Friday, January 9, 2015

Being on TV When You Aren't A Size Two (or Four or Six or Eight)

In past blogs that I’ve written, I’ve often included the familiar quote, “Life starts when you step outside of your comfort zone.”  Over and over and over I have discovered the sagacious accuracy of this wisdom.  It has continued to rear its head in my life, especially of late, like one of those flashing marquees running through my brain as I make decisions on a daily basis. I have been so fortunate to take a year off of work to travel, explore, and go on adventures near and far.  I am six months into my journey, and these experiences have been such an incredible gift, something I will cherish forever.  However, having this opportunity to step away from my daily routine has also given me time to think (YIKES!) and examine parts of my life (DOUBLE YIKES!).  And let me tell you, this is when it can get hairy.  Because let’s be honest, sometimes we just don’t want to face the yucky stuff.  It’s the worst!  Sometimes we just want to huddle in our comfort zones where it’s safe and warm, and not delve into the parts of our lives that need work, need focus, and need attention.  Those things, the things that may be lacking in our lives, have usually shriveled up and been neglected due to fear, discomfort, laziness, or some other not wonderful factor.  And while I am so incredibly proud of many of the things I have accomplished in my life, the last six months have afforded me the very fortunate (but PAINFULLY uncomfortable) opportunity to also start facing my shortcomings.  

In particular, I had to take a good long look at my health.  I have never been a skinny minnie, but in the last eight years or so, I lost control of my weight and my happiness plummeted. I mean, yes, I was surface happy.  People who have met me over the past eight years probably thought I was a confident, outgoing person. I certainly have TONS of happy memories from the last decade.  But now that I’ve had a moment to pause and examine, I know that underneath that exterior happiness, was a whole lot of sadness.  And associated with that sadness was shame, guilt and self loathing.  While I desperately wanted to gain control of my health, I think I just pushed it to the side because the alternative seemed too hard and far too risky.  What if I failed?  I mean, was my weight really that big of a problem?  I had tons of friends, a few boyfriends along the way, a stable career, a good home. I suppose you could say my comfort zone seemed….comfy!  Why would I leave?

But it has been in this wretchedly beautiful pause in my life that I have stepped back and said WHAT THE HELL?  This comfort zone is NOT ONE BIT comfy!  It is actually padded with misery.  Nope.  Nope. Nope.  This is not how I want to live.

So I've taken control.  Or at least I've started.  And it started with stepping outside of my comfort zone.  First, back in June I made myself start working out.  Can we talk about how hard that was? I was tired. I felt lazy. I didn’t want to. I felt gross in workout clothes. I couldn’t keep up. The other girls are so fit.  Wow, do you see all those thoughts that were whirling around in my brain, holding me back?  I finally got sick of it and told those nasty negative thoughts to kick rocks. I found a workout that works for me.  One that I love, that feels more like hanging out with friends than working out.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s HARD, but it works for me, which is such a crucial aspect of exercise. I’m also more careful about my eating habits.  I’m not perfect, because I LOVE FOOD, but I am thoughtful and intentional with my eating habits. And most importantly, I’ve surrounded myself with people who are so positive and supportive. I am so thankful I have friends I can call when I am tempted to shove a pizza down my gullet because I’m having a bad day.  When negative thoughts arise, I try to see them from a different point of view, with a more positive spin.  I work hard to alter my thought processes, to turn them to the light when they start creeping towards the dark. Of course I still have bad days, but my resiliency is so much better.  So the bad days are more like, twenty minutes of yuck, and then I move on.   

Which brings me to the point of this blog.  We are nine days into 2015 and I’ve had to take two GIGANTIC leaps outside of my comfort zone already.  My workout class, PlyoJam, has been featured on the news twice!  I’m so PROUD!  In each of the features, dancers who know the PlyoJam routines were needed for the news spots. I know the dances, but I was petrified.  I have made progress with my health, but I’m not at my goal.  And I do not look like the other dancers.  Many of them are instructors, and some of them look like they are G*d Damn Olympic ballerinas. (I say that with love girls!) And I’m going to stand next to them on LIVE TELEVISION and dance?  Nope. No way.  Hell to the no.  NOOOOOOO!  

