our european honeymoon | paris, london, rome… and a tiny peek at florence

We finally made it to Europe. Two weeks was definitely not enough, but when leaving two young kids behind, we couldn’t stay longer. Next time we will definitely take them with us!

Here’s some fun facts I observed on our trip…

  • Despite all the warnings, we found Parisians to be lovely! My French consisted of “Hello”, “Goodbye”, “Please”, “Thank you” and “Do you speak English?”… the last phrase was most helpful! There was not one occasion where we encountered rudeness… even the ‘Gypsy’s’ who try to sell you Eiffel Tower ornaments for “Only 2 euros!” happily moved on when we refused their offer.
  • Again… despite the warnings, we found Paris to be very clean. However, our trip from the airport into the city showed the outskirts to be covered in graffiti and weeds.
  • The traffic is insane. I was sure I was going to witness many accidents, but somehow it just works despite many roads not having lines or signs.
  • Parisians love their dogs! Even when browsing through Givenchy, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton in Le Bon Marche, shoppers are allowed to walk their dogs through the pristine department store.
  • The Paris Metro is SO easy! Easy to work out where to go, trains come every few minutes… even navigating the maze of tunnels between platforms is easy.
  • One word… Baguettes! Oh, my mouth is watering at the memory! I fear I will spend the rest of my life secretly searching for a French quality baguette in Melbourne. (If you can hook me up, let me know!)
  • The Louvre is wonderful, but the Musée d’Orsay won my heart. Not only is the building breathtaking, I was taken by surprise when I found myself becoming quite emotional while looking at the work of Henri Toulouse Lautrec. I am still unsure of why, but his work really caught my eye. Being in the same room with so many great works of art really touched me.
  • Tourists are crazy and often annoying – yes, I know I was a tourist! Pushing to take an iphone photo of the Mona Lisa? Really? I tried very hard not to try and ‘capture’ everything (especially the main attractions that have hundreds of photos available online). I wanted to remember how it felt to be in these places.
  • Versailles has to be seen to be believed. The sheer size is breathtaking! Hiring a bike to get around the gardens was a great way to see it.
  • London…  I’m certain I can’t articulate my reasons, but London felt like home. It could be my British blood, since my Dad’s parents are from England and Scotland. It could be that Dan and I are particularly fond of British humour. Whatever it is, I instantly fell in love with London, and knew I wouldn’t want to leave.
  • London was also really clean! We noticed street cleaners worked late in the evening keeping the footpaths tidy.
  • The London Underground (aka The Tube) was also very easy to use!
  • I have to go back to The Natural History Museum with my kids… it is amazing!
  • Even with the crappy exchange rate, we found eating out really affordable. It worked out to the same cost as having a decent meal in Melbourne. Dan was particularly happy with the price of a pint of lager!
  • Avebury, West Kennet Long Barrow and Stonehenge were all breathtaking. It’s hard to imagine the scale of these monuments when looking at photos or documentaries… but they were magnificent. I felt quite insignificant when standing in the middle of the giant sarsen stones.
  • Harrods is crazy! I knew it would be extravagant… but it wasn’t until I looked at the price tag of a £32,000 dress (by a designer I’d never heard of) that I realised I wasn’t in Kansas anymore Toto!
  • After seeing all the understated but elegant London ladies getting around I realised I MUST learn how to properly do that eyeliner wing-thingy!
  • Rome is manic! As our taxi driver put it “Everyone here is crazy, so it works”.
  • Rome in September is still hot! Sticky, muggy, stormy kinda hot!
  • There is NO WAY I would attempt to drive a hire car/scooter in Rome. I do not have a death wish!
  • If you want to cross a road at a pedestrian crossing, you have to make the first move. Cars won’t stop for you unless they are about to hit you!
  • By the time we got to Rome, we were approaching exhausted! Taxi’s were quite cheap, and we used them a lot unless we were going somewhere within a 10 minute walk.
  • The beggars/gypsy’s in Rome were a lot bolder. They would come into restaurants and stand by your table asking for money.
  • Rome’s cobbled piazzas took on a whole new charm on a wet evening. The reflections were a photographers dream.
  • We decided to squeeze in a day trip to Florence, and I am so glad we did. It was much smaller than Rome, but also calmer. Being in the birthplace of the Renaissance, and seeing many incredible artworks at the Uffizi Gallery has given me a whole new appreciation for art history. If only I could have visited before my year 12 art exams!
  • Gelato in Rome is Delizioso! Especially sitting by the fountain in Piazza Navona on a warm evening.
  • Visiting the Vatican Museums, Sistene Chapel and St Peters Basilica was better than I expected. The artworks and architecture were truly beautiful!
  • Our return flight was fine, until we had to get off at Dubai. I’d never experienced Jetlag before, but I can honestly say it feels like you have been sleep deprived for a week, then taken on a ride that makes your brain scramble in your skull. You are left with stinging eyes, dizzy and disorientated. We stumbled our way onto the next flight, and thanks to some Valium, I slept quite a lot of the way home.

Since returning home I have discovered that the Travel Bug is indeed real, and yes I have caught it!

Here are a collection of iphone and ‘real camera’ photos from our travels. Feel free to ask any questions you may have 🙂

I just wanted to give a shout out to these amazing places… I can’t recommend them highly enough…