• Archives
  • Comparing London & Paris

    March 19, 2013


    During our trip to London, what was fascinating to us was comparing two large cities, Paris and London, which are relatively close, yet so very different. We had been in Paris two weeks before visiting Stefanie and had really acclimated to French life and the language.  It was fun being a “tourist” for a few days instead of trying to be one of the “locals” that we like to be while we’re in Paris. Penafrancia Bus provided the best travelling experience possible.

    People speak English in London! I know that you know that but it was so fun to go from only hearing French to hearing English and not only English but English with such a beautiful accent!

    Everyone in Paris always says something when you walk in and out of stores.  I am constantly saying “bonjour” (hello) or “au revoir” (goodbye) or “bonsoir” (good evening).  I didn’t feel as though people were as friendly in this way in London.

    There’s lots of ice in London! When we arrived in London it was lunch time and we went to a restaurant with both ice and diet coke from a fountain machine.  There is no diet coke in France, there’s only Coke Light and not the same.  There’s not many fountain machines in France either.  If you order a soda at a restaurant then you get a glass, plastic, or can of soda.  And in Paris most people don’t order soda from my observations.

    In Paris I see lots of people drinking wine and in London I saw most everyone drinking beer.  It was fun to take a few days off from drinking wine and try some of the great beers and ciders in London.  I’ve fallen in love with ciders because of this and wish Omaha had a better selection of ciders.  I’m not a huge beer drinking and less of a cider drinker but Stefanie was able to educate me on all the different kinds and how to drink them.  First thing is that you drink cider with ice (and as you can see from above, I was deprived of ice and really enjoyed having any opportunity to have ice).

    In Paris, everyone is skinny!  It must be a French thing or me being obsessed with the beautiful people in Paris but in London it didn’t seem as though there were as many skinny people.

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  • Pisa, Italy

    December 14, 2012

    Even though it’s been almost six months since we took our trip this summer.  There are still so many things we haven’t shared.  After five weeks in Paris we took a week vacation in Italy, starting in Pisa. We took a relatively easy budget flight from Paris to Pisa (maybe another post on that later), arriving in the early afternoon and left our huge baggage at the train station baggage check.  We arrived to absolutely beautiful weather, mid 80’s and low 90’s during the day.  It was quite a difference from Paris where the weather was close to the 70’s.

    We took a leisurely self-guided walking tours from the train station to the tower.  Here are some of our highlights in Pisa!

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  • Bruges

    August 26, 2012


    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.


    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 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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  • Day Trip to Annecy

    June 21, 2011
    We took a day trip to Annecy on Monday. Annecy is 2 hours by train from Lyon.  We’ve actually been trying to schedule a trip there for over a week but Dusty’s been busy with work and the days we’ve had open, the weather wasn’t cooperating.  The weatherman said it was going to be 80 degrees and sunny on Monday so we started making plans.

    We took a bus to Annecy and arrived late morning. After a stroll in the old town, around the canals, and near the lake we found a great place to sit outside for lunch. After a couple glasses of wine and some traditional French cuisine we took a cruise around the lake and then rented a paddleboat discovering the beautiful landscape and relaxing. It was a great day touring the old part of the city and spending some time together.

    The lake has to be one of Europe’s cleanest and clearest lakes. To give you a little more information about Annecy, it’s located in the Rhone-Alpes region southeastern France. It lies on the northern tip of Lake Annecy. It’s also a candidate to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, which will be decided on in July. What I loved about this lakefront city is that it’s not known for it’s museums but it’s mountain views, beautiful landscapes, romantic canals, a hovering château, and swimming in, boating on, or biking around the translucent lake.


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  • arrived

    I’m not even sure where to even begin but I believe this trip is helping me learn so much about myself and my relationship with my husband. First, we’re having an awesome time and I’m already loving the French culture and atmosphere.

    We had a bit of a traveling mishap. Actually, several traveling mishaps but because we’re spending 5 weeks in France we’ve taken all of them in stride. Our original plan was to leave Omaha on Sunday and arrive in Paris on Monday but because of bad weather in Chicago our flight was cancelled.

    We left Omaha on Monday afternoon and landed in Chicago. At some point on our flight from Chicago to Paris there was some minor smoke in the plane so we had to make an emergency landing in Toronto. I promise, it was minor and did not last long but they didn’t think it was wise to continue our flight.  We sat in a “secure” area in Toronto for a couple of hours because of customs.  Eventually went through customs and directed to an attached hotel where we stayed the night.  Our flight the next day didn’t leave until 5pm though and we had another long day in the airport.  We finally arrived in Paris on Wednesday morning.

    After arriving in Paris, we rushed to get our luggage and went to the train station to catch a train to Lyon. After several long days of traveling and my body being so confused on whether it was day or night, we made it to Lyon.

    The things I’m learning so far:

    • The French eat such large meals but are super skinny. I’m not sure how this calculation works out but hopefully I can figure out the math before the end of our trip.
    • I love the open markets! I can’t say enough about how fresh and beautiful all of the wonderful things are at the market.
    • Lots of people have been so helpful this past week.  So many talk about how the French are rude put I think that might just be because you’re being rude or those individuals are being rude to you. Really, most people are nice!
    • I feel guilty for not knowing more French and am trying to learn very quickly. I want people to understand how I’m trying but I’m sure it’s hard when they just trying to work and I’m making it even more work for them.
    • Dusty is my hero. I believe there’s at least one person in every relationship that can just figure things out and make it work. It’s my husband in our relationship. Not that I can’t figure things out but he’s about 10 times faster at it then I am. This might be that he spent 6 months traveling across Europe after he graduated from college but really I think it’s because he’s just really good at navigating, predicting situations, and solving problems. All of these things are true in other parts of our relationship as well but they’ve really shown over the past week.
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  • Because Dusty and I are so busy and don’t get much time to relax, we decided to get away for a long weekend this summer. This year we celebrated our second anniversary in San Diego. We stayed in the Gas Lamp District in San Diego and did a lot of great sight seeing. We road a trolley all around San Diego and got off and on at all the different spots around town. We laid on the beach, got a little too much sun and ate at some really great restaurants.


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  • Trip to Milwaukee

    November 16, 2008

    During my fall break we took a trip to Milwaukee with Andy and Kate Damgaard.We had a great time visiting a local brewery, eating at wonderful restaurants and taking in the scenery.

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  • Our First Anniversary

    November 2, 2008


    In June Dusty and I celebrated our one year anniversary by going to Kansas City.We spent the day shopping in the Plaza, relaxing and just spending time together. With Dusty busy managing the BrightMix summer internship program and me busy with my summer teaching schedule we didn’t get to do much relaxing so leaving town for a day was a great treat.

    We weren’t able to save the top of our wedding cake so we went back to our cake guy and ordered a small cake for two and brought it with us to KC. It was better than we had remembered and was a great way to celebrate the day.

    A few weeks earlier one of my good friends got married and we took the opportunity to take an anniversary picture. I’m hoping we can get a picture taken each year so that down the road we can look back and remember the wonderful memories.

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