Or….  maybe… Maybe I should? Ummm, yes?  Yes!  YES!!!! I’LL DO IT!!!!!!!

I’m not where I want to be yet with my fitness goals.  But why not celebrate how far I’ve come?  Why not take a risk and do something exciting and new and support a fitness concept I love so dearly?  Why not show others who may be watching the segment that they don’t have to be a size two to shake their booty’s and work up a killer sweat?  This mindset is the exact thing that has allowed me to continue on this journey.  I stopped thinking of happiness as being this far away concept that would happen someday when….when I attained my weight goals, when I found a great man, when found a career I loved, when I had traveled the entire world.  Oh my goodness that can be SO discouraging because the when can often seem so far away.  Instead, I decided to be happy NOW.  To be happy with what I’ve accomplished so far, to be happy with myself, to be happy with where I am, and to be happy that I get to continue the process.  Which is exactly why I said yes to dancing on camera, not once, but twice in nine days. 

So what did it feel like standing next to my gorgeous fit dance pals on the news?  While I still had to fight my fears and my discomfort….in the end, it felt fucking awesome. It feels like life is just beginning...because I've stepped outside of my comfort zone.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Never Say Never to Traveling Alone

After 116 days of traveling, 9 countries and 18 cities, I’m home and have had time to regroup and really think about the incredible experiences I had.  One thing that really struck me is the number of people along the way who told me how courageous it was for me to travel on my own for four months.  Many said that it was a brave thing to do and that they could never travel alone.  While the sentiment was incredibly sweet and flattering, I was always a bit shocked by the last part.  "I could never do what you are doing.”  Today I want to tell you why traveling alone should NEVER be out of the question, and in fact, should some day be a priority for you if at all possible.

  1.  You will gain an enormous amount of strength and confidence.  From the frustrating moments of having to figure out subways systems, currency, and accents to getting horribly lost, and finding your way again, you will feel almost invincible as you quickly learn to navigate the world.  There will be moments that you want to give up, perhaps because you are sick or lonely, but then you will overcome that moment, and with each victory your strength and confidence will sky rocket.  In a world that isn’t always easy on the self confidence and self esteem, this gain will be invaluable in your every day life.  You will return a changed person, a better version of you.  
    This was a day I wanted to give up.  102 fever and feeling like death.  But I took a pic to tell my family I was ok, and kept going.

  2. You will meet amazing people.  Sometimes when you have a travel partner, you are less likely to meet other people because you are in the comfort zone of your friendship and just trying to figure out the city or country in which you are traveling.  However, when you are traveling alone, unless you want to be utterly lonely, you MUST reach out to make new friends.  This may be done in a variety of ways, and most definitely takes effort.  But the rewards are incredible.  When you meet new people while traveling, you often meet similar people who are as adventurous and thirsty for life as you are.  And THAT is just so exciting.  You swap stories, share travel tales, and make plans to meet up again someday, perhaps in Thailand or Berlin.  You are exposed to new ways of thinking, new cultures, just NEWNESS..which is so incredibly valuable to your thought processes and approach to life in general.  Suddenly you have a bevy of friends around the globe.  And the people you meet while traveling will never, ever be forgotten.

