Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Wow, it is really hard to sum up 2 weeks of vacation in one blog post, but I'll try to stick to the highlights. The weather was gorgeous the entire trip... not a single drop of rain, not even in the UK! Paris is so pretty that I couldn't choose a single photo that would do it justice, so like everyone else, I settled on this pic of the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. The light show was very twinkly and bordering on seizure-inducing. Fun!

Since we decided to boycott museums in favor of shopping, eating, and living like a local, I have lots of great memories of the stores and all the shopkeepers we spoke with (sort of). The only "out of the way" place I wanted to visit was the Phildar store. Since I wanted to check out their clothing line, we went to the store located on Rue Monge in the 5th, the closest to our apartment. It turned out to be a very small store, but I still managed to buy a sweater and a top, as well as a pack of yarn and 3 magazines.

At checkout, I noticed a book behind the counter and quickly translated it in my head. I grabbed the camera to capture the moment, in spite of the confused look from the shopkeeper. I'm not sure she really understood why we thought this was so funny:

Here's what the Phildar store's yarn section looked like. Very claustrophobic, but luckily I was the only person shopping there. I was worried when I saw that they only had a few balls of each color of yarn out on the floor, but the nice lady came over and said if I like a color, she would look in the "derriere" to see if they had more. I thought that was funny.

I can't tell you how much I loved Paris! I was so glad I could put my 3 years of high school French to good use, because it really came in handy. Here's what the main boulevard near our apartment looked like. I'm nostalgic already!

Our next stop was Monaco. I was stunned at how gorgeous it is there. I mean, really, check out the view from our hotel room:

We were only there 2 nights, to watch the final tennis match of the Monte Carlo Open. I was so stoked that Federer and Nadal ended up playing. I actually think I wet myself a little. Shhh, don't tell anyone...

After a very interesting flight from Nice to London, where I sat next to a very loud British woman who reeked of gin (and ordered 2 more on the plane), our luck continued as we ended up with the most insane taxi driver in all of London. Of course, we didn't know this at the time, but looking back on all the rides we took over the 3 days, he definitely wins the award.

One of the places we visited was the Churchill Museum/Cabinet War Rooms. Yeah, sounds like a real party huh? Well, I figured I owed my husband one for going with me to the Phildar store in Paris. But, in a surprise twist, this trip actually involved yarn - Churchill and his men used the various colored yarns to draw lines on their maps. Crafty!

Speaking of crafty, I will now show off all the knit- and craft- related items I brought home with me! As mentioned, I went to one of the many Phildar stores in Paris, and I also hit the craft section at Le Bon Marche, which was right around the corner from our apartment I might add.

I also went to La Droguerie, located near Les Halles, which was a feast for the eyes! I was intimidated at first, because you have to ask the shopworkers to help you with what you want. They have their buttons and various adornments on display up on the wall, and you have to show them what you want and how many, etc. Again, high school French saved me! I was able to stumble my way through their language to get what I wanted, and the ladies there met me halfway with a few words of English.

Lastly, I hit the "Sewing and Haberdashery" section of House of Fraser in Manchester. They were having a spring sale, and everything was 20% off, including all the Rowan yarn. Since this was the final day of our 2-week trip, I didn't have a single bit of space left in my luggage - I had already used the expander! So, I had to pass it all up and instead I bought a bunch of buttons (lower left corner of the pic). I was actually quite pleased with this, because all I have near my house is JoAnn, and I think their buttons are boring.

And for the record, I was able to get through security and take both my crochet hook and my knitting needles onboard all my flights. I flew from Portland, Oregon (PDX) to Chicago (ORD) to Manchester, UK (MAN) to Paris, France (CDG); Paris Orly (ORY) to Nice, France (NCE); Nice (NCE) to London Heathrow (LHR); Manchester, UK back through Chicago to Portland. The needles were US #7 bamboo circs, and I worked on Cherry by Anna Bell using Rowan Calmer.

I had the needles in a ziploc bag in my carry-on, placed near the top (in case they wanted to take it out), and along the side of the bag so it blended in more with the structure of the bag. My bag was actually pulled aside and opened up by security in Nice, France. The woman rifled through all my stuff, and didn't think twice about the knitting. She asked me in French if I had face cream. I guess they are more concerned with the whole 'liquids and gels' thing. In England, they either didn't see the needles, or didn't care. My bag went through security just fine, both times, with no further inspection.

Whew! I think that's all (for now)! I have so many wonderful memories of this trip. We both felt it was the best trip either of us had been on. It was worth waiting 5 years for - I can't wait to see what we do for our 10-year anniversary!