we're on the moon! no wait, it's just paris...

The first installment of the story of our trip to “the moon”

Jordan and Mindy were married on September 11th, and set off the next day on their European honeymoon.  We call it our trip to the moon simply because a good bit of Jordan’s students (he teaches PE to preschool-5th graders) thought going on a honeymoon literally meant going to the moon.  With honey, I suppose?  It’s logical reasoning for a certain age, yes. :)

We spent four days in Paris, one day traveling by train from Paris to Lake Como in Italy, and four days in Bellagio on Lake Como. To get there, we flew from Raleigh, to Miami, to Madrid, to Paris.  Whew!  We were extremely lucky to have business/first class (we still haven’t determined the difference between those two) seats, and we were especially thankful for them on the flight from Miami to Madrid.  We had our own little “sleep pods” to snooze in.  Thanks to Pops & Dawnie for donating their miles/points so we could fly so comfortably!

Now, I knew that the lucky folks in first class got their own personal movie/tv/game/etc screen at their seat, but what we didn’t know was that our Iberia flight from Miami to Madrid included a view from a camera located on the tail end of the plane.  After discovering the camera channel on our screens, we left it there, and ended up waking up to a completely unique kind of sunrise.

 Of course, this photo isn’t too exciting…Jordan snapped it quickly when we awoke and were getting ready for breakfast to be served.  But, you get the idea, no? :)


Our hotel in Paris, the Hilton la Defense, is in a much more modern part of the city.  It’s located in a shopping mall right next to the La Defense metro stop and La Grande Arch.  Some shots from our side of town:

Our hotel is in the round building, bottom left.  We won’t say much about our “upgraded room” that faced the inside of the shopping center with the window next to their glass elevator.  For this portion of the trip, we were out and about for most of the day anyway, but the room was anything but photo-worthy.  Although, the hotel staff was extremely friendly and helpful.  We made friends with the young bartender who served us for a couple of nights at the hotel, and were grateful that he happily helped us a bit with our French. :)

This shot was taken standing underneath the Grande Arche, looking all the way down the concrete span of space between the Grand Arche to the Arc de Triomphe (which you can’t tell here, but is found in the middle of these buildings looking straight ahead…very far ahead, actually).


 Our lens wasn’t wide enough to get the entire Arche at this spot, so here’s a good bit of it up close.


 and here’s a random business Frenchman in front of the arch


 elevator to the top of the arch




LOVE this shot looking up from under the arch. I’m a sucker for some awesome lines. 


 Jordan, through the glass maze-sort-of-thing


 we never ventured down this side, but this is looking out on the other side of the arch


 Here’s a pigeon taking a step. We always go places with an overabundance of pigeons.


 Jordan on the steps of the arch, looking quite contemplative :)


 My carefree pose on the arch steps…i like the two women in the upper right, and what appear to be pigeon blobs on the left :)


 lil bit o’ sky and scraper reflection


 It’s a tree tower! We’re not sure what this is exactly, but it’s a mosaic and I loved it!


 cheesin with the tree


 We did a “feet-up” shot like this in Charleston a couple years ago, and now repeat it whenever we think about it while traveling.


 Next we found a rainbow tower, and did another feet-up shot. :)


rainbow tower + rainbow apartments 


Nigel the roaming gnome, in front of the rainbow tower 


 this is apparently the Paris version of 11foot8


 the tower & the Seine



 shooting with my iPhone in my front pocket here…


 Jordan’s shot of me with the tower, and my iPhone still in my front pocket. And a bit of sunflare, which I love.


Shooting Nigel with my iPhone still in the front pocket.  This is the last moment I pulled it out and looked at it before it was lifted from my front pocket. Lesson learned: no electronics, or anything else of value, in the pockets! Our camera didn’t come out much after the thievery in Paris…until we got to Italy, that is :)


 we found a cute spot after visiting the Louvre


 still giddy over seeing a ring on my hubby’s finger :)


 We were super careful (and maybe a tad paranoid) at Notre Dame, and I kept a tight hold on our camera. Again, not the entire building…I’m not a fan of other tourists in all of our photos, so this was the only way to avoid that!


 love this shot of the glass inside Notre Dame


 no double rainbow references here ;)


 This really caught my eye. Notre Dame is a spectacular place to get lost in.


 Great shot by Jordan!


 Notre Dame’s back yard. Gorgeous all around.


 So the day after my iPhone was stolen out of my front pocket while walking down the street (tear for lost Paris photos of my hubby taken on my phone), we watched a creepy guy stalk an American girl who was walking alone at Montmartre. For ten minutes.  Until she met up with a large male friend and we were sure she was safe.  Honestly, Paris was beautiful.  But having experienced thievery on my second day there flawed this portion of our trip just slightly.  We still enjoyed it, after that bit of stress passed in the beginning.  Actually, we’re already laughing at my response to the stolen phone.  If you’d like to hear our silly story, we’d be glad to elaborate. ;)

But for now, here’s a shot of Basilique du Sacré-Cœur hiding behind some greenery. I wanted to head up the stairs here, but there were some sketchy dudes hanging around the corner there, and after watching the stalker-guy, we decided to walk around the other way.


 The beautiful view from Montmatre. After heading ‘round Sacré-Cœur, we shopped for a painting from many of the street artists at Montmartre, then had a lovely dinner before heading back down the hill.  A dinner at which, I might add, I had some of Jordan’s escargot, and actually tried pâté.  The escargot was not bad at all, especially since it had quite a bit of garlic buttery goodness and was eaten on bread.  The pâté, not so much.  If you remember the scene in Ace Ventura where Ace tells Ronald Camp he needs to use the bathroom, and whispers loudly, “I think it’s the pâté,” you probably would’ve laughed at how often we used that line after eating the pâté. (which was as often as we could while it was still applicable)


Next up, the Italy portion of our trip. :)

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