yeah, that ain't happening, sorry. being that this was the teen's graduation/18th birthday extravaganza and our first time in europe, i don't want to cut it short. although i'm pretty happy that we've finally conquered the jet lag and settled back into a routine here at home, going through the pictures and reliving the trip is really fun. and i really want to preserve as many of the memories of it as i can. ya dig? that being said, these european posts are probably all going to be super stuffed with photos. i can't help it, it's just the way it is.
we somehow managed to get breakfast included with all of the hotels that we stayed at (save disney, because nothing at the house of mouse comes for free), but this was by far the best out of the bunch. there were trays of crepes, smoked salmon, cheese, prosciutto, eggs, bacon, croissants - you name it, it was there. and you just couldn't beat the view.
before leaving home, i'd managed to secure us tickets to a "skip the line" tour at our beloved eiffel tower. we had about an hour to kill before it was time to meet our guide, so we headed down towards the river to check it out. being a weekday, it was pretty busy with hordes of kids on field trips.
oh, you know, just chillin' at the foot of the eiffel tower, sitting by the river seine. no big deal.
there were several snack stands, including this colorful candy kiosk.
why yes, we sure did photobomb the bean's selfie.
our tour guide turned out to be a college student from indiana, majoring in art history at the sorbonne. there was a group of about 20 of us, and he handed out our tower tickets before launching into some very detailed stories about the history of the tower and other surrounding buildings.
now, i don't even know what we paid for that tour, but it was totally worth every penny to just breeze past these crowds and walk right up to the entrance.
on top of that, half those people were waiting for their turn to head up the tower...via 328 of these babies. and that's just up to the first of three floors.
lucky us, we were ushered right into the lift.
because they're in the midst of construction on the first floor - adding a see-through floor and a huge gift shop, scheduled to open sometime in 2014 - we went right up to the next floor. this is where we spent most of our time, listening to the tour guide and strolling around to take in the views from high above paris.
one of four replicas of our own statue of liberty could be seen on a bridge over the river. while the new york version stands 150+ feet tall, this one is just under 40'.
this sign pointed the way to a checkmark on the teen's bucket list: to go to the very top of the tower.
the incredibly pricey jules verne restaurant, where people dress to the nines and shell out 80 euros just for an appetizer. yowza.
at the very top of the tower. when we stood still, we could feel a little rocking motion - creepy as all hell.
lots of people stopped here to grab something to toast with.
needless to say, we didn't linger.
the hop on/hop off buses were our best friend, especially in paris.
sitting up on the top level gave us the chance to snap photos like these:
ah, but what do you spy in the corner of this picture?
again, one look at me and the hub announced that it was time to get off the bus. he loves me so.
here, the line was so long that it was nearly impossible for the staff to crack down on taking photos.
check it out - giant macarons! and golden ones, too!
back on the bus, we divvied up our treats.
i was amused at the number of bridal couples posing for photos with the tower in the background. like, did they actually get married that day, or did they simply pack their wedding clothes and hire a local photographer to follow them around? i guess i'll never know.
i told the teen that this would be her first car.
musée du louvre!
the arc de triomphe!
the 850-year-old notre dame cathedral!
we all nearly had a heart attack when we realized that the bus was going to squeeze through this very narrow archway. obviously, we made it, but it was crazy.
back at the hotel, the bean showed the tower some love.
and here's the wackiest thing: it was 9:00 at night when i took this picture. WUT.
incredible. just incredible - much like this entire trip. in a good way. a very, very good way.