  3. You have time to think and reflect.  In every day life, we don’t get a lot of quiet time to just be still.  To be present and think about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are going.  Traveling alone gives you time to think, perhaps on a train or plane ride, perhaps on a quiet walk around a local park, or maybe even while sitting on a bench in one of the most famous squares in the city.  You have a moment to reflect, which becomes increasingly important as life continues to wiz by us.
  4. You set your own schedule.  I know this one sounds a bit selfish, but it’s pretty amazing to wake up and do exactly what YOU want to do.  You are not dictated by a travel partner or a tour group.  If the only thing you want to do is walk aimlessly around the city, then so be it.  If you want to book a cheesy vespa tour, go for it.  If you want to party at a nightclub until 5 in the morning, and then sleep all day the next day, DO IT!  You set your schedule.  
  5. The experiences you have and the memories you make will ALWAYS be with you.  When you are old and grey and can no longer travel the globe, you can take a trip in your mind back to wine tasting in the South of France, you can smile at the memory of that bus tour in the countryside of Dublin, or you can relive the night you and your new friends attended a Real Madrid game.  Possessions fade, memories last a life time.

Perhaps it was brave and courageous to travel alone for four months.  Yes, there were times that were scary.  But the scariest thing I can think of is NEVER taking that risk and never having had the incredible experiences I had while traveling alone.  

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Meandering Around Monaco (and Nice!)

I don’t have a lot of fluff to say about Nice and Monaco.  It’s funny because I’ve heard the names of these cities my entire life and I had a very romantic idea in my head.  But if someone were to ask me for recommendations about France, I don’t think Nice would even make the list, and I would probably say Monaco is worth a three hour visit at most.  But of course we managed to still have a wonderful time. That’s just how we roll. :)  One thing I want to note is our mode of transportation between cities.  I just want to reiterate how unbelievably WONDERFUL train travel is in Europe.  It is the easiest thing in the world.  Usually the train stations are in the city center so they are easy to access, versus airports which are typically many miles outside of the city.  There are no major security lines, the train seats are super comfortable, and I’ve never had trouble finding a spot for my luggage.  I can’t promise every train will have this, but most of the trains I boarded also had electrical outlets for my phone and laptop.  Really fantastic!  

Ok, back to Nice.  We boarded the train from Aix en Provence and arrived in Nice in the evening around 8 p.m.  We made our way to our hotel, the Villa Victoria, and checked in.  This hotel room wasn’t nearly as nice as the Renaissance, but it was certainly fine.  We were pretty burnt out at this point…we had done A LOT in twelve days, so this could also be why I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about these cities.  I’m not entirely sure.  Also, we didn't have much time in Nice so maybe I should give it another chance some day!  Anyway, Erin and I were laughing at ourselves on the train to Nice.  We were both SUCH A MESS.  Of course, saying we were a mess is totally relative.  It’s not like we were camping our way through a desert.  But we both had mysterious bruises, bug bites, chipped nails, blisters, etc.  Erin’s feet look practically mummified from the number of bandaids she was wearing.  We were TORE UP!  Anyway, we dragged our butts to dinner, looking like hot messes, and then crashed hard! 

The next morning we woke up refreshed and wanted to take a half day trip to Monaco and see Monte Carlo.  Again, this was easy and was just a short twenty-five minute train ride from Nice.  Monaco was gorgeous.  First, let me give you a little information about Monaco that I learned during my visit.  Monaco is not part of France, it is a principality.  It is bordered by France on three sides, and the Mediterranean on one side.  It is the second smallest country in the world (only Vatican City is smaller), AND it’s also the most densely populated country.  Monaco is governed under of a form of constitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II as head of state.  The House of Grimaldi have ruled Monaco since 1297.  Before my visit, all I really knew about Monaco is what I had wielded from that Selena Gomez movie, where she pretends to be some princess and hooks up with a Grimaldi prince.  Embarrassing, but true!  Now, I can say I’m officially in the know.  Ha!  On one side of Monaco is Monte Carlo, which is an administrative area of Monaco, and also the name of the famous casino in Monaco.  In this area there are stunning buildings and architecture and many upscale shops.  We hiked up a pretty steep street to check it out and while I’m glad I can say I set my eyes on it, we both agreed we didn’t need to stay there more than a half hour.  It WAS pretty, though!  Gorgeous views!! 

