Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snowshoeing Minnesota

We're officially settled into vacation mode around here. Andi and I slept in (again!!), then he lured me out of bed with scrambled eggs with veggies and breakfast potatoes. Our house was a mess with all of our Christmas presents scattered around and neither of us cared. It's an amazing feeling when life finally slows down, you know? I must tell you Andi even cleaned up afterwards - that's always a nice treat!

We decided to go snowshoeing at Afton Alps today. I've never done it and Andi said he'd only been once before. We rented shoes and drove to the western side of the Twin Cities to get some winter weather exercise. It was so nice today - about 20 degrees and sunny - the perfect day to do something outdoors.

After we layered on our gear (snow pants, winter boots, gloves, scarves, hats, and heavy winter coats) we strapped on the shoes and went. At first, we couldn't stop laughing at each other as we awkwardly learned to maneuver the snowshoes.

Lookin' good in all my gear

It was really fun, but we're definitely out of shape! I was sweating like a stuffed pig under all those layers and we were both huffing and puffing from all the trudging around. At one point, we both fell down into the deep snow and laughed at ourselves.

Taking a break in the deep powder

Fun to do something different today; fun to do something together as a couple. Love my husband!

This was my snowshoeing technique -
Andi laughed, but it really worked!

Tonight, we went to see Little Fockers at the movies. It was pretty cute, not as funny as the first one but still a nice treat to eat popcorn for dinner and go to a movie together.

Andi's back to work tomorrow but I'm off until January 3rd. Whoo! We leave for Nebraska on Tuesday and I'm SO EXCITED to see my family and celebrate Christmas with them. This time of year is the BEST.

Christmas Day 2010

Andi and I slept in to 8:00am, then got up and headed to his parents house for Christmas Day. We always wear our pajamas over there so we can lounge around all day, open presents and eat yummy food. Lindsay stayed the night over there so once we arrived Christmas officially began.

Santa filled our stocking full and we opened them as soon as we got settled in. Santa brought me lots of candy and a Kindle reading light (just what I wanted!). Andi got a bar of soap from a farmer's market and Jojobo Oil (he was jojobo-ing us all day with his greasy hands).

We took a break from opening gifts and ate french toast sticks and seasoned potatoes. After brunch, we headed back downstairs to open all of our presents.

Chloe wore her Christmas outfit

Chloe and Janie snuggled up on the couch

Janie's all set for her trip to Europe this summer!
New luggage, Patagonia jacket and travel sheet

Andi and Lindsay got globes from Jim and Janie

Lindsay got an apron

Jim got a shadow box from Lindsay with seeds from his State Fair blue ribbon carrots

Andi was glad he got new wool socks ...
because, as he pointed out, his wife doesn't match his socks very well

I got a Kitchenaid Mixer ice cream attachment!
... and new ice cream bowls and recipe books

After presents, Janie and Lindsay made Manicotti and Green Salad. We ate dinner and relaxed in the living room. It was the perfect Christmas with family.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve

I realized today this is probably one of the last "relaxing" Christmases Eves I'll have for a looong time. Today while most people were scurrying to pull last minute holiday plans together, I slept in with my little Chloe pooch, then got up and relaxed around the house. Andi came home from work around noon and we got ready for Christmas Eve.

Before we left for the evening, we took a few photos in front of our Christmas tree - just our little family.

(Darn it Chloe! She wouldn't look at the camera)

We went to church and then to Andi's grandma's house to celebrate with all of his family. There were over 40 people there and her house was busting at the seams with lots of laughter and family. 

Andi's Grandma Marion

Little cousins Mia and Kiera

Lindsay and Megan

Shaun, Laura and Ellie

Janie and Chris

Funny story about Janie's sweater. Chris went to an ugly sweater a few weeks back and bought that sweater at Saver's for $7. He gave it to Janie afterwards because he said it looked like something she would wear and she loved it! She wore it on Christmas Eve and caught lots of laughs from everyone. Now next year, they've all decided they'll do an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party on Christmas Eve with prizes and all. We won't be there of course, we'll be in Nebraska for Christmas next year. But the planning for their festivities has already begun ...

We left Andi's grandma's around 11:30pm and headed home. Christmas morning, we're driving over to Andi's parents house to celebrate the day with them.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Progressive Dinner

Last year, Andi's family started a new Christmas tradition: a progressive holiday dinner. Andi's mom had the idea because she wanted to see both Lindsay's and our houses all lit up and decorated for Christmas. We choose the Wednesday before Christmas for this year's dinner and planned a meal, just for our immediate family.

