Wednesday, December 27, 2017

europe: paris day three



Okay, I am forcing myself to finish this Europe series! I should have written these within a few days of getting back, but it was such a whirlwind after we got home that it didn't happen, so now I am trying to make it up!
Our third day in Paris was going to be spent at Versailles! I know a decent amount about Versailles so I was excited to go. Getting there was probably the most stressful part of traveling. We were so lost and it was the only time we couldn't find someone that spoke English. Our method of figuring out how to get there was basically to pick a random train of people that kind of looked touristy and luckily it turned out to be the right one. It was so stressful! However we finally got there. I always imagined that Versailles would be out in the middle of no where but it really isn't, at least currently. There is a very cute little town that you walk through to get from the train to Versailles. There were so many people just going about their normal day, like a few little girls scootering to school with their backpacks on. I was so wanting to tap them on the shoulder and be like, "little ones! You live in France! Like next to Versailles! How amazing is that??" but I didn't because I'm pretty sane generally.
So anyway, we made it to Versailles and I wish we would have gotten there much earlier because we could have spent so much longer there! The palace itself didn't take much time because over half of it was closed for renovation which I was very disappointed about, but oh well. The gardens are what you could spend forever in! It was the one time during our trip that I wished we had gone when it was warmer because you could hang in the gardens forever. We actually ended up renting a golf cart because the gardens are so big. It was $35 euro for an hour which we thought was awesome, but we didn't take into consideration how slow the golf cart would be, it took us like 30 minutes to "drive" to the summer house we wanted to see, so we had to hustle in the tour so we could get the cart back.

I've never wanted to be royalty so badly as I did while touring Versailles. Everything was so extravagant and amazing, even the summer houses that they stayed at just to get away from the hustle and bustle of the castle. It was huge! The palace and grounds are so beautiful! On the backside of the palace there is just total wilderness, what I expected there to be all around. So pretty.  It was a highlight of the trip, everyone should go to Versailles!

We got back to Paris much more smoothly and we tried to go several places for dinner, the restaurants are so tiny that they are packed quickly so we went to four or five places before we could find somewhere to eat! We scarfed on a charcuterie plate and got home to get ready for our early train the next morning.
Or so we thought.
We got to the train station an hour before our scheduled train. About five minutes before we were supposed to leave, we still hadn't been assigned a train, we found out our train was delayed an hour and a half. I was not okay at this point, I won't really pretend I was. My anxiety totally got the best of me. It was freezing cold in the station since it's just basically a hanger, there were absolutely no chairs or anywhere to sit down, it's the biggest or busiest train station in the world apparently, and this was the only place where the gypsies were bugging us. I had read about people asking you to sign a survey and then pick-pocketing you, and sure enough this weird acting person came and asked us to take a survey. This gypsy also dropped a baggie full of something behind one of the vending machines and I was sure it was a bomb. I was so freaking on edge and just crying. We finally went into a restaurant just to get warm and not be bugged for a while. We rushed in there because even with the delay, our train was coming soon. Our sweet waitress was so fast in getting our food out to us. We rushed out of the restaurant and found out our train was delayed another two hours. I was so upset because if we had known that we wouldn't have rushed out of the restaurant and would have been able to stay in the warmth and not be bothered. We ended up sitting against the wall of the restaurant and I tried to lose myself in my book. Time went by faster and no one really bothered us when we were sitting and looked busy. While we were sitting there a guy got robbed in the restaurant we were in so I guess it was good we didn't stay? Haha I don't know.
Our train finally arrived and we were on our way.
Also, there was a American guy on our train and he was being SO RUDE and I realized no wonder people hate Americans. 


like the temple doorknob wedding pictures except not haha








the hall of mirrors was supposed to blow me away but I thought it wasn't the most impressive room






backyard of the queen's summer house

the king's "summer house" so big!




casual chapel

I PRESENT TO YOU: A DOG WALKING A DOG! You can see the two sets of dogs ahead of the dog walker, there was a "lead dog" that was literally walking the other dog, they were connected with a leash! Is this a thing everywhere? Mark and I were flippin.     

