Tuesday, July 3, 2018

6.30.18 Versailles

Saturday was Versailles day! We pre-booked a bus transfer. We took an Uber to an office near Eiffel Tower. It was an easy transfer after the bus driver figured out where to go.

We stood in line for an hour to get in to the Palace. The Palace was very crowded so we slowly worked our way through. 

Then we headed out to the Gardens. Turns out I bought tickets for the wrong day. The ticket taker laughed at me a little. My sister and mom gave me a look.  I asked where to buy tickets. She took pity on me and called over the supervisor who let us in. So sweet. 

We headed immediately to the golf cart rental. No way are we walking in 80 degree heat all over this huge estate. My sister drove and did a great job. It was cool because they had a set route you had to take. It was one way and didn’t interfere with the walking paths. 

We headed to the back of the property to the Trianon – two palaces added after Louis XIV. 

Then we ate lunch at the café near the Grand Canal. They had good gluten free options.

We returned the golf cart and got in place for the fountains to turn on. It was neat to see the fountains on. It was so hot so we went to the café and got cold drinks. At check out, the server asked if my sister and I were twins. We stood next to each other and he says, “NO!” Then he asked if we were Americans. We said yes and asked how he knew. He answered – I can tell. It was so funny. 

We took the bus back and then tried to find a place for dinner. I found a place near the Champs Elysees. We took an Uber there. It was closed. Grrrr. So we decided to head to the Disney Store on the Champs Elysees. When we came out of the store – horns were blaring! France had won their World Cup match. People were driving up and down the street with flags, hanging out windows, revving motorcycles and honking horns. It was great. We found a cute café that had gluten free options and had a nice dinner. 

Then we walked back toward the hotel. We decided to have dessert a restaurant we had passed earlier in the week – Indiana. It was basically the Applebee’s of Paris. I had a Kir Royale. We enjoyed sitting in the window. A great end to our trip.

Our flight went well back to Indianapolis. Our transfer to the airport was a little stressful because a triathlon closed down most of the city. We made it.  Sara’s family came to greet us at the airport. My niece was pretty excited to take over my suitcase. I was pretty excited to let her. 

Overall a great trip!

Friday, June 29, 2018

6.29.18 Hop On Hop Off Bus

I think we’d all say one of the highlights of today was the gluten free waffle place. It was awesome.

We had a late start leaving the hotel around 10 am. We walked up to the Arc D’Triomphe to hop on the Big Bus hop on hop off bus. I picked Big Bus because the reviews of other bus companies commented how frequently they saw the Big Bus. 

We took the Big Bus to Notre Dame. It was about an hour and a half ride from the Arc to Notre Dame. It was impressive to see how much of the city we’d already covered via boat.  The stop at Notre Dame is ridiculous. You pass Notre Dame, fight 10 – 15 minutes of traffic and then get dropped off.

We walked to the waffle place with a brief stop at McDonalds to check out the menu.

The 100% gluten free waffle – Yummy and Guilt Free – had all kinds of waffles – savory and sweet. It was a great stop. 

Then we decided to bypass the Hop on bus and took an Uber to pick up the blue route on Hop On/Hop Off. The goal of the Blue route was to see Sacre Coeur. Well, here’s my best pic of the famous Sacre Coeur.

Big disappointment. It was good to see a new neighborhood. After this, we decided to hop back to the Notre Dame neighborhood. The bus was packed so we were stuck in the hottest part on the bottom in the back. It was pure joy getting off that bus.

We headed to Saint Chapelle – a basilica. It was very exciting going through security. The guard LOVED me. He gave me a big high five and would not let go of my hand. He kept saying Yay America. My sister asked what I said that triggered that. My only explanation was he likes a tall drink of water. The basilica was amazing. 

Right next door is the prison where they held Marie Antoinette for 76 days. You could probably skip it.

After all the excitement of the hop on/hop off bus, I couldn’t make any more decisions so we headed back to Little Nonna for dinner. It was delicious. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

6.28.18 Eiffel Tower, Hop on Hop Off Boat, Notre Dame, Impressionist art

Our day started with a skip the line small group tour of the Eiffel Tower. We decided to take an Uber from the hotel since I was having trouble navigating the streets and we didn't want to be late. 