I first learned of progressive dinners after I moved to Minnesota and I think they're the neatest idea. We start at Lindsay's house for appetizers and cocktails. This year, she made Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts, Brie with Hot Raspberry Sauce and Virgin Pomegranate Bellinis. Then we drove over to our house for Cheese Fondue with steak, zucchini, squash, potatoes, cauliflower, portobello mushrooms, asparagus and bread. I also made a Spinach Pomegranate Salad for a side.

I asked Andi to take a picture of my "tablescape" and he nearly died from laughter. He couldn't believe I called it that. But doesn't anyone else watch Sandra Lee's show on the Food Network? That's what it's called!

I think it looks pretty, don't you?

--- All set! Let's head over to Lindsay's house ----

Lindsay's appetizer spread

Lindsay's Christmas Tree

Hanging out at Lindsay's

The family

--- On to our house ----

Our Christmas Tree

Presents under the tree

Getting everything ready for dinner
I love this Christmas tradition because it's a great way to kick off our Christmas festivities and it's fun to entertain at all our houses. I hope we carry it forward for a long time!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Spirit

Taking a 10-day vacation smack-dab in the middle of December really threw a wrench in Christmas this year. I started getting into the spirit early in December when I decorated our house and hosted a Holiday Cookie Baking Party for friends and family. I pumped Christmas music all through the house and spent nearly every night making holiday treats and wrapping gifts.

When we left for Europe on December 10, I thought we'd see Christmas decorations galore. And there were some - we saw carolers in Trafalgar's Square in London and visited a Christmas market in Paris' Montmarte neighborhood. People wished us "Happy Holidays" or "Joyoux Noel" and it was nice.

But ... it wasn't the same as being home.

Now that we're back, my heart's racing with all the Christmas festivities. I'm wrapping a few last minute gifts and hosting Andi's family for Christmas dinner tonight. On Christmas Eve, we're going to church and then to And's grandma's house to celebrate with his extended family. On Christmas Day, we're going to Andi's parent's house to spend the day eating and opening gifts. Finally, on Tuesday we'll hop on a plane and head to Nebraska to celebrate with my family. I'm so excited for it all!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, remembering how blessed we are to have amazing family and friends and Jesus as our Savior.           

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Currently In ...

Current Books: This month I read The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo and The Art of Racing in the Rain. The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo was a slow start, but I'd heard so many amazing things about this series that I kept plugging along. Eventually, it got much better and turned out to be a really good murder mystery. I just bought the 2nd book - The Girl Who Played With Fire - today so I'll have something to read over the winter holiday. On the plane ride home from Europe, I also read The Art of Racing in the Rain which is very similar to Marley and Me. It's told from a dog's perspective and he (the dog) talks about all the things that happen over his lifetime. Any animal lover will love this book and it had me tearing up at several points. The only thing I didn't like about it was the continual references and comparisons to racing because I know nothing about racing (and don't really care to). I had a hard time following those sections but otherwise, a great read.

Current Play List: I'm still loving Country this month (I'm not sure what's gotten into me!) and I've of course been listening to lots of Christmas music.

Current Guilty Pleasure: I made some homemade Chex Mix for the holidays (3 Ziploc freezer bags full) and I've eaten 1 1/2 bags by myself already. It's so good that I crave it in the morning when I wake up. Isn't that horrible? When we were little, my mom would make homemade Chex Mix during the holidays and you'd have to hurry up before it was gone. I think now that it's mine and I made it in my house, I have this obsession with scarfing it down before anyone else has a chance. I have a Chex Mix eating disorder.

Current Color: I bought this really cool green glass bottle in France and I love it. Also, love all the red Christmas decorations in my house this month.

Current Drink: I did a complete 180 this month and drank lots of Diet Coke, Red Bull and wine. It turns out, depriving myself of caffeine and alcohol last month wasn't such a good idea. Maybe January will be better.

Current Food: While we were traveling in Paris this month, I ate the most delightful croissants EVER. They were warm and flaky and buttery and just perfect. I saw on Oprah's Favorite Things show the next day she gave her audience Williams-Sonoma Mini Croissants and she said she'd never had croissants this good except in Paris. Which makes me think I need to order some of these croissants right away. I would seriously pay $40 for croissants. I'm that addicted now.

