Category Archives: Travel
After our visit in Devon, we headed back on the train to visit friends in the town of Lewes for a couple of days. Lewes is a gorgeous little town just an hour from London on the southeast coast.
One of our favorite moments was having afternoon tea and cake in the children’s shop Wickle. The shop sells beautiful clothes, high-quality toys and games and tucked in the very back of the store is a little cafe, perfect for children and grownups. The kids got the most decadent hot chocolates and we sampled ginger cake, brownies, millionaire’s shortbread and victoria sponge cake.
Got $2.5 million and not quite sure how to spend it? How about buying the Scottish island of Tanera Mor? It’s now on the market!
I’ve blogged before about my bout with food poisoning aboard my outbound Virgin Atlantic flight last month – which I wholeheartedly believe is from the GU mango and passionfruit cheesecake pot (I ate two of them) that was not properly refrigerated.
They responded by asking me to fill out a questionnaire listing every thing I ate in the last 72 hours (“I feel like such a heifer. I had two bowls of Special K, 3 pieces of turkey bacon, a handful of popcorn, 5 peanut butter M&M’s and like 3 pieces of licorice.” – Cher from “Clueless”) The full questionnaire can be viewed here.
After submitting my questionnaire, here is their response:
We spent a day in North Devon and had a pub lunch in the Duke of York Pub in the little village of Iddesleigh.
I was in pub heaven! The Duke of York is a 15th century pub that is the local for British author Michael Morpurgo, who got the seed of the idea to write the novel “War Horse” (which later became the blockbuster play and film) while in this very pub. More about this here!
It was homey and cozy and a little hobbit-like and included all of the things that I look for in a good pub:
After Paris, we hopped back on the Eurostar to London and then caught a train down to the southwest coast of Devon. We headed to a quaint, seaside town called Teignmouth, where my mother-in-law and lots of family friends live.
The train takes you right along the coast. Gorgeous views, despite the unseasonably cold spring weather. A few days after we arrived, we took a brisk walk along the seawall, which runs right alongside the train tracks.
On our trip to Paris, we visited Merci, a three-story concept store in Marais that donates all profits to charity (helping underprivileged women and children). They sell clothing, furniture, housewares, stationery, gardening supplies, perfume and other toiletries. In addition, they have a charming little bookstore and three cafes. It really was a (high-brow) one stop shop!
Yesterday, I posted my first five Paris highlights. Today? Let’s post the remaining five, shall we?
6. Rue Montorgueil, a gorgeous market street with butcher shops, boulangeries, cafes, chocolateries, fish markets and so on and so forth! We walked from our apartment one bright morning and went to Cafe du Centre for a great basic breakfast (coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice and croissant or baguette).
I also had the great privilege of visiting La Fermette, cheese capitol of the universe, also on Rue Montorgueil. We spotted it right away with the black and white cow above the storefront. Best item was their 30-month comte, which the seller warned me about, in case I couldn’t handle it. Oh, yeah, I could handle it! It was a delightful, nutty cheese and we bought a block of it. They also sold these plates of various cheeses for about 11 euros – really generous portions (we got one plate that was stellar – sadly, they weren’t labeled so it’s tough to know what cheese we had – but it had a good variety to suit every palate. A camembert, a blue cheese, a goat cheese, a Mimolette, etc.)
So many things we loved in Paris. Here’s the proverbial greatest hits over the four days we spent!
1. Love padlocks on all of the Paris bridges. They really are a stunning sight. Couples buy padlocks as a symbol of their love, add their initials and lock it to the bridge! And they say romance is dead?!
When we made it to Gare du Nord in Paris, we grabbed a trolley for our bags and headed towards the taxis. The queue was LONG.
A man approached us immediately to ask if we wanted to hire a mini cab. He took a glance at all of us and of our luggage, asked our destination and then declared it would cost about 75 euros. We paused, and then remembering what the exchange rate is (about 1 euro = 1.3 US dollars), declined. No sooner did we turn around, but another mini cabbie was there to ask if we needed a ride. His quote was even steeper! 106 euros!
We decided our best bet would be to take the Metro from Gare du Nord to Chatelet Station. It was a bit of a juggle with luggage, kids and collapsed stroller in tow, but we managed it like the amateurs that we were, groaning and agonizing until we arrived! Chatelet Station! The apartment we rented was only a five-minute walk. We were within walking distance of an H&M and a Zara (always a good sign, I believe), some good looking brasseries and little grocery stores. It was urban and positively pulsing with activity!
So, we tried to pack light on our trip to Europe, but really, it was nearly impossible in the face of freezing cold temperatures (hello, 3 degree highs – yes, Celsius, but still!). We ended up taking two medium sized suitcases and one big suitcase (along with carry-ons and an umbrella stroller).
This was us at our most abbreviated and I’m personally proud of how light we ended up traveling (well, for us, anyway). While I was in the U.K., I read a story about Victoria Beckham flying out of England to L.A. with four children and 12 suitcases. It was written with such outrage, but I found it perfectly reasonable.
Still, for our brief jaunt to Paris, we wanted to go even lighter and so we only took one suitcase and left the other two bags in Left Luggage at Paddington Station. Left Luggage is a miraculous place where, for £8 for the first day and £5 for each additional day, this office within the train station will securely look after your bags. Our luggage situation was still unwieldy without a train station trolley, but we managed and enlisted some help from a fellow traveler – my mother in law! We invited her to join us on our mini break to the City of Lights. She took the train from Devon to Paddington to meet us and we caught a taxi together from Paddington Station to St. Pancras Station, where our Eurostar awaited.