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    Wednesday, April 25, 2007
    birthday trip
    thanks so much for those who remembered and greeted me on my birthday, appreciate it!

    being in central europe gives you an excuse to celebrate your birthday in neighboring countries... and this year, our first major out of the country trip started a day before my birthday(we had two minor ones - 1 day in Yvoire, France and another in Kontanz, Germany)... and that is in Paris, France, the city of lights, the city of love, the city of great gastronomy.. among others. the city, specifically Gare de Lyon, 12th Arrondissement of Paris is 4 hours away from our place in Switzerland.

    the trip was planned about 6 weeks before the date, and boy did i have a migraine for a full week because of all the research on where to stay, how to spend the days, booking trips - and so did hubby, since i ask him if this or that is ok, if this will be better than that for at least three times in a day... you know, you want to have the best deal and peace of mind!

    i guess we had good deals - first, the train ticket, i booked this at the time we thought we finalized the date (even if hubby hasn't been approved of his leave yet!). this we got 1/2 priced because TGV had a two-for-one promo during the period i was researching. and then the hotel in Eurodisney, Holiday Inn, we got the 2 weeks advanced booking special which is much cheaper than their rack rate (is that what it's called? :p), we also got the paris combo-tour for a special price.... so the trip was really "special"

    first stop was Disneyland Paris, which was a 35-minute trip from Gare de Lyon, we headed straight to the hotel upon reaching the station, left our luggage and then went straight to Disney Village where we went around and just enjoyed the place, then shopped for souvenir items (immediately, to save time the next day) and then had dinner. after that, we went back to Holiday Inn, bought our 2-parks-1-day pass, went around the hotel and then went back to our room at around 10pm to hopefully be up and about and be in Disneyland by 10am, sharp! and we were right on time, we were all up by 7a.m., watched some tv, eveverybody took a shower and went down at 9a.m. for breakfast and caught the 9:45am bus to the park. we first went to Disney Studios where we watch Animagic, took the Tram Tour, went to the Art of Animation, went around some more and of course, met the "stars". too bad, the Cars attraction wasn't ready yet, so kuya FL just had to be contented with posing by the billboards and posters. we went out of Disney Studios by 1pm and went straight to Disneyland Park, here we had sandwiches for lunch, watched the parade, went to Pirates of the Caribbean, Buzz Lightyear, It's A Small World, Peter Pan attractions, Main Street USA, Sleeping Beauty Castle, FL & hubby rode the rocket ship (dunno what it's called, actually) and watched the Lion King play and Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. and then just went around the park again to marvel at the beautiful works. we went out of the park at closing time, which is 8p.m. then went back to the Village for my birthday dinner at Planet Hollywood, food was great! :). We went back to the hotel at around 10:30.

    The next day, checkout was at 11am and then we headed to the train that will take us back to the city, we checked-in at our Paris hotel at 1pm. Hotel was nice, actually. We had a good deal on this one as well. I actually booked about 2 weeks before, and then about two days before our trip, I decided to checkout my booking as well and check the rates. To my surprise, the rates were EUR10.- cheaper, so I decided to book again and cancel my original booking, it saved me a total of EUR25... that's enough for one adult's meal, already! :) On our first day in Paris, we took the river cruise, went down to the Louvre Museum and walked around the city. We saw the Eiffel, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Hotel de Ville. Paris is just amazing, the buildings were so detailed and the city was clean. We never got tired of looking... and that's mostly what we did, on our standards, the photos we shot were much less than what one would expect of us, we only had almost 800 shots of the whole trip, when we were expecting more than a 1000... it's because you just get caught up with looking at the monument than see it behind the lens :). The next day, we went up to Montmartre, where the Sacre Coeur stands, from there, you have a panoramic view of the whole city of Paris. We also saw the Opera, Moulin Rouge and the surrounding cabarets, the Lafayette Galleries and the Opera Boulevard. We capped the day by catching the boat again to Eiffel Tower and stayed there to witness Eiffel Tower at night... and boy did we have a treat! We just literally just stared at the massiveness of the tower, but this time we had to have photos! :) At around 10pm, we decided to go back and take the metro back to the hotel. Our last day, we heard the multi-lingual mass in Notre Dame, primarily in French, but the priests spoke English, German and Spanish, as well.. another different experience! We were even ushered to good seats by the well-dressed elderly ushers :). After Notre Dame, we took the boat again, and went to Champs Elysees for some photos. Our train departs at 2:54, and we were still on the road at 2pm. so, we just grabbed some sandwiches and crepe and drinks and off we went and took a cab! And the cab ride was another experience... our cab was hit by another car, just a slight brush, but the two drivers argued.. and we were pressed for time, mind you! So you can just imagine how it feels :). But after about two minutes, they finished their rift and went back to the road. The lady cab-driver did apologize for the incident and we were just glad we got to the train station on time :) So we bid Paris farewell, until we return... hopefully soon! And off we went for the 4-hr pleasant train trip to back home.

    Even when it was really hot and there was just a lot, and i mean so many, people, we had a great time and did enjoy the trip. We plan to do it again! Oh, we have managed to take photos... so click here to check it out :)

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