Browsed by
Day: July 27, 2016



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!