Paris

what happened today in 1889?

Posted on Updated on

It feels like a while since we have been on the blog… (a week to be exact) and it’s thanks to wifi at home being unavailable 😦 But we are up and running again! YAY!

To celebrate and mark the significance of TODAY: March 31 – we will be honouring the Eiffel Tower which officially opened 126 years ago (back in 1889).

IMG_0454 IMG_0462 IMG_2016 IMG_8292

IMG_0461 IMG_8325 IMG_8392

And here are 5 random facts to go with our photos of the Eiffel Tower.

Did you know…

  • It took 2 years to build the Eiffel Tower?
  • The Eiffel Tower acted as a radio antennae in the early 1900s?
  • It was originally described as a “monstrous eyesore”?
  • The Eiffel Tower is covered in 60 tons of paint, which needs to be touched up every 7 years?
  • It attracts almost 7 million visitors a year?

A beautiful Parisian icon or an eyesore?

Have you been and what did you think?

Leave us a comment.

our second month in review

Posted on

It is just over 2 months since we flew out of Sydney for Europe. It only felt like a few days ago that we wrote our first month in review but here we are sharing our second month already. We are over halfway into this trip now and will be home before we know it.

After our last month’s post, we moved onto Carcassonne and Lyon before saying good-bye to France and hello to Switzerland.

Carcassonne has to be added as another one of our memorable experiences in France. Maybe it was climbing the 242 steps for a rooftop view of the citadel on an extremely warm day that made it memorable. Lyon was a little bit of a surprise package in itself with plenty to keep us busy (more posts to come about that).

IMG_3026We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Switzerland and were very thrilled to be able to visit most of their UNESCO Heritage Sites. The scenery is just breathtaking and every day we seemed to be blown away by something different. There were many highlights in Switzerland (posts still to come) but the one that jumps straight to mind is the Bernina Express from St Moritz to Tirano. We had amazing weather so were graced with the most gorgeous views!

IMG_3736

And on the flip side, our biggest disappointment was without a doubt, another unsuccessful trip to Jungfraujoch – at least we got onto the train this time 🙂

Then it was a quick stop into Luxembourg which is very quaint country. We didn’t see much except the old town but it looks like there are plenty of interesting hikes and things to explore outside the city.

IMG_4520

From there it was back to France for a bit of Paris again, where we got to visit the Louvre and Notre-Dame this time. Back in 2006, we didn’t visit either. Despite the queues, we enjoyed wondering through the Louvre and getting lost – that place is a maze!

IMG_4700 IMG_4680

After the very brief stop in Paris, we went south to Bayonne before winding up in St Jean Pied de Port. There we started our epic 800 km walk of the Camino.

IMG_4796

Day 1 – 3 was so unbelievably exhausting. That first day, climbing for almost 27 km to 1400+ metres asl over the Pyrenees into Spain, our bodies had never hurt in that way before! At dinner, we couldn’t even move our arms to feed ourselves. That was an adventure in itself! Our bodies felt so battered and bruised but we soldiered on.

IMG_4812

We had a break day in Pamplona and although we didn’t get to run with any bulls, we did get to experience another fiesta (The Privilege of the Union) they had.

IMG_4969The atmosphere of rural Spain is contagious. We love how there are siestas in the afternoon and then the evenings is in a league of their own! The streets are deserted during the day and as soon as 6pm hits, hundreds of people pour onto the street. Where have they been hiding all day?

We are finally getting into the swing and rhythm of walking everyday. We have walked about 160 km so far and we have enjoyed every minute. Despite the aches and pains and searing heat, it has been rewarding and uplifting to meet other pilgrims. The feeling of seeing our “rest” town in the distance at the end of every day is like seeing a source of water in the dessert! So near, yet so far! So excited, yet such a tease! Imagine walking up a hill, mountain, slope, incline only to peak over the crest to see the town… HOORAY! Except, you still need to walk there. How many times have we wished for a zip-line at that point?

Oh but the satisfaction of accomplishing outweighs the day’s walk 1000 times over. The scenery and sunrise helps as well! Remember, if you want to read our Camino day by day reflections, just duck on over to our Camino Diaries or onto our Facebook page.

IMG_4987 IMG_5131

Have a great week ahead, folks!

We welcome your comments here

17 years ago…

Posted on

On this day 17 years ago, Princess Diana died in a car accident in Paris.

We were both in high school at the time and hearing the news is still as clear as day in our heads.

Here we are 17 years on walking the streets of Paris oblivious to the significance of today until we came across “The Flame of Liberty”, which is located just above the tunnel where the accident happened.
IMG_4569

The Flame of Liberty is a full-sized replica of the one held by the Statue of Liberty in New York City. And is now an unofficial memorial for Princess Diana.

In memory of Princess Diana 

1961 – 1997

our first month in review

Posted on

We have been away exactly a month now and we have enjoyed every moment and experience! We have seen some mind-blowing, spectacular and confronting things. And we have learnt soooo much more about European history from the countries that we have visited.

Here is our first month in a quick review:

Our first stop was Russia where we visited Moscow and St Petersburg. There we saw some amazingly opulent palaces and got a sneak peak into the lives of the past royals. Our standout moment from here would be setting eyes on St Basil’s in Red Square for the first time.

IMG_0165

The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were next on the agenda. We learnt about the Singing Revolution which we had no idea about and also learnt about the Baltic Way – 2 million people holding hands across the 3 countries to make a 600 km human chain to stand up for their independence. A few of our favourites in this area would be visiting the Hill of Crosses and experiencing the old towns of each capital city

IMG_1089

Poland was definitely a little surprise package for us. We enjoyed what the country had to offer; its history, food, people and culture. Here we experienced awe as well as sadness. There were moments of joy and wonderment as we visited the Wieliczka Salt Mines, walked around the Old Town of Krakow and be impressed at the restoration efforts of Warsaw. Then there were moments of heart-break where we shed tears for those who lost their lives during World War II especially when we visited the concentrations camps.

IMG_1378

We had a small taste of Czech Republic back in 2006 when we visited Prague for a few days. This time, we had an opportunity to visit Cesky Krumlov as well. One of our highlights in Cesky Krumlov was definitely getting a tour of the Zámecké Divadlo (Castle Theatre). One of the last few remaining wooden theatres still with costumes, props and stage sets. Prague was nothing like we remembered, probably because we came this time with “older” eyes and a different mindset to travel. A highlight would have to be seeing the Astronomical Clock again and really appreciating it for what it was this time.

IMG_1765

Now we are in Bordeaux, France and we are loving France all over again. Despite common belief, the French people are very friendly and always willing to help. Two memorable experiences amongst the many so far (as we still have all up another 10 days or so) was watching Moulin Rouge and seeing Mont St Michel. Next stop Carcassonne 🙂

IMG_2075

Have a great week ahead, folks!

Feel free to leave us a comment here