Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My 2016 Firsts!!

It's been a couple years since I've put up one of these's something I try to do for myself whether or not I post them here but while in the middle of our Trip to Croatia, I realized I hadn't started this year's list yet and there were so many things that were new experiences for me this year and it was only April!  On the ferry back from Hvar Island, I grabbed a notebook and started jotting things down.  So, fresh off the heels of an incredibly cool vacation, I figured I would share my list after settling back in to the daily routine.  I decided to start with the very first day of the year so my first item technically was...

My first New Year's Day in Paris!

First visit to Mont Saint Michel.
First trip to the Brittany Coast.
First time to Disney Studios Paris.  
First (and last) time trying Andouillette!  Trust me on this, people, andouillette and andouille sausage are not the same thing.  I was so proud of me for trying something new that I didn't know anything about and I barely choked down the first bite.  Kris sent it back to the kitchen, told them we'd pay for it and we ordered me much more agreeable plate of fettuccine.  Kris was telling coworkers about it the next day and one guy was like "Well, it must not have been cooked right," but I can't imagine that any of it being cooked any differently would have encouraged me to take another bite.  It's pure evil.  
Moving on!
First time witnessing a wedding by a French official.  Here, everyone gets married in city hall.  You can do a traditional church ceremony after the fact if you want, but legally, you have to get married in an official (but lovely) setting.  Our friends had a lovely ceremony and a serious party to celebrate and it was a blast.
First plane flight out of Paris (to Croatia.)
First time to Croatia!  We went landed in Zagreb, went to Split, Plitvika, Dubrovnik (Better known as King's Landing for all us GoT's fans), and Hvar Island.  
First time in Bosnia.  Our route to Dubrovnik took us into a corner of the country for about fifteen minutes of driving time easy way, long enough to get passports stamped to mark the occasion and pull over for a coffee and bathroom break, but we got stamps, so I count it as a thing, though I'd never have guessed that in all my travels I'd ever be able to say that.  But it simply reinforces the knowledge that you can drive all day and not get out of California but drive half a day here and cross a country.
And on that note, we thought Croatia was not in the EU but a couple years ago it was added, so on entering Bosnia, it was officially our first time leaving the EU while living here.  
First time on a car ferry!  The island of Hvar is large enough to drive around so we took our rental with us and followed our own little guide.  I've been on ferries before, of course, but this was the first one that hauled cars that I've ever been on.  
First ferry ride on the Adriatic Sea and the first time seeing the Adriatic in person!
First time speaking Croatian! (Just 'Hi' and 'thank you', but it counts.  It's 'bok' and 'hvala', by the way.)
First time tasting Croatian wine and Algerian wine, beef cheeks, and black cherry grappa and honey grappa.  We picked what turned out to be an amazing restaurant for dinner in Old Town Dubrovnik and everything there was amazing, and the grappa was graciously on the house with our dessert.  
First time leaving Croatia by bus.  And what was apparently out first time riding through Slovenia on route to Venice.  
My first visit to Venice!!  Kris has been there twice before but it was so amazing to see it in person!  It was so nice to be back on Italian soil with the laid back atmosphere we came to love living in Lugano and visiting Milan and Rome.  And along with that, it was our first visit to the Hard Rock, Venice, and my first time on a water bus.  Venice has boats, just like any other city has buses or a metro, that run back and forth along different routes and different stops along either side of the canals.  So very cool.
Traveling firsts aside, this year was my first time bowling in Paris, first time living with an inflatable couch, and as of later on this year it will be my first time as a matron of honor in my Best friend Kelsey's wedding, and my first time in a wedding party, so I'm super excited and very honored to be involved.   It's going to be a whirlwind of a year, but that's just how we roll on our adventures!
Allie H.

Our Productive Weekend in Paris!!

Fun filled weekend!  Saturday was our "get everything done day" and we left the hotel shortly before 9 am....six hours later we'd been to three banks, the third of which handled new clients and opened new accounts on Saturdays and didn't care where Kris's first paycheck was from, so they got our business!  We got an account with debit cards, we got local sim cards for our phones so we have service and WiFi for maps and such.  Next, we headed off to Porte d'Vincennes and found a case for one of Kris's hard drives, wandered into a cave in search of a good bottle of tequila and found one.  Asked and was recommended a nice bottle of red for just shy of ten euros, so bottles in pack, we finally settled in to a very late lunch, but well worth the wait.  We both had what was basically a very large slab of bacon with crispy skin on and a little meat sandwiched around pure fat, fries on the die for.  Found fresh limes for our tequila on the way home.  The tequila was quite inspired by our first visit to the Mexican place near our hotel....pre-mixed margaritas.  Not at all what we were hoping for, so we decided to grab the ingredients and do our own.  We mixed up a first round yesterday after bike rides but decided we needed simple syrup or something to blend the lime and ended up with Orange Fanta.  Not quite orange liqueur but an improvement!  Took everything home after a stop for coffee at a usual cafe and then melted onto the couch and had some late snacks while perusing housing choices.  

Sunday we slept in....Poor Chloe was so patient waiting for anyone to get up to take her outside and once we got up we took her on a big walk around the Sunday marche (farmer's market), found some nice cheese and bread to go with our bottle of red, stopped at a cafe for coffees and lunch and met the neighboring table who have been transplants in Paris for about five years now.  Nice to catch up with someone in English for a minute!  While wandering about, we got to see what Kris calls the French pastime....Sunday mornings, I think the first of the month, everyone brings stuff out from their apartments, offices, houses, wherever, if they don't want it, they toss it in neat piles on the street corner or around various benches on the sidewalks.  Books, area rugs, clothes, furniture....all unwanted out on the street.  And people walking by go through it all and grab the things that they want and the rest of it is left for the trash trucks to pick up, and they do.  This morning it was all gone like it had never been there!  Back at the hotel we napped out for awhile and then rallied to get the bikes out and go for a ride!  We were so focused on making sure the bikes were ready to ride that we forgot our bread, wine and cheese.  Tucked Chloe into her basket and had a nice hour and half ride through the Boit (forest) behind the Chateau d'Vincennes.

Allie H.