Current Favorite Shows: First let me say what a smart history buff I was when we traveled to London last week. After watching (very dutiful, I might add) the entire Tutors series I knew every inch of history about King Henry XIII. Who says watching T.V. isn't good for you? This month, I've mostly watched my sitcom shows like How I Met Your Mother, Rules of Engagement, Two and Half Men and Big Bang Theory.

Current Wish list: I wish I had a new pair of boots to wear with my skinny jeans. I down right ruined my favorite pair of gray ones during our Europe trip.

Current Needs: Need "laser sharp focus" (ha ha, that's such a corporate term) to stay on task at work this month. Between vacation last week and the holidays coming up, the last thing I feel like doing at work is WORKING. Must.Stay.Focused.

Current Triumphs: I finished all my Christmas shopping, wrapping and baking before we left for Europe and I'm so glad I did. Coming home yesterday and reacclimating to everything would have been tough with Christmas only a few days away. Now I can relax and finish planning our family Christmas dinner on the 23rd.

Current Bane Of My Existence: The SNOW! I hate winter and driving around in all this stuff. I'm lazily dreaming of the cabin in the summertime.

Current Celebrity Crush: I was following any stars in London or Paris this month in a vain attempt that I MIGHT see one. But, alas, I did not. Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera were all there.

Current Indulgence: Online shopping has been an indulgence this month. Where to you draw the line for Christmas shopping? I think my problem is, I shop and finish early and then ponder for weeks what other gifts I should buy. Do they need more? Was I fair enough? Better buy, buy, buy, more!

Current Blessing: Andi and I are truly blessed to be able to travel and see the world. I thought about that as we were gazing at the Eiffel Tower last week. I've always wanted to see it, and there I was standing before it. So fortunate to have those opportunities.

Current Outfit: I loved my skinny jeans when I was over in Europe. I found another pair at Target for $10 and they looked great with all my different outfits. I think I'll stock up on a few more pairs for the holidays.

Current Excitement: Christmas is almost here! We are celebrating the holiday with Andi's family this year in the Twin Cities and then flying home to Nebraska over New Year's to celebrate with my family. I'm so excited to see everyone. Just like the song says, it's the best time of the year.

Current Mood: Anxious for the holidays and to spend time with family and friends.

Current Link: I used www.shutterfly

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thoughts on Europe

First, good news! We made it back to Minneapolis. We were some of the lucky ones; only 1 runway was open at Paris' CDG Airport yesterday and about 60% of the flights were cancelled. Our flight was on time, then delayed, then suddenly on time again. After we boarded the plane, we sat on the runway for about 2 hours by the time we actually took off ... but we made it!

Somehow we were also lucky enough to be upgraded to first class. We had seats that laid down, a hot three-course meal and real blankets and pillows for the flight. Surprisingly, it wasn't Andi working his magic on this one. Our seats were changed so many times from all the cancelled flights and somehow (luckily) we were upgraded to first-class. Usually that kind of luck only happens on meaningless flights - like Chicago to Minneapolis - when you appreciate it, but the flight time is too short to really enjoy it. Let me tell you, a 9 hour international flight is the perfect time to be upgraded. It was awesome.

After spending the last 10ish days in London and Paris, I wanted to share our thoughts on traveling to these two great cities:

