Friday, April 23, 2010

Ur ine Paris!

Last week-end this time we were on our way by Eurostar to Paris, France ... thankful that we had decided to go via the chunnel as opposed to flying ... nature decided to play havoc with the volcano that I can't pronounce!

The first week in London was full on!  Our first week end on arrival we went to Hamleys - just off the Oxford Cirus tube stop ... this was one of Cody's 'must do' ... he ran in arms wide open and left dejected and near tears ... 17 pounds for a transformer (not electrical) ... which he could get at home for $10-$12 USD ... so we next went to PJ's 'toy shop' - the ferrari dealership across the road - again, he ran in with arms wide open and left dejeted and wishing he had a job that paid more ... I thought, oh look at that nice mug - 40 pounds!!!  So I gently put the mug down, told the lady associate that she should never let the gentleman associate (who was singing out of tune next to her) to enter American Idol ... and quietly left everyone laughing!

Luckily we went into the National Geographic Shop for a nosey to find a treat!!!!  They had the show live there ... we had missed some of it, but it was entertaining and right up Cody's list of things he loves most!  There was reptiles, insects, mamals - just amazing - even a skunk!  She was adorable and affectionate (yes, we all got to pat her ... and yes, she had her scent package in tact).

We went to Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and the National Art Gallery and we fortunate to view some of Van Gohs work (Sunflowers and Wheat fields were on display - some of his more recognisable work).  That was Sunday.  With PJ off to work the next day, Cody and me hit the road for the next few days.  We went to the ZSL London Zoo, London Sea Life Aquarium, Westminster Abbey, Vitoria Tower Gardens (to feed the pigeons), Big Ben, Parliament Square and buildings, the Wellington Arch, Buckingham Palace - we watched the changing of the guards (with 2000+ others), a wonderful walk through the St James Park (feeding the pigeons, ducks - I even got to hand feed the squirrels!), Museum of Natural Science, Sciene Museum, the Royal Air Force Museum (which turned out to be absolutely fabulous) and a wonderful visit with a friend who just happened to be visiting London the same week!

Then Paris.  Because of the volcanic erruption, the train was packed - and the station was crazy with 'campers' trying to get a seat on any train out of London.  But the trip was awesome!  The countryside was picture perfect and it made me want to get out and go visit all these places!  So I had high hopes for Paris going in.  We packed extremely light - 2 small carry ons - as we planned on using the subway as the travel books had said - ' easy to use and great to get around'.   The first sign we see is - beware of pick pockets!  So now we are 'on guard' and then the smell hit us - the smell of urine.  Not a 2 year 'opps' kinda smell, but a full on, in your face - I peed and I'm proud of it kinda smell ... Cody was ready to go back on the train!  The 'easy to use and great to get around' was proving to be a little more of a challenge!!  But glad to say we arrived ready safetly to our hotel and ready for the next 2 days ....

Our hotel was close to the Arc de Triomphe.  We decided to find a grocery store, so I asked a gentleman if he could help us - yes, he said.  He said the lobsters were that way and pointed ... so we thanked him kindly and proceeded not any closer than we were before ... laughing of course!  We walked down the Avenue de Champs onto the Elysees to the Plae de la Concorde.  Followed by the Jardin Des Tuileries until we reached the Musee de Louve.  What an awesome museum!!!!  That in itself could take a week!!!!  In particular, we wanted to see the Mona Lisa, which we did, along with fabulous works of art and sculptures.  I definately could go back and spend more time in the Louve.  We continued down th St Eustache Forum de Halles and into the Centre Pompidou Beauborg.   The place was insane with people!  Crazy insane! 

After lunch on the sidewalk we went over to Notre-Dame via the Palais de Justice.  Notre-Dame was amazing.  Our feet were 'smoking', so we took the subway over to the last item on the Saturday adgenda - the Eiffel Tower.  We went all the way to the top - the wait was long, the child petrified, but came with PJ and myself (hanging on for dear life - loudly asking - what if someone is undoing all the bolts????)  How can this be safe????  I think he would have kissed the ground if he knew he could upon coming back down!  That being said, the Eiffel Tower was what most impressed him!

Everywhere we went there were combat dressed men with ooseys - I'm guessing police????  It's kinda unnerving with them holding on to them ready to spring into action ...

Sunday we set out to finish our 'to do' list.  We started with the Jargin des Plantes where we went to the Musee National D'Histore Naturelle, the Pantheon followed by the Palis du Luxembourg and into the Jardin du Lxembourg.  Cody was starting to tire so we headed back to the Parc du Champ de maps by the Eiffel Tower.  The closest description that I can tell you about the people was that it was a people sea - a people sardine canned together sea - I've never seen anything like it ever before!  Ever!

It was time to say 'goodbye' to Paris and head on back to London.  Cody was glad.  He came to the conlusion, too many people smoked in Paris and it was toxic.  We were back at the hotel at 12.30 that night glad to hit the pillow!  Poor hubby had to turn around and go to work bright and chirpy the next day!  As for the city of Love?  Not this time ... I was with the men I love, but it really is a jackel and hyde city ... I would say London is more a city of Love than Paris ...  go figure!

Now with an exhausted child, we have taken things a  little slower.  We decided to take some further out lines and go shopping.  So we've ended up in Lewisham, Beckton, and Gallions Reach.  Interesting finds have been ASDA (Wal-Mart - but very different!), Smyths (toy store), pound store (and 99P stores), Tesco, and TK MAXX (know as TJ MAXX where we live.

