Luggage needed to be at the front desk for 9:15am so my mom and I had a 7am wake up call. Since we needed to get dressed and finish packing I didn’t want to be rushed. We ended up bringing the luggage down to the front lobby for 9:15am and then going for breakfast. By about 9:30ish my mom and I were hanging out in the lobby bored as could be.
By 10am we were all loaded onto the coach bus and on our way to the airport.
This is pretty much what I saw on the entire drive to the airport.
Once at the airport we had to check in, check our bags and go through security. I ended up having my carry on bag search which sucked. My macbook was already out of the bag, but I had to take my camera and flash out of their case as well as everything else out of the carry on bag. Then they pushed me aside and I basically scrambled to try to put everything back into my bag before it got pushed off the table.
Once in the waiting area we basically waited. I charged my ipod and iphone and just waited till it was time to board the plane.
My mom and I boarded the plane shortly after 2:10pm Paris time and were told that we would land in Toronto by 4:30pm
I napped while on the plane, watched the movies (cant remember what they were) and took photos of the view from out the window.
Once we landed my mom and I went through customs pretty quickly and met my dad at the pick up spot. We then went out to dinner, came home and started to unpack. By 9pm Toronto time/3am Paris time I was exhausted and ready for bed.
My vacation was over, but I had the best time and I cant wait to go back to Europe in a few years.
Today is my last day in Europe. With the night before being a late evening my mom and I decided to sleep in little bit so that we could be well rested for a busy day.
The morning started off with a metro ride to a Harley Davidson Store to get some shirts for my brother and father. We then took the metro to see the Arc De Triomphe.
I took a video of the traffic driving around in a circle because I was shocked at how insane it is. All you hear is car horns. It’s very nerve racking. There are no lines on the road and the cars drive and change spots so often that I got stressed just watching. We decided that we didn’t need to climb up to the top, so we decided to walk down the road instead. We stopped into Swarovski and I purchased a ring.
These stairs lead up to the second floor in the Swarovski store.
The rings I purchased. I gave my sister the blue one.
After that it was another metor ride to the Musee Du Louve for some photos. I wasn’t interested in going inside, so we didn’t.
Instead my mom and I made our way to the Pont Des Arts Bridge which is famous for being covered in locks.
My mom and I even put our own lock onto the bridge.
Afterwards my mom and I decided we should probably have something to eat. It was about 2:30pm by this point so we stopped into a little shop called Le Relais Du Pont Neuf. I ordered a Hamburger with fries and a salad to eat and a Sprit to drink. Price wise the food wasn’t too bad at 10 Euros, however the sprit was 5.50 Euors. The food sucked though. My burger was pretty raw in the middle, so I didn’t eat all of it. There was also cheese on the top and bottom of the burger, which I had asked to be removed when I ordered the burger.
My mom and I walked around a little shopping area after we ate. It started to rain so we ducked into a store and I ended up purchasing 2 pairs of earrings.
We then caught the Metro and were back at the hotel by 5pm. We decided to eat dinner at a cute little Italian Restaurant later in the evening across from our hotel.
After dinner my mom and I started to pack up our belongings. Our luggage was due at the front desk for 9:15am tomorrow morning.
This morning was a late start to the day. Instead of the 6am wake up calls that we were use to while In London, my mom and I decided that we would just wake up without the use of a phone call. So this morning our day started at 8am. I was very thankful to get an extra few hours of sleep.
Today would be the first day that my mom and I would get to go exploring Paris on our own. We originally planned that we would visit Basilique du Sacré-Cœur which is a large Roman Catholic Church.
This is a photo I took of Basilique du Sacré-Cœur from the Eiffel Tower.
While we were mapping out the metro (subway) lines we realized that we only have time to either visit Basilique du Sacré-Cœur or the Eiffel Tower, so the Eiffel Tower won.
My mom and I left our hotel shortly after 9:30am and made our way to the metro station (subway). By 10:20am we had arrived at the Eiffel Tower and we were waiting in the ticket line. The line moved rather quickly, with us only waiting about an hour. There was only a very short line for stairs and our line for the elevator, so I was glad to have it move rather quickly. I’ve heard horror stories of waiting up to 3 hours in line.
Once we purchased our tickets it only took another 10 mins or so for us to reach the elevator that would take us up to the second floor. Here we were greeted with a pickpocket warning sign. We were also told to keep our purses in front of us and to remove anything from our back pockets.
By noon my mom and I were walking around the 2nd floor.
By 12:35pm we were at the Summit; which is the top of the Eiffel Tower.
My mom and I walked around, took a ton of photos and then made our way back down the Eiffel Tower using the elevator.