We got back to Amsterdam much later than we wanted to due to the delay, so we basically lost a whole day in Amsterdam. I was so sad, there is still so much we didn't do there. That's okay though because now we have an excuse to go back! We stayed a little further from the main Amsterdam area and I would 1,0000% recommend our hotel, the Westcord Fashion Hotel in Amsterdam. It was the nicest hotel I have stayed in ANYWHERE. I have never been in such a bathtub. It also was only two stops away from the main part of Amsterdam, so if you are headed there soon I would totally stay there. We had our favorite meal of the trip which was Indonesian food because apparently if you can't go to Indonesia then you go to Amsterdam. It also reaffirmed we just like Asian flavors more. I took the most luxurious bath ever and we got a few hours of sleep before starting 24 hours of travel.
We had a flight from Amsterdam to Madrid, that went super smoothly. From Madrid we had to get on a flight to Chicago. I was really worried about this connection because we only had an hour. The lady at the airline said "max connecting time in Europe is 45 minutes, don't worry about it" well that was a huge lie. I think Madrid is on high security alert right now because after having this experience people have said that it isn't normally like this. 
Okay, so, we get off our flight from Amsterdam and we find out that our flight is in literally the furthest terminal away. So we are sprinting through the airport and we get almost to that terminal. Mark was like "oh my gosh, we have 20 minutes till boarding, we are totally gonna make it!" so we slow down and are so happy, and then we turn the corner. 
There were about 3,000 people (no exaggeration) waiting to go through customs. Yep, you have to go through customs on a connecting flight. I was sure this was a mistake but nope. Everyone was miserable because it was taking forever, there was no organization, it was a million degrees. People kept asking to cut others so they could make their flight and they would say no, because everyone was going to miss their flight. People almost got in a fist fight. I definitely had some tears in that line!  We waited almost 45 minutes, got out about 25 minutes after our flight had taken off. I was sure that we had missed our flight. Mark looked at the screen and the flight before us said "boarding but our flight said "boarding closed." it seemed odd that the flight before ours would still be boarding but ours wouldn't be. So even though I was crying and had to pee LITERALLY SO BADLY, Mark made us run. We still had to run SO FAR after going through customs, it was about a 10 minute run and I promise, I almost took out a perfume saleslady who got in my way. WHY ARE THERE MALLS IN EVERY EUROPEAN AIRPORT!?!? We finally got to our gate and they said "Miami or Chicago?" and I said "Chicago!" and they said "Come on! We held the flight!" and you guys, I literally just started sobbing.
I have truly never cried of happiness until this moment. It wasn't just a cry, it was a full sob that sounded much worse since I was so out of breath. I was shaking so badly the lady couldn't even look at my passport, she had to take it from me. She gave me a big hug which I kind of needed. Mark looked over at me and I saw divorce in his eyes. Joking, haha, but he really was like "UM WHAT ARE YOU DOING!" I honestly don't know if it was my knee pain (I am pretty sure I re-tore my meniscus running through the airport, going to the doctor tomorrow), the fact that I thought I was going to pee my pants and still miss our flight, the fact that I would actually get to teach the next day (I have been so sick this year that I have had a sub way more than I want to admit) or just the kindness of the people but  I have never cried so hard in my life. We got on the plane, used the bathroom (YAY!) saw my bright red and tear streaked face in the mirror (SCARY!) and then the plane left a little bit later! It was one of the greatest things ever. The flight wasn't too bad, I actually was able to sleep and I watched the entirety of Riverdale season 1. We got to Chicago and were amazed at the level of organization in customs (haha!) and had a small layover before our last flight which I slept through completely. We got home about 10pm and both had to work the next day, I was pretty loopy and insane on that day. It took about a week to get back into the swing of things jetlag wise, but it was worth it! I for sure want to go back and do Paris and Amsterdam much more thoroughly. It was also great practice for Japan, we are going in May and it's a 13 hour flight and we will be there for almost three weeks, so it was good to test run international travel. I'm really grateful for Mark for being so patient with me, I am not a peach to travel with. 
I'm ready to go get some more stamps in my passport!

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