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Paris Wrap-Up

3 Oct

First of all, if you’re just joining me, WELCOME!!! And go call your friends, I bet they’ll enjoy it here too!!

Wrapping up my Paris marathon trip – but first, if you want to catch up (or refresh your memory!!)  here are the links to all my Paris posts!!

The Official Start of my Trip

Some Filler…. 🙂

Flying to Paris! 

Marathon Expo!

Saturday in Paris

Le Marathon de Paris

Time to Shop!! 

It’s Always a good day for Champagne

Another day of shopping 🙂 

Cooking School!!!

So, our trip ended with the usual trip to the airport, lines through Passport control, security and of course some Duty Free shopping. And the lounge. And I had on some fancy footwear!

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That’s right…this really happened!

My trip ended like it started 🙂 In the Star Alliance lounge. There were yummy snacks and beverages but mostly there was some sad…..

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A few random thoughts:

I had a really nice time, and sometimes it pays to splurge and stay in an awesome hotel that you might have otherwise overlooked.

This was the first time that Eydie and I had ever been on a trip together (not counting Girl Scout camp!) and we should do it more often!

E is not a runner but did the 5K with me and did AWESOME! And one thing we talked about, that is really so true: When the bombing at the Boston Marathon happened, Eydie said she was kind of surprised by the response, mainly from the running community. How everyone seemed to be affected, like they’d been there or had friends/family there. After hanging at the expo and doing the 5K she simply said “Now I get it”. Runners are family. A tribe. No matter where we are.

I can’t wait to go back to Paris, to France. And take more cooking classes and learn more about wines. And, yeah, to eat more of those…..

And, yeah, I definitely need to head back and do that marathon thing the right way — there is definitely a PR waiting for me in France!!

And now, some shots that I maybe didn’t share with you earlier…

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One of many views of the tower

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The Cathedral at Reims

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One of many failed “jump shot” attempts!

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We climbed up these stairs in one of the champagne houses, up from the cellar

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Didn’t actually make it to the Louvre but…

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French onion soup…in France.. 🙂

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Tasty short ribs

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Marathon spectators…and entertainment!

This was a really great trip, and I can’t believe it took me six months to finally finish the story!!! But there you have it – thanks for coming along with me!

 

Cooking Like the French Do!

3 Oct

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When we were planning this trip, one of the very second things we decided to do, after running a marathon and drinking the champagne of course!, was to take a cooking class. I mean…really…how could I not?!

One thing that we knew we absolutely HAD to do in Paris was take a cooking class! Now, I love to bake but I’m pretty plain Jane when it comes to actual cooking grown up food. I enjoy reading recipes and thinking I’ll make some more fancy stuff, but I never do. This would be a chance to learn some new stuff that I’d hopefully be able to use.

Eydie thought I might want to do something related to baking but real food seemed to be the way to go (though, trust me, there were a lot of baking offerings as well!!)

We registered in advance and on our final day in Paris got up early for breakfast and headed out to meet the rest of our group at an outdoor market. The plan is that you shop for your ingredients then head back to the school to do the actual prep and cooking. And EATING!!

As a side note, to continue a recurring theme of this trip, our chef/teacher was from…yes, you guessed it….Texas 🙂

After deliberation, we selected to make scallops (the other options were lamb and veal, which BLECH!). We shopped for our scallops – in the shells still mind you! – as well as some veggies to roast, some cheese and berries for dessert.

It was really interesting to learn about some different and new (to me) veggies as well as hearing about how cheeses are made and aged and what makes them different.

Once back at the school we unpacked our goodies and started the prep work. With 8 of us things went pretty quick and it wasn’t long before we sat down to enjoy our scallops and roasted veg. We were also able to enjoy some nice wine.

The scallops were cooked very simply – salt and pepper and seared in a hot pan. The veggies were tossed with olive oil, some herbs and salt and pepper and stuck in a hot oven while we did the work on the scallops All of this was served with a really delicious, and surprisingly easy, hollandaise sauce – all plated in  a very lovely manner…

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A stack of veggies in the middle with my three scallops…notice the artful “smear” of sauce…

Remember the scallops were in their shells? Well…you know we had to clean those suckers ourselves!! I seemed to be the only one having trouble even getting the darn thing open! I got some help with that and was soon cleaning away with everyone else.

<insert no picture taken of the struggle!>

Our main course was followed with the cheese plate that we had put together in the market and also our berries with whipped cream. One thing that made the whipped cream really tasty was that we added lime zest when whipping. By hand.

Once lunch ended and we said goodbye to our new friends, and took the mandatory medal selfie,

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And medal shot….

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Eydie and I headed back to E. Dehillerin so I could pick up a Staub coquette – I had gone in looking for Le Crueset but really liked the simple black Staub. And, bonus, we had a coupon from the cooking school so once again, my procrastination and indecisiveness paid off! And I also decided to get a set of grown-up tongs!

