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Author: Kelly

London – Europe ’16

London – Europe ’16

Saturday July  2 – Matt and I were up early to catch our train to London.  It was really nice having the train station so close to the hotel.

I was pretty excited to take the high speed train from Paris to London and to go through the chunnel!  Matt had never done the chunnel train so it was a first for us both.

Since we were crossing over to England, we had to go through customs at the train station.  It was pretty quick which left us about an hour to wait for our train.  There were a ton of people waiting in our train terminal so I made Matt go in search of food, which took forever!

The train from Paris to London was only about 3 hours so we would arrive in London a little after lunch.  The plan was to then meet Matt’s cousin Emma and her boyfriend Tim, for a “normal” day in London!

The train ride was pretty uneventful and the chunnel was a little disappointing.  I really thought you might be able to see some water as you were approaching but we got nada!  One minute fields were passing, the next we were in the chunnel.  It only took about 20 minutes to get through and then we were headed to the city.

image1 (1)
This was right before we went into the chunnel.

Once we got to the train station, we started looking for the train to get to the hotel.  The train station was absolutely crazy so we kept passing up ticket lines hoping for a shorter one.  We finally stopped at one and Matt was just going to wait while I stood with the bags.  We’d popped into a Starbucks so I was happy for the moment.  Not more than a few minutes passed before Matt walked back to me and said we’d just find a cab.

The cab line was much shorter and we figured it was worth the 18 pounds.  We also figured, we had gotten to the hotel before Matt would have actually gotten through the ticket line.

We stayed at the Doubletree Westminster.  While I really would have liked to stay somewhere a little less generic, the room was nice, convenient, and had good views.






I’m pretty sure I have this exact same pic from our last trip to London. 😉

Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived, so we grabbed what we needed and headed to meet E&T.  We met them at the Embankment Station and then headed out to find lunch.  We ended up at a place Matt and I had eaten at the last time we were in London over by the Tate Modern.  We sat down and were both like “we’ve been here before!”

Matt on the left on our trip. Matt on the right from our previous trip! I was like “GET ON THE HORSE!” haha

After lunch we decided to take a water taxi to Greenwich.  Matt and I had to buy tickets but E&T could use their train pass.  We waited and waited and waited.  We finally talked to one of the attendants to see what was going on.  He moved us to the front of the line and we waited for a while longer.  Finally our taxi came but a large party had taken the wrong taxi and they ushered them onto the next one, which meant we were SOL!  We finally decided the water taxi was going to be a bust, since we’d been there close to an hour and were still waiting.  We tried to get our money back but it turned into this big ordeal so E&T took our tickets and were going to submit a refund request.




At this point, we all decided we needed a drink so we headed for a pub.  We had a few drinks there while a little rainstorm passed before heading to dinner.  We went to a Mexican place called Wahaca.  They severed small plates so we tried a few different things, which were all really good.

The only pic we got of the 4 of us.

Matt and I still hadn’t checked into our hotel so we decided to call it a night.  We made it back to the hotel and got settled in our room, then we walked a few blocks to grab some water and food for breakfast the next morning.  Another early morning as we were headed to Devon for some family time.

View from the elevator bank on our floor.


Tuesday June 28 – From Lucerne, Matt and I caught one of the high-speed trains out of Basel to Paris.  The train ride was about 3 hours but the scenery was pretty and I read a book.

We arrived in Paris a little after 1pm and after sorting out our metro tickets, hopped on a train to the hotel.  Luckily for us, the hotel was right across the street from the metro stop!  We checked into the Hôtel Observatoire Luxembourg and  had a cute (small) room with a nice spacious bathroom.  We both agreed the shower in Paris was fantastic!

Our hotel
Stairs in the hotel.

Once we were settled at the hotel we decided to take off and check out the city.  Our hotel was about a mile from Notre Dame, so we started there.  The line to go in was pretty long so we decided we would come back later.  We walked down to the Lourve to see it.  Again, we didn’t go in but just walked along the outside and down through the Jardin des Tuileries to the Big Wheel.  We crossed the Seine and headed back towards the hotel.  At this point, I was getting hungry and needed a break.  There may have been a small meltdown before Matt finally stopped for a drink.  He was saved by the popcorn they provided with my glass of wine!  After food and drink, we made our way back to the hotel for a rest.

Notre Dame
The Louvre
My first view of the Eiffel Tower!



Where wine and popcorn saved Matt’s life, bc it saved mine! 😉

We ended having dinner at the hotel restaurant that night and my dish was amazing!  I had the duck risotto, Matt got a steak and we ordered a bottle of wine!  Matt was interrupted while we were at dinner with work stuff so we went back to the room after dinner for an early night.