The tour was booked with Memories DMC and it was great. Our guide was Ferret - named after Iron not the animal. We skipped the long lines and headed up to the 3rd level before it got too crowded. We had plenty of free time for our own pictures and some macarons! 

 Then, we went down to the second level where we walked around and he explained more about the major monuments in Paris. 

After the Eiffel Tower, we got our tickets for the Hop On /  Hop Off Bato Bus. This was so great! It was so nice not to be in traffic. The boat does a route along with Seine that lined up with some of the major attractions we wanted to see. Plus it picked up right at the Eiffel Tower. 

We got off at Notre Dame and found a great restaurant for lunch.  They had gluten free options and the lady who served us was so nice. This is where my sister found out that my mom and I drink wine at lunch on vacation. It was quite shocking. LOL! 

 After lunch, we headed to Notre Dame. The security line was long, but moved quickly. We decided against the tour because it includes 400 steps and you go up really high in the church. 
 We were able to find the 'mother-in-law" gargoyle our Eiffel Tower tour guide told us about. Allegedly, the mother in law of the architect was a real pain and would arrive at Notre Dame during construction and berate him. He got revenge by making one of the gargoyles in her likeness with a hat and a cane. 
 We hopped back on the bus and headed toward Orangerie - a museum built to display Monet's water lilies series. It was incredible. We had a very stressful street crossing since Paris traffic is nuts. Cars were all blocking the walkway. My mom yelled, "I see a green walk sign" and we ran across the street zigzagging between a bus and cars. 

We headed over the bridge with the love locks and visited Musee D'Orseey. 
The building is gorgeous and we enjoyed all the Impressionist art. 

 We also enjoyed the café with HUGE cheese plate. This was marked as a big plate on the menu. We laughed. 

We headed back to Little Nonna and it was open! My mom was in heaven with all the  glutren free options. It was the best gluten free bread! I had a great octopus dish. 

The day started at 8:30 am and ended back at the hotel at 10 pm. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

6.26.18 - 6.27.18 Lusk Ladies at the Louve: Pre Trip and the Louvre

My mom, sister and I planned a trip to Paris. My sister and I had been in high school, but my mom had never been. I flew from Tampa to Indianapolis to spend the night with my sister so we could all fly nonstop from Indy together. 

This meant I got a chance to view the very special limited edition FIRE SHOW by my niece and nephew. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

6.15.18 Sea World and Waldorf Astoria

Thursday night we headed to Orlando to meet up with my sister and her family. They were staying at Vacation Village. We arrived and the kids immediately wanted to recreate the safari ride from Animal Kingdom. "Please keep hands, feet, head inside and babies by you." 

Friday, we headed over to Sea World. It was so hot but we had a lot of fun. The penguin exhibit and the Bubble show were highlights. 

On Saturday morning, the Paul family headed home and we checked into the Waldorf Astoria. We were upgraded to a suite. Woo hoo! We spent the afternoon by the pool. 

Our stay was really to eat dinner at the Bull and Bear steakhouse. It ended up being a very long dinner since our steak that takes 45 minutes to cook was overdone and we sent it back. We were sitting on the same side of a table on a couch so it felt like we were the two old guys in the Muppets commenting on the restaurant. Our waiter was super interesting. He makes his own Pinot Noir and enters it into the competition at the State Fair. He also is a beekeeper and drives his bees all over Florida and up to Tennessee to pollinate crops. Definitely a memorable evening. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

5.31.18 Speakeasy and the Indy Zoo

We headed back to Indianapolis to attend a fundraiser my cousin organized. We got a bonus visit to the Indy Zoo. Glenn hurt his back so we rented a scooter. The funniest part of the day was when he tried to race a cheetah. 

Monday, May 28, 2018

5.24.18 Carnival Horizon

We headed to New York to board the brand new Carnival Horizon. Glenn spent the morning working while I explored New York. I tried to get into the Today Show plaza (FAIL) and then hung out in Central Park. 

Then we boarded the Carnival Horizon. The ship is great!!! Some of the highlights from the ship were: