Category Archives: Europe

Paris: Day Three

Notes from dinner at the Eiffel Tower and day three of our trip to Paris.

1. Probably not the best idea to pair a five course dinner that is complimented by five glasses of wine, including champagne, with a wine and cheese tasting lunch that was made of five different wines, including champagne, and six different types of cheese. Both meals were outstanding but they combined to make for a restless night’s sleep.

2. After minimal sleep we had an early alarm to catch the C train to Versailles. The C runs direct to Versailles, except when the route is closed due to track maintenance. Time to be flexible and become acquainted with the trains of Paris.

3. A friendly, Parisians are so rude, ticket agent helped reroute us. After a connection and a 15 minute walk, we found our way to the palace of Versailles. The palace and the accompanying gardens are amazing, wildly decadent, and reflect a wee bit of madness. The fact that not one but two additional, slightly smaller palaces were built to allow the family to get away from the palace that was originally conceived to help the family escape the trappings of Paris says it all. Each of the rooms are adorned with marble, gold, tapestries and / or paintings. There were no spaces left unadorned.

4. Think today’s celebrities are over the top? Do they have a hall of mirrors that is over two football fields long and is decorated with statues from the era of Roman rule? Louis the 14th loved him some Louis the 14th, and he loved marble statues because Greek and Roman era statues are everywhere at the Versailles Estate. They’re inside, with one in nearly every room open to the public. They’re along the outside of every wall of the palace. They line the walkways of the gardens and the fountains. One of the statues was of a lion biting the helpless rump of a soldier.

5. We left the palace earlier than planned because we were both really tired and didn’t think we’d make it out of the maze of gardens alive if we tried to see everything. On the way back to Paris we were old pros with the trains and didn’t need to stop and ask for directions once.

6. Originally we were going to enjoy the tour of the River Seine this evening but we decided to go early. Our tickets were for any tour during the day and we managed to find our way onto the 3:00 PM tour just in time. We both almost fell asleep as the gentle rocking of the boat combined with the soft, cool breeze lulled us into a couple of head bobbing, weary travelers. Fortunately we were awake to take in the site of Notre Dame as it rose up before us.

6. After a side trip to the Boulanger and patissier (bakery and sandwhich shop) across the street for a light, late lunch we headed back to the flat for some downtime before dinner.

7. Yes, we are staying in a flat instead of a traditional hotel. It’s a furnished one bedroom apartment with a small, but full, kitchen and bath. Plus it has a washer/dryer. It’s actually cheaper than a hotel room and we can do laundry, which means we don’t need to pack as much. But the real plus is we are living in a real apartment in a real neighborhood. We’re actually getting a taste of the day to day life along our little section of Rue de Saint Dominique. We’re planning on using a similar strategy for our next European vacation.

20131019-193451.jpg

20131019-193459.jpg

20131019-193507.jpg

Adventures By Disney announces new 2014 itineraries

On an Adventures by Disney trip you’re a traveler and an adventurer, not a tourist.  You and your family of all ages become active participants in incredible stories, experiences and cultures through immersive activities only Disney can bring you and new for 2014, Adventures by Disney® will offer a new vacation to Central Europe.

The 9-day, 8-night vacation invites you to uncover the hidden treasures of Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic, traveling off the beaten path in the enchanting cities of Prague, Salzburg and Vienna and spending three nights at a majestic resort in the Alps. Also new for 2014, Adventures by Disney will enhance its current Italy itinerary and add teen-focused activities to existing journeys.

2014 itineraries are now available to book for those who are Adventure Insiders (those who have traveled with Adventures by Disney in the past). Bookings for all other Guests open on May 23, 2013.

dtnemail-Prague-12d63
Photo provided by Adventures By Disney

New Itinerary: “Austria, Germany, and Czech Republic”
Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Berchtesgaden, Salzburg, Vienna – The journey begins in Prague and Cesky Krumlov, where parents and children alike will make their very own marionettes with local craftsmen and embark on a picturesque walking tour of the city’s most historical landmarks. In Germany, soak in the scenic Bavarian Alps and visit the Ice Cave of Eishole before slipping into a village bakery to make pretzels. Guests take in the sights and sounds of Salzburg with a tour of Hellbrunn Castle and a performance from Duo Mozart Violinists. As the trip concludes in Vienna, families partake in private Quadrille lessons, learning the timeless art of waltzing from those who know it best. Finally, Guests will enjoy a private dinner at an emperor’s pavilion in the Vienna Zoo.

Enhanced Itinerary: “Viva Italia”
Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany – This enhanced itinerary is perfect for families looking to explore the splendor of one of Europe’s most iconic destinations, with newly added VIP experiences. The journey begins in Rome with a private experience at the Colosseum and a rare after-hours visit to the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel and a stop in Tuscany to learn the art of pasta in a private cooking class. Become immersed in the city with a step back in time to the wonders of the Renaissance on a special tour of the secret passages of the Palazzo Vecchio. Finally, unmask the mysteries of Venice with Carnevale, a mask-making activity and a detective game at the Doge’s Palace.

Special Teen-Focused Departures in 2014:
• Peru: Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cusco & Lima – This South American adventure will now include authentic experiences for teens including taking a spin at salsa dancing with the locals and horseback riding through the rugged  landscape. The tales of ancient civilizations will come alive during a bonfire and stargazing.
• Costa Rica: San José, Tortuguero, Arenal National Park, and Guanacaste – An exotic journey through the lush rainforests and thrilling wildlife of Costa Rica are enhanced with a teen-centric beach party on the country’s pristine sands. The jungles, volcanoes and waters of the region will be forever with families as teens partake in photography classes.
• Arizona & Utah: Sedona, Grand Canyon, Arches National Park and Moab – Venture into the heart of the Southwest with a bike ride through Boynton Canyon in Sedona and an exhilarating hike through the Grand Canyon at sunset.

Across six continents, Adventures by Disney takes you on vacations you never dreamed possible, fostering an adventurous environment to build everlasting bonds and heartwarming memories.

For a full list of 2014 itineraries, departure dates and a free, no obligation quote, contact us at kelly@wetravelersthree.com.