Duck risotto
Matt’s steak frites

Wednesday June 29 – We started the day with yummy pain au chocolat as we headed over to the Eiffel Tower.  The front desk told us there was a bus that stopped in front of the hotel that would take us over there but we decided to walk.  I mean it was only like 3 miles so NBD right? 😉 We strolled along and finally made our way to the Eiffel Tower.  Unfortunately, with the Euro 2016 taking place in Paris, the entire park in front of the Eiffel Tower was blocked off!  This meant, no picnic in the park. 🙁   I have to say, I did love the Eiffel Tower, though I expected it to look more worn.  There was a ton of security to go through to go under the tower so we just walked around and across the Seine to have a snack break.







From there, we walked over to the Arc de Triopmphe and down the Champs – Elysees.  A quick trip to McDonald’s to the bathroom (because the bathroom situation in Paris is odd and not free) and then we stopped for ice cream at Jeff de Bruges.  It was delicious and just what we needed!  We then walked down to what we think will be the finish line for the Tour de France!  We hopped on the Metro back to the hotel so we could take a quick nap before meeting my cousin for dinner.



This is where we figured the Tour de France would end.

We met her over in front of the Moulin Rouge and as we were walking there from the metro stop, I noticed the street was lined with sex shops!  hehe!  As I was pointing this out to Matt he’s like “you do know what the Moulin Rouge is right?”  Duh!  I guess I just wasn’t prepared for the fact that there was a still a “redlight district” in Paris.  haha!  The 3 of us found a small cafe around the corner and stopped for dinner.  I think Matt’s dish was the only good one, so clearly choosing based on having a table was a bad idea.  We had a really fun night as we started chatting with some Canadians sitting beside us.  My cousin finally had to leave and Matt and I stayed at the table talking to our new friends.  A bottle of wine, and a whiskey later, we realized the metro was now closed and set off to find a cab!  That was a fun ride and we got to see the Eiffel Tower lit up!  It was also 1am.



Thursday June 30 – We woke up with no real plans for the day and set off towards Norte Dame again.  In the process of wandering around, we ran across a bakery that had HUGE meringues in the window!  Of course we stopped and grabbed a chocolate one along with a pain au chocolat and a croissant.

As we were eating our ginormous meringue, we noticed the line to go inside Norte Dame wasn’t too long and was moving so we decided to go in.  Luckily you could take pics, but without flash!  We were also lucky that we were able to catch the end of Mass.  It was very, very cool!




There was no flash photography inside, so I was scrambling with my camera trying to get the settings right to get anything at all. Even though this one is dark, I think it turned out well.



This is definitely one of my favorite pics from the whole trip.

We left Norte Dame, we started wandering again and decided to head over to the Marais.  This was a quaint little section of town.  We walked around pretty aimlessly for a while and finally decided to stop for a drink.  Lucky for us we stopped because as we were finishing our drinks it started to rain.  We stayed where we were until the rain was done and decided to head back to the hotel.  Originally we thought we might head over to the Sacre Coeur but I was getting tired and we figured we could take a nap and go there later in the night.


Fying buttresses – Notre Dame




After a nap, we headed out to find food and decided to stop at an outdoor cafe not far from the hotel.  I told Matt I didn’t want pizza and then I saw the four cheese pizza on the menu so….yeah!  That happened!  And it was delicious!  Once we were through with dinner we decided just to head back to the hotel and call it a night.

Friday July 1 – We woke up to cloudy skies and our last day in Paris!  I asked Matt what he wanted to do and he said “I thought you wanted to go to the catacombs?”  We’d heard the lines were long, like 2+ hours, but there wasn’t really anything left that we felt we needed to do while in Paris.  The catacombs were about a mile from the hotel so we decided to check out the line and go from there.

I hopped in line while Matt ran across the street to grab some breakfast.  I figured we’d give it 15 mins or so and see where we were.  With no other plans, we ended up waiting almost 2.5 hours to get in!  I think it took the longest the closer we were.  Finally we were in and headed down to the tunnels!

Stairs leading down. (looking back up)





Stairs leading up. They were very narrow. There were 87 in all.

We entered with a small group of about 10 people but as Matt and I started walking in the tunnels, I realized there was NO ONE around us.  It was about this time that I had to start talking myself off the ledge.  I wouldn’t consider myself claustrophobic but being in the tunnels all alone started to kind of freak me out.  Finally another couple came up behind us and I started feeling better.  From there, it didn’t take too long before we entered the actual catacombs.  It was weird, and creepy, and cool to see all of those bones.  There must have been millions down there!  And we only saw a small section.  The bones were all neatly stacked.  Some had designs or patterns.  It was very interesting.

It’s supposed to take about 45 mins to walk the 5 blocks to the exit but it didn’t feel like it took that long.  Maybe it did.  Anyway, in order to exit the catacombs, you have to go up this tiny, spiral, stone staircase.  It’s only big enough for one person to fit as you go around.  When we started up, Matt saw a sign saying there were 87 steps.  We kind of laughed and started up.  About halfway up, I kind of freaked out again.  I had to focus on my breathing because you are just in the small tunnel going around and around.  You can’t see anything above or below you really, other than a few steps either way.  Finally I saw light and bolted for the top.  When we got out Matt made a comment that this might not be the best place to go if you were claustrophobic.  It was then I told him I had a few minor freak outs.  :O

While the catacombs were very cool, and I’m glad we ended up going, I’m not sure it was really worth the 2.5 hour wait in line.  I’m glad we waited till Friday and had seen everything else first.

After we got above ground, we headed back towards our hotel to the Luxembourg Gardens.  They were directly across the street from the hotel.  We stopped to have lunch by a fountain and then walked over to the actual garden.  It was a lovely park and there were tons of people lounging on the lawn.  It was still pretty cloudy though so we headed back to the hotel for a nap.

Start of the Luxembourg Gardens.





When we got up, we walked around to find some souvenirs and grab dinner.  We still had yet to have crepes so we stopped at La Creperie.  We could see the Pantheon in one direction and the top of the Eiffel Tower in the other.  The crepes were delicious!  After dinner we took the long way back to the hotel before turning in early, since we had an early train to catch to London.  This turned out to be a good thing since it started to rain after we got back to the room.

Our view from dinner.
Looking the other way.
Our dinner. Before and after!

It was an early night, which was good considering we had an early morning ahead of us.

Lucerne Switzerland

Lucerne Switzerland

Sunday June 26 – We arrived in Lucerne a little after lunch on Sunday.  The train station was about a 5 minute walk from our hotel, the Boutique Hotel Zum Weisses Kruez, so we dropped our bags off and set out in town.

The first place we decided to go was the Lucerne Lion Monument.  On the way, we stopped and grabbed some lunch and dessert.  The Lion Monument was craved in stone as a memorial to fallen soldiers at the Tuilerires in 1792.  There were quite a few tourists when we arrived but we managed to find a little spot off to the side to have our lunch.  I tried to get Matt to take a selfie but he thought it was disrespectful so we didn’t (though there were tons of others doing it.)

Our room
We could hear them playing from our room. We didn’t know where it was coming from until we walked out behind the hotel.
There were water fountains all around town. I told Matt no way! The old fountains constantly run water from underground glaciers.
Matt filling up our first water bottle! We drank city water our entire time there!




Church door.


Stairs up to the city wall. There were a LOT of stairs.
On top of the city wall.



After we ate lunch, we headed back for town.  As we were walking we noticed a church on a hill so we walked up to check it out. It was very pretty inside.  We then headed over to the City Wall to check that out.  After a  LOT of stairs, we reached the wall.  You could walk up to the top and then walk across the wall.  The views from the top of the wall were amazing!  Had it not been kind of cloudy it would have been even better.

We got to the other side and walked back down, this put us on the back side of the wall so we followed the path down to the road.  We (at least I) had no clue where we would end up, but as we followed the road we found ourselves just on the other side of the river from our hotel.  One cool thing about Lucerne are the wooden walking bridges that cross the river.  Once we crossed back over we decided to stop at one of the hotel bars for a drink overlooking the river.

This is probably my favorite door from the whole trip.



This is also at the top of my fave pic list!
Fave pic list!

After walking back to the room for a nap, we set out to find dinner.  Around trip around the city center ended with us back at the hotel  restaurant, where I had a wonderful lasagna.   When dinner was finished we decided to walk down the river on the other side and check it out.  Since it didn’t get dark till close to 10 pm we were able to enjoy the sights around us for a while.

Monday June 27 – The other thing we had planned for Lucerne was Mount Piltaus.  There were several options on how to get up and down the mountain and Matt choose the Silver Ticket for us.  This included a cogwheel up and a cable car down to a bus. It was about a 30 minute train ride to reach to the cogwheel station.  Once at the station, we piled into a little train car thing with 6 other people and set off up the mountain.  As we were going, the conductor informed us this was the steepest cogwheel in the world and that it was built in the 1800’s.  :O  I had a seat by the window so I could take pics and OMG, it was breathtakingly beautiful!  And also very, very steep!  I was facing up, and I think I’m glad about that!  You couldn’t quite tell exactly how steep it was from that angle.  (I’m pretty sure there is no way in hell I would have gone back down the cogwheel!)


This shows the angle we were at going up.







After trudging up the mountain for about 30 minutes, we finally reached the summit.  Unfortunately, it was clouded in but Matt and I walked around to check things out.  We ended up going to the smaller summit before deciding if we wanted to try to largest one.  In the end, we decided not to since the top was completely cloudy.

Since the clouds weren’t breaking we hopped on a cable car down to Pilatus Kulm.  Situated about half way down the mountain, there was an adventure park that included rope walks, zip lines, and a toboggan run.  We grabbed a coffee, enjoyed the views and watched people on the adventure courses.  When we decided we were ready, we grabbed  a smaller cable car for the decent down.  This was definitely the way to go down!  Stunning views of the treetops and city, it was a different view from the mountains on the way up.