  • The "smoking kills" message hasn't hit there yet. Everyone in London and Paris smokes which sort of surprised me. Sure, I had the typical Euro cliche in my mind, but I didn't really think it'd be like that. At one point I told Andi, I felt like I needed to carry around a cigarette just to fit in. 
  • The horn honking. It's ridiculous. Is there some sort of secret horn-honking code? Must you honk your horn back and forth to each other repeatedly? And during the middle of the night? Beep! Beep! Beeeeeeeeeeeeeep! Please stop. Thankyouverymuch.
  • Taxi's - no one takes 'em unless you're traveling quite a distance. In fact, we took a taxi to our bed and breakfast in Rouen and the owner was shocked the cabbie took us because it was only a few blocks away (we didn't realize how close it was when we took the cab). This might also be attributed to the ease of mass transit in both London and Paris. It was far less expensive and many times faster to take the Tube/Metro or walk. Which leads me to my next point ...
  • All the walking must be why everyone's so skinny. We walked, and walked, and walked on this trip. Andi always says I should start exercising and I think I just banked exercise credit until next March.
  • It's no secret Europe is known for trending fashion (especially Paris). Everyone was dressed pretty trendy, but I didn't feel out of place either. The style is so eclectic that really anything goes. For my first time visiting Europe as a whole, I admired the overall style design in Europe. Very clean lines, smooth, stylish. I didn't do much shopping for clothing, but I did pick up a few things along the way like a really cool green glass water vessel.
  • Almost everyone we encountered in London and Paris spoke English which was a nice surprise. We'd read if you tried to speak the language in Paris they appreciate it. And I think that's true. But after we stumbled our way through ordering a meal or asking a question, the person usually relieved us by speaking English. All the signage in Paris was in French and sometimes that was tricky, mostly in train stations as we had to decipher where to go. The one word we took back from France was "Sortie" or Exit. We learned that word well....
  • Europeans definitely can't handle inclement weather. Our flight was cancelled Sunday and re-booked for Monday. London Heathrow all but shut down completely. There wasn't all that much snow/ice but they don't have the infrastructure to deal with it. Very few plows on the road and virtually no shovels being used.

A few people have asked our thoughts on traveling in Europe during the winter. First, I'd say we had an amazing trip! We saw everything we wanted to, the people were friendly, getting around was easy and the food was amazing (in Paris, especially). That said, it was cold. Average temps were around 30 during the day and 15 at night. More difficult was the rain and snow. It rained / snowed 4 of our 10 days and that was harder to deal with because after we were wet, we really lost interest in touring around. We were dressed for it (except in retrospect, I would have brought water-proof boots) and we handled it like true Minnesotans. Would it have been even better in the summer? Temperature wise, definitely. Crowd wise, I'm not so sure. It was busy wherever we went so I can only imagine what it's like during their "high" season.

We had an awesome time, and now I'm happy to be back in Minnesota. Even more excited it's Christmas this week!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Paris: Day 9

This just in: our flight home has been cancelled.

It would appear Europeans aren't very capable of handling snow and ice, of any degree.

Andi and I woke this morning to sounds of horns honking and people screaming outside our hotel room window. We're on the 7th floor so it was THAT LOUD. We got up to see what was the matter and saw mass caos outside. People slipping and sliding on the sidewalks; cars jammed up on the street. We got up with intention of going to the airport, then Andi checked his email. We'd received a message from Delta overnight stating our flight was cancelled and re-booked for Monday, connecting through Cincinnati. That is, if our flight goes out tomorrow. The forecast is calling for more snow and as I look at the hotel room window, I see more giant flakes falling. Most of the flights out of Paris' Charles-de-Gaulle Airport have been cancelled for today. Those few going out have no open seats.

There's not a giant amount of snow falling. In fact, most of it isn't even sticking to the ground. I would say 3 inches total. But underneath is covered in ice and no one here uses anything other than sand to melt the ice/snow away. Anyone heard of ice melt? Yesterday the hotel was squeeging the circle drive in our hotel. Like with a window washer. What the heck? People here have no idea how to deal with this weather.

We're being bums today. Ate breakfast at the hotel (I ate my weight in baguettes, chocolate croissants and creamy butter) and now we're back in the room watching movies. We might venture out later today to enjoy our last overdue day in Paris.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Paris: Day 8

Today was our last day in Paris. We slept in late, then headed to the Metro train stop closest to our hotel to start our day. Our plan: see the Arc de Triomphe, eat a crepe and visit the famous royal Versailles estate. As we entered the train station, we saw a very long line to buy tickets to the RER train to Versailles -- since it's the weekend before Christmas everyone's trying to get out of the city and we weren't about to wait in a very long line. This particular Metro stop is connected to a shopping mall so we browsed a few stores and ate lunch in a cafe. Andi ordered a slice of pizza and I ordered a quiche; even these two items had a buttery, flaky crust to die for. I wonder what's the French secret to delightfully, flaky breading? It's so wonderful ...

After wandering around a few stores, we headed back to the the Metro and decided to check out the Arc de Triompe before heading to Versailles. As we departed the train, it started to snow pretty hard. Giant white flakes were falling all around. It didn't much bother us (we're Minnesotans!) and we paid 30 Euros/$40 to go up into the Arc de Triompe monument. We climbed the 200+ stairs up to the top (that's right, we almost died) and snapped a few pictures of the city below us.