We proceeded back down the hill, and crossed over to the other side where the Prince’s Palace of Monaco is located.  This involved another super steep hike, but the reward was one of the most beautiful views of the sea.  This palace was built in 1191 and remains the residence of the current royal family.  We did not go in, but it was a pretty amazing fortress and palace. 

After we had our fill of Monaco, we boarded the train and headed back to Nice.  We decided to go walk around near the water.  It was super hot and we thought it would be nice to dip our feet in the famous Côte d’Azur (blue coast)!  The water was so gorgeous and we excitedly walked toward the sea.  We were walking over rocks so I kept my flip flops on the entire time.  We had to descend a little hill to reach the water.  I didn’t really think about it, and just went for it.  Ummm, big mistake.  As if we weren’t beat up enough, my damn life flashed before my eyes when I walked into the water.  There was no sand, JUST ROCKS.  And we both started to sink.  I am not kidding you when I say that I started fearing for my life. Ok, maybe not my life, but I was not sure how I was going to get out.  My feet were sinking into the rocks. That scene from The Neverending Story was flashing through my brain. Just call me Artax for GOODNESS SAKES!  Erin was struggling too, and we were both giggling a bit frantically.  I had to drag my feet out of my flip flops, grab my shoes quickly before they were swept away by a wave, and crawl up that hill barefoot on the rocks.  Oh my word, the pain.  It was horrible, but pretty hysterical.  Needless to say, we were done with the beach.  

DEATH TRAP...5 seconds after I took this pic I started to sink!!

We headed back to the hotel because Erin had to pack and get herself ready to go.  She was having a cab pick her up the next morning at 5:45 a.m. so she definitely wanted to be packed and ready.  After we chilled a bit and Erin was done packing, we headed out for our last dinner.  Our concierge had recommended a really wonderful restaurant called Les Epicuriens and it was a perfect way to end our amazing trip.  Plus, we had a HOT waiter.  So, all in all…a WONDERFUL evening.  More rosé, amazing fish, vegetables, desserts, bread.  Everything was perfect.  Erin and I toasted to our twenty-two years of friendship, an incredible adventure, and many more to come in the future!  So thankful for that girl!  It was hard saying goodbye to Erin the next morning, but I knew I was moving on to the next chapter of my journey.  Next entry will be about my incredible experience in Cannes, France! 


Friday, November 28, 2014

Ambling Around Aix en Provence

From Paris, Erin and I boarded a train to a lovely city in the South of France called Aix en Provence.  I had actually already booked two nights in Aix for later in my trip, but Erin really wanted to see this area as well, so we decided to add one night here before heading to the French Riviera.  

I think we were most excited about having an actual hotel room!  For the most part, Air BnB’s can be wonderful!  It is so nice to have a kitchen, a washing machine, free WiFi, etc.  And the price of an Air BnB is usually much less than the cost of a hotel room.  Of course, as was made evident in London, it’s not always exactly what you bargained for and it’s certainly not like having a nice big hotel room at the Renaissance!  Anyway, when we arrived at the hotel, we were thrilled about our beautiful room, two big beds, a huge bathroom, and blasting air conditioner!  We dropped our bags and immediately went out to explore.  

Aix ended up being very lovely and charming, but actually a bit bigger and busier than we were expecting.  I think we were both expecting a very cosy village, and it was much more bustling than that.  We learned that Aix is actually quite the college town with several universities and a large population of students.  I definitely saw this as we walked around, cafes filled with smoking teenagers.  The main street is Cours Mirabou, with tons of shops and restaurants.  And then shooting off in all directions from this main artery, are tiny winding streets filled with more shops, restaurants, churches, etc.  It is a really nice place to walk around, window shop, and have lunch.  Provence is most famous for their amazing rosé and we were so excited to partake!  We sat and had lunch and the rosé was absolutely delicious.  It was light and fresh and we could not get over how inexpensive a glass of wine was!  Perhaps 3 Euro?  In USD, that is only $4 dollars. I’ll have another!!  After lunch, we headed over to the Musee Granet and took a quick tour of the museum.  This museum has quite an impressive collection of Cezanne paintings.  It also has a nice sculpture collection.  