Once we were down and back to town, we decided to walk back around the city since it was sunny and looked completely different.  Now I have pics of cloudy Lucerne and sunny Lucerne!  😉  That night we went to a place called Jill’s Burgers for dinner.  The food was good ( and the menu in English – most places had menus in Italian, German and Japanese).  While we were eating dinner the Euro 2016 was going on between Italy and Spain.  As soon as the game was over and Italy had won, we started hearing car horns!  This continued on for a quite a while so Matt and I walked up to the main street to see a line of traffic and people lining the streets celebrating the win!  It was actually really cool to see!


Fave pic list!





We went back to the room and watched England lose to Iceland.

The next morning, we were woken up at about 5:30 am to the loud as crap sound of the street sweeper!  This continued for a good 15 minutes.  We had an early train to catch on our way to Paris and the street sweeper didn’t really make my day!

Switzerland – Zurich to Lucerne

Switzerland – Zurich to Lucerne

Our trip officially started Friday June 24th with a flight to Zurich leaving Raleigh at 4:55pm.

Matt took the day off and I worked from home that morning (to save a day).  Our morning was filled with last minute details and packing.  Finally 1:30 rolled around and Matt and I hopped in the car and headed to the airport.  Our flight from RDU to JFK was a breeze!  Left on time, though once we arrived at JFK there was another plane parked too close to our terminal so we had to sit on the tarmac for a good 30 mins before finally being able to park at gate.  The airline staff asked the passengers to stay seated if they didn’t have an immediate flight, which was good because Matt and I were going to be cutting it close. Thankfully our departing terminal was the next one over.  We managed to run to the bathroom and grab a sandwich before boarding our flight to Zurich.

While we were waiting to depart, we noticed 1) the plane wasn’t very full and 2) some workers on one of the wings.  We didn’t think much about it until the Pilot came on and said there was a  maintenance issue but we would stay on the plane while they fixed it.  No more than 2 minutes later we were asked to de-board the plane!  So our flight departing at 8:05 ended up not boarding until midnight!  I was so annoyed.  I was tired and just wanted to go to sleep.  We also taxied for what felt like an hour before finally taking off.

The “we are stuck in the airport” selfie.

We get in the air, finally, and things are nice and quiet and dark and then they turned the lights on to serve food! WTF!?!?  At this point, I was really glad they had provided eye masks.  Finally the lights were turned off but it didn’t do much for my sleeping situation.  I think I managed a few hours of sleep on and off.  I finally woke up around 6am EST starving!  I ate a few cookies and not long after they started to serve breakfast.  It wasn’t great but it was food.

We landed in Zurich after noon and made it through customs pretty quickly.  We found our train and headed off for the hotel.  By this time, I’d found my second wind so minus really just needing a shower I was doing pretty good.

After a short walk from the train station we found our hotel, Sorrell Hotel Seindenhof.  Our room wasn’t quite ready so we went to the hotel restaurant and ordered a coffee while we waited, watching all of the super expensive cars drive by.  We saw a McLaren, Porsches Lamborghinis – there was not shortage!  As we were sitting there the bottom fell out.  Thankfully it was a quick little rain storm and passed before we went to our room.

View from our room.
Our hotel duck!
One of the many bachelorette parties we saw.
This was a dining trolley.

Once we got to the room we showered and headed out to check out the city.  We wandered over to the old city and walked around before deciding we needed food.  At this point, we were back by the hotel but hadn’t found anything interesting.  We stopped by the front desk and the girl recommended a place in the old city.  Go figure!  So we headed back over there.  We ended up stopping at a place called Saint Lucia for Italian food!  It was really good! After dinner we headed back to the hotel for sleep!











The next morning we woke up and grabbed breakfast from the hotel restaurant.  We then took another walk around town.  The sun was out so we had a nice stroll before going to check out and grab our bag for the train to Lucerne!

European Trip 2016!

European Trip 2016!

The Edwards do Europe!!!!

Back in January Matt’s parents mentioned that one of his grandmother’s was turning 90 in July and asked if we would like to go over and celebrate her birthday!  Pretty much a no brainer when they also offered to cover our plane tickets!

It’s been over 6 years since we’ve been to the UK to see family and quite a few years since anyone has been over to the US.  With a vague timeline in hand, Matt and I decided we would go over for two weeks.  We’d spend one week with family and one week trekking around.  At first we thought we’d actually see Beryl on her birthday so I started trying to figure out how we could also see a Tour de France tour stop.  I mean if you’re going to be in Europe in July, you might as well make that work right?!!?  The only stop I could kind of work out was the Tour stop in Berne Switzerland.  Then Matt’s parents decided to go over a little earlier.  This would rule out any Tour stops but we decided to keep Switzerland on the list.

Once we started looking for plane tickets we found a good deal flying into Zurich and out of London!  This would mean we’d have a week to make our way to the UK.

First stop, Zurich!