Arc de Triomphe

View from the top

The Eiffel Tower in my hand

All 200+ stairs to the top

Next, we boarded the Metro for Versailles. We had to make a few connections to the RER (suburban) trains that go outside the city. About an hour later, we arrived in quaint little Versailles, which I have to admit would have been a whole lot better if it'd been 70 degrees warmer and sunny. The snow was coming down pretty hard by now and we were freezing. My boots were full of water, again. We walked around the cobblestone streets for a bit in search of the palace grounds or a cafe to warm up - which ever came first. We found a few creperies (bakeries that make crepes? we're not sure). Most of them were closed until dinner. We finally found one that was open and went in to defrost. We ordered 2 cappuccinos, one banana and one Nutella crepe. We noticed another couple in the cafe who spoke English. I walked over to them and said "hey, I see you speak English. Where's the castle from here?" I told them I was freezing from wandering aimlessly outside and I was looking forward to locating our destination. They smiled and told us it was down the street to the left.

In search of crepes ....

We bundled up and walked to the Versailles property. It was massive and beautiful ... and covered in snow and blowing wind (I bet the cafe couple though I was an idiot - where is the castle? I'm dying to find it and warm up a little bit). We went inside and paid the entrance fee of 30 Euro/$40. They told us the grounds closed in 1 hour so we'd better move quickly. As we studied the map, we quickly realized most of Versailles is outside -- all gardens and fountains -- which I'm sure are beautiful in the SUMMER. I now understand what Andi's mom meant when she described Versailles to us before we left. "The best thing about Versailles is the beautiful gardens" she said ..... "I think Europe's pretty chilly in the winter" she warned. We now get how nice (but literal) she was trying to be.

Thoughts on Versailles in the wintertime: we're Minnesotans and we saw bigger snow flakes today than we've seen in a long time. Trudging around in wet snow for 6 hours is really cold and soggy. We got some funny pics today as we were embracing the falling snow and we could easily see why this place is a must-see in the warmer months. I bet it's beautiful.

 Versailles winter wonderland

That's Andi under all that winter gear

Horses grazing on a pasture nearby

Afterwards, we walked around the cute town streets and browsed in a few shops. We wanted to have dinner here but it was only 4:30pm and most of the restaurants didn't open until 7:00pm. So, we headed back to Paris on the train and made it back to our hotel soaking wet but feeling accomplished. We'd visited everything we wanted to see on this trip. Our legs are sore as proof. Heck, my shoes have one wear left in them and that's on the plane ride home!

We went back to the hotel to shower and clean up, then went to our hotel restaurant for dinner. It was still snowing pretty hard and you'd had to pay us big to trudge out it in again. The hotel restaurant was actually really fancy and exactly what we needed. Andi ordered a bottle of wine, cheese plate and the scallops. I ordered a chicken pasta dish with wild mushrooms. All the food was 100% local which I loved and the service was excellent. We shared great conversation and lots of loving gazes across the table. A perfect end to a wonderful vacation.

My chicken pasta dish (which looks kinda scary but was actually really delicious)

Cheese plate
Heather: Andi, try the bleu cheese, it reminds me of the state fair
Andi: Ewww! You didn't tell me it tasted like the barns at the state fair!
Heather: Well, you didn't ask how it specifically reminded me. 

Andi's Scallops

Our favorites from this trip: O' Chateau wine tasting, the Bath Spa in England. I loved the feeling as we walked up on the Eiffel Tower all lit up in the night's sky. We loved the coziness of the bed and breakfasts and of course, spending time together ... just the two of us.

We had an awesome time in London and Paris, and we're excited to come tomorrow. Excited to snuggle our little pooch, Chloe. Anxious to celebrate Christmas with our families in a few days. Tomorrow we're leaving on a 10:45am flight (weather permitting!) ... hoping this snow doesn't stick and we make it out of here on time. Loving the memories we made "across the pond" ... we'll remember them forever.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Paris: Day 7

A little surprised with ourselves, we woke up around 9am this morning at our bed and breakfast in Rouen. Agnus, the owner, told us breakfast would be served between 8-9:30am so we hurried downstairs before it was too late. Our breakfast was perfect. She served fresh croissants and baguettes, cereal and toast. I seriously can't get over how flaky and wonderful the bakery is here. I ate a croissant with minimal butter ... and that should say something!

