Friday, June 22, 2012

Europe 2012

Well hello! It has been a long time since either Dani or I have blogged. For all you die-hard Brown Blog-Readers out there. We most deeply and sincerely apologize. But life comes at you fast and alot of things have happened since last blog post. Let me give you a quick run down with some picts.

First and foremost- we went on an awesome trip to Europe. As a graduation gift for Dani, we got to visit my old stomping grounds of Portugal and Madeira As an added bonus, we stopped by Paris on the way home. Dani was loving the European food. I think we lived on crepes, croissants, and francezinhas (you'll see what that is in a minute). Here are just a couple pictures...

Mini Trip #1- Porto, Portugal 
Filled with our fun times with the Sarmento family, tours, walking, bolos (cakes), wine caves, francezinhas, bridges, chapels, history, and beautiful country! 

After Church in Porto we took a walk on the beach.

Rui took us everywhere. He is a walking history book! This pictures is hilarious because Brad thinks he is telling Rui what really is going on...

My first try... yum!

 Also my first try of a Francezinha.  Now for those Americans who have no idea what a Francezinha is- let me tell you... It is basically a sandwich that has Bread-sausage, ham, and some other meat-cheese-bread-probably more cheese-Bread.  On top of that they cover the whole thing with melted cheese.  And the moat around that is the infamous sauce.  This is a beer-based sauce and let's just say it has a very strong flavor.

Do not be fooled by my face- I didn't dig it so much.  I am not picky at all, this was just flavor I wasn't used to.

Aka yuck!

But guess who does like Francezinhas?
 This Guy!

Next up? Tour the wine caves...
If it tasted as good as it smelled...
Boat tour to see all 7 bridges.

Relaxing :)

This was not the only Eiffel structure we saw on this trip!
After all that walking--Knocked out!!!

At Bom Jesus. Translation: "Good Jesus"

This country is incredibly rich with religious history.

 The story behind this is- when it was built most people weren't able to read. So they taught with pictures and sculptures. On each side of the steps there is a statue of one of prophets, and in the middle are water fountains that also represent Jesus. 
Perfect example of Portuguese Cobblestone

 Still today- people climb these steps from the very bottom to show their sacrifice.  They climb these steps on their knees... Oh and this is only about 1/4 of the steps. Ouch!!
One of my favorite pics from the trip

After all those steps we were hungry for a great meal!!

Dani's Fear: Wooden spoons. No joke. I can't handle them! This is a giant nightmare!
On to the Airport to go to the island.
I didn't need my pillow it's fine! 
Mini Trip #2!! Welcome to Madeira!! 
Mo-ped, Bananas, walking, GREEN, Brisa, Ocean, bolo de caco, Mo-ped, and more!

Yes Please.
Please notice how TINY Portuguese women are...

Bolo de Caco- aka a giant toasted english muffin slathered in garlic butter. This is a great idea!!

The Infamous.Can I get an Amen Blackner and Curtis??
Best $50 bucks we've ever spent!!!
This pic sums up the trip: Just 2 crazy kids touring Europe :)

I could get used to this...
Vineyards! I was fascinated.
This mountain never ends!

Alllll grapes...

My pack horse!

If any of you know me- you know I probably couldn't be happier than to be surrounded by bananas!!
And off to the airport again... Except apparently they only put plugs in the ceilings on Madeira... No worries, we can work with that!
Paris here we come.... One airport or another! 
Adventure Story: FYI Buses don't run on holidays, even if you've already paid for the ticket. Instead you can pay about 5x more for a cab and he will drive about 120mph to get you to the airport. Whew. Once we got to the airport, our flight was delayed 2 hours... Dang. But we can handle that right? Sure. 
Once we get on our flight from Madeira --> Porto --> ORLY airport in Paris, we hear our incredibly French flight attendant announce something bleh bleh bleh Charles de Gaule airport.... Say what?? Did I just hear CDG?? We are supposed to be going to Orly. Are we really going to CDG? Oh we are in deed. Because of the flight delay and Orly closes at midnight, we fly into CDG. Crap.

