Ever since the Zwangs got married, Cary has been planning a trip to Europe for us. We finally got to go this year and we had such a good time. Derek and I flew over on buddy passes from Jeff (yes that means standby tickets to and from Europe). We left on Thursday, July 8 and Cary and Jeff left on Sunday, July 11. We figured that we’d give ourselves some extra time to try and get on a flight so that we’d get there about the same time as Cary and Jeff. As luck would have it, we got on the very first flight we tried (non-stop to Paris) and they put us in first class! We could never have afforded those seats but first class overseas is THE ONLY way to travel. The seats recline clear back into a bed basically. You get a three course meal and pretty much anything you want. It was wonderful!!
Our luck didn’t last for the flights home unfortunately. We ended up having to purchase a real ticket out of London because standby tickets don’t really work over there. So after spending two extra nights in London we flew to Geneva, Switzerland and then to JFK in NYC. From there we tried our luck with standby tickets again. We barely missed our two best chances to SLC that night and so stayed in a hotel. We finally made it on a flight to Las Vegas the next afternoon (first class again!) after discovering that all flights pretty much anywhere else in the country were oversold. Cary drove from Cedar to pick us up when we landed. We stayed yet another night in Cedar City and the next morning we met my Mom in Filmore who drove us the rest of the way home. After such a ruckus home has never looked better! 🙂
The rest of the trip was so great. Derek and I had an extra three nights to spend in Paris while we waited for the Zwangs. We took it easy and got adjusted to jet lag pretty quickly. We spent two days at Versailles. I love that place. The first day we saw the Palace and the next day we took the long walk to the Grand and Petit Trianon where the queens spent much of their time. I really wanted to see Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet she had built to escape palace life but it didn’t work out.
We spent Monday-Wednesday in Paris with Cary and Jeff when they arrived. We saw the Opera House, Sacre Couer Basilica, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Orsay Museum, Rodin Museum, Arc de Triomphe, took a boat tour and even enjoyed some Bastille Day fireworks.
Thursday we rented a car and drove up through Belgium to the Netherlands. Both sides of Jeff’s family are from the Netherlands. His dad was even born in Amsterdam so he wanted to spend some time there. Derek did an awesome job of driving us out of downtown Paris and into the country despite three faulty backseat drivers. We stayed in the China Hotel Holland in Delft, which is about 40 minutes outside of Amsterdam. Delft is famous for blue Delftware china and also for being the birthplace of the artist Johannes Vermeer.
While there we saw the Anne Frank house, Royal Palace, toured a houseboat, took a canal tour, and went through a Delftware factory. I think this was Derek’s favorite part of the trip. It was less crowded and crazy than Paris and London. Amsterdam has a much slower, laid back pace and that was nice.
Sunday we headed back to Paris to drop of the car and stay one more night in our favorite hotel, Hotel de Rouen. Cary affectionately called it the hotel de RUIN. 🙂 Monday morning we took the train through the Chunnel to London. We spent the rest of our time there. We saw Abbey Road, Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Covent Gardens, Harrod’s, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and took another boat tour. Last minute we decided to see Les Miserables since the Zwangs have never been. It was, of course, amazing. The last night we also saw Comedy of Errors in Shakespeare’s Globe. That may have been the highlight of my trip besides Versailles. The show was so well done and hilarious! It was nice to sit back for a few hours and be entertained after two weeks of walking and standing in lines.
Another fun thing that happened on the trip was we were able to start feeling the baby moving around. Derek can even feel him. And once we started feeling him move, it’s like he never stops! Anytime I sat down to rest or have lunch it felt like he was doing sommersaults in my belly. That was pretty fun for both Derek and me to experience.
Including our extra days we spent coming home we were gone for just under 3 weeks. It was nice to get away and spend time with good friends. Thanks Cary and Jeff for such a fun trip!