Thursday, September 8, 2016

Words for the Wingmen

Dear Hunter (and Family),

Its a rainy Monday here in Paris, so pretty much perfect... Today we finish up our time here and head for Barcelona, Espana for a couple of days! Here's a rundown of our trip thus far (this may be a long letter so...(:

Tuesday we caught an evening flight to Stockholm. We were flying on Norwegian Air, a cheap European airline (cheap as in our tickets round-trip to Europe were $500ish...), so we weren't expecting much in the way of comfort, but surprisingly, perhaps, it was a very enjoyable, no-hassle flight. (With the exception that because we didn't pay for in-flight meals we were starving and delirious once we landed in Stockholm at 4 a.m. our time.) I'd fly Norwegian again, especially for vacation.

Let's talk about Stockholm: Though we didn't leave the airport, I still give Stockholm rave reviews. The airport resembled a custom built ski lodge, modern but very cozy, smallest immigration portals you ever saw. Everything was super clean, and all the Europeans were dressed like models, the first thing that was apparent to two jet-lagged and comfortably dressed Americans. Basically, AnneMarie fit right in and I looked like I'd snuck in after sleeping on a pile of suitcases outside. We arrived in Paris around 9, grabbed an Uber to our apartment, and after a gracious welcome by our (1st) Air BnB hosts CONKED OUT.

We awoke early, and walked out with the working crowd to grab breakfast at a local bakery (open since the 1800's nbd).

Thursday we went to the artist's village of MonteMarte, the Sacre-Couer Basilica, windmills, the MonteMarte cemetery home to the graves of Degas and Hector Berlioz (just for you), we were serenaded with La Vie en Rose at our lunch table by a troupe of street performers (wow!), and ended the night at the Eiffel tower to watch its light show while eating some crepes...

Friday we went on a whirlwind sightseeing trip visiting the Catacombs, the Pantheon, Notre Dame, Sainte Chappelle, Pont Neuf, St. Germain, and the Louvre. We LOVED the Catacombs. Over  6 million people are buried there. All I'm saying is that place is going to be HOPPING at the Resurrection. Put it on your bucket list. At the Pantheon we saw the tombs of such notable names as the Curie's, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Voltaire, and Rousseau. Beautiful building. The catacombs were second only to climbing up to the top of Notre Dame. Not only did we get on a first name basis with the gargoyles, we got an amazing view of the city and saw the inside of gears of the cathedral, the bells, etc. (we also made friends with a Canadian couple while we waited in line which was fun). Sainte Chapelle is known for its incredible stained glass, and it was incredible...We locked our love on the Pont Neuf bridge, jokes on them though, ours is already on lock going on almost one year!!! Had some really good french onion soup at a back alley cafe, and ended the night at the Louvre.

You know how I always try to be funny. I couldn't resist asking the guard on duty at the Mona Lisa why everyone was taking pictures of that painting. She just looked at me before answering, "Its the Mona Lisa...." I tried to be serious past that point but it was hard. Got 'em!! haha

Saturday we went to Versailles and the adjoining estates. Over the top isn't strong enough to describe that place. We also took a side-trip to the Paris temple still under construction. There we sat in the shade and read about the history of its approval and construction up to that point. Suffice it to say that it has not been easy at all but you can bet it will be worth it and appreciated by every member here. We caught dinner at a fancy schmancy italian restaurant (yum), ended Saturday night on top of the Arc de Triomphe with its breathtaking flight of stairs to the top. Ok the views were breathtaking too, haha, especially at night with everything lit up. It is the city of light after all.

Sunday we took it easy. We went to church early in the center of the city, then hung out at Musee d'Orsay, the city's famous home of impressionist paintings. Think Van Gogh, Monet and Renoir. We also went looking for the sculptures of our distant and famous cousin Alexandre Schoenwerk whom I had stumbled upon while doing genealogy. Yeah, betcha didn't know you had a relative that was a famous artist!!! Pretty cool to see the Schenewark name in one of the worlds most famous museums!

Today we packed and now we're chilling at the home of the couple where we're staying on Friday night. What nice people! That's been one of my favorite parts of traveling, getting to know people from all over. We've used uber three times so far and it's been fun to try and speak French with the drivers, sometimes using the google translate app on my phone. We've loved Airbnb as well because you get to meet people in their homes and that really immerses you in the culture. All I want to do is share the gospel with them. Any ideas?

Next week I'll have a report for you on Barcelona and we'll be all moved into our Scotland apartment. I can't send all the best pictures on here because they won't load but I'll send them to mom and she can share on her blog. I will include the ones I took on my iPad, at the cemetery.

All our Love,

Tanner and AnneMarie


Aaron H. said...

You're living the dream, Nephew!

shirlgirl said...

You are certainly making the best of your time. Enjoy Scotland.