 

After wandering around a bit (okay, I got us a little lost!) and found this park….

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we headed back to the room. I still needed to get some Eiffel Tower medal shots. E was tired so stayed in and I headed out once again making a stop at M. Georges for some macaroons for Phred’s babysitter (and, who am I kidding, me!) and of course the kouignettes which totally lived up to the reviews!!

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This is a pastry that is Right up my alley — slightly crispy puffy pasty with chewy gooey caramely goodness

Once I’d stocked up I wandered to Le Tour…where I hung around long enough to see them lighting it up for the night!

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The medal visits the Eiffel Tower

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I am not smiling because I have to leave tomorrow…

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There’s a great light show that ends with this!!

I didn’t hang out too long, since I still needed to finish packing and get some sleep – the shuttle was coming pretty early in the morning and after our trip FROM the airport, we were prepared for a very long ride out!

Up next, my final (sob) Paris post – really a wrap-up and recap along with some extra pictures that will hopefully make you smile!!!

I would HIGHLY recommend finding a way to take some sort of class on YOUR next trip to Paris! I know that I plan on it!!

 

Bubbly Time!

3 Aug

champagne

When we were planning our trip, one thing we both definitely wanted to fit in was a trip to the Champagne region – which I learned was about a 40 minute train ride so it would be easy to do in a day. We looked at day trips and tours but in the end decided to just wing it! Though we did make one reservation at Veuve Clicquot and the hope was that we could fit in at least one more!

After another wonderful breakfast at the hotel we headed to the Gare de L’Est for our train ride down. Once we figured out how and where to buy our tickets it was a breeze. We hopped right on the train and Eydie settled in to read up on Reims

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After the obligatory selfie of course!

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It’s adventure time!!!!

It was a smooth ride once out of Paris and before we knew it we were there!! Our scheduled tour wasn’t until 2 so we knew we’d have time for one tour and lunch!

For the tour we (or rather, I) chose the house of Tattinger – and really, I liked the idea because of this ad I saw ages ago…

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We arrived just as the tour was beginning and headed into the caves…

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What I love is that everything is still done manually

Once we were out of the caves it was time for a taste

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We walked from Tattinger towards the Veuve Clicquot house with a stop at Le Jardin des Crayeres for lunch and then it was off again!

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We arrived a little late but were able to join the tour in the front garden

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Then down to the caves we went!!!

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The medal in the caves….

 

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170 year old bottle of champagne found in a shipreck

And, of course, ending in the tasting room

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After our sips, we walked back into Reims to visit the Cathedral – at which time my camera died of course.  But I did manage one shot…

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We grabbed an early dinner/tea at a little Belgian spot before a bit of window shopping and then a train ride back into the city of lights.

After resting up for a short while, we decided that instead of dinner we would go for  ice cream which we ate while wandering in our neighborhood. Eydie found this great view of the Eiffel Tower

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And then it was time to call it a night. More shopping tomorrow and possibly some major purchases!!

 

 

 

Paris Marathon – Day 2

14 Jun

So, I just am going to throw this out there – I hoard my Frequent Flier miles. And really, the reason I do is because I vowed a couple of years ago that I would never fly to Europe in coach again! I hold on to the miles knowing that an opportunity would certainly come up soon!! Good thing I don’t go to Europe too often.

Part of the plan is to get the best “use” out of the fewest miles possible. That means, for me, searching for the “super saver” deals – that meant that on my trip to Paris I would be flying out of…Washington DC. In my opinion, the drive down is a small price to pay overall!

As I posted here I started the day off by dropping off my pal at his Nanny’s house and headed to DC. I headed to Dulles about 4 hours before my flight since I figured I’d spend most of my time in the lounge (yet another reason to use those miles to upgrade for an international flight!!)

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Some of the ‘snacks’ available in the lounge…let the eating begin!!

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Why yes, I think I *will* have some shrimp cocktail, thank you!

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A light snack before my flight

I had chosen to fly out in United’s Global First cabin– which gave me lots of room for sleeping should that happen!

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The pods…

I’d read a lot of reviews online of the service so that I would know what to expect. Based on most of what I had read, I shouldn’t expect much, particularly from the cabin crew.

Well, I must have lucked out or something – there were 3 flight attendants in our cabin most of the time and they were nothing but awesome! Naturally, my wine glass was never empty – except when I was drinking the after dinner port with my cheese course.

So the meal…started with the usual (haha – I say that like I fly first class all the time!) hot nuts. Cashews and almonds. None of those pesky peanuts for us 10 special travelers.

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A warm appetizer of coconut shrimp with tabbouleh and mango chutney Then soup. A really yummy chicken enchilada soup. Up next, salad. Not one of those plastic prepacked salads for me – fresh tossed with my choice of dressing. I was getting full so I skipped the croutons! The main course that I selected was beef short ribs. Tasty but not amazing (Anne, when did you become such a food snob?). And to finish, the aforementioned cheese course. You’ll be surprised to learn that I skipped – yes, skipped, the ice cream sundae. Really, I couldn’t have eaten another bite!

