Our Paris Trip

I’ve seem to have lost my blogging mojo recently… I’m mostly going to blame the puppy. Betsy likes to wake up a lot earlier than I’m used to and it’s resulting in aΒ  lot of lethargic Zoe days. I seem to be spending a great deal of my time running around and playing with her in an attempt to tire her out, as she still isn’t allowed out of the house. She has been pretty well behaved and has slept through every night except for the very first. I mustn’t grumble – But you know me!

Anyway, time for a quick Paris update. It feels like an age since we were there, but it was only a week and a half ago that we returned. We hadn’t planned to go away this summer as we went to San Fran in April, but I was itching for a break and decided to contact the couple that we had house swapped with a few years ago. They were fully up for it, which made the trip cheap and cheerful for us. Well, when I say cheap and cheerful we did have one indulgent day where we went for the most delicious lunch at the Le Relais Louis XIII – A 2 Michelin-starred French restaurant, which I’ll tell you more about in another post.

Paris was as lovely as ever; however, a lot of shops close over the summer and we did find that we were sometimes shut out of places we would have loved to have spent some time in. We were aware that this would be the case before we left, however, and simply spent a lot of time soaking up the atmosphere on the streets, drinking at many of the cafes and doing a great deal of people watching. We did plenty of walking and plenty more eating, and the weather held out for us most of the time. What is with this summer eh?!

It was great to get away and I’m hoping that our Paris swapping buddies will now be prepared to swap for many years to come!

These guys were amazing! We saw them pop up a few times during our trip – Check out the keyboard player!

We sat at a popular cafe/bar in Oberkampf for hours after a long day of walking and this was being finished whilst we drank copious amounts of wine. I can’t for the life of me remember the name, but it served the most amazing Pizza!

San Francisco Trip

So, I’m back from San Francisco. We shopped, ate and walked our way around the city for a few weeks and I have returned with an empty purse – As expected. San Francisco isn’t cheap and I’d mainly blame this on their craving for all things organic. Something to be proud of, but it certainly doesn’t help out your average tourists bank balance!

We had a fantastic break, but I didn’t really bond with the city. As pretty (and clean) as it is, I certainly struggled to figure it out. The guide book promised me that the town would give me ‘one hell of a ride’, but I clearly came away wondering where the entrance to that ride was. Bear in mind that this is also the guide book that told us under no circumstance should you drive, due to the lack of parking in the city. We drove everywhere, had not an ounce of trouble parking and honestly found a car extremely useful due to the layout of the land and the way the shops were so sparsely laid out.

The reason we went there was quite a few people had said that we’d love it. I had high hopes, but it took us quite some time to find the best bits. We don’t like to do the normal tourist attractions and we found it quite hard to find things to do outside walking, biking and eating.

We generally like to wander around a city when we visit, to get a feel for the local life and not be surrounded by the hoards of other tourists… Our extremely brief visit to Pier 39 was bloody awful! Why do people like to go to the same place and eat with loads of other tourists in the same spot? I just don’t get it.

Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of good bits to San Francisco and we did have a lovely time… Every meal we ate out was delicious, the people were charming, and we found the best ice cream bar ever, right around the corner from one of the places we stayed in.

During our trip, we visited LA for a few days. It really wasn’t enough time, as we didn’t get a chance to see anyone that we had intended on meeting up with. The drive back from LA to San Fran (via the Big Sur) was awesome. Some pretty spectacular scenery and luckily some decent weather to go with it.

So all in all. It was nice. I think I was just demanding more because this was one of our most expensive trips ever – We’ve been to some pretty good places. I don’t think we’ll go back to San Fran for some time and I wouldn’t put it high on my best places in the world to go, but if you are passing do stop in for an ice cream and a chat with the locals. It’s might be more for you than it was for me.

The Big Sur scenery

17 Mile Drive Montery

17 Mile Drive Montery

The obligatory bridge shot.
We were lucky enough to find a secluded section below the tourist vista point.

Off the Grid Food trucks – Some fabulous food was eaten!

You MUST go to this place. That is all.

Wind playing havoc with this shot

American sizes on a small English lad!

Redwood Trees – Muir woods

Alex got to do this after a Living Social voucher drama. Segway around Golden Gate Park
Probably a lucky escape for me ;)

To Pack Or Not To Pack – That is the Question

So, we’ve got one whole week until I go away on holiday and I’m already getting the urge to pack. This is nothing new. I like to be organised, and I quite like to have my case out in plenty of time to fill it to the brim.

Alex hates this with a passion. He says it only takes him five minutes to pack – Which is actually quite a hefty exaggeration, as much as he argues against it! I like to call him the holiday lead man… He certainly takes at least a few hours looking for and packing up all the leads that we need to take with us. Laptops, cameras, phones, adaptor plugs, you name he will pack it in his peculiar lead bag. Then, he might think about packing some clothes once that’s done. MUST PACK LEADS FIRST!

I’ve got better at packing – Mainly because I need to delay getting the case out, due to the fat cat and his urge to sit in it or on it! It’s not like I haven’t had years of practice. I’ve been packing and unpacking since I went to boarding school, at the age of seven.

Still, I wouldn’t mind if Alex got the cases down from the loft tonight and at least gave me the option to start. It just makes the holiday seem so much closer, and I certainly do hate the last minute rushing about.

Do you take ages to pack? Or do you leave it all until the last minute?