at least 12 miles a day while each of us was sick and saw all the things we wanted to see, but man it was tiring. we were lucky to be able to see a doctor there and get us both antibiotics so that the entire trip wouldn't be one filled with tissues and lozenges. 

we decided pretty early on in the planning stages of this trip that we would rent apartments in most of the cities we were visiting. we knew we wanted to cook a little bit at home when we could to a) save some money, and b) try to stick to some form of paleo since we had been doing that for about 9 weeks by the time the trip rolled around. and, the apartments ended up being a really good choice for us. we loved all 3 of the apartments we stayed in (paris was the only city in which we stayed in a hotel instead) - i would highly recommend doing this if you're planning a trip abroad! not only do you feel more like a local, but you are able to get tips from the landlords and usually have a bit more room to spread out. we went through vrbo and had a great experience.
anyway, enough apartment talk.

the first week of the trip was spent split between london + paris, and we lucked out with some incredible weather. especially because we were expecting dreary, grey london skies the entire time and instead we got 70 degree days and blue skies. there was one day that we got rained on for about a 3 hour period, but luckily we planned ahead and brought raincoats and umbrellas with us and found a cafe for some hot coffee and people watching while it died out, so we felt very british. 
we also got to know the subway + bus system really well in london and pretty much became experts at getting around the entire sprawling city. in fact, the only city that we used a taxi in was paris - otherwise, we walked or used subways and buses to get everywhere for two weeks, which was so much fun. my legs may or may not fall off after walking over 170 miles over 14 days, and that's just the way i like it.
overall, this first leg was a great kick start to the trip. we absolutely loved the architecture in london and getting to know such a huge city in a few days. and eating your weight in pastries and coffee can never be wrong, so paris was great in my book too.

i'll post spain pictures later this week. in the meantime, some snapshots from london + paris:

 the first meal we had in london was recommended by the landlords at the apartment - an adorable pizza joint called pizza east. fantastic pizza and a really great ambiance.

we ventured out to the natural history museum, which i've wanted to go to for so long. 

right before we left for paris, we were able to meet up with our friend josh that we actually met in the bahamas for my birthday trip last year! he caught on the very creative nickname of bahamas josh. it was so nice to see a friend all the way across the world from our home! we met up with him at a bar that we really loved, the defectors weld

compared to the other cities we stayed in, we had a very short time in paris, so we tried to fit everything in as quickly as possible. i think this may have been a 14 mile day, if i remember correctly, and it was definitely worth it. i had some suggestions sent to us from a few friends that visited paris, so we had some amazing pastry places to try out and again got incredible weather, as you can tell by the blue skies.
we loved how the seats in every single one of the cafes were faced out, so that you could easily people watch. and you could sip on one single cup of coffee for two hours and the servers wouldn't even look at you twice - they get a bad reputation for having bad service in paris, but we loved that they just left you alone until you asked them for the check. there's something nice about never being rushed out of a place, no?

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