• Travel
  • Our Home in Paris {Part 1}

    November 20, 2012

    I spent hours trying to find the perfect place in Paris that we could live in for five weeks.  What was nice is that we had an idea of what we needed and wanted because of our experience last summer in Lyon, France.  We were looking for a place that had some space and had good WIFI so Dusty could work from the apartment, that was conducive for cooking meals, that was in a decent location and close to the necessities, that had some type of second bed or couch for my friend to sleep on when she was visiting, and if possible, a good view.  I was also looking for a lift (elevator or didn’t have too many steps), we don’t mind walking up stairs but when you’re walking up six flights of winding stairs with two very large pieces of luggage and then walking up and down them in high heels on a regular basis, you’ll think twice about it.  And of course, I wanted a washing machine and dryer.  I didn’t want to have to go to a Laundromat every time I needed to do laundry.  We also preferred a place that didn’t have a lot of personal belongings and had space that we could really “move in” while we were there.

    I started looking for apartments on websites such as VRBO and ParisStay.com that had a great listing of vacation homes in Paris in January.  I also did a little searching on Airbnb and others but ended up finding a place using ParisStay.com. After finding some places I had to email the agency to see if they were available.  After several emails back letting us know apartments were available for the entire five weeks we needed it, we finally found one that met all of our needs. Then came the renters agreement, rental deposits, downpayment, and renters insurance.  Here are a few pictures of the outside of our apartment building and our view from the balconies. Pictures include: (1) Our place was on the top floor with two balconies off of the living room and bedroom (2) View of the Eiffel Tower (3) Left: Our door; Right: Close up of our view of the Eiffel Tower (4) Our view of Place de la Bastille (5) View of our balcony from inside.

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  • Tour de Fromage

    October 10, 2012

    Dusty and I found a lovely Paris blog, Paris by Mouth that also has a variety of tours they do around Paris.  I’m in love with cheese and saw they had a cheese tour.  I learned so much about cheese including how different cheeses are produced, why French cheesemakers use raw unpasteurized milk in their cheese, and what the impact of seasonality and aging are on cheese.

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    Top Left & Right:  Two fromageries (cheese shops); Middle Left & Right: Display of cheeses; Bottom Left: Cheeses we sampled with wine; Bottom Right: Display of cheeses.

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  • Second Annual Camping Trip

    October 4, 2012

    In September we found some time to take our annual camping trip.  We went to Indian Cave State Park again.  It’s just a few hours away from Omaha and so easy to get to.  We did much better planning things out and actually arrived before dark, brought plenty of our own wood, and only forgot a few minor items.

    My favorite part of our trip is that we bring several bottles of wine and spend most of our evenings without technology holding our annual Davidson Family Summit.  We got this idea from good friends of ours who find a weekend once a year to talk about all of their hopes and dreams, big and small, and plan for the upcoming year.  Although, I must say, we’re not as productive as we probably could be, we talk about what’s going on in our lives and what we hope to do in the upcoming future.

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  • Damme

    September 1, 2012

    On our second day in Bruges we rented a bicycle and took a scenic tour of the city and then road along the canal to the small town of Damme.  In the 13th century, Damme was the port for Bruges and linked by the river Reie. Now the river has been canalized into the long, straight, treelined and picturesque Damse Vaart.

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  • Bruges

    August 26, 2012

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    After a day and a half in the big city of Brussels we got on a train and headed to Bruges.  Bruges has beautiful canals, great architecture, and idealic cafes.  If you’re wondering about the spelling of the town, it’s Bruges in French and English, and Brugge in Flemish.

    After getting off our train into Bruges we jumped onto a bus to Bruges’ Market Square, the heart of the city.  In the square is the bell tower, which has been there since 1300.  We climbed the 366 steps of the tower to get a sense of the town.  In front of the bell tower sits two french-fry stands and as you might guess french fries are big in Belgium as well.

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    During our tour of the town we visited the Basilica of the Holy Blood which is famous for its relic of the blood of Christ, which, according to tradition, was brought to Bruges in 1150 after the Second Crusade.

    We also went to the City Hall and the Church of Our Lady.  In this beautiful church there is a statue of  Madonna and Child by Michelangelo but to our dismay, this section of the church has been sectioned off and costs what at the time seemed like an unreasonable amount of money just to see the statue.

    Kate and I spent two days exploring this beautiful little town.  Some highlights of our time in Bruges included the food and beverages of course.  Chocolate.  There are small chocolate shops all over this quant town where you can get an  assortment of Bruges’ best pralines which are filled chocolates. We toured a chocolate museum where we learned the history of chocolate and how it’s made in Belgium today.

