The Holiday, sans Food

So this is the plan. 34 is set to retire at age 34. We’re going to spend our lives traveling around the world from city to city. Once there, we’ll wake up around noon, walk for hours and hours and then more hours, fall into bed exhausted and full of local cuisine around 8, and then muster up enough energy to play a game or two of Travel Scrabble. Repeat the next day, and then next. That’s the basic summation of our European jaunt over the holiday, so you’ll have to excuse me if sitting behind a computer for 8+ hours just isn’t cutting it, at least for this week.

London and Paris are of course lovely cities, but become even lovelier when you’re newly engaged with not an obligation or care in the world. All was even more golden as soon as I calmed the eff down and realized that every day didn’t need to be supermegachockfull of plans (I may be extremely lazy when it comes to, say, opening my mail or returning phone calls, but when it comes to planning my fun it is SERIOUS BUSINESS). Also, on the first leg of our trip, we really didn’t have a choice, thanks to Jesus. London closed down completely—as in, no subways, commuter trains, or busses were running AT ALL—on the eve and day of his birth. Actually, let’s not put all the blame on him. The whole city of London kind of closes down after 7pm when you’re not in the busiest areas, which made for a rather creative hotel picnic of store bought food (which I’d say was one of our best London meals).

But I can’t talk about food, because Jeff is talking about food.

It was great to see Jeff’s old apartment building and neighborhood, and to walk the walks he did when he lived in London. I’d honestly say we walked minimum 7 miles per day when we were there, because why not? We hit up the British Museum, home to my favorite room of all time, the Reading Room. When I get my Barbie Dream House, I want a circular, high-ceilinged room with rainbows of books along the walls.

We spend a good hour in a bookstore giggling at the odd British versions of familiar book covers, found the dinky little hostel I stayed in 4.5 years ago when I backpacked, and as a lil' treat, saw Avenue Q, which was just as clever as I remembered.

Our hotel in Paris was darling and Parisian (whatever) and just lovely and I wanted to just eat it up. It was in the Latin Quarter, and set up like many residences in Paris—a large outer door opens to reveal a cobblestoned courtyard and separate apartments. There just really isn’t a bad angle in Paris—every simple glance to the left or right could be a framed photo.

The first day in Paris was bitter cold, the kind where your skin hurts and you want to die and can’t imagine willingly being outside. And so we spent part of it waiting outside, standing basically still for over an hour to get into the Musee d’Orsay. My toes are still cold. But the museum, which used to be an old train station, was worth it. In my Barbie Dream House, I wouldn’t mind a Van Gogh or two, and maybe a few of Renoir’s pastels. The pastels, all kept in darkened rooms, were so soft and glowy and gorgeous.

Thankfully, the weather warmed up a bit the next day. And so we walked, and walked some more. Of course we Eiffeled it, and Arc de Triumped it and Lourved it, but you can see all that in the pictures. We enjoyed a lovely home-cooked meal at Jeff’s co-worker’s apartment. Remy, the couple’s 7-year-old son, speaks perfect English and French, and has been everywhere from America to Barcelona to Shanghai. He’s the cutest little urban sophisticate I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, and didn’t hold it against me that I was confused about the kiss-on-both-cheeks greeting. It’s for kids, too? Crazy Parisians.

I REALLY want to talk about marketing and food...but I can't. Jeff, I'm giving you a week. ONE WEEK!

The wee snag in our vacation was the awful virus I came down with a few days before we were to head out. My future husband saw perhaps the 100% worst side of me – feverish, sniveling, queasy, you name it. The worst part, though, was that I was as crabby as can be. A perfectly snotty lil’ bitch. And he handled it like a champ – banana crepes in bed, French cold medicine, bottles of seltzer (SELTZER, not WATER)… whatever I wanted. I’m such a lucky gal.

And now it’s back to Brooklyn. We couldn’t have asked for a better way and place to celebrate the new year and our engagement. It’s definitely nice to be home, back in a routine, but mmm, vacation. How I do miss it.

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