Monday, July 3, 2017

Anniversary Trip: Nice



Nice was very nice. 
Isaac says it was his favorite of the three cities. Such a hard choice to pic a fave, so I'm not going to. i do think i'd most like to return here to see more of the surrounding coastal cities. we drove through cannes and antibes, and i wish we could have explored more.  but then, i'd love to have seen more of london too...

The train ride from Paris to Nice was a bit over 5 hours, I think. So scenic. Beautiful old farm houses, lots of cattle. even the lavender fields were in bloom. Reminded me of the movie French Kiss. I'm such a romantic.













The place we stayed was highly recommended by ellison at Poe Travel. I can't describe how beautiful it was. The entry, the terrace, the room, even the closet in our room was stunning. The pool won though. Loved the white umbrellas and pretty cushioned chairs. lovely little crisp details everywhere.





ended the trip on a relaxing note







We had a taxi take us along the coast up to Monte Carlo in the little country of Monaco. We ate dinner there and walked to the casino. WoW. They were much dressier and fancier and classier than Vegas (or tunica, ha). So many fancy cars all around the streets. They wouldn't let us take pictures inside but we tried. We enjoyed watching the big players at the tables and met some fun people from Canada and New Zealand.  



The last evening, we walked for about two miles along the gorgeous rock path that winds up and down the coast;  Chemin des DouaniersSt-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France.

The little beaches and rock pools along the way had so much character. Locals were lounging on little rock platforms. Seriously amazing views.


we ate dinner at paloma beach AT SUNSET which was amazing


we had walked there, but decided to get our hotel to pick us up in their car back to the hotel. it was getting dark and we were tired. Ubers worked well in london and paris but they were very hit or miss in the Nice area. 

if we'd had another day or two we would like to have checked out a few more spots people had/have told us about, and would have tried to spend some time on a sailboat.There is never enough time to do everything!! But very very grateful we got to relax here and soak up so many unforgettable moments.
the trip gave me lots of uninterrupted time with my best friend and also time to reflect on our little section of the world back in little rock.  i would truly pick to live in our small-big city over and over again. with my people, of course. 


Thursday, June 29, 2017

anniversary trip; paris

we took the chunnel from london to paris. easy ride.


our first stop was to cafe de flore, which was within walking distance from our hotel at relais christine.   yummy quiche and their version of a grilled cheese?

laughing at isaac's jotted notes with 'sleep in' at the top of each day.
we did sleep in almost every day. a luxury that is important to us on trips. even in disney we slept in. rule breakers, us smiths.


we spent the afternoon exploring Luxembourg gardens


for dinner, monsieur blue. very hip place with beautiful view of the eiffel tower. i had the best white fish of the trip with a curry sauce to die for.




we went to montmartre the next day. i loved the little square with artists painting. i brought home a few drawings and one little bitty oil painting. 




a cruise on the seine river before dinner at frenchie



this was a big highlight for me. i love a boat ride. 







i didn't get any pics at frenchie bc the lighting was so dim. i found my favorite white wine there. 

the next day we had breakfast at le bristol. wowsers. that place is gorgeous.




went to the louvre and then to dinner at yamtcha. which was the best meal i've ever had in my life. no exaggeration. i've been wanting to go here for over a year. they were featured on chef table ; france. a great documentary series to watch if you love interesting food. 


















 a fabulous way to end our stay in paris






Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Anniversary Trip: London

started typing while on the long flight headed home as it occurred to me I will have far more sitting-time here than back at home. feeling very ready to pick up each of my four babies and squeeze them. and a huge thank you to the grandparents (and aunts, uncles, neighbors, and sitters) for filling in for us for the last 10 days!

So our exact 10 year anniversary was April 7th, but we waited to travel until June.  We left for London on my actual 35th birthday, which made for an extra  sweet day. Isaac and I have been talking/dreaming about this trip for years. He had gone to Europe twice in college, and his many great stories and pictures left me longing to experience some of the same....Minus the hostels.

The couple that plays together AND dreams together stays together, right? The planning and dreaming part was really fun. Reading travel blogs, following French and British foodies on Instagram, reading travel mags-- it's been a lovely way to gear up for and dream up some plans for the big trip. I found an iPhone app called Glimpse Guides super helpful. The girl who created it is actually from little rock and has fab taste.  A college friend of mine, Lauren, has a blog and Instagram account called Aspiring Kennedy that I also referenced for ideas/places to see.

So while it's obvious I'm a huge dreamer type (I could literally brainstorm and dream an entire day away), I am not a good task planner and am teeerible with logistics. Enter Poe Travel agency. They helped us with our bookings and itineraries and made sure I wasn't in charge of important things like dates and Airline info.


The London (and Paris) weather was unusually sunny and warm. 90s! Which was nice in some ways, but sweaty in others.


Flew to Dallas, then to London.



we slept a lot of the way on 9 hour flight to london. but were still tired for the first few days.



We landed and then had lunch at our hotel. This was one of my fav spots in London. I think I had three meals right here in this yellow room.



That afternoon we went to evensong, the evening service at Westminster Abbey.

My phone went off during the very quiet service. Embarrassing!!  Yet I was glad to hear the incredible voices and  harmony of the choir.


We ate dinner at the Ivy Chelsea Garden. It was the coolest atmosphere we saw on the whole trip, I'd say. And one of my favorite dishes. 



The names were on the dishes at every restaurant we went to. I get excited over little details. 



We came back to the back porch of The Goring each night. Had cheese and dessert and glass of wine. Many British people all around us, all in sports coats and long pants. Not us:) We loved listening to their accents and phrases. 

We had an English breakfast complete with black and white pudding. I liked the white one, then I heard that pudding is made out of blood somehow?? I stopped asking questions. The yolks were bright orange every  place we went. The Goring had the best latte I've ever had. I just started enjoying coffee, good timing.


We timed our trip to see the Trouping of the Colours annual parade celebrating the que en's birthday.
HUGE HIT!!! It wasn't even really crowded until about 1 when the family came out onto the balcony.  So from 9:30 to about 11, we watched the family including KATE and William roll down the street in their carriages. My kind of activity!!!!!
we were so close i could have thrown a paper airplane at them. i got some good videos of her waving to us. posted the one of kate on instagram.



it was much harder to get a good view of the balcony. we were literally squinting between people's legs, ha.  you can see in the pic below.


we ate at the savoy hotel this evening. great pork chops and their chocolate truffles win my fav dessert of the trip award. 


then we saw school of rock show in one of the west end theaters. the show was very very good. the kid actors literally made me cry they were so talented. if i did this again, i would have picked an older theater, but seen the same show.  this theater was more american looking than old with lots of character.   




next day, we went to notting hill for breakfast and to get a pretty walk in. and i shopped while isaac had some time to run/read/work. 



we ate breakfast at granger and co. 
and ordered several sides to top our eggs. we looked very american as we could barely fit all our plates in front of us.


don't mind the constant pics, ike


loved this preppy gorgeous neighborhood and the doors 

more goring goods as a pre dinner snack 




i loved all the wallpapers and art we saw in the hotels and restaurants

we ate at sketch. this place is ultra creative which i adored. 







dessert back at the goring, overlooking their garden space. 

if i could go back to one of the three places again, i think i'd pick london. it's the kind of place i could keep enjoying over and over. 



next up, paris......