Do You Know the Way to Santa Fe?

Yeah, I know that’s not how the song goes, but it was stuck in my head all week. So there, now it’s stuck in yours. Ha!

Sorry for the lag in posting. Internet accessibility hasn’t been great the past few days so I’m a little behind.

I picked up Jared on Wednesday and got up to Vail early enough to hit up the pool. I texted him this picture so he’d know where to find me:

I convinced Jared to throw on his suit and join me, and we ended up ordering lunch and eating it poolside. It was a nice way to ease into the vacation portion of our vacation, and to catch up after being apart for a week.

We had about a 6 hour drive to Santa Fe, but it was pretty much a straight shot down from Vail via highway 285 – which was incidentally also a gorgeous drive. We arrived energized from all the beautiful scenery and unpacked in the super cute casita that we’d rented for 2 nights. It was (as you’ll see) adorable and within walking distance of the main town square, and we were instantly charmed. Here’s a photo bomb of all the adorable touches. Seriously, we felt like we were on our honeymoon again!

this was the shower!

The best part though, was the bedroom that led out into a private garden. The whole place was so inviting and relaxing that we would have been fine just hanging out there for two days and not doing anything.

The first night we stuffed our faces with awesome Mexican food from Maria’s, and sampled a few of their 100+ margaritas. Divine.

The second day was kind of a wash for me because I went all over town trying to find a replacement charger for my camera battery (while Jared caught up on some work), convinced that I had left it in Denver. I got home with said replacement 3 hours later, only to remember where I had packed the original charger in the first place. Sigh. At least the replacement was returnable, and we had a nice lunch out in our garden followed by a bike ride into town to explore a bit.

When we got back from our bike ride we changed for dinner and walked back into town in time to catch the sunset from the rooftop of the La Fonda Hotel – with margaritas, of course.

On the way to the hotel I made Jared pose with this metal chicken, reminiscent of the famous Beyoncé (seriously, follow that link, you will not regret it). Her cousin, perhaps?

handsome man at sunset

…made handsomer by the presence of margaritas

ready to drink said margaritas

looking towards the main plaza

going…

going…

gone.

After happy hour we walked around a bit and then had a scrumptious dinner at Il Piatto, followed by a visit to an awesome dive-y bar recommended to us by our waiter, that had good music and cheap drinks (a winning combination).

this is foreshadowing for the next post…

Palace of the Governors

the plaza

dinner

The next day we packed up for a short drive to Williams, Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon…and that’s where all the fun began. But that’s for next time…

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Live at Red Rocks

I feel like this whole night is a story.” -me

I checked off a major bucket list item on Thursday, because I FINALLY saw a show at Red Rocks. It was awesome. Julie has some friends in high places, so we had VIP access, which meant that we were shuttled up to and entered through the backstage. NBD, just walking backstage at Red Rocks. The show was Bon Iver with Feist opening. It’s important for the purposes of this story that I tell you I like Bon Iver but I was really excited to see Feist.

Feist!

We get up to the VIP seating and sit down since Feist had already started playing. I made some small talk with the security guard assigned to our corner, because I am apparently Josh in Clueless and have to find the adult in the room and make friends with them immediately. So we’re hanging out and enjoying the show, when these 2 girls come up to the entrance to the VIP section and are clearly trying to contact a friend who is supposed to get them in. I notice that while doing this, they are completely blocking the view of the guys sitting next to us on the other side of the rope. Their friend finally comes and gets them in, and then the three of them proceed to stand – lost in conversation – in front of me and Julie. We had been sitting because there was some filming of the show going on, so we stood up to give them a polite signal that they were blocking our view. They don’t move. Remember, Feist is still playing, so I start to get really annoyed, and I ask them as politely as possible to move down a ways so that we can continue to see the show. The guy who brought them in proceeds to give me a look that could have turned me to stone, and as they leave the security guard (my new BFF) tells me that the guy I just pissed off is “in the band.” Great.

our new friend

Whatever, dude was being rude, and the New Yorker in me wasn’t going to let him ruin Feist’s performance (also, it’s worth noting that the guy next to me gave me a high five since they had also been blocking his view). The security guard made fun of me for the rest of the show. In my defense, it’s a really big band, and even if I had known who the guy was I probably would still have asked him to move. I didn’t go to the show to see the back of his head. Be aware, dude!

