The trip continues, in photos


Micha and I arrived back home in the States yesterday. Sigh, Amsterdam was my vacation from vacation. In Paris I was sleeping on a futon and in Brussels we both shared a mattress pad on the (albeit free) floor of a friend's. In Amsterdam, I had a king sized bed. Alone.

The apartment we rented was wonderful. Big, clean and simple. An old dutch building with tall ceilings and big windows. A washing machine. Most days I slept till noon.



Do you know the website airbnb? It's how we found all of our apartments for the trip. For less than half of the price of the cheapest hotel, we were able to rent our own beautiful place and have separate bedrooms and a kitchen.





The art nouveau Hamlet poster was original to the teens or 1920s and belonged to the owner's father. We both squealed when we saw it.













The owner left us a bottle of wine and fistfuls of dutch candy in our apartment when we first arrived. With such an auspicious start, how could I not fall hopelessly for Amsterdam? Easily bribed, it's true.

Bruges


Quaint, thy name is Bruges. Taking the train from Brussels to Bruges, a smaller Flemish town on the northern coast of Belgium, was our absolute favorite day trip so far. Miniature winding canals, mossy bridges, lace curtains and fairytale houses.





















It rained on and off all day while we were there. We huddled under a cheap umbrella, trying to take pictures and wipe the fog off our camera lenses. Feet got soaked, hands got cold. We were giddy though and I think our excitement kept misery at bay. Then, of course, on the train ride home we slept like babies, bellies full of frites.

Brussels



I'm sitting in my big fluffy bed in Amsterdam with the tiniest bit of snow falling, it's almost noon here and I am having a hard time being persuaded to budge. It's pretty bittersweet, we only have two days left on our trip. In the beginning you think it'll never end but by the end you have no idea where the time went.

I really loved Brussels. It was a nice change after leaving Paris to be a smaller city with more casual, smiling people. One of Micha's good friends guided us around the city for most of our 2 days so we felt very at ease.























I think our favorite part of all of Brussels was having a late night beer at Toone, a 1830s marionette theater. Of course, street waffles were also a highlight. As were the fries. And the hot chocolate.

We're walking our feet off to keep up with our treats intake, both simultaneously indulging and exercising so in the end we're striking a balance between dead tired and supremely vegetable deprived. Micha went out last night to find a bag of carrots which did the trick just fine.

The Merrick Sisters Top 10: Paris



Our Top Ten Favorites

Favorite museum: Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
(Technically a hunting museum, but don't let that scare you off. It's insanely beautiful and really cheekly put together. A wonderful little gem of a museum.)

Favorite meal: Hotel du Nord
(Adorable and not scarey pricey, filled with all sorts of Parisians. Sweet Reba took us here.)

Favorite patisserie: Au Panetier
(Enough said)

Favorite delusional residence: Marie Antionette's Hamlet at Versailles
(Like a 18th century mini golf course, complete with little windmill. We were totally in love.)

Favorite painting in the Musée D'Orsay: Twilight by Pierre Bonnard
(I'm a hopeless sucker for green, plaid and spaniels but I was pretty giddy to see the Manets, too.)

Favorite shop: Astier de Villatte
(Best little porcelain teacups, made we want to redouble my pottery efforts.)

Favorite people and dog watching: Jardin du Luxembourg
(The chic old ladies were out in full force, so were the scruffy mutts.)

Favorite antique clothing and textile shop: Chez Dentelles
(Hands down, the smallest shop in Paris. No more than three people including the owner could fit inside and the dresses made us weep from poverty.)

Favorite treacherous staircase: The Catacombs
(The stairs down were scarier than the piles of human skulls.)

Favorite flea market: Porte des Vanves
(Beat out the more famous puces de clignancourt a million to one. I can't recommend this one enough, lots of folding tables and things mere mortals can afford. I wish we would have skipped clignancourt and just gone here at 7am.)

















So Paris is done. We arrived in Amsterdam tonight and I'm already in love. The owner of the apartment we rented left us a big bottle of wine and handfuls of dutch candy, so maybe that's why. I get a king sized bed all to myself and after days of refugee style floor camping, this coming week is looking better than ever.

hello from versailles

Photobucket

The world has come to an end and I have learned how to animate self-timer photos. Forgive me.

Day 7



I know I said I would try to post as we go, but wow, it's hard. We're in Brussels now and I've eaten my weight in cheese at this point. We left Paris yesterday morning, a few days after our luck finding good coffee ran out. Instant coffee yesterday and day old coffee in a water bottle the day before. (We made up for it in cheese.)







I'm afraid that I'll be sorting Paris pictures and plotting Paris posts until Amsterdam and maybe even when we get home. The list of amazing places and people is unending. The catacombs, versailles, le petit trianon, random barber shops and flea markets etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Overwhelming, really. These are the kinds of problems to have in life, non?

Day 4 or 5 (who's counting?)


Oh friends. It's so sad. Tonight is our last night in Paris proper (tomorrow we go to visit friends outside of the city). I'm beyond exhausted and am currently nursing a terrible cold. Self medicating with cheese and rare steak has done me no favors.

I've spent the better part of the night consulting my trusted physician Dr. Web. Md. about the causes of stabbing knee pain. Sigh. All in the name of paris.











The chandelier and stairs are from l'opera garnier, the dishes are from Astier de Villatte and the candles are from notre dame. I can't even describe to you how wonderful our week has been so far. Okay, I'll try. Transplendent.