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I thought they might have gone overboard with the utensils….

 

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My coconut shrimp!

 

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The crouton-less salad…

 

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Mains…

While dining I watched a couple of movies – Night at the Museum and something that was apparently not too memorable! After that I kind of flipped around and at some point dozed off for a little while after changing into my sweatshirt.

Before arriving in Frankfurt, we were served a small breakfast of fruit, granola, yogurt and breads. Before I knew it it was time to say goodbye to our wonderful flight crew. One of the French flight attendants asked if I was staying in Germany or going on and when I told her I was going to Paris she mentioned that she lived just outside of Paris (later on, I saw her on my flight from Frankfurt to Paris!)

When we got out of the plane in Germany, to get to a connecting flight we had to walk WAY to the other side of the airport, up and down stairs and then through security again. Which was a bummer cause they took away my big bottle of water 😦 Once through security it was another long, hot hike to the gate.

EVENTUALLY I made it to Paris, grabbing a couple of shots of the Eiffel Tower – off in the distance in the haze.

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Really, it *is* out there!!

 

One at the airport I grabbed my bag and waited for Eydie’s arrival – she’d been delayed/canceled/rebooked/delayed but eventually arrived! Her luggage, however, did not. After filing the report and letting the airline know where to deliver her bag, we hopped in our pre-arranged shuttle for a long tour of Paris, dropping off other visitors!

After we arrived and freshened up, it was time to find some late lunch, early dinner and hit the expo!!!

Paris Marathon – Day what?

14 Apr

So, I haven’t been able to keep up as much as I wanted, but trust me, I have a long flight home so maybe then I’ll get a few done!

Meanwhile — enjoy a couple of pictures from the week so far…

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This is how my flight started…

 

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Did a 5K Saturday morning..almost done!!

 

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Did a 42.2K on Sunday…couldn’t really jump at the end!!

 

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And then this happened….

 

 

 

 

 

Paris Marathon – Day 1

8 Apr

OMG!!! Is that here already???!!!

But first, a quick look at the first week of April. I will not-too-happily admit that I am still having a tough time getting in the groove but…. And, that whole thing where I was going to cut back on my road-ragey-ness for Lent? Well…yeah. I was a little better but there was still always that ogre sitting in the car! On the “bright” side, I managed to stay away from the Cadbury mini-eggs. For the most part. I ate about 6 of them last night. And this morning.

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Get in mah belly delicious milk chocolate!!!

 

I’ve spent a lot of the last couple of weeks talking myself up to get through the Paris Marathon.

Paris marathon logo

What? Is that here already? Well, yes it is! And I have resigned myself to being very near the back of the pack on this one! Not to say I’m not gonna leave everything out there on the Champs Elysees. This is a flat-ish course. Supposedly. There isn’t a lot out there that I’ve been able to find other than this: from 5 years ago:

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Not too bad…

 

 

General consensus is that the last 5K is where the biggest hill is found. It’s also where the wine and cheese is found…Pick your poison 😉

And it’s Europe ya’ll. These people are serious about their running… We ‘Murricans at the back of the pack are a little less so. I’m in the last corral – but here, the timing for the last corral is “anything over 4:30” So, thinking there could be a pretty serious PR in my future.

Anyhoo…Day 1. Since I’m flying on miles, and to get the ‘best’ use of my miles I prefer to use First Class to fly internationally, the best option was to fly out of Washington DC. Which isn’t really a problem for me. I came down the night before just because I didn’t want the stress of a travel day drive.

This means that tomorrow I can take my time getting ready, and consolidating my carry-on stuff. And get in a short run…what?!

The worst part of the day, of course, was saying goodbye to this face:

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I hate leaving him but it helps that I’m leaving him with someone who treats him like family. And he’s got three other dogs in the house to lord it over.

So on the docket for tomorrow is breakfast, a run (hoping to put an hour or so in on the treadmill) maybe lunch then heading to the airport where I will relax in the lounge until it’s time to get on my plane!!

I haven’t been to Paris in about 15 years and I’m going with my oldest, dearest friend in the world so this is going to be SO MUCH FUN!!

Even that 26.2 mile thing. Or should I say 42.195K thing

I hope you’ll follow along and send all of your support!!

And Here We Go!!!

6 Jan

 

Almost…

Packing is done.

The costumes are almost complete…

Checked in for my flight…

MagicBands at the ready…

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Luggage tags on…

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And, the worst part of any runDisney trip, I’ve dropped the Phred off at his sitter’s. Good thing he loves it there or it would be even more painful. For me.

All there is to do now is get ready for bed and try to sleep…but maybe I’ll have a glass of wine first!!

If you’re travelling down to Orlando this week, have a safe and uneventful trip- if you’re staying home, my times will be posted on Facebook, right out in the open! Yikes!!

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Thanks to the Awesome Angela for the photo!

 

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