Back on this side of the pond

Here’s a post to bring everything up to date so I can start being more timely!

We departed Germany the last week of March and spent a few weeks house hunting in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia. It was stressful, but we eventually found just the right place. Big Ds sister Becky came to spend a quick day exploring with us:

me & Becky
me & Becky at the White House

And then after just 11 days in America we were off to Toronto, Canada for six weeks while D attended some training. We were in a (not so great) suburb and our less than ideal location plus the ridiculous temperatures (snow, in April!?) made me cranky. We took a day trip to Niagara Falls, and at the end of that day…I booked a ticket to St. Petersburg, Florida to visit my sister and to thaw out!

Because seriously. Which of the following would you prefer??
Chill D and Horeshoe Falls

St Petersburg

Fletch and I drove from Toronto to Alexandria in early May.

Yesterday's sunrise over Lake Ontario.
Sunrise over Lake Ontario

I spent a few days at my friend Jenny’s while I got organized and then finally: Moving Day!

Just for us! Well, we paid for it. But I think we are all set for Monday's move.

Moving Day
It was nerve-racking to see someone standing on everything we own!

Untitled

I worked really hard for a solid week and suddenly I was unpacked, settled in, and ready to explore our new neighborhood:

Old Town Consignment Shop

The Majestic

Exploring our neighborhood

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Captain's Row

And a few weeks later: Big D was back from his training, the final touches were added to our new place, and we hosted a little Housewarming Party.

Kerry, me, Becky

Big D and his sisters

Smooch!

Housewarming flowers.

Evie, me, and Tambour

We’ve already had a lot of fun and we have a long list of things we are excited to see, so stay tuned!

Watching the movers...

Czech us out

Our niece booked a trip to Prague in February and thanks to a friend that backed out, her mom (Big D’s sister) and Joyce (D’s cousin’s wife) accompanied her – and Big D & I met them there.

It was a nine hour journey via train from Wiesbaden via Dresden to Prague.
On the train between Dresden and Prague.

Outside the window on our train to Prague, a world in white gets underway.

After a quick snack, we made our way to the Beer Museum Pub – they have 30 choices on tap!
30 choices!

We really enjoyed touring Prague’s sights again:

Prague

Prague Astronomical Clock

Photo

Richelle on the Charles Bridge
Richelle on the Charles Bridge

Prague Castle
‘chelle, me, and Kerry at Prague Castle

Prague

St. Vitus Cathedral

St. Vitus Cathedral
St. Vitus Cathedral

Prague

Prague

Prague

We took a microbrew tour on our second day and a good time was had by all!

ready for a brew!

Joyce

beer tasting

'celle and Uncle D

Dinner that night, atop the Hotel U Prince was chilly, but beautiful:
Prague

On day three we took another tour, this time of the Jewish Quarter. It was fascinating (and sadly, photos were prohibited at most stops.)
Jewish Cemetery

Jewish Cemetery

Jewish Cemetery

We took a tip from my friend K and had a delightful lunch at a place called Giovanni. Afterwards, we walked over to Kampa Island, home of the John Lennon Wall.

lunch at Giovanni

Kampa Island Bridge

Kerry & Richelle

at the Lennon Wall

Lots more pictures of our adventures in Prague are on Flickr.

Thanks for inviting us, Richelle! And thanks to Kerry and Joyce for lots of laughs!

Egg beaters on washboard

Big D indulged me every time I’d reenact a scene from this video and didn’t make too much fun of me when I’d sing to myself. It’s one of my all time favorites and worth the watch:

City of…snails

After just a few more posts I’ll be all caught up on our European adventures and can get on with more current activities – it’s bittersweet.

As our time in Germany got short we felt pressure to do, see, eat, etc. everything. But at the same time, traveling is really tiring (I know, I know – it’s a First World Problem if ever there was one.)

I spent a lot of time conducting research before each trip so that we knew exactly where to go, how to get there, and what to do once we arrived. Most of our trips had a specific goal and usually a corresponding schedule. I think we selected this destination because as snotty as it sounds, traveling to Paris was easy. We knew where to stay, how to maneuver the city, what we wanted to eat, and come on: it’s Paris for goodness sake!

Cafe Central
We checked in to our hotel and then practically sprinted to Cafe Central for their fantastic hamburger sauce.

We stayed just off the Rue Cler and I love everything about that little street:
Rue Cler

Flower shop on Rue Cler

We spent the first day wandering aimlessly from landmark to landmark, stopping for wine along the way.

We're here!

Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile
Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile

Louis Vuitton on Champs-Elysées
Louis Vuitton

Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées
Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées

Les Invalides
Les Invalides

The next day we ventured to Versailles and toured casually – we used the audio guides but really just stopped whenever something seemed interesting rather than trying to see every single thing (which isn’t possible anyway, right?)
Château de Versailles

Château de Versailles

Château de Versailles

Jardins du château de Versailles

And when we got hungry? We decided maybe someday we’d return…and we left. Here’s to us for being carefree! We ate at Helio’s Pub, a cute little place that let Big D order items not on the menu. I had my first of many escargot servings:
They were so delicious I ate mine and most of D's.

That evening we wandered around the Latin Quarter and unintentionally strolled all the way back to our hotel – about four miles.

Art Nouveau Metro sign

Musée du Louvre
Musée du Louvre

Musée d'Orsay
Musée d’Orsay

Big D and the Tour Eiffel

We decided to spend Sunday morning at the Les Puces de Saint-Ouen – a flea market we briefly visited on a previous trip – and the afternoon/evening at the Orsay. I even bought tickets for the museum online so we wouldn’t have to wait in line. It turned out we only saw a tiny fraction of the market on our first visit and had no idea the maze of stores and stalls is HUGE. We spent most of the day there and rather than rushing, we never did use those museum tickets. They’re valid for a year so if you’re headed to Paris, I’ll send them to you! (Photography is generally prohibited at the market, so all I have is what’s in my mind’s eye.)

We filled the free time that afternoon with… escargot of course! And wine. And cheese. And whatever these are.
Big Ds "snack."

And then we roamed around the First Arrondissement with a stop at my personal mecca, Goyard – closed on Sunday.

my Mecca

This guy got a ticket from policemen on Rollerblades. How embarrassing!
Definition of embarrassing: Getting a ticket in your Smart Car from policemen on rollerblades!!

Tour Eiffel

Monday brought our trip to a close. We checked out of our tiny hotel and dragged our bags to the Trocadéro just so I could try to get the photo below, which required sneaking my glass out of the restaurant, across a few busy lanes of traffic, and into the center of a roundabout. Big D said I looked like I was playing a game of human Frogger.

not exactly what I was aiming for

This photo didn’t turn out exactly as I hoped. But really, I can not complain.

More photos from our final trip to Paris are over on Flickr.

Merci pour les souvenirs, Paris!