Europe Recap

Took me awhile to defeat the jetlag (and the remnants of the flu), and get back to my normal routine, but here we are.

I was kind of reluctant to make this post, because I didn't want to be reminded of the bad parts of the trip... It felt good to just stare at all the pretty pictures I posted on facebook and imagine that it was just 2 weeks of happy happy sunshine fun. :p In reality, it was 40% crappy illness, 13% mostly crappy travel (I kind of enjoyed some of our train rides)... and I guess that leaves 47% fun?

Maybe I'll just focus on the fun part. ;)

Our hotel in Paris was near the Madeleine, very close to a metro station, and surrounded by nice restaurants. It was also close to the Roissy bus stop (a bus that travels straight from the airport to the center of Paris), but due to my failure to map the route out and us both feeling out of it, we got lost. When we finally found the hotel, the front desk guy was irritated that I didn't speak French, and I wanted to punch him in the face. :p Other than that though, I did like the hotel.

It was 150 euros/night; quaint, decorated nicely, clean, with a large bathroom. As expected, no room service, no minibar in the room... it was something we really regretted not having, but that was only because M was so sick. :(

We visited all of the main sights -

  • Louvre
  • Musee d'Orsay
  • Notre Dame
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Champs Elysees
  • Arc d'Triomphe
We did the hop-on, hop-off bus tour, and it was really worth it! I think it was about 25 euros for each of us for a 2-day pass.

I think honestly the best food we had was at a little cafe around the corner, which (if I remember correctly) was called Cafe de l'Olympia. The waiters (and especially the lady at the bakery counter) were REALLY friendly, and were happy to speak English. The food was really yummy and it was inexpensive. We tried a few other cafes - one I remember specifically is Cafe Madeleine - and it was terrible in comparison. Egg shells in the omelette, soggy and odd-tasting croque monsieur, waiters who seemed to delight in speaking long sentences of French to us, even though we obviously didn't have a clue. Seemed really odd to me, since it was located in a very touristy area.

We skipped Strasbourg to spend an extra day touring Paris, and the day after we made our way to Cologne, Germany. It was a 5 hr train ride, but thankfully the train had plugs and wi-fi. We didn't make it to Cologne until 3:30ish, and by the time we got to our hotel room and took a quick rest, the sky was already darkening. We stopped by the chocolate museum, but we JUST missed the closing time. We did snag ourselves a bag of truffles from their store though (we tried one of each!). :)
On our way to the train station the next morning, we spent some time walking around the cathedral. It is MASSIVE! We also got caught up in some kind of football protest? There were hundreds of people dressed in red crowding in the street near the train station. And there were just as many police in the area surrounding them. It was exciting (though nothing really happened, other than them chanting, and the police announcing something over the loudspeaker. I hope we didn't miss the good stuff! ;))

Skipping ahead to Munich, we really only took in 3 sights - Nymphenburg Palace, Neuschwanstein Castle, and the Deutsches Museum. This is where I got sick again, so I ruined the last 3 days of our trip. :( SIGH - anyway... focusing on the positive! We spent some time with M's family, which was nice... M got to meet his mom's fiance for the first time. We stayed at a hotel near the palace. It was 109 euros/night, family-run, very friendly staff (except for the maid, who tried to walk in on us when we had the "do not disturb" sign up!), mini-bar in room, quaint... because I was sick, we again really regretted the lack of room service. I wasn't very fond of the room - it had a slanted roof that I kept bumping my head on, and a TINY bathroom. If we ever return to Munich, we'll definitely get a place in the city center. Although the public transit was fantastic - there were several trams that ran nearby that would take us pretty much anywhere we wanted to go. Not to mention all the train stations.

So how much was spent? As I mentioned before, M paid for most of the trip. It was an anniversary present to me, and a way to celebrate him completing his project at work. I spent about $600 - withdrawing cash for groceries, restaurant tip, etc and paying for a few train reservations. In total (plane, trains, hotels, food), he spent $8000. It made me gulp when I heard that. I guess that sounds about right, considering we were gone for 15 days. But considering only 47% of that was us having fun... the amount was really hard to swallow. I felt REALLY guilty when he added everything up (especially since he followed that up by saying he didn't think it was worth it!). Well, to be completely honest, I felt anger mixed with guilt. Anger, I suppose, because nothing can be done about it now. And guilt because... I dislike my inability to contribute 50%. :(

ANYWAY... again, focusing on the positive... we did see beautiful things, we spent quality time with his family, I got to see the "motherland" (my mom is from Germany)... and best of all, we can appreciate home even more! ;) Oh, and - we'll be much more prepared for the next time we visit! Assuming this trip didn't put M off vacations for good! Ummm, maybe I'll wait a few years before I even begin to think about it. ;)


The Lost Goat said...

I think some tourists don't think that they are in France unless they get the "real French experience." (Condescended to by waiters and served bad food). So there are cafes to provide that if you want it:)

Sorry to hear that you were sick. Even if you had been 100% well, vacations are not always 100% fun. So at least it was 50% fun, and hopefully you'll forget the other 50% soon. 8K isn't too bad when you consider that tickets to and around Europe and the terrible exchange rate.

Simplelivin' said...

Welcome back :-) Give it time and the bad will fade and the 47% fun will seem like much more...especially if you just look at the beautiful pictures :-)

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! Sorry to hear you got sick on your trip away - I know what it's like, it sucks!

Well Heeled Blog said...

I'm sorry you got sick.... maybe you can do a photo book of your trip together so that M can remember the good parts (and hopefully let the bad fade into the background)?

That's what I'm planning to do with my upcoming Disney World trip.

Bayjb said...

Wow that look like a great trip! Awesome photos. THe best part about going on vacation is the joy of coming home to your own place :)

Sunflowers said...

@The Lost Goat: haha - maybe so! I liked Paris very much (other than those few bad experiences). The people weren't as warm as in Germany, but I liked that - they kept a respectful distance. Maybe it was b/c I was sick - I'm more antisocial! ;)

@Well-heeled: I saw your post about the photo book! So do you upload the photos and then the company prints them out and puts them into an album for you? I'll have to read into that - sounds neat (and like a time-saver). :)

@everyone - thanks for the comments! :) Hopefully by the time M and I (er, well, mostly M) get the video edited and watch it with the fam the bad memories will have faded!

Serendipity said...

Your Erope trip looks delightful. And even if you feel it was 50% fun, thats still fun and an experience you got to share with M. :)

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