That wasn’t even the funniest part of the evening though. We went to grab some beers and when we came back to our seats, some “seasoned hippies” (Julie’s description) were sitting next to us. They were really nice and as we made small talk, they asked me whether I thought the security guard was going to let them smoke pot. I said I didn’t think so, and they offered me a piece of their brownie which they had apparently bought off a guy in the parking lot who looked like the woman’s son. Thanks, but I’ll pass. Then, later in the evening they actually asked our friend the security guard if they could smoke weed! When he said they couldn’t, they then asked him where he thought they’d be able to get away with it!

OK, let me break down our conversation after they left:

“If you’re trying to get away with smoking pot at a concert – which by the smell of things is certainly possible – the last person you should ask for advice is the SECURITY GUARD.”

“How do they not know how to get away with smoking? From the looks of it they have been smoking pot at Red Rocks for 30 years.”

the aftermath

heading back to our car

the endless line of headlights

After the show, I was really impressed with how quickly the venue staff were able to clear out the sold-out crowd. We waited for a little bit, but nowhere near as long as I expected given the volume of cars and people.

All in all, the show totally rocked and the night could not have been more perfect. It was a really fun time, and it was an amazing introduction to the venue that I’ve heard so much about and wanted to visit for 10 years.

Wide Open Spaces

Hello there!

I hope everyone had a delightful long weekend – we certainly did!

We set out early on Saturday morning after loading the bikes on the back on the car, courtesy of our new Thule rack (an excellent Craigslist find).

Adjusting and securing the rack required a bit of a learning curve – such as having to pull over as we went over Snoqualmie Pass because the side straps popped loose – but after a few days we’re pretty confident we’ve gotten the hang of it.

Our first stop was, as always, Missoula, MT (Psst- Jason! You made the blog!). We actually drove out to Missoula the prior weekend to surprise our friend Jason for his 40th birthday, so the drive this time seemed a lot shorter. This weekend was his wife Gita’s birthday, so we had another fun evening planned with tickets to the M. Ward show at this cool old movie theater called The Wilma.

We had such a fun evening that I think it took me 2 days to recover. Seems to happen every time we visit Missoula, but we’re not complaining :)

Our favorite part of the drive out from New York was the stretch through Wyoming, and we were really looking forward to driving through it again without a 16′ moving truck. We still had to get through the rest of Montana though, and when we got to the first mountain pass it was snowing! Then we were treated to several hours of intense rain and hydroplaning. Boo. Someone should tell Montana that it’s almost June.

We decided not to torture ourselves this time by attempting to reach Boulder in one day, so we set our sights on Casper, WY for the night. Since we weren’t in a hurry, when we saw signs for the Little Bighorn Battlefield, site of Custer’s Last Stand, we decided to take a detour. That’s the beauty of this trip! We had wanted to stop last time but we were trying to make good time, and detours in a large truck aren’t as appealing.

a nice sentiment for Memorial Day

The monument was really interesting, though we got there late in the day so we didn’t have too much time to explore. We did however manage to arrive during a fortuitously rain-free period. When the droplets started back up we hit the road again.

One plus about the rain: we saw a DOUBLE RAINBOW. All the way across the sky.

We got to Casper amid some pretty intense winds, but were assured by the motel clerk that was normal for the area. Fortunately, the next day the weather was beautiful for the rest of our drive through Wyoming. The landscape is just so beautiful and expansive. As Jared said, “it makes you quiet.”

We made it to Boulder late Monday afternoon in time to have some quality time with Jared’s cousin and his wife. Then yesterday I drove Jared up to Vail and dropped him off at his retreat (hence why I am a little behind on blogging). I’ll post some pictures from that trip tomorrow!

