Easton Place

Europe

Scotland: 2015

easton_placeComment

Oh hey! Don't mind me. I've just decided to write a journal post about a trip I took nearly two years ago. What? Why? Well, it's like this... I simply haven't taken the time to put my photos and thoughts on virtual paper. Seeing how I'm preparing to travel to Scotland next month, I thought it was perfect timing to revisit my first stay there. Makes sense, no?

from the top of Arthur's Seat, overlooking all of Edinburgh, Scotland

Seriously, though, I absolutely love Scotland, and this summer my husband, myself and two friends are going on holiday to the Scottish highlands as well as to Edinburgh! Two years ago Matthew (my husband) and I were fortunate enough to stay for the better part of a week in Scotland. Neither of us are golfers, so when we made our hotel arrangements, we were unaware that the 2015 Open Championship was being held the exact same week of our Scotland holiday, so we were shocked at the cost of hotel accommodations. It wasn't until we had checked into our room, and questioned the manager about the expense compared to the look of the room, that we discovered we had picked THE most expensive time of year to stay in Edinburgh. Live a learn, I suppose.

Our 2015 visit included renting a car to explore outside the city. We headed for Glencoe, which is part of the Scottish Highlands. If you follow me on social media, or have read any of my travel posts, you probably know I LOVE Ireland and all its beauty. And while it is still my favorite place on earth, I can honestly say that I've never experienced such natural beauty as the day we drove through Glencoe. At one point, my husband pulled the car over so we could get out and just marvel at the sites. I'm not at all embarrassed to tell you that I was so taken by the beauty, I began to weep. There is something incredibly spiritual about the Scottish Highlands. If you have a travel bucket-list, I strongly urge you to include the Highlands.

The weather that week was incredibly cold. The locals told us it was unseasonably cool with some days hovering around 45℉. Still, we did manage to see some sites whilst layered in my summer clothes. At one point I believe I had on 2 shirts and 3 cardigan sweaters. Ha! There were a couple of warmer, sunnier moments. Hiking up Arthur's Seat was a mix of sun and clouds... perfect!  

Oddly, we didn't really see either of the castles in town. That's something I'm looking forward to doing this second trip. I did manage to snap a few photos of the Queen's castle. So lovely!

IMG_9732.JPG

I'm going to try to recap my 2017 trip a bit sooner than the 2015 trip.... but no promises. Cheers to Summer Holiday Travels!

Mont St. Michel

easton_placeComment

While staying in the Normandy region of France this past summer, my husband and I drove to Mont St. Michel, a small island just off the coast of France. Today there is a long bridge connecting the mainland to the rocky land mass and it's Gothic Abbey built atop it. There are shops, gardens, high stone walls and a grand church. You can read about it's incredible history here.

It was low tide the day we visited. Groups of tourist were walking around the outer sandy area of the abbey. There were even a few people riding horseback along the sandy surroundings. And though it was cloudy and a bit rainy, the sites were still incredible. I'd love to return someday when the tide is high so I could see the grand rock and it's buildings reflecting on the water. 


Summer Holiday 2015: Paris

easton_placeComment

Ah, Paris... it's nearly impossible not to fall in love with this city. There's so much to love about it and in turn there's so much love in the air! Paris really is the "City of Love". 

The view from the Louvre, Paris, France

This trip to Paris was my second visit, my husband's first. I visited with two friends when I was 18. The trip was a graduation present from my mother. That first visit was fun and exciting, but visiting Paris with the person you love is extra special. Walking hand and hand through the parks, along the River Seine or down a busy avenue, is so special in Paris!

When planning our holiday, I chose to stay in apartments, mainly. There are a couple reasons for this. First: apartments tend to have washing machines. This is very important when traveling for several weeks abroad! Secondly: apartments give you a better feel for "living in the city". We bought groceries for home-cooked breakfast. We were able to pack a picnic lunch for the park. It really felt like we were residents instead of guests just visiting. This could also be because our apartment was so lovely and well appointed. I chanced upon a newly remodeled, one-bedroom apartment in the heart of the Marais. We were just a few blocks from specialty food shops, restaurants, cafes, the metro and parks. I couldn't have asked for better accommodations. If you're planning a trip to Paris, definitely send Abby, the owner, an email to inquire about staying in her fabulous apartment, and tell her I sent you!

Besides the overall dreamy feel of the the city, I have to say walking alone the Seine and visiting the parks were my favorite things to do. The Place des Vosges was just a few blocks away from our apartment, and though it was small, it was so special to take a picnic, a bottle of wine, and just enjoy the people and garden. We visited this little park a few times!

Place des Vosges

The Jardin du Luxembourg was by far the most dramatic garden we enjoyed. Not only were the plantings, sculptures and buildings incredible, the sky and weather that day had such energy! This is one garden I want to return to and linger a bit longer. I could have stayed all day!

Jardin du Luxembourg

The gardens and sculptures in the Musée Rodin were also breathtakingly beautiful. We arrived a bit late in the afternoon, and the museum proper was closed for remodel, so we didn't get to see as much of this site as I'd have liked. I definitely want to see this again and linger!

The Thinker, Musee Rodin, Paris, France

All throughout the city are sweet courtyards with hidden treasures of gardens and meeting places or small museums! This, the Musee Carnavalet - Histoire de Paris, gorgeous spot was in our neighborhood! I'd love to have a strolling, formal garden like this in my home neighborhood, wouldn't you?

Musee Carnavalet - Histoire de Paris

Of course we visited all the usual tourist spots like the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame etc, but then we also walked along the River Seine, next to all the houseboats, and saw a different part of Paris... under the bridges! I just loved this scene.

"under the bridge", River Seine, Paris, France

Evenings in Paris were filled with long walks along the river, delicious food, a bit of wine and Glacé or Sorbet. Our favorite spot was Amorino. There were several throughout Paris and each was prettier than the last! Lucky for us, there are a few in the US as well, NYC and Boston being closest for us! Two of our favorite restaurants were Le Coupe Chou and Le Petit Prince de Paris. Both are located in the Latin Quarter in the same little alleyway! Add both of these eateries to your list for your visit!

River Seine, Paris, France

I hope you've enjoyed "revisiting" Paris with me. If you have suggestions for my next trip to Paris, please comment below. I'd love to know your favorite finds!

Summer Holiday 2015: Amsterdam

easton_placeComment

This is the second year my husband and I have been able to take an extended three week trip to Europe without children. Don't get me wrong, I love my children and actually love traveling with them. That being said, they are teens now and would rather do their own thing in the summer. One spent seven weeks at his favorite camp while the other one spent six weeks studying at Cornell University in their summer program. Both were happy as could be and so were their parents!

The view from our Amsterdam apartment's dock.

The first stop of our three week journey was Amsterdam. We were originally suppose to stay for three nights, but my husband got a 24-hour bug/fever and so we left a day late. Sadly, once we arrived I got said bug and so Amsterdam wasn't really a great visit for us. Still, we did manage to walk around much of the city, enjoy the canals and relax. Not too difficult to handle. I especially loved the thin buildings lined up, looking like books on a shelf. Often buildings seemed to be sagging and even the windows followed suit. 

I'm sure we'll visit Amsterdam again, and when we do, we'll be sure to stay longer and be healthy!