    Waffles are maybe one of the best things I found in Belgium and nothing like the breakfast food you get in the states.  It’s eaten as a dessert or afternoon snack, alone or with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.  Belgium is also known for it’s mussels and fries and of course, we had to have some!

    Bruges is one of those towns that missed the 21st-century bus and is full of Old World charm.  And the reason why I loved this town so much!

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  • Brussels

    August 20, 2012

    While in France this summer one of my good friends and co-worker, Kate was able to visit and do all of the wonderful touristy things with me while Dusty worked.  Kate and I took a trip to Belgium and visited two of it’s major cities, Brussels and Bruges.  We met in Brussels and then made our way to Bruges after a day and a half of sightseeing.

    Brussels was most definitely the big city.  The city is the capital of Belgium and the European Union.  The city’s main square is called La Grand Place and is the heart of the old town.  The main square is where we spent most of our time.  We toured the Museum of Modern Art and the Magritte Museum, honoring the Surrealist painter René Magritte.

    One fun fact is that Brussels has one of the most interesting mascots. Its mascot is the Manneken-Pis, a statue/fountain of a little boy who looks like he’s peeing.  Of course, we made sure to find time to have a few glasses of Belgium’s beer and eat lots of chocolate.  I did try a few “real” beers but tended to choose the cherry-flavored Kriek and strawberry-flavored Frambozen as my beer of choice.  Both are well huge in Belgium.  There are hundreds of different kinds of Belgium beers as well as chocolate.

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  • London {Part 2}

    July 25, 2012

    One of my favorite  things that we did in London was ride on the London Eye.  The London eye is a giant Ferris wheel  on the River Thames. The entire structure is 443 ft tall and the wheel has a diameter of 394 ft.  It’s the tallest ferris wheel in Europe.

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  • London {Part 1}

    July 20, 2012

    While in Europe this summer we were able to visit a good friend of ours, Stefanie and her fiance, Jay in London.  Stefanie’s been traveling around the world for the past two years and happened to be living near London at the time.  We took the high-speed Eurostart train to get to London and it took less than two and a half hours, which traverses the English channel via the “Chunnel”.  Dusty’s traveled around England before but this was my first visit.  We went to all of the big touristy places and really enjoyed our three days away from Paris.

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  • Recently Dusty sent me a link to a post on 37signlas about working US hours from Europe.  I thought it was a great article describing how someone works 9-5pm from another country. It made me start thinking about how easy it was for us to adjust to the time change and how our move to France for 5-weeks didn’t seem to change our work schedule.

    We plan on going back to France this summer and people are often surprised to hear that we keep US work hours while we’re there.  The US is behind France by 6 hours so when it’s 9am in Omaha it’s 3pm in Paris. Dusty and I would usually wake up by 9 or 10am, check email from previous day, spend a little time together, relax, get some breakfast, and start working.  Dusty would be continue to work while I went to the market and/or grocery store to get our groceries for the day.  We’d usually make a grocery list in the morning that included what I needed to get (and google any items I didn’t know how to pronounce so I could ask for them at the market).

    I taught a hybrid communication course while were were there and met with my students before we left for Europe and then met with them again when I returned.  While we were in France my students had to listen to online lectures and turn in assignments via the internet.  I answered student questions each morning and then spent the afternoons grading assignments, emailing grades and feedback to each student individually.

    Dusty would schedule meetings between 3pm and 9pm each day which most people might think would ruin their day but since Dusty and I spent most of the day together it wasn’t a problem at all.  Over the years I’ve grown accustomed to Dusty working long hours, often working until 1 or 2am (out or in the home) so having a Skype meeting at 9pm is no big deal for us.  We’d schedule dinner plans around when Dusty had a meeting and most of our sightseeing was done on weekends so we didn’t have any problems finding free time.

    Fanta Zero – Dusty’s favorite soda while he worked.

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  • Camping Adventures

    October 16, 2011

    I don’t know what came over my husband but he decided that he wanted to take me camping. He said something about wanting to build a fire. I wouldn’t consider myself or Dusty big outdoorsy people but the weekend was a success. We drove a couple of hours away to Indian Cave State Park. Even though we had never been to the campgrounds and arrived after dark we got the tent set up and the fire started.  It was a nice weekend away from our cell phones.  We played yatzee, went hiking, watched the fire, and drank some wine.

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