We had the concierge make dinner reservations for us that evening at 8 o’clock and we still had some time to kill.  It was surprisingly warm in Provence so we decided to head back to the hotel for a bit and go swimming.  Erin didn't have a bathing suit with her so the girl took a scissors to one of her pajama bottoms and made herself some shorts!  I have a picture of this hilarious outfit, but she would kill me if I posted it!  I told her she could totally start a trend!  We thought we’d get a little sun until a confusing tour around the hotel finally lead us to an indoor pool and sauna.  No sun for us, but the water was still soothing and cool.  This felt so GOOD after walking in the heat all day!  We also spent some time in the sauna, which was just awesome.  Between the rosé at lunch and the sauna, I was feeling very relaxed!    Finally it was time for dinner.  But first…more wine.  On our way to dinner we popped into a tiny wine bar and had another glass of rosé.  I’m telling you, I’ve never had anything so delicious.  I am not typically a rosé fan.  When I think of rosé, I honestly think of the boxed wine my ex boyfriend’s mom used to bring on camping trips.  No, I’m not kidding.  :)  I just remember it being sort of sickly sweet and headache inducing. I now realize boxed Franzia is definitely not from Provence!  Ha!  This wine was just to die for.  If I was not facing so many more stops and days of lugging my luggage around, I would have definitely purchased several bottles.  We had dinner in a super quirky restaurant that night, called La Chimere, with wild outlandish decor and decent food….and most importantly, more rosé.  A lot of it!  Yep, we definitely had our fair share of wine in the most famous of wine regions. Although the food was just ok, we still had so much fun.  Our waiter was hilarious, telling us stories about his various tattoos and his various baby mamas.  We went home that night buzzed from a day of wine and sun, full and tired and SO ready to climb into our beds.  What a wonderful sleep it was!  


The next day we explored Aix a bit more until it was time to check out of our hotel and board the train to Nice, France.  One thing I wanted to note was this incredible salad I had for lunch.  It had fresh greens and veggies, pine nuts, and then almost like a fried cheese coated in honey.  Mama Mia it was incredible!!  More about Nice and Monaco in my next entry!  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Prancing Around Paris - Day #4 and 5

Day four in Paris was simply lovely from start to finish.  We started our day by walking to Ile Saint Louis.  Ile Saint Louis is a small island in the center of the Seine River, which is completely charming and rather frozen in time.  Quaint streets are lined with many boutiques, bakeries, and so many ice cream shops!  It is a very tranquil place to visit amidst the hustle and bustle of Paris.  I’d say it’s worth at least an hour of your time to explore this little area.  After Ile Saint Louis we made our way over to the Notre Dame cathedral.  This truly is a spectacular site, with incredible detail on every inch of the exterior of the cathedral.  The gargoyles are especially impressive.  We did not go in, but I did tour the interior of the cathedral last time I was in Paris and I would definitely recommend doing so if you are able to spare the time!  It’s spectacular.  
Erin's hair looks SO Pretty here!

After perusing the exterior of Notre Dame, we continued our day by strolling through the Latin Quarter.  The Latin Quarter is filled with restaurants and shops, the streets narrow and buzzing with tourists.  This would be a great place to have an afternoon glass of rosé.  We also made our way over to the Luxembourg Gardens.  My goodness, this is a breathtaking place to walk, sit, stroll, picnic.  Simply gorgeous! 
Latin Quarter

Luxembourg Gardens

At this point I was ready to go back to our backyard fountain and just chill with some sun on my face and a good book in my hands.  The weather was warm and gorgeous, and relaxing by the fountain was just so right.  I love this about Europeans…you will see so many of them lazing about in parks, around fountains…with picnics, books, or just to rest.  It’s really lovely and definitely draws you toward going at a slower pace.  