Bye bye Eiffel Tower.
Once we left the Eiffel Tower we walked along and looked for a place to eat. We ended up stopping at Pizzaria Iolanda. I had rigatoni for 10 euros; which tasted somewhat undercooked, and a sprite which cost me 4 Euros. Now I know why we were told not to order pop. Talk about a rip off.
After lunch my mom and I made our way back to the hotel. We made it back in good time since it was only 3pm. We were doing our second excursion that evening so we wanted to shower and rest up before catching the coach bus at 6pm. I ended up taking a little nap while my mom watched some news, and then we got ready to make our way to Moulin Rouge.
Now normally I don’t complain about hotel rooms since I cant really find any fault with them, but the hotel that my mom and I stayed in while we were in Paris had some issues. The major issue was no plug in the bathroom. There was a blow dryer in the bathroom which was attached to the wall so that was great, but when it came time to straighten my hair I had to rig up my own mirror using my iphone 4.
Back to Moulin Rouge. I can’t really describe it any other way then to say it was amazing. We had a table that was right in front of the stage, so we had a great view of everything. I purchased a charm for my key chair and the program for my scrapbook. You aren’t allowed to take photos inside the Moulin Rouge, but I did manage to snap 1 before getting yelled at. Oops.
On the way home from Moulin Rouge our coach bus made a special trip to show us the Louve Museum. I was having issues taking a good photo through the window glass so I used the night vision feature on my Nikon D5100 and nailed a pretty nice shot.
Then it was back to the hotel to sleep. I crawled into bed while my mom figured out the the metro lines that we would need to take tomorrow. There were some stops she wanted to make in the morning prior to the sights I still wanted to see.
Today was a very early day. My mom and I had to get up at 5:30am. Our luggage was due at the front desk by 6:30am and we were to be on the coach bus by 7:30am. Everything went according to plan and shortly after 7:40am the coach bus was on it’s way to St. Pancras Station for us to board the Eurostar to go to Paris.
During the train ride I tried to sleep, I was pretty exhausted from the busy day before but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I was glad that my last day in London was spent with Damien, I just wish that we had more days. There is still so much I want to see in London. It’s given me an excuse to go back now.
When we arrived in Paris we all de boarded the Eurostar and tried to stay with the group. Thankfully my mom and I were up at the front so it wasn’t to hard to do.
We were taken to where the coach bus was and while walking there we got to see 2 Romanian Gypsies getting arrested and being walked to the police van.
Once we were all on the bus we started the orientation tour of France. I got to see a ton of sights. Here’s just a few of them. Keep in mind it was somewhat difficult to snap photos while on a moving bus, but I did manage to get a few good shots.
The Ritz Hotel
Place de la Concorde
The best photo I could get of it.
Once the bus tour was over we made our way back to the hotel, where we had some time to unpack and get somewhat organized.
Later that evening was the first of one of the extra excursions that my mom and I signed up for. It was a visit to the Notre Dame Cathedral and a Boat Cruise on the River Seine.
Notre Dame Cathedral was amazing.
We went inside, while a mass was going on, and were able to walk around while snapping photos.
This is inside the cathedral, standing at the back taking a photo looking towards the alter
You can see mass going on in this photo
This is a photo of the back of Notre Dame that I took during the orientation tour.
After our visit to the cathedral, my mom and I found a restaurant called Le Quasimodo Notre Dame where I ordered au chocolat banane crepes which in english is a pancake with chocolate and bananas so imagine my surprise when this comes as my dinner.
Not really the pancake I was thinking of. It’s basically a crepe filled with nutella; which I despise and bananas. My mom’s order was a crepe filled with whip cream. Not really a health dinner.
After dinner we walked around and popped into a few tourist shops. I ended up finding a purse and key chain that I liked. My mom picked up a key chain for my sister as well.
We met back at the couch bus and then made our way to Bateaux Parisiens which is a boat cruise on the River Seine.
Basically we got to see all the main sights while on the boat. It was beautiful however prior to the boat cruise we had to deal with seeing these guys when we got off the coach bus which was not so beautiful. They basically crowd around the bus waiting for you to get off and then ask you to buy their Eiffel towers
The boat cruise was over shortly after 9:30pm and everyone boarded the bus. Our tour guide told us that he had a surprise to show us. We ended up driving up some hill and at 9:55pm in the pouring rain he let us off the bus. We had an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower. Shortly after 10pm the tower went all sparkly.
Once we were back on the bus our tour guide started talking about Princess Diana. He ended up taking us through the tunnel where Princess Diana died but we were on the other side of the road, so you didn’t get the full effect, but it was still somewhat creepy. Then we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.