Jamaica – Sandals Whitehouse – Thursday May 9th

Jamaica – Sandals Whitehouse – Thursday May 9th

Thursday morning we woke up around 7:30 am and were headed to downstairs around 8.  We ran to the beach and were able to find 4 chairs with an umbrella so we put down a few things and started walking to the main plaza.   It was sunny and beautiful out so I took pics as we went.  We got to the main plaza and went back to Bayside for the breakfast buffet.

After breakfast we headed back to the beach.  Since we hadn’t actually walked the beach yet, Matt and I decided to walk to the beach back to our chairs.  The beaches were beautiful with pretty white sand.  Unfortunately for me there were no shells to be found so I scooped up the small ones I saw.  We got back to our chairs and decided to keep walking to see if we could find L&C.  We didn’t see them when we got to the end of the chairs so we decided to keep on walking.  The resort property went a few hundred feet past the last of the huts but you could sign out and keep walking down the beach.  We took pics as we went and at one point I told Matt it felt like our own little deserted island.  It was so pretty to have the beach to our left and mangroves to the right.  Not to mention it was so serene and quiet.  We only ran into one couple headed back to the resort as we were walking to the end.

We got to the end of the sand and decided we could probably go further if we wanted but we’d have to walk in the water.  Neither of us were really up for that so we decided to head back to the resort.  I felt like I took about a million pics while we were walking and most of them turned out pretty well.  On our way back we saw a sea urchin shell (which I am still kicking myself over not grabbing) and then Matt spotted a starfish in the water.  I ran over to it and picked it up.  It was soo cool.  I barely had it in my hand when the little tentacles came out.  They felt like a caterpillar   It was weird and cool.  We took a  pic and I put him back in the water.

We finally got back to our chairs around 10:30 when L&C walked up.  They’d gotten up and eaten breakfast and then found us on the beach.  We laid out until lunch time and then the rain set in.  We all huddled under the umbrella for a few minutes and then L&C decided to run and get a table for lunch at Bluefields.  This was the only restaurant on our end of the resort.  Matt and I waited a few more minutes until there was a break in the rain and then we headed over for lunch.

After lunch Matt and I went back to the beach and hung out till about 3.  We headed to the room and took naps before getting ready for dinner.  We met L&C at Neptunes bar and then went to Jasmines for dinner.  After dinner we grabbed coffees and pastries from the Paris Cafe and found some couches by the fire-pits   We sat there chatting for a while before we headed to our rooms.

**Again, more pics to come.


Jamaica – Sandals Whitehouse – Wed May 8th

Jamaica – Sandals Whitehouse – Wed May 8th

Matt and I woke up around 4am to get ready for our 7:30 flight to ATL.  We showered, dressed, got our things together and headed for the airport.  The security line was actually pretty long considering the time and date but the process was smooth and we were able to get through pretty quickly.  I grabbed some breakfast and looked at FB while we waited for our plane.

On the flight to ATL, we met an older lady from Raleigh.  She was sitting on the aisle seat next to Matt.  We hit a patch of rough air and she grabbed his arm.  She immediately apologized but we laughed and told her it was fine.  We started talking to her and found out her and her daughter were on their way to Jade Mountain in St Lucia.  Talk about WOW!  Not only that but they had a mountainside room.  Jealous!  It was a gift from her son in law for the daughter’s birthday and mother’s day.

The layover in ATL was pretty uneventful and soon we were on our way to Jamaica.  The flight was nice and I got some cool pics from the plane.  We think we might have been over Cuba but we weren’t really sure.  The flight was a little under 3 hours so Matt watched a movie while I read.

We landed in Montego Bay around 2pm local time (they don’t observe daylight savings time).  It was a pretty long walk to customs and once we were through we found the Sandals lounge.  This place was CRAZY!  There were people everywhere and unlike the lounge in St Lucia, we barely had time to freshen up before our bus was called.  A porter, un-associated with the resort grabbed our bags and walked us outside.  Matt wasn’t extremely happy about this because we weren’t told this up front, and of course you have to tip.  We got on a bus with 2 other couples and waited for a driver.  A few minutes passed and the decided to move us to another bus.  It turned out the girl that sat beside Matt on the ride down was on the other bus (she was an AL grad).

On the bus ride several of us began to talk and we found out one couple was from the ATL area.  We ended up staying with them while we were checked in and walked to our rooms.

The bus ride took about an hour and a half.  The roads were awful and I’m sure the trip would have been greatly shortened had we not had to come to a complete stop to pass over most of the pot holes.  The scenery was nice but in a dilapidated way.  There were numerous houses/structures that were mid construction, only you could tell it was finished.  No one was coming back to complete the project.  The houses were mostly small and many had large rocks on the roofs holding down the tin.  I didn’t get any pics from the bus.  The windows were tinted and well…yeah.  About an hour in we finally got to a point where we could start to see the ocean.  You could see the beautiful bright blues.

We finally got to the resort around 3:30 pm.  There was a long drive that took us to the main building.  We were greeted with cold towels and then proceeded to the lobby to check in.  Our group was seated and we were brought Champagne while we waited for the paperwork.  Somehow all the guys ended up filling out the forms so the girls went to the desk to put credit cards on file.

