I am back from a beautiful and unforgettable honeymoon! I have never been to Europe so this was a fresh and magical vacation for my senses as well as incredibly romantic. Here I am at dusk under the Eiffel Tower on the first night we got in. My overall impressions of Paris:
-Impressively clean for a big city! The metro system was great and I hardly ever saw trash or smelled sewage on the streets.
-The bakery smells! I could seriously eat croissants and those flaky pastries all day…food post to follow after this one ;).
-If you make any attempt to speak French first and then ask whatever else you want in English, the natives were all very nice and helpful. I did not get those dreaded cold shoulders I heard so much about.
-LOVED the residential buildings–the streets were in a non-grid pattern so the houses were all in shapes to accommodate that structure. There were beautiful plants and flowers just outside almost every long-windowed apartment.
-Museum tickets and city attractions were not that expensive. They beat American prices everywhere! e.g. NYC’s Metropolitan = $25 and The Louvre = 12 Euros. Even with the exchange rate at 1.4:1, $16 is a deal!
We even made a trip to the Pont des Arts! John and I bought a pink lock, chose a good spot right in the middle of the bridge, and locked it up! Instead of throwing the keys into the Seine, I kept them to make a future charm necklace. I figure that river doesn’t need another piece of rust corroding away…
Here is the Mona Lisa in all its 8×10 glory. What a shock I received to see that this famous Da Vinci work was so small! How I got jostled just trying to take one picture. I noticed that pretty much every tourist in a museum always stands at a coveted spot for up to minutes-long and takes several, not one picture. I developed intense hatred for everyone who did that. I made sure to get ONE steady picture on my camera (takes 3 seconds or less) and then scram!
Sweet Barcelona! This is taken at Park Guell where it featured some of Gaudi’s creative works. The mosaics and the adobe-like structures in this park were breath-taking. The scenery on this coastal city was beautiful and unique. The architecture (mostly thanks to Gaudi) was out of this world and the palm trees and interesting fauna added to the charm here.
The inside of the Sagrada Familia. I’m not a huge ancient cathedral/church fan, but I thoroughly enjoyed touring the Sagrada Familia. To me, it’s Lothlorien in space! Gaudi’s style was very organic and focused on a lot of patterns in nature.
On our last honeymoon night, we spent a whole day in Montjuic, ending with the Magic Fountain show! It’s hard to compare Paris and Barcelona but I have to say, language was a barrier in both cities even though my Spanish ain’t too shabby. Unfortunately for me, Barcelona uses Catalan in writing mainly and a lispy sort of Spanish verbally.
Here’s what I missed about the U.S. while in Europe:
-Free water at any restaurant (waiters hated when we would ask for a “carafe déau” while other times would not understand at all and just get us bottled water or mineral water costing more than wine, lol).
-Public restrooms (there were absolutely none available. You had to be a paying restaurant customer or museum patron. Also, European restrooms were horrendously not up to code–SUPER small, not enough water pressure on the flush, inadequate drying equipment)
-Speedy service in restaurants. In Europe, you must ask for beverages check and make a lot of effort to have the waiter come over).
Here’s what Europe does better:
-No separate tax and tip at restaurants! Your bill comes out to integers and ends up being a lot less! The American system of having employee wages pushed onto the burden of customers is the most retarded rule I’ve ever heard of. Servers should just be able to make $9/hr or $10/hr so tipping would be obsolete and restaurants can TOTALLY afford to pay real wages.
-Better desserts and pastries all around. Mind blowingly good to all the senses.
-Cheap wine! I’m not even a wine fan but at $3 a bottle, it’s hard to pass up some good Pinot Grigio!
-Better dressed people on the streets. John and I made sure to pack only cocktail-appropriate attire. Closed toed shoes, collared button downs, dress pants, dress stockings, dresses, blazers!