On the Road Again…

Hi there. I know. I KNOW. It’s been a while.

We made it safely back to Seattle (via a week in NYC), and so did all of our crap (not that we wanted to ever see it again after all that time).

We’ve been decompressing and adjusting to our new home city. It’s even new to me since so much has changed since the last time I lived here, but it’s nice to have so much to explore and re-discover about my hometown. It’s a bit of an odd time, because we’re so in transition. We’re living with Jared’s very accommodating and generous parents while we sort ourselves out, and a lot of our stuff is still in boxes in their garage and spare bedroom. That’s partly why I haven’t written here in a while – just not a lot to say. Things are good, and we’ve had a lot of great quality time with our families and friends, but it’s not exactly exciting to chronicle my trips to Target or Jared’s daily commute.

Oh, but we do have some bits of exciting news. We bought a car!

I’m pretty sure the internet demanded this picture.

it has a roomy trunk!

oh dear, this has gone pear-shaped…

And even more exciting: I finally got my driver’s license! Yes, I am 29 years old. I don’t want to talk about it. Turns out, I love driving! I still beat my grandmother by 11 years (she was 40 when she got hers, and my grandfather owned a car dealership), so I’m doing a-OK.

We’ve also been treated to some really spectacular weather lately, and have been on quite a few hikes. When we first talked about moving out here, hiking was one of the things we were most looking forward to, and it’s been a great way to show Jared around the area.

There are days where I am still surprised by how beautiful it is here in the Pacific Northwest. We’re both really psyched to be here. That being said, we’re leaving for a month! Today, our bedroom looked like this:

We leave tomorrow at the crack of dawn for a mini-tour of the Southwest. Jared has a conference in Colorado, and then a family reunion a few weeks later back in Colorado, so we’re driving out and taking the two weeks in between to hit up Santa Fe, the Grand Canyon (I’ve never been), and a few other fun stops. We’ve been wanting to do a trip like this ever since we got married…as you can imagine we are really excited about it.

So this is my welcome back to blogging, because you know I’m going to take a crapload of pictures and share all of our stops. And you’d better believe there will be some old-timey hijinks.

ROAD TRIP!!!

674 Steps

Yesterday, we visited the Holy Grail of Paris sightseeing. Sadly, the elevator to the top was still broken (boo), but we still had a blast and took in plenty of sights from the 2nd level. We had plans to meet up with my uncle Josh’s friend Nicole (another former Seattleite), at the École Militaire Metro stop – which is where we’d get off to see the Eiffel Tower anyway – so we opted to climb the tower after sunset and then head straight over to meet her. Plus, our camera is made for low-light, so I was really excited to go to town on some evening shots. The above photos are from last week when we visited during the daytime but opted to wait and see if the elevator was fixed.

Here’s one benefit to going in the evening: zero lines. This area was full last week, and this is the line for walking up the stairs! The line for the elevators was also markedly shorter. So there’s a pro tip for you. The stairs are open until 6pm and the elevators until 11 (later in summer), so you have plenty of time to visit after sundown.

The light show started as we were buying our tickets (you can see a hint of the sparkles in the above pic), which was really cute because everybody gasped and started cheering. It goes on for about 5 minutes, so the first part of our ascent was like being inside a rave…or trailed by paparazzi. Because we are hardcore (and cheap) we took the stairs up. It’s actually not that bad at all, and you really do save a lot of money – a stairs ticket is only €4.90! I’ve actually taken the stairs almost every time I’ve visited. I always think my legs are going to be so sore, but it feels pretty good to walk up, and it’s not as crowded and you get different views than you do from the elevators. Plus you get to be smug, and get a workout in. Win-win!

first level - you can see Montmartre in the upper right corner

progress

movin' on up

success!

It was a gorgeous night to see the city – clear, but with a bit of misty fog creeping in. Très romantique, as I kept saying to Jared (I’m sure that never got old).

