Monday, January 7, 2013

Paris & Belgium - An Introduction

Actual date of this event: 26 December to 5 January

Since Luke worked a 14/14 offshore for the first half of 2012, he had so many vacation days left over at the end of 2012 that he either needed to use them or they would go to waste. And since Aberdeen is a dark city in the winter, what else would we do besides use that time to travel. We decided to visit Paris and Belgium for a total of 10 nights leaving the day after Christmas.

We had very low expectations going to Paris. We had heard a few negative things about the city... the same thing I am sure you have heard... the French are rude. Other than hearing that and doing research on the tourist attractions, we didn't know much else about the city. 

We were pleasantly surprised with Paris! We both enjoyed our time in the city so much more than we expected. Other than having low expectations, this may be why we enjoyed it:
1.) We did a ton of walking to try to get a feel of almost every single-digit district. We don't feel we could have gotten that same feeling on the metro or a bike or a moped or a Segway. I specifically enjoy walking since its difficult to exercise while traveling.
2.) We stayed right next to the Eiffel Tower so every night we had a great view while heading back to the apartment. It is the prettiest at night! And yes, it is one of the most touristy attractions in the world, but it gave me tiny goosebumps with each sight.
3.) Luke did an amazing job of speaking French! I am positive that it helped our status as tourists. I think he really enjoyed it too... he may even continue to practice at work with his French boss.
4.) We had 3.5 days of exploring which does not include out trip to Versailles. We also did not do any Museum visits which always take hours to complete. Any less time and we would have been rushing.
5.) Going against what I said in number one, we did use the metro a few times. Paris is huge! We totally under estimated the distance when we arrived and walked from Notre-Dame to basically the Eiffel Tower where our apartment was which ended up being 2.3 miles! Oh, and with a rucksack on my back, high wind and rain. Fun! Once we figured out the metro routes, we were easily and quickly transported from one side of the city to the next.
6.) Maybe it is a Christmas/New Year dilemma, but Paris was PACKED! I haven't traveled to too many cities, but it was definitely the most touristy of all that I've visited. Yes, this is not a positive and we were not pleasantly surprised by this, but we used our time wisely. We determined which attractions we wanted to visit the most and tried to get there first thing in the morning to avoid long lines. We still had to wait in long lines at times since it was unavoidable, but we kept our spirits high. Even Luke stayed calm for the most part... probably because he was diggin' the city!

After visiting Paris for four days, we moved on to Brussels where we planned to stay for five nights. I was pretty excited to visit Belgium and I can't really say why. Maybe because I didn't know too much about it. I had done the research for attractions and other things but I still didn't know what to expect. I mean, the main attraction in Brussels is the Manneken Pis... a statue of a small boy peeing. Really? So here is a quick breakdown of our days in Belgium:
1.) We spent 2.5 days in Brussels and felt we did enough. We got to relax a bit on the last day which was nice after going non-stop for 8 days. We got to taste a bunch of different beers and enjoy a great fireworks show to start the New Year!
2.) We spent one day in Bruges. There isn't a whole lot of "free" things to do in Bruges, so one day was enough time, but I would go back to that town in a heartbeat. Such a cute town with every street being cobblestone and canals everywhere.
3.) We spent one day in Antwerp and we were very unlucky with the weather that day. It is not a fancy town by any means, but we ate one of the best meals of our whole 10 days in Antwerp, so it's a success in our book!
Luke and I made a point to eat some Belgian chocolate which is not hard to find in Brussels. And we made a point to eat Belgian waffles everyday because they seriously are that good! 

I plan to show y'all more and tell you about a few specifics in other blogs, so come back later to find out why these pictures left a lasting impression on me!
© - SABAM 2010 - Debbie Buisson
(and why I have put this copyright)
Stay Tuned!

Alcohol drinking and glass bottles are not allowed in the Eiffel Tower park.


1 comment:

  1. Yay! Can't wait to hear more. Please have Luke tell Jonathan that Paris is worth the trip.

    And Belgium looks beautiful and delicious:)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...