Friday, January 06, 2006

Happy New Year!

We hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas, and a few days off from work to get some R&R. Jay and I took the non-traditional approach to the holidays this year and traveled to Europe to celebrate Christmas, New Year’s and my birthday (yes, it’s an official holiday now!). After a grueling 12 hour flight, we landed in London on Christmas Eve morning. We explored the city and had afternoon tea at a swank hotel by Hyde Park … later that night we attended the midnight service at Westminster Abbey, complete with carols from the choir! On Christmas we exchanged the gifts we brought with us and called our families to say hello... here I am getting ready to call the kids!

The next two days we saw the sights and walked almost the entire city on foot, popping into pubs whenever we got cold, or in Jay’s case, thirsty for a Guinness.

Next we traveled by train to Paris and on to Nice… the train was fun, Jay had his face stuck to the window for most of the trip. I used the time to relax and read a great book (thanks Sherri!), which felt luxurious - no email, no phone, no IM = heaven! Nice was fantastic, the wine and open air markets were really amazing and we only wish we had more time to shop and eat there! The architecture was just what you would expect and was most impressive around sunset when the colors were magnified by the pinkish hues of the sky. Luckily the Matisse museum was open and we walked through town and up into the hills to check it out - very impressive, I think we actually learned something on this trip!
The water and beaches were beautiful (although rocky) and the sun was out every day (a nice change from London!). We also visited Cannes and Monaco, doing lots of window shopping at the high-end stores! The only place we really bought anything was at Lenotre, a chocolate shop that we couldn’t resist. Jay claims the √©clair he had was the best “confection” of his life. And yes, real men do eat √©clairs!! I was happy to find birthday cotton candy in Monaco, my favorite dessert!

Back in Paris for the last leg of our trip, we set out for more chocolate and were not disappointed… we’re still savoring the last few pieces of our loot. I also had the best cocktail of my life at the Four Seasons hotel (naturally). It was also by far the most expensive cocktail of my life. But since it was my birthday, I went ahead and had two! At this point in the trip, Jay was drinking soda so I rationalized a second pricey drink on my part was completely justifiable. So, you’re probably asking yourself “why was Jay drinking soda?” Well, let’s just say the foie gras from the night before didn’t agree with him and as of today, it’s been about six or seven days since Jay’s really eaten. We even took a field trip to the ER near our hotel to have him checked out… my French was a bit flimsy as I couldn’t recall learning any medical terms in school!!

So I guess if you boil it all down, the trip was really all about searching out great food and drinks, which probably isn’t too surprising to anyone out there… best wishes to everyone for a happy and healthy 2006!


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