Saturday, October 27, 2012


Remember that "sprained" ankle?  After our return from Paris, during which the swelling did not really go down, nor did the pain decrease, we decided to venture to the Italian doctors for a looksie.  This is what they saw...

Yes, two breaks if you're skilled at reading in the foot, one in the leg.

The next morning she went to the emergency room and got fitted with a cast.  The kids wasted no time decorating it.

An interesting side note--we've mentioned before the differences we see in Italy, and the purchasing of a prescription was no different.  When you buy things here, they tend to wrap them very nicely for you, from pastries, to kitchen items, to even prescriptions meds apparently.

Hopefully the beautiful drawings brought many smiles, in the face of the many new challenges the cast presented.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Disneyland Paris--It's Magic

As I mentioned, the kids would be richly rewarded for their superb abilities to manage our usual crazy sightseeing schedules, and, indeed, they were.  Our third day in Paris was at Disneyland Paris--a 1ish hour train ride (including an unscheduled delay at one stop) out of the city.  We came prepared with lanyards and pins-the souvenir from a trip to Disneyworld in Florida a few years ago, and prepared for a day of roller coasters and fun.

Disneyland was well decorated for fall--I loved all the big pumpkins everywhere.

The kids eagerly rode the Teacups, Star Wars, Space Mountain Mission 2, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, It's a Small World, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Carousel.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (or is it Dwarves?)

I thought the horses on the carousel were so beautiful

He was thrilled to ride a Star Wars ride

Lucy's hands in the air for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Roller Coaster
We also enjoyed some storybook walk through adventures that were cleverly put together.  Alice in Wonderland was a masterfully created maze complete with an evil queen ready to chop off our heads.

We took in a fun Halloween show with Mickey and all his friends.

The Parade was beautiful, with almost all of our favorite movies and characters...

although Riley thought it was odd that the Disneyland Parade in Paris did NOT include the Parisian Princess, Belle (her favorite, since Belle reads almost as much as Riley).

I only took at least a dozen pictures of the castle... Here are just a couple.

We also spent a few minutes in photo-ops with some of the Disney greats

At the end of the day, the lights were coming on and we were exhausted.  After a little more shopping, and a quick dinner at McDonalds (yup) we were on our way back to Paris.
A good day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Paris Plus

Continuing on our tour of Paris we headed out one misty, rainy morning for Versailles to explore Louis XIV's Palace of Versailles.  In a word, opulent.  I don't have a ton of pictures, but of course I took one in the Hall of Mirrors.

We rented little golf carts that we could use to drive around the large gardens behind the Palace.  This was a fun little diversion for all of us, since the dreary weather and someone's "sprained" ankle would make walking around not so enjoyable (*Note the "" around sprained--you'll learn why in a day or two).

Drivers License WAS required for this bad-boy.  By the way, I had never driven a golf cart, before.  Dad, I did stop at all stop signs.

Luckily for us, though, the next day was a gorgeous day in Paris.  After a late morning start, we made our way to Pont Neuf, a the oldest bridge in Paris that would lead us across the Seine River and to the island with Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle.  Ironically, Pont Neuf means new bridge.  But I digress.

Notice our French braids?

Sainte Chapelle was this beautiful chapel filled with stained glass.  It was built by Louis IX in the 1200's specifically to hold the Crown of Thorns.  Although now housed elsewhere, the chapel is still remarkable to view and continues to display the Crown on certain occasions and days (not the one we were there)
The chapel in the lower level for the "commoners"

The altar built for the Crown of Thorns

A chapel that was part of a larger palace area, this was connected to the current Justice building

Afterwards we made our way to Notre Dame.  With construction in the plaza in front of it and a rally of some sort going on as well, the arrival was less than spectacular.  In fact, even once we were inside one of the kids commented that it wasn't as beautiful as they had expected it to be...have we been to too many marvelous churches here?  I suppose it is hard to compare to St. Peter's or Florence's Duomo.  However, we continued around the side to see the flying buttresses and talk architecture, design and structure for a minute or two.  Lucky for the kids, the gardens around the side had some fun places to play, too.

After a bite to eat for lunch (and just a sip of coffee),

The kids were relieved to have a break from French food at this Italian place

we headed towards the Louvre...

Some sort of fire alarm delayed our access to Mona Lisa, so we strolled through an Ancient Egyptian gallery for a few minutes.

And then we made our way to Mona Lisa...

kind of small when you turn around and see this enormous painting on the wall opposite her (behind us in this photo)...

We used a Rick Steves app to listen to information about some of the artwork here.  We love the Rick Steves apps for touring Europe.

We separated for a minute trying to make our way to Venus de Milo.  Unfortunately, at about that time the museum began announcing that it was closing, and only a couple of us made it there.

However, the others in the group got to take in this lovely sculpture, which gave them all quite a laugh and maybe made up for it (thought word is that at least one of them cried when it was revealed they would not be seeing Venus de Milo).

We continued from the Louvre to the Tuileries Gardens where we relaxed for a few minutes and enjoyed the ultimate in French yumminess--crepes filled with nutella.

See--I told you we enjoyed it!

We then spied Avenue des Champs Elysees with the Arc de Triomphe in the distance.  Ted did not let me past here to do any shopping...

So, after checking off all those sites, we began the walk back to the apartment.  And I just have to say that our kids are so good at walking all day and amusing themselves while we haul them all over the place.  They will have their reward in the next post...