Out West

With a sister living out in South Dakota, planning a road trip out west was an easy decision. We navigated the long, winding roads up into the Black Hills, pulled over on the side of the road to explore hidden waterfalls and creeks, made time for coffee at a little place nestled in the hills, drove with the windows down and our music up, climbed the bluffs, and successfully avoided any rattlesnakes. The West truly has a beauty all its own ... and its a beauty that will keep me coming back for more.



Paris: Part Three

The trip to Paris almost didn't happen. During the weeks in which we were busy putting together the itinerary, the idea of Paris was tossed about, mulled over, decided against, and eventually at the last moment was added to the agenda. It was one of the best decisions we made for the time in Europe. While Paris always gets mixed reviews, and while it wasn't without its fair share of challenges, it completely enchanted us. Part of its charm came from experiencing it with a dear friend. Some of life's greatest gifts are the friendships we make along the way, and this particular friendship is going on ten years strong. As women, I don't think we can ever take for granted the joy that we receive from our friendships with other women. No matter where life takes us, or the joys and strength we receive from significant others, there are things that we can only receive from other women who are also striving to live lives of virtue and joy...

... and what a joy it was to begin and end one of our days with the Eiffel Tower. We took time to slowly sip coffee under its shadow, caught glimpses of it over our shoulder as we explored the city that day, and after our tired feet could carry us no longer, we found our way back to warm up with hot chocolate while we watched it sparkle in the night. And it was then that realized that we couldn't face people back home if we didn't at least try to make it to the top. So we stood in line, bought our tickets, stood in line again, and waited until we could board the elevator and be whisked away. I don't  think either one of us will forget stepping through those doors and immediately having our breath taken away not only by the cold, gusty wind, but by the beauty of the city lights twinkling hundreds of feet below us. We could only stare, and laugh, and circle the tower again and again attempting to soak it all in...

Now for the reality of the situation... it's not wise to stay too late at night in the area if you are women traveling by yourselves. The metro stop for the tower is not in the best area, so just be sure to be walking back to the metro when there are a good number of other tourists walking with you.


Paris: Part Two

Some say it's it an eyesore and a pollutant, others say its a long-standing tradition which ought to be continued. Either way, the Pont des Arts was an ideal place to watch the sun slowly set behind Paris. We strolled along the Seine River, visited Notre Dame and wandered over the bridge, stopping to listen to the street musicians, people watch and add our own locks to the hundreds already there. The nutella crepes we bought off the street vendors didn't hurt the experience either ...


Paris: Part One

Paris was the last item on the European agenda. I wasn't sure what to expect. Many people had told me how frustrating their time in Paris was, while others couldn't say enough good things about their time there. I attempted to take it all with a grain of salt, did a little research and found myself stepping off a coach bus at 5:45 a.m. on an early Friday morning in Paris.

Those first gray hours were spent meandering the streets around the Arc de Triomphe, while catching glimpses of the Eiffel Tower through the fog. Cold, tired and sleep-deprived, I eventually stumbled my way into a small cafe, where the kind maitre d' took one look at the bags on my back and the bags under my eyes and proceeded to take care of me. A short while later, another bus arrived and my long-time friend and I set off to experience Paris ...

And I will admit .. I fell flat on my face, head-over-heels for Pairs ...

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