This is what happens when you ask a stranger to take your photo. The puff of fur in the corner is from her enormous sleeve. It’s a good photo of us though, so I’ll keep it.

fog rolling in

École Militaire

Les Invalides and the center of Paris

underneath the elevator (not a real person)

We’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about what happened to Mr. Footlong, so we made sure he was with us on our visit to one of the most iconic sights in the world. He’s been a little camera-shy lately.

"My, what a paramount looking-glass!"

"Fromage!"

We made it back down just in time to catch another light show from beneath the tower:

And because we’re cheesy…

I like how incredibly off-kilter this is.

By this time we were starving, and very ready for dinner. Nicole took us to an adorable place near her apartment, and it was crammed with locals, so that was a good sign. It was pretty affordable and very tasty, and as soon as we arrived I realized that it was next to the hotel where my parents had stayed 12 years ago when they visited! My aunt and uncle are actually visiting in a few weeks and staying here too, so I was able to give them a good restaurant recommendation.

Le Petit Cler

We had a lovely evening of wine and conversation, and are hopefully getting together with Nicole again before we leave. We have been so fortunate to spend time with new friends here! It’s what we had hoped for when we set out on this trip. In this and many other ways, Paris is really working its magic on us.

Lazy Weekend

Sadly, our friend Andrae had something come up and wasn’t able to visit this weekend, but we still had an awesome time with our new friends Claire and Jordan. My mom’s coworker Olivia went to college with them and got us in touch since they are over here for graduate school (which, after hearing about it, sounds very involved and we are rather impressed). It was actually a pretty perfect set-up because they live over in my favorite neighborhood, Montmartre, and I had been meaning to take Jared over there for a walk-about. We set a meet-up for Friday headed over a few hours early to explore, and Jared declared that it was what he’d always imagined Paris to be (evidently, a super charming West Village).

We started by walking up the steps to Sacré Cœur, and filing through like cattle for a brief viewing of the interior (no pictures of course, but it’s worth a look).

The day was really warm but pretty foggy, so the view wasn’t as spectacular from this point as it normally would be. Though I am partial to the once-in-a-lifetime view we have from our apartment.

The last time I visited Paris, I stayed in Montmartre with my friend Annemieke who was studying abroad for the semester, and I actually remembered enough of the turf to find my way around (and my Paris Pratique did the rest. If you are ever visiting Paris, invest in this book. It is worth it.). I don’t remember the area being quite as packed with tourists in previous visits, but it was only really bad in the immediate area surrounding Sacré Cœur, so once we wandered out a bit further it was much quieter. We found the Café des 2 Moulins from Amélie and the Moulin de la Galette, and then walked over to the back side of the hill where we were meeting Jordan and Claire.

Jared and I decided that much like the West Village, when we won the lottery, we’d buy a house over in Montmartre. Everybody else spends imaginary lottery money too, right? That can’t just be us.

this house, specifically.

We strolled by Montmartre highlights Lapin Agile and Clos Montmartre, which is an adorable tiny vineyard across the street (though apparently the wine isn’t great).

We met up with Claire and Jordan over at the Lamarck-Caulaincourt Metro stop and then walked over to their place for some wine and cheese. Their apartment is exactly the kind of place that we wished we could have found in Montmartre. It’s A-DOR-ABLE. We also wanted to go to their place because we wanted to pet their adorable cat Zoe. She was a little shy about us, but we got some good loves in.

We had such a lovely evening! We are kind of starved for conversation – not that we don’t talk to each other (A LOT), but it’s nice to have other interactions – and it was so great to talk to people who understood what that was like, since they only moved here 6 months ago from Seattle (also, yay Seattle!). We drank some wine, went to a cute neighborhood place for dinner, and made plans to go to Les Puces on Sunday.

A note on the Paris Flea Markets: my intel from the master of Parisien thrift shopping is that the best market is Vanves. Since we weren’t really shopping and just wanted somewhere to wander around, we just went out to Clignancourt, and luckily it was pretty quiet. There was one thing that I wished I could have bought, but it was clearly not coming on the plane with us and cost €450.

seriously, how cute is this?!