We got to our building and parted ways with the couple from ATL.  They were in the next village but we didn’t exchange room numbers.  Matt and I went to our room which consisted of a king sized 4 poster bed and a small love seat.  We had an amazing view of the pool and the ocean.  I not so patiently waited for the bell boy to bring our luggage.  I was ready to get in a swimsuit and grab a drink.  Finally our bags arrived and we headed out to explore.

There was a bar in front of our pool so we picked up drinks and headed for the main pool.  We noticed the sky was looking pretty dark but we kept going and by the time we got the main pool it started to rain.  We grabbed more drinks and ran to an umbrella to wait out the rain.  It only lasted 10 – 15 mins and then we headed back to our room.

We laid down for a little while then got ready for dinner.  We had no idea what we wanted so we walked to the main plaza and settled on Bayside.  They served breakfast in the morning but had a nice set up for dinner and we were able to sit outside.  After dinner we walked around just checking the place out when we ran into the ATL couple, Lauren and Chris.  We decided to have a few more drinks and headed up to the martini bar.  Everyone was pretty tired from the day so we turned in early but we told L&C we’d save chairs the next day and we’d see them in the morning.

***I’ll actually add some pics to this post when I get home and have access to my pics but for now here is the link.  These should be mainly from Wed and Thurs.


NYC Day 3 – Happy Anniversary!

NYC Day 3 – Happy Anniversary!

Sunday morning Matt and I woke up and exchanged anniversary cards before heading to FAO Schwartz which was just around the corner from our hotel.  A friend suggested we check it out just because so I took her advice and off we went.  When we got there there were 2 Soldiers greeting the kids at the door.  It was pretty cute.  We opted not to have our pictures taken with them. 🙂  I have to say I pictured the store to be a little more grand.  I mean it was big but not as big as I expected.  On the first floor were tons of stuffed animals and then you walked into the candy room!  AHHHHH!  Matt found the world’s biggest bag of twizzlers.  I should say all the candy seemed giant sized.  We managed to make it through the candy section with NO candy.  Whew!


Next we headed upstairs.  In between the 2 escalators were huge life sized stuff animals.  EEKK!  Unfortunately I couldn’t talk Matt into a life sized horse!  BOOO!  {He’s a dream killer sometimes. ;)}  We did see the life sized piano from the movie BIG.  That was pretty cool.

After we left FAO Schwartz we headed to Central Park and looked for food on the way.  Picnic in the park baby!  We found a little deli, grabbed some lunch and headed to Central Park to eat.  We found a nice little spot in the grass under some trees and just as we sat down a baby play group pulled up.  Thankfully they were babies so they were good.  When we finished lunch we headed over to Tavern on the Green.  Super disappointed.  I remember seeing this in the movie the Out of Towners and the movie made it appear to be in the middle of the park.  In reality it is right on the edge of the park and not nearly what I thought it would be.  It used to be a super fancy restaurant but now it’s a little visitor center type building.  Thankfully they had bathrooms.

Tavern on the Green

From Central Park we found a metro station and headed towards Chinatown.  WOOO HOOO!  We might have started walking in the wrong direction when we left the metro station.  I blame Matt. I told him what street we were looking for but he choose which way we walked.  {That’s right hon I blame you!}  Once we figured this out we turned around and really headed for Chinatown.

Only pic I took in Chinatown

It seemed as though a lot of the shops were closed and Matt wasn’t sure where we needed to go in order to score a bag.  Luckily we turned down a rather busy street and were immediately approached by a lady asking if we wanted a bag.  Hell yeah we want a bag.  We followed her through the crowd to a side street.  At this point she pulls out a laminated piece of paper with hand bags.  I start asking how much certain bags are.  Her opening price wasn’t really in the budget and Matt goes you knew you needed cash.  GRRR!  I told her I didn’t have that much and was about to walk away when she made a me deal.  😀  We waited while she went to get the bag. I must say I was a little disappointed we didn’t get to go to a super secret back room but I also had my camera so standing on the street really seemed like the a smarter idea.  A few minutes later she returned with a shopping bag, I glanced at the bag and handed over my money.  Wooo hooo!  Hello Louis!  I was pretty determined to not leave NYC without a LV bag.

Now that we had a bag we walked to the Brooklyn Bridge but not before we had a Starbucks break.  As we were walking Matt made a comment about everyone having Starbucks.  Well we got to the next corner and there was a Starbucks.  I’m not gonna lie, sitting for a few minutes was great.  And sitting with an ice cold drink was even better.  Now that we’d had a little break we walked over to the Brooklyn Bridge.  By this point my feet were like please stop using us so I wasn’t super disappointed when Matt noticed the bridge was boarded and you couldn’t see out.  We found a nice spot, stopped and took our pic and headed back.  I wanted a pretty easy, early day since we had dinner reservations that night.

