Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Bit of London, Split, and Paris in a Post!

I'm excited to share a little bit about our BIG Europe trip!  We took close to 1,000 pictures (it was draining unloading all of them off our camera!) so these are just a few of our favorites along with a bit about what we did in each city.

London, England
The first stop on our trip was London.  After our flight arrived we took the Heathrow Express train into London.  From there we took the Tube closer to our hotel, The Grange Rochester Hotel- and it was fabulous! After settling in we spent the rest of the day and day after exploring London and all the sites.  We just walked around and were able to see everything on our list.  My favorites were Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey.  We ate fish and chips, bangers and mash, and took funny pictures with the straight faced guards, you know all the 'British' stuff I guess?
Early on the third day we hopped on an Easy Jet flight from London Gatwick Airport to Split, Croatia. 

Split, Croatia
As we got off the Easy Jet and onto the tarmac, we felt the hot, dry heat hit us, ahhhh Croatia!!!  We arranged to have a taxi pick us up from the airport since Split wasn't too far (and the exchange rate for US Dollar to Kuna is much better then the Euro or Pound).  Our hotel, called Diocletian's Rooms, was located in the center of Emperor Diocletian's Palace- aka Roman Ruins!  We had the room on the top floor with a balcony to overlook the ruins, it was breathtaking, I still couldn't believe I was staying in the middle of Roman Ruins (that top photo below is the view from our room)! 

Side Note: Alex's family is Croatian, and now that I am also a Zidarevich we thought it was appropriate to see Croatia on part of our trip (and their beaches along the Adriatic Sea are beautiful!).
We spent the mornings in Croatia exploring Diocletian's Palace along with the cathedral tower and crypt, the Riviera, the many shops and markets, and enjoying espresso overlooking the coastline. During the day we hit the beautiful (and many) beaches and swam in the Adriatic felt like heaven! At night we enjoyed Croatia's most popular Pivo (beer) Karlovacko or their traditional Maraskino (sour cherry brandy) and went to a few amazing restaurants along the Riviera that offered delicious fresh seafood (those mussels pictured above are the best I have ever had!). Each night when we returned to our hotel room we were able to sit out on our balcony overlooking the Roman Ruins as live music played from the courtyard below. Again, heaven, I couldn't believe how at ease we both felt there. I was also surprised that most Croatians spoke English very well, so I didn't have to deal with language barriers or mean looks for not speaking Croatian.
When our time was up in Croatia, we were at the airport again. This time we were bound for Paris, France via another Easy Jet flight.  We were both a bit sad to leave Croatia but were anxious to finally see The City of Lights, Paris!

Paris, France
Oh, la, la!  We arrived early in the afternoon at the Charles De Gaulle airport and hopped on the Metro to get into Paris. After a bit of walking we got to our hotel, L'hotel de l'Academie, located in the St Germain neighborhood.  Then it was time to head out to see the sights!  I was pretty excited to see Paris since I studied French for four years and learned a lot about France, then never used any of it...until NOW!  It was amazing to see the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, Moulin Rouge, and of course L' Tour Eiffel! I was also glad I knew the basics of the language (not saying I speak fluent French), but it was nice to ask question and try ordering food in French.  It seemed like that was appreciated as opposed to just speaking English to locals, some would look annoyed :)
We found along the Pont des Arts Bridge that people would leave a 'Love Lock' on the bridge as a sign of eternal love.  Being saps for sentimental stuff, Alex and I left our mark and eternal Love Lock along the Seine River (pictured above).

I also have to say, the food in Paris was AMAZING!  I am a big fan of cheese, any kind of cheese, and Paris seemed to have cheese with everything! That sandwich above was covered and baked in goat cheese!  My other favorite was the traditional Croque Monsieur, so delicious! Alex and I enjoyed walking through cute little boulangeries, markets, and chocolate shops just to look at all the pretty food! We were able to pick up a baguette, cheese, fruit and wine to have a picnic out front of the Eiffel Tower as the sunset and the Tower light up (pictured above)- this was probably the most romantic moment of our trip, very surreal!  Then of course we trekked up to the top of the Eiffel Tower, because we both couldn't resist (that picture is also above).
Alex got a few very beautiful pictures of the Eiffel Tower that I can't wait to print and add into our home somewhere!

Leaving Paris far sooner than we wanted to we took the Eurostar train back to London to depart from Heathrow back home to good ol' Minneapolis, Minnesota!  It took about 18 hours total of travel that day, but we made it home, early even!  Felt so good to be back, then we slept for 12 hours :)

Phew, so that is the BIG trip in a little post!  If you are planning a Europe trip and have any questions let me know.  I know I found it to be daunting to plan and I learned a lot, but it was so worth the experience! 

Hope to see you tomorrow for Head Over Heels Friday!


  1. I can only imagine how exciting this trip must have been for you and Alex. You guys deserved this after all you went through this summer. Can't wait to hear more about it! Talk soon!

  2. WOW! It looks like you had good weather in London!
    Alex's homeland is beautiful! The city of love and lights was brighter on August 26th 2011! Thank you for sharing your perfect moments with us.


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