After the market we hiked back up to Montmartre to chat some more over coffee and strudel. It was a lovely lazy weekend in Paris and we are happy to have made some new friends. Maybe next time we can host them in Seattle!

For All the Amélie Fans Out There

Can you guess what we visited?

That’s right – the Canal Saint-Martin. This is another of my favorite spots in Paris. We’ve been really good at hitting up the free sights this week, but it’s kind of hard not to when we have beautiful (albeit crisp) weather.

As we were walking across this bridge and wondering if the canal was still in use, we noticed a boat headed our way. Well, that certainly answered our question. We were psyched to see the locks in action.

out goes the water

down goes the boat

Jared got so excited to see the bridge open that his hair stood on end!

here it goes!

Happy Friday, folks! We are very excited because our friend Andrea is visiting from Switzerland this weekend, and tonight we’re meeting up with some friends of friends to hang out in Montmartre (and they have a cat!). It’s shaping up to be a great weekend.

Cake, Anyone?

On Tuesday we exhausted ourselves by taking the train out to the Palace of Versailles and touring the extensive grounds. I was particularly proud of myself because I had snagged us 2 for 1 admission through the Versailles website, so it was only 18 Euros instead of 36 (which really would have hurt to dole out, especially since I’d been here before). Though it was a Tuesday, the place was PACKED, and it was our first real taste of tourist bottleneck. We were actually kind of shocked, since we’ve been spoiled and had most sights relatively to ourselves on this trip. Usually I am able to crop other people out of pictures entirely, which lead my Uncle Nick to ask if there were ever any people around when we went sightseeing. Not the case with Versailles, as you will see.

We made it through the maze of tour groups to see the palace bedrooms, Hall of Mirrors and various grand drawing rooms and artwork, and then escaped the throngs by heading out into the gardens. We ate lunch and trekked down to the Grand Trianon (and pet a kitty on the way), and then to Marie Antoinette’s personal estate at the Petit Trianon. She chose to escape the rigors of court life in the palace by retreating down to her very own peasant village and farm. I’ll let that sink in. Remember, she was the one who is most historically credited with not understanding the plight of the impoverished French citizens…while she was literally playing at being a French peasant on her private acreage of an enormous palace. That lady was nothing if not consistently out of touch with the real world.

Still, her little farm was the most interesting part of Versailles for us, and we saw the fattest pig I have ever seen in my life, so that’s something.

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Strolling Paris

Our first full day in Paris, I gave Jared a walking tour along the Seine so that he could get oriented. I originally wanted to take him to the Eiffel Tower to continue the tradition of going to the highest point in a city to get our bearings, but the elevator to the top was out for the week. We’re hoping for a clear day next week to go back. Anyway, we settled for a nice walk and planned out some museum stops for when the rain arrives (this weekend and next week – boo).

Le Pont Alexandre III

Place de la Concorde

Jardin de Tuileries

We wove back and forth across the river so we could catch a few points along the way. We also stopped to check out the love padlocks along the Pont des Arts. The tradition is that lovers write their names on a lock, then lock it to the bridge and throw the key into the river, thereby stating that their love is eternal. I particularly enjoyed the numerous combination locks that were affixed to the bridge. Keeping their options open, I guess?

On Monday, we did even more walking and visited two spots that I had never been in Paris. First, we walked through Père Lachaise Cemetery, which is a short walk from our apartment. Those of you familiar with Père Lachaise will know that this cemetery is famous for being the largest in Paris and the final resting place of numerous French legends (Balzac, Colette and Molière to name a few). It’s also home to several notable foreigners such as Oscar Wilde, Chopin and Jim Morrison. I’d like to say that we visited at least the people I’ve listed to pay our respects, but this place was huge and confusing. We got lost more than once. If I had known, I would have brought a map of just the cemetery (pro tip for next time). In the end, we only found Oscar, but the cemetery is beautiful and I found it way more peaceful than creepy. At any rate, it’s nice to stroll amongst the greats for a while.

it's so vast that it has its own street signs

I find this disturbing, especially that his crotch has been rubbed...

