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 European Vacation - 6/22/04 - 7/9/04

Italy | Switzerland | Germany | The Netherlands | Belgium | France

Brugge (Belgium) and Paris (France) - Wednesday 7/7/04:

We didn't have a wake up this morning but we ended up waking up around 7 anyways to maximaize our time here. We went downstairs for a mediocre breakfast (I was disappointed to see the continental breakfast - I wanted some Belgium waffles!) and then head out to the square to catch the first horse drawn carriage ride of the day!

Today is Patti and Al's fourth anniversary, so Al got some flowers for Patti and they hopped on one of the empty carriages first. After they had left Terry and I chose one and hopped in. Our guide was very nice, funny and spoke English well. She took us around the entire city telling us about its history. After 15 minutes we stopped to give the horse a break, and Terry and I got out at this little park where there were dozens of swans.

After the horse ride was over we decided to go on the hunt for chocolate (visiting some of the places where the carriage passed to take pictures). Belgium has wonderful chocolates so we wanted to make sure we got to try all of them! We ended up stopping at 3 different chocolate places and bought about 2 kilos (4.4lbs) of chocolate. WHOA! Don't worry, some of it is for gifts!

Once our bags were full of chocolate we head over to a small courtyard with an outdoor café. I ordered a tuna sandwich and it was delicious! It came on this very long and skinny, fresh baked, roll that was outstanding. We paid our bill after a bit of relaxing and we were off to the hotel. It was now time to go to Paris!

When we arrived in Paris we had a few minutes in the hotel room to freshen up before heading back on the bus for a drive to the Montmartre. This was a huge monument (I think it was a church?) at the top of this hill and it looked out over the entire city. There were quite a few steps to climb up to get to the top, but the view was amazing. Also at the top of the hill was a little area with shops and cafes. We chose a cute outdoor café and decided to have some dinner. We waited quite some time for out waiter to arrive, but once he did he was very helpful. I again got the caprice salad (which wasn't quite as good as the others) and some dulo ordinaire (plain water). I guess I should stop getting Italian food huh? I mean, we were a couple weeks away from Italy at this point.

After we finished eating we head back down the hill, got a crepe filled with Nutella (YUM) and hopped back on the bus for our illumination tour of Paris. This tour was very nice but the best of course was the Eiffel Tower. At 10pm every night (since the millennium) it sparkles! They changed the lighting over the last couple years so that it now lights from the inside (which makes a huge difference) and it just looks spectacular.

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