Today started out great. It was the first morning that my mom and I were able to sleep in a little bit. There was no 6am wake up call today, instead we were able to get up around 7-8am. Having spoken to Damien the night before I knew we had more time in the morning then originally planned, which was nice because there were some stores on Oxford Street that I wanted to go into. I kept seeing people with these bubble like umbrella’s and I wanted one for myself, as well I saw a pair of shoes in the window of a store that I wanted to try on.
The shoe’s ended up sucking. I’m a size smaller in Europe and they just didn’t feel like they fit right so I decided against them. As for the umbrella I ended up picking this one instead.
Once our little shopping experience was over we made our way to the Bond Street Underground station and took the Jubilee Line to North Greenwich for The O2. In total it only took us about 15 minutes. Once we had arrived, I sent Damien a message telling him so and thus began the impossible mission of trying to find him. The original plan was that he would park in one of the parking lots or car parks as they call them in Europe, however the car park was closed, so he had to park somewhere else. We were talking on the phone and I was trying to figure out where to go and I basically ended up walking my mom and I in a circle. At this point Damien ditched his car and came to find us.
It wasn’t weird at all meeting for the first time and that’s probably because we’ve known each other for 11 years or so. We met on yahoo chat, back when it was popular and just stayed talking throughout the years. I’ve always known that I’ve wanted to visit London, so getting to meet Damien was an added bonus.
The plan for the day was to take me to see Leeds Castle. I did not want to leave Europe unless I had seen a castle. I had already told Damien this, so he pretty much knew what he was getting himself into.
The first place we stopped at was Rochester Castle. Apparently it’s one of the best-preserved castles of its kind in the UK and it’s amazing to see.
This is what you see when you first walk into the Keep and look up. It was considered to be the Constables Room. You can see where the Great Room would be and then on top of that is the State Apartments.
This is inside the Great Room. The square holes up at the top of the image are where the wooden floor joists would have been.
The next place we visited, was across the road and was Rochester Cathedral. I took this photo from inside Rochester Castle.
Since I did not go into Westminster Abby this was the first Cathedral that I went into and it’s beautiful inside. I was told that the set up in all Cathedrals are basically the same and I was allowed to take photos while inside, which I wasn’t expecting. The lady that greeted us at the side entrance was so nice to talk to and she did a lovely job of answering all the annoying questions that I had.
This is the view from when you walk into the side entrance, which is the first entrance we walked into.
This is the view looking towards the front entrance.
This is the view after you pass thru an archway and I’m standing on the alter looking towards the front entrance.
After we left the Cathedral, we walked along the streets.
It was getting close to lunch time so we ended up popping into a cute little bakery for some sandwiches. Then it was off to Leeds Castle.
This is the side view of the castle and it took me about 10 mins to get this shot. I was waiting for a family to move out of camera view and it took them forever. I’m sure my mom and Damien were right pissed at me for taking so long.
This is the front view, I think. Or it could be the back. I’m not sure. We exited out of that door once the tour was over
The inside of the castle is beautiful and it’s still in use today for weddings, receptions and meetings, as well as open to the general public. After we had toured the castle we walked along the gardens. I found a giant play structure for kids so I went to go see what it was all about while my mom and Damien sat and talked. We decided not to go into a maze that was also on the property so we made our way back to the car. Since I had pretty much seen what I wanted to see, I was all out of ideas as to what else to see. I told Damien that he needed to think of something since he lives here, so he took my mom and I to Herne Bay.
The weather stayed gorgeous the entire day, so we really lucked out. My mom got to put her feet into the English Channel and we walked along the the Bay talking. Of course I was snapping photos of everything I saw.
For dinner Damien took us for Indian at The Six Bells in Cliffe. If I remember correctly this is what I ate.
I think this is Papadom. I could be wrong thou. lol
Mixed Starter – Chicken Tikka, Onion Bhaji and shish kebab
Mine and moms food. I ordered – Mango Delight, (tender pieces of chicken cooked in a mild almond and creamy sauce with mango) Sobji Bhanji (dried vegetables) and chicken fried rice
Damien’s food – can’t remember what he ordered
I think we were at the restaurant for more then 2 hrs. I’m not 100% sure, but my mom noticed it was 9:30pm and announced that we needed to get back to our hotel. Damien drove us to the underground station at the 02 area and we said our goodbyes and then mom and I made our way back to the hotel.
Out of all the day I was in London, today was probably the best day. For one, it didn’t rain at all and I had a blast meeting Damien. All in all it was a perfect way to end my stay in London. o
Tomorrow I was off to Paris, France.