We said good-bye to Agnes and walked to the train station. It had snowed here overnight (a light dusting, mind you) and we thought it looked beautiful. Heck, I much prefer a light dusting of snow to heavy wet puddles of rain. My shoes do at least. But, people here don't exactly feel the same way. Apparently they had 2cm of snow last week (not sure of the conversion, but I think it's basically a few inches) and all movement was at a stand still. Over breakfast, Agnes told us her daughter slept in her car for 8 hours during that storm because all cars, trains, planes, etc. were halted. There's no ability to deal with winter weather here, even though they have it a fair number of times each winter. The snow had basically melted by the time we arrived at the train station and everything was on time for our ride back to Paris.

We'd a hotel room in Paris for our last two nights. The downside of Priceline is you can't exactly choose what hotel, only the price, so we navigated our way to the closest Metro stop and walked a few blocks to Le Meridian. It looked nice and we were glad we'd found it with little trouble. Andi went to the front desk to check in and walked over to me a few minutes later to tell me we were leaving. Apparently we were looking for Le Meridian Etoile. Who knew there was a difference?

We hopped in cab (because screw this, we're not getting back onto the Metro and trying to navigate our way to another hotel) and arrived a Le Meridian Etoile a few minutes later. Turns out, this place is in much better "tourist" position anyway, as it's very close to the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre. We checked into the correct Le Meridian and went up to our room. We opened the door and it seriously looked like we stepped into a Motel 6 (no offense to Motel 6 lovers). The room was decorated in all brown and smelled like moth balls. "We can't stay here," I told Andi. I couldn't imagine laying in that icky bed. We went back to the reservation desk and asked for an upgrade. Although, apparently, Parisians aren't much for haggling. The lady said she'd upgrade us for 50 Euro/$70 just after another employee told Andi it was 30 Euro. He negotiated with her for a while and finally the manager came out. No such luck. 50 Euro for an "executive room" or moth ball city. We weren't sure an upgrade was worth $150 (we booked 2 nights). We went back up to the moth ball room and I said to Andi "no way, we're not staying here. It smells!" So we went back down to the reservation desk and told them we wanted the Executive. It was an awkward ride in the elevator with the front desk worker (I'm sure she thought we were whiny Americans) but our new room is so much better. I wish I would have taken photos of the "before" room but I only have "after" .... and it was worth every penny.

After all that drama, we were famished. We set out for the Metro with intentions for dinner and a visit to the Louvre. Luckily, it was just a few stops away from our hotel. We walked by a few restaurants near the museum and my stomach started growling. "How about this?" I asked Andi. He wanted to keep walking (down a dark road with no restaurants, mind you). But I wasn't in the mood for the "let's hunt around for the perfect restaurant until we walk in circles forever" game so I put my foot down. I was hungry. So we ended up eating at what I'm sure is the Paris equivalent of TGIFridays and I didn't care. I ordered a club sandwich and Andi had roasted chicken. We also ordered what we thought was a cheese plate that actually tasted like yogurt in a cup. (Not sure what that was, but we didn't eat it).

Next we went to the Louvre. Even though it's a museum and we have a strict "we are not museum people" agreement in our marriage, we were excited to go. And, we drank a bottle of wine at dinner to help get us in the mood. The Louvre is massive and a former royal Parisian palace.

Once inside, we bee-lined for the Mona Lisa because we weren't sure how long we'd last. We also rented an audio guide so we could learn a little about the pieces of art we were viewing. Many people had warned us about the size of Mona Lisa before our trip, so we weren't disappointed when we saw the small-sized painting. It was neat, mostly because it's so famous.

Andi and I concluded we must not be "art people" because we thought there were other sculptures and paintings inside the Louvre far cooler. There was this one - the angel without any wings (which has a famous name, but I can't remember what it is)

... or this sculpture, my favorite, the Sphnix

The ceilings inside the Louvre were beautifully painted and we spent quite a bit of time admiring them ...

... and there were a few other sculptures and paintings we enjoyed too.

Afterwards, we hopped onto the Metro and back to our hotel. This trip is really catching up to us, and our feet and legs were KILLING us by the end. Tomorrow, our goals are to see Versailles, watch the sunset at Arc de Triomphe and finally eat a crepe!