We got back to the hotel around 3 or 4 and napped before getting ready for dinner at Scarpetta.  Oh Scarpetta…….



NYC – Day 2

NYC – Day 2

Saturday Matt and I woke up around 9 and were headed to the Empire State bldg around 10.  I thought it would be pretty cool to go to the top.  As we were walking Matt decided it would be good to go by Grand Central Station on our way.  We walked a few more blocks before we finally arrived.  The inside was pretty cool.  The first thing you notice is the bright green ceiling and then the clock in the middle.  We walked down the stairs and started to wonder around.  It was really cool seeing all the train entrances.

We continued around until we got to the Market.  Matt wanted to check it out since it’s been on a few of the cooking competition shows.  I have to say I didn’t think it was extremely large but they seemed to have a pretty good selection of foods.

From Grand Central we made our way up Park Ave.  It was neat because at one spot there were brass/gold plaques in the sidewalk.  I took a couple of pics because I thought they were pretty neat.

Soon we could see the Empire State bldg in the skyline so we continue to walk that way.  A block or so from the Empire State Bldg I saw a really cool fossil and mineral store.  My dad loves stuff like this so I took a few pics just for him.

We entered the Empire State Bldg and started to make our way up.  Matt mentioned we picked a good time to come because when he went the lines were pretty long.  Thankfully it only took maybe 30 – 45 minutes to get to the top.  As you walk through they have pics and various things about the building.  My goal though, was to get to the top.  The first elevator we got in took us from floor 3 to floor 80 in about 5 mins.  It was super fast.  The next elevator that goes from floor 80 to floor 86 (where the observation deck is) had a 30 minute wait but the guide told us we could take the stairs if we wanted.  Of course a ton of people moved from the line and headed for the stairs, us included.  We got to floor 83 and the group started dragging.  I’m really glad I wasn’t the only one about to die.  Thankfully we made it to floor 86 alive. 🙂

We got to the observation deck and there was a girl who looked like she was going to pass out.  I overheard her say she hated heights.  HAHA!  I would say she probably never made it outside.  Anyway Matt and I headed for the door.  There were a ton of people gathered right there so Matt grabbed me and we kept moving.  As you went around the crowd thinned out so I grabbed a spot on the wall to take pics.  We made our way around and took pics of the city before heading back down.  But I am pretty sure we walked by a proposal.  Girl crying, kind of shaking.  It looked like a proposal to me.  Matt missed it. 🙂

By the time we were done both of us were starving.  Matt suggested we make our way back over to the Shake Shack.  We got to the park and the line appeared to be a tad shorter then the day before so we decided to wait it out.  Forty-five minutes later we finally ordered lunch, 2 shack burgers and 2 shakes.  It didn’t take too long to get our food and we found a little table to eat at.  Matt grabbed our burgers and much to our disappointment they were not really worth the wait.  Don’t get me wrong they were good but nothing spectacular.  The milk shakes were pretty good but again not really worth the wait.  Oh well.  At least we did it and now we know we won’t do it again. 😉

After lunch we headed down to the World Trade Center and Battery Park.  {Thankfully Matt said we could take the metro.}  It was awesome seeing the new towers go up.  We thought about going to see the Memorial but you needed an appointment and we didn’t feel like waiting.  They had the original site all blocked off so you couldn’t see in and the streets were also blocked so you couldn’t get too close.  I was very surprised to see cops with rifles standing on the corners.  Crazy.

We walked by Trinity Church, which was beautiful and then down Wall Street.  We didn’t see the Bull, Matt wasn’t sure where it was and well my feet really didn’t care, but we did see the stock exchange.  We stumbled across a cool little street where all the bars and restaurants had tables set up as we walked to Battery Park.

The first thing you see when you enter Battery Park is this weird structure of bamboo.  Inside the tepee structure was a garden.  Then we walked over to Castle Clinton.  I’m not really sure what exactly it was but I have pics if I want to find out. 😉  The tour boats were at the dock so we didn’t get a great view of the Statue of Liberty but you could see her out there.  I guess I never really thought about it but I kind of expected it would be taller or higher.  I’m sure it looks much more impressive if you actually go out there.

I should mention that as Matt and I were looking at the Freedom Tower from Battery Park, Matt thought it looked like King Kong at the top.  He thought maybe it was something “fun” they were doing since the tower is now the tallest in the city.  Thankfully my zoom lens revealed the real truth….it was the crane tower. 😉

As we were leaving there was a group of men playing some sort of traditional instruments.  Then as we were standing around waiting for Matt to find a bar, I found a four leaf clover!  HOLY COW!  As a kid I always tried to find them with no luck and here I am standing by some random fence in NYC and there it is.  I was tempted to try to convince Matt to jump over the rail when I noticed a little gate.  I opened the gate, picked my clover and we were on our way back to the cute street full of bars.  We stopped at the Dubliner for a drink before making our way back to the Hotel.