After a good two hours at the fountain, Erin and I met back at the apartment and took a cab to the Eiffel tower.  It was so exciting witnessing Erin see the Eiffel for the first time.  No matter how many times you have seen it on T.V. or in a movie, it’s really quite breath taking seeing it in person.  We arrived as the sun was setting so we were able to get wonderful pictures at dusk, as well as pictures at night when the tower was lit.  
She's the best!

We decided to take a river cruise that evening as this was something that was very memorable for me from my last trip to Paris.  As we were waiting for the river cruise, Erin and I found a little cafe near the Eiffel to have dinner, which was actually quite good.  The restaurant was called Petit Cler.  Many of the restaurants near the Eiffel Tower can be tourist traps, but I had found a blog written by a Parisian foodie who lives in the neighborhood around the tower.  In her article she suggested several restaurants that would not be tourist traps and would have genuinely delicious food.  We were so happy to find this article and eat in one of the suggested restaurants.  Our river cruise was so fun, and once again, I just reveled in the fact that there we were, friends of 22 years, cruising the Seine River together.  Awww, the love of traveling the world!!
Silly and happy!  

Night view of Notre Dame during our river cruise.
Night view of the Eiffel during our river cruise.

By our last day in Paris, I was sort of tired of sightseeing.  I had a head start on Erin by a week, so I was now on day 16 and needed some chill time.  Also, there are a few things that I just didn’t feel I needed to see again.  It’s funny, because here in Madrid (where I’m writing this blog) I want to see almost everything again, except for the museums.  I didn’t feel that way about Paris.  So while Erin went off to the Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triumph, I went on a long walk through St. Germain (trying to keep the exercise going) and then had a wonderful few hours of chill time at my fountain.  HEAVEN!  

Erin and I met back at our apartment, and for our last meal in Paris, we went to a restaurant called Liza.  Liza is a mediterranean restaurant and we were both looking forward to delicious hummus, falafel, and whatever other wonderful nibbles we could get our paws on.  We felt terrible because there was only one waiter in the entire restaurant, and this poor guy was being run ragged.  So, it ended up being quite a wait time to receive things such as water, etc.  However, the food was still tasty and it certainly didn’t ruin our evening.  After all, we had wine…how bad could it be??

It was a delicious trip to Paris and I know Erin absolutely fell in love with the city.   Paris is spectacular....seeing the world famous sites, the wonderful street musicians, and the city lit up at night!  There is a whimsical feel to the city and I think it’s a must visit city for everyone…at least once!  

Travel Tip #7:  If you are a foodie and want to have wonderful meals, and not haphazardly stumble into a tourist trap with barely adequate, overpriced food, do your research ahead of time.  We are privy to SO much information on the internet.  You can arrive equipped with a laundry list of restaurants to try in a variety of neighborhoods, with various price points and cuisines.  The research will be worthwhile!  Erin did an awesome job of this and we had some truly spectacular meals! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Prancing Around Paris - Day #1, 2, & 3

Goodbye London, Bonjour Paris!  For those of you who may end up traveling between London and Paris some day, the Chunnel is absolutely brilliant.  The stations in both cities are very central, therefore no long trek out to the airports.  Furthermore, no huge hassle of airport security, etc.  We still had to go through a bit of security, but it was still much easier than an airport!  If you don’t know, the Chunnel is a high speed train that travels underneath the English Channel between England and France.  Ticket prices are very reasonable and seats are comfy!  All around awesome.  