Once a little more alive, we ventured to LegoLand in Windsor.  Even got to see the Queens Palace there from the train and bus windows!  I know she doesn't do the cleaning - and it would be insane for just one person to live in that mammoth space!  Cody had a wonderful day.  We stayed until the park closed.  If he could, he would have stayed there days.  He even got his LegoLand drivers license!

We then ventured to the other side of the city to the Kew Gardens.  It was a little more relaxing.  We again brought enough bread to feed the ducks and swans!   We enjoyed the walkway in the treetops, and Cody love going on the flying-fox.  And as if all that walking isn't enough, there is a gym (dear I say that word?) in the hotel that Cody keeps dragging me down to!  I have now been officially introduced to an elliptical!

Well, that's it for now!  The crocs are going strong and evidently by themselves say 'tourist!'  We have been having a wonderful time and now are starting on the 2nd half of our trip.  7 more days in London ... followed by 5 days in Rome, Italy ... should the volcano (which I can't pronounce) be favourable with it's ash vomit! 

And for a little chuckle, I was asked what part of America I was from because of my American accent!  Ha Ha!!!  So cheers from here ... and wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Arriving in the UK!

We arrived safe and sound!  Deprived of sleep ... determined to continue without sleep until tonight ...

Firstly, the people speak funny ... I know, I know, the pot calling the kettle black ... but they do!  But comfortingly so, in an odd sort of way.  More like an old pair of compfy slippers ...

The Marriot - well lets just say - I'm drinking a very nice complimentary glass of wine from them as I type, with an apology note attached ... there's always a story!!!   Beware, spelling may deteriorate!

Taxi from airport hysterical - probably more so with all of 3 hours sleep in a 48 hour period!  I have yet to see all the horse and carriages, but we drove on both a single and double carriageway!  Don't you love it when your taxi driver (with GPS) gets lost????

Child very, very well behaved - 5 hours sleep in the same 48 hour period ... until that same 5 hours was over ... oh well ... tomorrow's a new day.

Husband looking very fresh after his business class flight - have you seen those funky fold out beds they have in British Airways for business class?  They rub it in, because as you board and go to find your seat, you have to go through all the 'happy' people getting ready for bed!  Oh well, it's probably more interesting travelling in the cheap seats ... I never fail to have a chuckle AFTER the fight!  I'm wondering what the poor French gentleman is thinking ... hmmmm ....

NO CROCS ... except the pair I was wearing!  My husband graciously pointed out that it was very obvious that we were 'visitors' ... seriously, not one pair of crocs either on the plane or anywhere to be seen in the Canary Wharf area.

Now I know you've all heard of 'mumbles' - ladies????  Need I say more???  Well, they now have mumbles for men!  They're everywhere disguised as men's suits!  I'm dying laughing ... really, a variant legging for men!  Don't know if this particlular fashion trend will cross the pond, but I think my hubby would like to participate!!!!!  All in the name of 'fashion'!

Eating is very, very expensive!  That may be one of the reasons Twiggy stayed so skinny all these years!   And the packaging is miniture!    I went to 3 different grocery stores today closeby to the hotel.  I dropped an easy 30 pounds (dollars, not weight - but that would have been preferable to drop!) and I'm still wondering what exactly I got for it????  Not a lot!  I purchased a 'gallon' of milk in a 'pint' container the same look - only cute and cubby, at the same price.  The hens here must be the reason for the Queen's wealth, as I'm convinced that 'organic' is code for 'golden' ... 

The place is wonderfully diverse and the people are very enjoyable to watch.   I'm looking forward to tomorrow - going to the 7 or 8 story toy shop aand taking the tourist bus around London sight seeing ... 

Now, I'm not sure when I'll next be able to get online - it's not a free service - rather and additional 80 pounds per week ... so hubby 'splurred' for a one day event!  But I promise to continue to enjoy myself thoroughly,   show Cody a wonderfu memory of a fabulous place, cook as am able, walk alot, and spend time with my family!

Tar rar for now!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday on Thursday! 8th April 2010

So here is my first 'Wordless Wednesday'!  I know it's not Wednesday, but really that about sums it up!  I've been a tad busy with the kitchen reno, teaching school, socializing, karate mum, Easter bunny,  getting ready to fly to the UK tomorrow ... so I figured, pictures may best describe a little of my world!

So here is a sample of my seeds on the left - viable and now 50 plants to be planted tomorrow before I hope on the plane - and on the right - the dead and dying!  Decided next year none of this premade nonsense - its just cups and containers for me!  Took me a long time to transplant into these cups!

The seeds were looking sickly and needed more light - so rather than spend a bomb for more grow lights, I used alluminum to cover the lights and wouldn't you know it - they loved it!

Then don't for the kitchen ... while hubby was in the UK on business, we had rain, and rain, and then more rain ... so I became a human sump pump with my wet vac - around the clock - trying to hold the water at bay in the basement ... I did win this round! 

So here's 'date night'!  I spent my time priming the ceiling and walls - all ready to paint ...

Painting done!  Frustrating trip to IKEA for the cabinets.  A weekend 'dryfitting' the cabinets and hanging the cabinets.  80% of the cabinets built.  And now it waits ... not sure for how long ...

Now back to laundry, packing, and all those wonderful other things that need to be done.  Not sure when I'll get back to you, but will try!  And to my facebook friends, I'll try to update when I'm in a wireless site!  My first 'Wordless Wednesday' - on Thursday - with words!