That night we went to a pizza place around the corner from our hotel called Pizzarte.  The food was amazing and they had some very interesting art on the walls.  I decided to ask the waiter who the artist was, Paolo Romano, and just how much the art went for, umm 4 grand.  That’s just a smidge out of my price range. 🙂  But I might have a new art project coming soon!

After dinner we walked over to Times Square.  Man was that place crazy so we just walked though.  I did manage to get some decent night pics but I think I will post all of the night pics in a separate post.


NYC here we come!

NYC here we come!

Okay it’s time to blog about this trip.  As you know this was mine and Matt’s 1 year anniversary trip. We decided to go to NYC since I had never been and we could make it a long weekend.  {I will be running out of PTO days soon if we take another long trip.}

Matt decided we needed to be up around 4:30am on Friday to make our 7:20 flight.  Ughhh!  I hate waking up early and I really thought this might be an issue but my body had other ideas.  It decided to wake up at 4.  JOY!  I rolled over and found Matt awake too so we decided to just get up and get going.  We left the house around 5:30ish and headed for the park and ride.  The park and ride is pretty awesome and cheap!  We arrived at the airport and I grabbed some breakfast before getting on the plane.

The flight from RDU to JFK was pretty quick, just over an hour.  Once we got to JFk we found a taxi and headed into the city.  Um, now let me just talk about our cab driver.  He didn’t say one word to us except to ask where we were going.  And then it was like a mad man driving.  {Granted I never actually felt like we were going to die but holy crap they are BAD drivers!}  He managed to get us to our hotel in one piece but I am pretty sure there are no rules for driving and there are certainly not any lines to follow.  But enough about our cab ride.  I will say the drive was interesting.  Not really what I expected though I’m not sure what I expected.  I felt it looked kind of run down and dirty.  Seeing the skyline as we drove in was pretty cool though.

After about an hour in the cab we finally arrived at the Chambers hotel.  The hotel was very nice and had a funky modern flare to it.  We were told our room wouldn’t be ready til noon so we left our bags and hit the street.  Now is probably a really good time to mention I completely forgot my Rainbows at home and I wore my Lucky Brand boots on the plane.  That’s right I started walking the city in boots.

Our hotel was at the corner of 5th and 56th so to our left was Harry Winston.  Across the street was Trump Tower, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and a host of other super high end places.  We walked for a little while and Matt informed me taking pics was out of the question since people would run me over.  Hmmm.  I randomly took a few pics as I could maneuver my way into a corner or out of the main walking paths.  We found a Pret A Manager and grabbed some yummy snacks and rested our feet before heading over to the Flat Iron building.  The plan was to go to the Shake Shack for lunch.

When we got to the Park where Shake Shack was the line was stupid long so we decided to wait a little while for lunch.  Around this time my feet were absolutely killing me and I told Matt it was time to find new shoes.  He found the world’s largest Macy’s about 10 blocks away so we headed there.  OMG, I have never seen such chaos in a department store before in my life and guys this was a Friday in May.  WTF?!?  Ladies shoes were on the 3rd and 4th floors so we rode the cool old wooden escalador up.  Matt ran to the bathroom while I tried to wrap my head around the chaos that was Macy’s.  I found a couple pairs of flip flops but I was so discombobulated I just grabbed a pair, quickly tried them on and went to pay.  As I was standing in line I realized I had nothing to actually use to buy shoes.  Matt had all my money.  Dammit.  I waited for him to return and finally paid for my new shoes.  They weren’t the best but by no means were they as bad as my boots.

We left Macy’s and walked around to Madison Square Garden before heading back to the park for Shake Shack.  Of course the line was still stupid long so we continued our walking.  We finally ended up at Momofuku ssam bar.  We got the steamed pork buns and they were delicious.  After lunch we started to make our way back towards the hotel.  Honestly I have no clue as to where exactly we went.  Matt decided we could take the Metro back only to realize there were no restrooms in the metro station and I was about to die.  This turned into find restroom and head back to the metro.

We got back to our hotel around 4:30 and laid down for a while.  I tried to wash the black off my feet but they are still dirty looking, almost a week later.

That night we asked the concierge where a good place to go to dinner was and he said Bistro Milano which was one block away.  Sold!  He recommended a few dishes and called to let them know we would be right over.  We were lucky to snag a table outside but as the evening went on it began to get chilly.  Being the amazing husband he is, Matt ran back to the hotel to grab my sweater.  Our food arrived and I was less then impressed with my pizza (which was recommended) but Matt’s pasta was amazing so we ended up sharing that basically.  Our waitress was HORRIBLE!  She took our order and we didn’t see her until we asked another waiter for the check.  I was seriously tempted to just leave but Matt didn’t want to go to jail on our first night. 😉  I will say her tip reflected her shitty service, so much so that we took a pic of the receipt.  I wanted to leave tip:  Learn some customer service but Matt left actual money.

So that was basically our first day in NYC.  I think we walked at least 50 miles and guys these feet are NOT made for walking. 😉


I’ll post all the pics on my photography website in the next day or so.