We arrived in Paris on a Thursday afternoon and our only real task for the day was to get settled in our flat, do a little grocery shopping and then go out in the evening.  Our flat in Paris proved to be much nicer than the one in London, and ironically, nearly half the price.  It was in a wonderful location near the Palais Royal Gardens, so we had access to a gorgeous courtyard and fountain area practically in our backyard.  The one thing the flat did NOT have was a lift, and we were on the top floor.  So we were trucking up four or five flights of stairs everyday.  But again, we figured it helped burn off the croissants and macaroons.  :) 


On Thursday night Erin had made reservations at a restaurant called Le Perchoir.  Le Perchoir was unbelievably perfect from start to finish.  Because we had dinner reservations, we were allowed access to the rooftop bar, which boasted the most magnificent views of Paris!  We were so excited to be there and we kicked off our stay in Paris with a gorgeous bottle of pink champagne.  After about an hour, we made our way down to the restaurant where we were served a pre-fixed meal of some of the most delightful dishes we have ever eaten.  I was so filled to the brim with bubbles and delicacies that I forgot to write some of the dishes down.  However, I will post pictures of some of the amazingness.  One thing I do remember eating is some kind of noodle in squid ink.  Yes, you heard me right.  Squid ink.  As in, the noodles were black.  When in Rome, right?  Le Perchoir was a PERFECT location for our first night out in Paris and I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting the city.

Friday morning Erin and I walked to my favorite museum, Musee Rodin.  This is a museum of sculptures, housing my favorite piece of art in all of Paris, “The Kiss.”  Musee Rodin also houses the infamous “Thinker.”  We took our time touring this gorgeous museum and loved every bit of it.  Viewing Rodin’s work in person is absolutely breathtaking.  I think I loved it even more than the first time I went.  I had been to Paris before, for an eight day trip just a few years ago.  I knew I wouldn’t repeat everything I had done in my prior trip, so I told Erin that I would likely chill and read a book in a cafe while she hit some of the main things.  For example, I spent HOURS in the Musee de Orsay and the Louvre when I went in 2011, and I did not feel a huge desire to go back.  I’m sure that would be shocking to some museum lovers, but for me…well, I was good!  :)  So after Rodin, Erin went on to the Musee de Orsay while I found a coffee shop and did some research for my upcoming travels.  At that point, I don’t think I even had places to live in Spain yet!  

That evening Erin and I scoped out some live music in a very interesting venue called Le Caveau des Oubliettes.  What was so interesting about this venue is that it was actually an old cave that used to be a jail cell for prisoners.  The upstairs of the bar just seems like your average dive bar.  However, as you descend into the cave, you feel as though you are entering a scene from another century.  It was very cool and we stayed for a few songs.  

The next day Erin was off to the Louvre, while I went for a much needed pedicure!  This was really fun and the girl who did my toes was such a sweetheart!!  After our separate adventures, Erin and I met back at the apartment for the second half of our day.  We headed to the Sacre-Coeur, an incredible basilica with an even more incredible view.  It sits on the highest point in Paris on a hill in a neighborhood called Montmartre.  This a very cool neighborhood so after touring the Sacre-Coeur, we walked around for a while and then sat at a cafe for some wine.  Here we met two French gents who chatted with us for quite a while.  They were quite fun, but I think one of them was high as a kite.  Ha!  Erin and I finally did that thing girls can do…you know, communicate with our eyes…and I knew it was time to go.  

Off we went for our next wonderful dinner in Paris at an amazing restaurant called Sucree Fleur.  Erin’s sister in law had lived in Paris some years ago and recommended this place as one of the best places for Steak Frites.  As most of you know, I haven’t really been a meat eater for about two years.  However, I decided if there is one place to have a good steak, it’s probably Paris.  SO….I went for it.  And it was honestly divine.  It was one of the best meals I have ever consumed.  The filet came with three different dipping sauces, amazing potato wedges, and accompanied by a nice mixed salad.  If there was going to be a meal on which I broke my meat fast, I’m glad that was it!  So, recommendation number two…Sucree Fleur.  THE BEST!!
I guess I liked it!

The rest of our time in Paris to come in the next blog.  Jusqu’à la prochaine foir mes amours.  :)