Friday, June 20, 2008

Europa '08

So T & I arrived back in B'ham around 6:20 PM Thursday night. The return flight was uneventful w/ a long lay-over in Dulles. So glad to be back home in my own bed w/ lots of Charmin. I missed KJ terribly. I missed Chris too but spoke w/ him and texted him several times thru-out the trip so I never felt out of the loop w/ him.

WOW. Where do I begin? What an incredible trip and it was so wonderful to share the experience w/ T.

We had the overnight flight to Rome. There was another EF Tour from Texas w/ basically the same itinerary as us. Our group was all girls, their group was all boys. Very cute boys. So, the kids all hung out together in the back of the plane and flirted w/ each other all night. We ran into these kids the entire trip and everytime they saw us, they would yell, "Hey Alabama!!!"

In Rome we toured the Coliseum, the Roman Forum (ruins), The Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and our tour guide pointed out Sofia Loren's apartment. We toured the Vatican, St. Peter's Basilica and saw the Sistine Chapel. As a Catholic, it felt like the mother ship calling me home. We also spent the day in Assisi on our way to Florence for the night. Assisi was the most picturesque little village I have ever seen. It was so beautiful and so perfect it actually felt like a Disney set at Epcot. Our room in Florence was very quaint and Italian-esqe. We had a floor to ceiling set of double doors w/ a little balcony overlooking a garden. Spent the day in Florence and saw a replica of David (our tour guide explained the original is reserved exclusively for "academia"). We went to the Doumo (forgive me, I can't recall the exact name of the church right now). We went to a demonstration at a leather-making factory which was pretty interesting. While in the flea market in Florence, T & I ran into Kourtney Kardashian and the mom (Bruce Jenner’s wife); I’ll post pics on my blog. They were very, very nice and Kourtney told T she was pretty; made T-bone’s day!! We saw the Leaning tower of Pisa and from Florence we took the overnight train to Paris and slept in a “coachette” (that was an experience I’ll never forget). The Texas boys were also on our train so the kids all hung out together.

We hit the ground running in Paris. Since we spent the night on the train, I'm wearing a hat in all my Paris pics to cover my bad hair day. Paris was amazing. Every one else went to Versailles but T & I ventured out on our own. We explored the Metro system and had a lovely lunch at a sidewalk cafe. We walked to Notre Dame and met our group for dinner. After dinner we all went to the Eiffel Tower, ate crepes from a sidewalk vendor (delish!) and did an evening river cruise. The days are sort of running together but I know it was Monday when we saw the Mona Lisa in the Louvre and T & I walked up the Champs Elysee all the way to the Arc De Triomphe. We climbed all 284 steps to the top for an amazing view of the city. On the way up to the Arc De Triomphe we stopped in several swanky stores and had fun in the Disney store. They were playing Hannah Montana music and T & I stood there and dance and sang to "Best of Both Worlds." After the Arc we walked over to the Hard Rock for a pin and shot glass. A group of German boys asked me to take their pic in the Hard Rock and then they wanted a pic of all them w/ T right smack in the middle. So, some boys in Germany have a pic of T in their scrapbook tonight. That night after dinner a bunch of us went up to Montmatre and climbed the steps at Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart) for an incredible view of the city. Everyone we ran into in Paris was very, very friendly and helpful.

Tuesday morning, we took the chunnel to London and spent the afternoon at Covenant Gardens shopping and having lunch. We saw Wicked our first night in London and it was incredible. Very different from the book (which I hated w/ a passion). I will totally take KJ when it comes here in April '09. We had a bus tour Wednesday morning and saw the church where Charles & Di got married. I don't remember the exact order we saw things but at some point we drove across the Tower Bridge and walked to Buckingham Palace. After a lunch of fish & chips we toured the Tower of London and saw the Crown Jewels. We went to the Hard Rock so T could get a pin and pick-up a shot glass for Chris. We had high tea at Harrod's and I bought KJ a vanilla-scented bear from there. We walked around Piccadilly Circus for a bit. So much to do, so little time. T & I both loved London & Paris and became total Anglo- and Francophiles. You should have seen us using the Metro is Paris and the Underground in London. We were like total locals!

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