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Well, we have been back just over a month now and I am only now getting round to uploading some photos of the trip and writing this final post (and the kids have absolutely trashed the house while I have been doing this – small price to pay for a bit of ‘me’ time I guess!).  We were only in Paris a month ago, but it feels like years now!!  Very hard to believe going back through the photos that we have actually been there!!  We are all back into the routines of work and school again and Lexi’s fractured arm has healed no problems at all!  She was hardly bothered by it but at least now we have plenty of ammunition to use against Grammy and Grunda for having a broken arm on their watch hehehehe.

Looking back on all the photos and reading our blog posts we squeezed soooo much in to ten short days and we really did get to see and do heaps and have a really wonderful time!  The funny thing about blogs and photos though is that they don’t show really how tired we were, or how grumpy at some points, or how some things didn’t quite go to plan etc!  So I think the thing to remind ourselves when we plan our next trip, is that travel is never perfect – things go wrong, you get tired, sometimes you get sick, you get lost, you have to wait in long lines sometimes to see the things you want, you lose things etc, etc, BUT often that is the fun and adventure of travelling – coping with the unexpected things!  You learn to be independent, adaptive, inventive, patient and resilient (and to learn to laugh at yourself!).

I wish (as always with the gift of hindsight!) that I could go back and do the trip all over again and soak it all up that little bit more!  Even though we tried to take it all in at the time – it is only since we have been home that I am really starting to appreciate all we got to see and do and just how lucky we were to be able to go and have our kids kept happy and looked after while we were away (thank you sooo much Mum and Dad).  Ten days with just the two of us doing what we wanted, whenever, eating and sleeping when we wanted seems a million miles away now!

I’ve uploaded an album of photos to Facebook if you are interested and more than happy to talk Paris to anyone who is thinking of going or is willing to listen to us prattle on!!  So that is it for our amazing trip to France, I have enjoyed the blogging so think I will start blogging our next adventure which we are planning for Matt’s long service leave in 2013 – so stay tuned!

Love Jess

Jess Top 5 France ‘Things’

1. Riding a bike into the ‘Louvre Square’ at twilight with musicians playing in the entry ways. We did a loop around the fountain and the glass pyramid – it was a really fun and a beautiful ‘french’ moment! (oh – and I was very pleased I could still ride a bike – I had forgotten how fun it is to ride a bike – definitely want to get one when all the kids can ride)

2. Driving around the little country roads of the Loire Valley – just going wherever looked interesting and passing through pretty villages all with their own different chateaus.

3. Lying on the grass looking up at the sparkly Eiffel Tower.

4. Going into ‘boulangers’ and choosing something to eat out of all the yummy pastries and baguettes! I can still smell the beautiful smell!

5. Going to bed late and knowing that there would be no wakeups from the kids during the night and I could sleep in to whenever I woke in the morning! No kids hungry for breaky or fighting and no alarm clock!

My Worst Moment of the Trip?

Definitely feeling so sick on our second day and basically spending most of it in bed! A valuable day of the trip taken away! And not feeling like eating any of the yummy things all around! And I was frustrated when it took me so long to figure out how to get home from Galleries La Fayette shopping!

If I had more time?

Definitely wish I had more time to shop! Would really have liked time to buy a piece of jewelry each for Lex and I and perfume for mum, and Beth and Kate (sorry guys – next time!) and shoes and clothes. I just need time when I shop to really choose what I want!

And would have loved more time to have a proper look through the museums but I think you would need weeks to do this!

And wish we had more time just to lie in the pretty parks and sit in the cafes and watch the French world go by. We tried to balance some of this with sightseeing but with so much to see over there – we ended up being pretty busy!

It was a really great trip and a lovely memory for Matt and I to add to our life journey together! We both laughed and said we will go back in 20 years when all the kids have left home and get some photos in the same places and see how much we have aged! Hard to imagine 20 years on from now but something to aim for to get back there together!

We miss the kids though so definitely time to go home and plan our next family adventure!

To keep me distracted, and away from the plastic cutlery Jess has suggested I do a top 5, so here goes:

Top 5 worst things.
1. Right now
2. About 3 hours ago
3. About 14 hrs from now
4. Chambord castle, what a disappointment that was!
5. Arc de Triomphe and Champs Élysées, faaaaar to crowded for me!

