My first trip in 2015 was to London and Paris in February. I love both cities and didn’t want to decide so I spent time in both places.
I started in London. I am a bit of a theatre snob, and while NYC is great for that, there is nothing like London. I saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal with friends. I also left the city for a day at the sea in Essex. Some of my favorite London activities include:
- Tea at Harrods
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- Eating fish & chips
- Spending time with friends
- Walking and exploring the city
- Eating fish & chips
I left London on the Eurostar, which I greatly prefer over flying to Paris.
Have you seen House Hunters International (HHI)? It is a reality-type television program that shows people (typically a couple) who are looking to buy property abroad. It mostly features Americans buying in the Caribbean or Europe. Anyway…..most of the Paris-based episodes feature an American (now Parisian) realtor named Adrian Leeds. DH and I have been discussing buying an apartment in Paris for several years now. To really try out this concept of having an apartment in Paris, for this trip we decided to rent one for our stay. And we chose to rent an apartment that was for sale (by Adrian’s office).
I liked the location of the apartment. I loved all of the windows and how much light they let in. It had a good-sized bathroom and a functional kitchen. But…..it was on the 4th floor with no elevator, and while it had a separate bedroom it had no living space. It is described as a studio, but is actually bigger than I expected from a studio. It was a great rental and I would recommend it, but I knew it wouldn’t be the apartment I would buy.
We looked at another apartment that was for sale, and met with Adrian as it was her apartment. It wasn’t her primary residence. She told us it was an investment property now, but was to be her retirement apartment as it was in a building with an elevator.
Adrian’s apartment was also in a great neighborhood – the Marais. It was beautifully decorated and included a terrace. Yes! It had outdoor space, which is very rare especially at that price. The kitchen was tiny, and the apartment was a typical studio – which is one room. But it included a bonus room down the hall, which was basically another bedroom. This was tough to walk away from because it was a great property, but I really want a one-bedroom apartment. And, the property already had a potential buyer.
It was fun to dream about buying my Paris apartment, but I did other stuff while I was in Paris too. On this trip:
- Foundation Louis Vuitton (art museum) – I loved the building, but I am not a big fan of modern art
- Marmottan Monet museum – I love Monet. The Orangerie is my favorite museum space in Paris, but I didn’t go there on this trip.
- Paris Science Museum
- Breakfast with Oscar (Wilde)
- Walking and exploring the city
And, I went to a movie theatre. I saw Birdman with Michael Keaton. It was in English with French subtitles. My French isn’t great, but it was fun to read some of the translations. Translating humor must be very difficult and some expressions can’t be translated. I should probably see the movie again though because I did get a little distracted by reading the French subtitles.
DH bought a cottage in Ontario, and we made three trips there in 2015 (May for Memorial Day week, July for the 4th, and late August). The property sits on Lake Huron (North Channel), and is a 2-bedroom rambler-style home, with a Finnish sauna attached to the garage. This wasn’t a random purchase. This was the retirement home of DH’s grandparents. DH’s mom was born in New Jersey, but her mother was Canadian and her father emigrated from Finland when he was 18.
DH spent almost every summer there during his childhood, and we took his kids there many times. I love it up there, but I think owning this place will impact future travel. It also affected my willingness to continue to pursue buying an apartment in Paris. I am not ready to own a third property in a third country.
The drive is 550 miles from my house in the U.S. to the cottage in Canada. My best time was 9 1/2 hours driving. Flying isn’t a great option. Delta Airlines doesn’t allow for checked baggage to include a 16-foot boat. Plus, we really need a car in Canada and I don’t want to leave one there. And, I have pets. Flying isn’t an option at all. Driving is the cheapest and gives me the best flexibility.
My biggest trip of 2015 was a 15-day Viking River Cruise (Budapest to Amsterdam). I am almost done with those blog posts (check them out), so I won’t re-hash the trip in detail here. The cruise was my mom’s bucket list trip, and I am happy to have my parents spend my inheritance NOW taking great trips as long as mom is able to travel. (It was a difficult trip for her, but she made it!) We visited 5 countries in 15 days. It was a good trip, but we all left Europe sick and exhausted.
Two weeks after returning from Europe in early October we made a quick weekend trip to Charlotte, NC to see Eric Idle and John Cleese (Monty Python, and movies). It was a great show – we had seen Monty Python in London in 2014. I was still too sick to do much else, but I did take a nice beach nap on Myrtle Beach, SC.
Two weeks after NC we went to Las Vegas. This was a trip that was first discussed in January of 2015, but didn’t get scheduled until late (November) in the year. This was my first time traveling with my nephew and his fiancée. (I had already taken both of his sisters to Vegas.) It was a really fun weekend. My parents were able to join us too.
Final trip of 2015 – Los Angeles/San Diego. The purpose of the trip was to attend the Rose Bowl, but I also saw the Rose Bowl parade, went to a nightclub for New Year’s Eve, went to the beach, did some shopping, and ate lots of great seafood. No celebrity sightings though. According to the gossip magazines, they left town for either Aspen or St. Barts.
I am writing this fresh from a red-eye flight. We landed at 6:30 am and I was at the office just before 9 am. I might be too old for red-eye flights from the west coast.
2015 was a good year. We didn’t take a trip with the “kids” in 2015, but they all (SS, SD, SD’s fiancé) came to Canada over the 4th of July weekend. I hope that will become an annual tradition.
Looking ahead in 2016…..next post…coming soon.