That is about an hour north of our hotel.  And we most definitely don't speak French! All the metros and trains close at midnight and it is about 2am at this point. A taxi is about 60 euros, which I so intelligently now know that turns out to be about $90.  Yikes. We hear a French bus driver say he's going to Paris, so we figure it is going to be closer than where we are now so we jump on blind.

We literally get dropped off in a roundabout that is under construction in the middle of no where.  We ask our bus driver where we are on the map- Oh you are WAY out here off the map. Greeeaaattt. We find a cab driver and ask him if he will take us to our hotel and he says in Frenglish- "oh that is way too far away!" Ummmm are you serious!! At this point, Brad literally is scoping out benches trying to find one where I can sleep and he can make sure nothing happens to us!

We finally find another cab driver who was nice and took us right where we wanted to go.  This was a French miracle.

Mini Trip #3-  Paris!!!
A few hours later we started our busiest day yet.  Our stay in Paris was filled with the tower, crepes, croissants, Notre Dame, the metro, the Louve, walking, Roland Garros (almost), adventure, Luxemburg Gardens and lots more walking.

I spy with my little eye....
Getting closer!
When we got there it was pretty cloudy...

On our way to the top!!

So to get to the top you can either take the stairs to the second level, or the elevator.  Everyone takes the elevator to the very top. Please notice the line to the stairs is to the right... the left- the elevator! Suckers!! We made it up all the stairs in 12 mins! They waited about 3 hours...literally.

By the time we got back down- it was a beautiful sunny day!
When in Paris..!

Favorite Pic!!
Love you to the Eiffel Tower and back :)
I came to Paris to try Salmon Tartare and it was wonderful.
Brad came to Paris to try-- a cheeseburger :) Gotta love it!

A girl can only dream to make pastries that look & taste like this.
But you better believe I'm going to try!

Our next adventure was to say what's up to Rafa and Djokovic!
However without 250 euros, you aren't going to say Hi to anyone.You can still be excited about it though.
With Nutella Please :)
Notre Dame!

So Many People!!!! Well at least we thought. We hadn't been to the Louve yet haha.

We just hadn't had enough yet... 
Next up the Arc de Triomphe and a walk down the Champs de Elysees...
This thing is massive. Pictures do not do any of this justice. Paris is incredible.

After a long, wonderful, full day we went straight to get some French Italian food :) and it was divine!

Next up-- Versailles

Talk about Gorgeous.

And again. Massive!!! Everything is bigger in Paris. Not Texas. Well maybe both.
The Temple of Love. Yes, we've been there :)

Marie Antoinette's Estate.

It is about 1.5 miles to walk from the Queen's estate, to the main palace. Good thing it is gorgeous everywhere you look!

King Louis XIV kinda had a thing for himself.

My Favorite: The Hall of Mirrors.

Versailles was completely overwhelming and absolutely breathtaking. We were only there for about 5 hours. ONLY!

We became good friends with this guy!


This is on Rue Cler.  It is the cutest market street.  It reminds me of Pike's Place in Seattle- French style and we absolutely loved it!!

Baguette, fancy cheese, water, tower- what more do you need in life really?

Daily Breakfast. I miss this :)
Welcome to the Louve!
Welcome all 1 billion of you...

The Louve was unbelievable.  There is no word that describes how big it was. Egyptian wing, Italian Renaissance wing, French Revolution wing.  Each wing had 3 doors to enter, each of those doors had 2 different wings, each of those wings had an up and down stairs. Each of those floors had about 20 rooms with wings of their own.  Just think eternity. That is how big the Louve is.
Winged Victory

Approaching the Mona Lisa

The funniest thing about the Mona Lisa is directly behind it is this huge wall sized portrait that is so much more interesting.  But no one really seems to care about it!

Hammurabi's Code. Awesome!!!

Victim of the Louve!!

Long day. No one I'd rather spend it with.
Last night- Let's spend it here...

Love the twinkly lights! PS- this is at 10pm. It takes forever to get dark over there!

There was a lot of this going on...

We had a fantastic trip. Everything we hoped and more!
Now we might need a vacation from our vacation!