Wednesday, June 29, 2011


As most of you know from an older post, Chris and I got the chance to go to Rome for a week. However, at the last minute, we ended up with a full day in Paris between flights. How much can you do in Paris in one day? Well, actually a lot of you don't mind running and you don't get caught up in the details!

Our first excursion was through Gard du Nord. This is a huge train/subway/High Speed Rail station in Paris. Because we didn't really want to drag our suitcases all over Paris and we needed to take a train from Gard du Nord to our exit airport, we decided to store our luggage here. Easier said than done. I should mention that the station is about 5 or so levels, 3 below ground and two above. Or maybe that was two underground and three above, I forget right now. Anyways, after a nice 2 hour excursion inside the station, we found where to store the luggage and headed out. By the way, if you need a tour guide for this station, I am willing to offer my services. After 2 and a half hours, I have a pretty good handle on the layout. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture.

First thing, we headed out to the Eiffel tower. It was cool and rainy, but that didn't slow us down at all.

Here is the base of the tower. I was amazed at how large it actually was. I'm not sure what I had in mind, but since it was originally build for an exposition and meant to be temporary, I was expecting it to be smaller. I think Chris was also because before we left, he ask me if I wanted to walk to the top. He was pretty gung-ho until he read online that it has 1631 steps to the top. We took the elevator.

Parisians initially hated the Eiffel Tower. They wanted it removed because it messed up the skyline. However, when they realized how popular it was and how much tourism it could generate, they embraced it wholeheartedly. It is the most visited paid monument in the world.

It was also a great way to see the city and I imagine that the view would have been even better at night. However, we didn't have a night in Paris. When our flight left at 9:30 p.m., the sun had not fully set and it was still light out. Here's Chris and I. If you know how much he hates pictures, you will be amazed at the amount I got of him on this trip!

From the Tower, we caught a boat ride down the Seine River.

I absolutely love French Architecture! I kept taking pictures of buildings and when we got home, some friends ask, "What's this building?". The only answer I had was, "I don't know, but doesn't it look cool?". It was something about all the windows. I'm sure that window washers make a fortune in that city!

Our next stop was Notre Dame. Actually, before we headed inside, we were starved and wondered around until we found this cafe whose specialty was tarts. (I had a savory one of spinach and goat cheese and a sweet one of dark and white chocolate. Yum!) Imagine our surprise when we discovered that the owners were Chinese! They were equally surprised when we spoke Chinese.

This is a side view of the church taken from across the river.

This is the entryway. I secretly wish that all churches today were still built like this.

I mean, who wouldn't want to worship under stain glass windows?

After this, we headed to the Louvre. Our sole intent was to see the Mona Lisa and then head back out to the city. However, we got lost in the museum. We were on the ground floor and could not find an exit that was not sealed off! After about 30 minutes of wondering and following endless signs that said, "Sortie!" (Exit), we found ourselves in the underground mall. There I found an awesome tea shop called "Mariage Freres". I have had their tea at a French restaurant here in Taiwan and absolutely love it. I left with some French Breakfast Tea.

From the mall, we hopped the subway back to Gard du Nord, picked up our luggage and rode a train an hour north to a little city of Beauvais. There we caught our plane to Rome. It was really nice to be able to see the countryside somewhat from the train. Each town the train stopped in seemed to be small hamlets or villages. If we would have had time, it would have been great to just jump off the train at one of the stops and just explore.

Our next stop: Roma Italia!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Help me, what's the secret here?

See this cute girl? This really, really cute girl? She is mine. At eight, she doesn't really have any secrets to keep, but I have a feeling that she isn't going to be good at keeping them. My Grandma Eckles (my dad's mom) is horrible at keeping secrets. If you start to tell her a secret, she will tell you right up front that she can't keep secrets and if you truly don't want it to told, then don't tell her. At least she is honest about it! But, back to Abbey.

The other day she had this little piece of paper. The conversation when down like this:

A: "Me and Eimi and Karin have a secret written on this paper."

M: "Oh really?"

A: "Do you want me to read it to you?"

M: "Sure"

A: "It says, 'In ten years, I will be 18 and in ten years, Eimi will be 17 and in ten years, Karin will be 19." (At this point she just stopped reading and looked at me.

M: "Is that your secret?"

A: "Yep"

End of Convo.

Hummmmm.... so what was the secret? Chris surmised that the secret was that they could count. I personally think that the secret might be a few vocabulary lessons this summer.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm back!

Hello, hello, hello! Let me start by saying that I am so sorry for the two month break. It was unplanned. I was busy, then sick, then tired, then gone, then rinse and repeat. BUT... I have so many things to tell you all and I am going to be back on schedule this week. Plus, all the news from our Paris/Rome trip!

And for all of you that still read this blog... THANK YOU!