Top 5 Things we missed and will do next time.
1. Basilique du Sacré Cœur: it is a church at the highest point of the city so affords some pretty spectacular views….. Apparently.
2. Cabaret show, not necessarily roulin mouge, but a good parisian cabaret would have been good
3. At least 1 more day in paris and one more day in the Loire valley just to wander.
4. Learn more French next time
5. Book the Concorde or some supersonic aircraft next time, this 28 hrs if traveling is just crap!

And Top 5 Favourite moments
1. Riding around Paris with a bunch of loud mouthed Americans ‘dominating’ the streets
2. Leonard da vinci’s last home Clos Luc, a very well presented monument to the great man who I idolized as a kid.
3. Our last supper, Jess and I got doll’d up on the last night and splurged a bit in dinner, what a treat
4. Sitting under the Eiffel tower at midnight watching the sky change from day to night. (while being offered 2€ bottles of plonk by some very suspicious african men)
5. Free driving around the Loire specifically staying off the main roads and seeing some really special little villages.

Ok, my eyes a slits, the man has told us to move to a different gate and I still need to pop 2 Neuro plus as part of my plan to drop a big F-bomb on these bloody ‘jumps’, the other part of the plan will include about 6 hard spirits on the rocks before takeoff.

That’ll fix ’em!!!

God help me!

We are in Abu Dhabi, only 6 hrs of flying down and I am dying! It is about 0700 Paris time and I haven’t slept a wink, which would not be too bad but it is because I have had the ‘jumps’ I can thank mum for this fabulous genetic phenomenon but basically every nerve ending in my arms and legs become electrified and ‘jitter’ causing the most annoying sensation possible and the uncontrollable need to make my limbs move and ‘jump’. Thanks mum! Of all your endearing qualities….

So less then a third of the way home and I am not in a good way. Jess of course didn’t make take off as usual and only woke when the wheel touched down on landing, so she is chipper and can’t understand why suddenly her normally bubbly husband is about to test the airport security limits and find out exactly what their protocol is when presented with a ‘crazy, lunatic australian man wanting to cut his limbs off with the plastic knife just used to eat a croissant’ which by the way, was the best croissant we have had all fortnight, yeah, 2 weeks in France and we have come to Abu Dhabi to get the best!

Anyhoo, I’m off to find a treadmill to punch out a couple of k’s and hope to fix these bloody ‘jumps’

Aaaarrrrggghhhhh!!!!!!

So our little trip to the other side of the planet comes to an end. We have just paid 40€ for some microwave lasagna and a piece of lettuce, some warm cokes and a stale sandwich. CDG is officially the worse airport I have ever been to. Including bandar seri bagawan, Denpasar and Sydney.

We got to the airport with plenty of time after driving to Paris this morning and doing a little more shopping. Lucky we did because I didn’t reconfirm the flights (I know, typical travel agent!) an they were an hours earlier then we thought! Oh well here now!

Boarding in 15 mins, might get a chance to blog some more from Abu dhabi or Singapore but who knows I might be too shagged, actually looking forward to the flight for some time to stop and rest.

Au Revoir!

Just a photo post of the walk we took before breaky this morning.

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Well we are on the Motorway back to Paris now. We have bitten the bullet this morning and opted for the fastest route back possible and allowed Tolls – so we are travelling at the min 130kms an hour and will be in Paris in 2.5 hrs. The cars are very good at keeping in the right line unless overtaking here in France.

We made it to the Chocolate Factory after Chambord castle yesterday but unfortunately all the tours had finished for the day. We had a few little tastes and I bought a couple of expensive choccies to try at home. The French chocolate is very rich!

We saw the horse show at Chambord yesterday too and it was not worth the €12 we paid each but kids would have loved it. There were a few good tricks of a horse lying on it’s back with it’s legs in the air, and riders doing handstands etc while their horses galloped and a little bit of jousting etc.

We decided to splash out and have a very nice French restaurant dinner for our last night in France. I even wore a dress and had time without rushing to do my hair and a bit of makeup – what a treat!

Our meals were nice but I think we have both decided we are not fans of the French ‘Foie gras’ (sort of a hard pate) – we just can’t get paste the texture! My wine was very nice though! French desserts are definitely our favourite! Matt loves the ‘cafe gourmand’ desserts which are an expresso coffee with usually 3 or 4 little samples of different desserts – yum! I just love all the pastries!

Ok – better get the Tom Tom back and running. We got away a little late this morning – as would you believe – we sat at breakfast with a kiwi couple who grew up in Pirongia! They run a B&B on the Coramandel coast now.

Hopefully I get a bit more shopping done in Paris later today! Wish us luck navigating the airport!

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