Next, we ambitiously walked all the way down to the Promenade Plantée, which I was very excited to visit. The Promenade is an elevated park built on the old Vincennes railway line, and was apparently the inspiration for New York’s now infamous High Line park (which we love). Naturally, this park really shines when everything is in bloom, but it was still fun to see a slightly hidden spot that isn’t that well-known by tourists.

We had a leisurely stroll and picnic lunch, and then walked to the Metro along the street so that we could check out the shops built under the Promenade. They were all closed, which was a tragedy because we wanted so badly to pet the CUTEST PUPPY IN THE WORLD that ran up to greet us.

this picture does not do justice to his wee-ness

but this one does!

OMGTHATPUPPY. I am still thinking about him.

So you can see how we’ve walked our a**es off in the past few days (especially yesterday at Versailles, which I’ll post tomorrow). We’re pretty exhausted, but it’s easy to wear yourself out looking at gorgeous places in Paris – especially when they’re free to visit.

Paris, Jared T’aime

We can hardly believe it, but we’re down to our last two weeks in Europe! We decided in the end not to go back to Croatia because it was easier and cheaper to fly out of Paris, and we’re just kind of ready to head back to some familiar territory for a bit. The truth is that moving around a lot gets pretty tiring, and we’ve pretty much seen everything we had set out to see. We’re heading back through New York in two weeks, and then we’re going to regroup in Seattle for a few weeks, buy a car and spend the spring and summer in the Southwest, Colorado and hopefully also California. We had originally planned an epic road trip for our honeymoon in 2010, but only ended up having a week off so we just spent some time in California. Now that we have some time, we thought we’d reprise that idea a little – and it doesn’t hurt that the weather will be gorgeous down there. It’s been cold in Europe so we need a little warming up!

We arrived in Paris on Saturday morning, after a 12-hour overnight train from Barcelona. This pretty much sums up our train ride, if there were also a picture of us sprawled out in reclining seats with sleep masks on, rambunctious toddlers behind us and gangster rap blaring (honestly, who does that?? I was thisclose to walking over and handing them my headphones):

Barcelona Franca Station

bar car!

As for our place in Paris, we really lucked out. It could have been a total disaster because we left things to the last possible minute; we weren’t sure we’d be able to afford to come here, and we weren’t having much luck finding a place to stay that was within our budget. When Jorge and his friend Valerie cooked us a lovely dinner on Sunday night, they also invited their friend Georgina. Georgie used to live in Paris and contacted her friend on our behalf, who then contacted her cousin who happens to have a spare one-bedroom apartment! We never would have found this place on our own because they normally don’t rent it out – it’s just for visiting friends and family – but they made an exception for us.

Georgina saves the day!

This place is really a find too: it’s in the quiet 20th arrondissement, has everything we need within walking distance, and on the 10th floor of the building so we have KILLER views of the city. I like to think it’s Jared’s proper introduction to one of my favorite cities, and Paris is doing everything it can to make him fall in love. Even more than that, our landlords are the nicest people we could have imagined. They live across the hall and have been so welcoming and sweet. we feel so lucky to have met them!

Jared helpfully points out our location

living area

kitchen

terrace

comfy bed

BAM.

It’s hard to tell from pictures, but when we’re sitting on the couch the Eiffel Tower looks like it’s right outside our window. It’s just there, casually chillin’ in the view, no big deal. I know it’s kind of a touristy thing to think the Eiffel Tower is cool, but I don’t care. It’s a gorgeous structure, and it’s stunning at night – especially with the hourly light show.

Do you like how I even managed to get the très French emergency siren in the background?

We’ve had a few days to get oriented and we’ve already done miles of walking. This is my 5th visit to Paris and though it changes and I change, being here never gets old. I love this town and I always feel at home here. I am just excited to show Jared all my favorite spots! The weather is supposed to be clear and sunny this week, and then rainy next week so we’re doing all the outdoor stuff now and saving all the museums for the rain.

For now, I will leave you with gratuitous shots of our view at sunset.