We are back in Paris staying at the same hotel we stayed at for our Honeymoon. It's a great place in a great location with the nicest people! They gave us a bottle of Champagne for our anniversary! Very nice to be back here! Paris is like an old friend to us now. We know it very well and feel very comfortable here. That's a great thing, because both of our first times here were rocky to say the least. We took a short nap when we got here, which was definitely needed! Then, out exploring. We already were here for 6 days, so we decided to go to Luxembourg Gardens. Emily has seen pictures of the Medici Fountain there for a long time now and really wanted to see it in person. Its not far from our hotel so we made the walk. It's COLD here. Obviously not Michigan cold, but cold for us! Low 40s. YUCK! But we grabbed some Angelina's hot chocolate and just trudged through. It's very Christmas here! It wasn't like that at all when we left a few weeks ago. Seeing the transformation is pretty cool. We walked all around the Gardens, the. Went to St Sulpice. I've always wanted to explore there since I'm a big fan of the DaVinci Code. This was our second attempt to visit there. Last time we were there after hours and walked in anyways and got asked to leave, nicely. This time there was some international Choir competition. We didn't get to hear singing and we didn't get to see the church because there were SO many people in there. Oh well, there's always next time. We came back to the hotel and for some reason, my stomach was really upset, maybe it was the sudden change from Italian to French food! LOL So, on our last night, we stayed inside and didn't even have a farewell dinner! 😪. I'm really bummed because we had our last meal all picked out! My sister's favorite restaurant in Paris, Relais De L'Entrecote. We are there twice last year and it's SO good! But I had to miss out on it and I forced Emily to also. But, fortunately, we always have fun together. Even while I'm doing gas relieving yoga poses in our hotel room!! LOL. She just sat there eating cheez-its and drinking the champagne the hotel gave us! She's a real trooper!!! :). We head to the airport tomorrow morning so this is truly the end of the adventure. The day after I get home I get to go to the hospital for tests and a heart catherization. Should be FUN! Then pick up our Puppy! CANT WAIT!!! Then get back to work for the week or two before I have surgery. Then, I recover and Emily is in charge of That French Place all by herself!!! SCARY!! LOL She pretty much runs the place even when I'm there. I'm just the talent in the back! LOL We really do appreciate you all following us on this amazing month we have had! It really has been the trip of a lifetime!! I love seeing the comments of people who read the blog. I'm always amazed that people really take the time! I really do this to document it for Emily and I to look back on one day when we are knee deep in the summer months and dreaming of these days! And to prove to my parents I'm a good writer! LOL we truly love you all. We think the most special part of our job is the connections we have made with people all over. It really is what makes it fun for us. Sweet dreams to all and we can't thank you enough!
Sunday, November 26
We took a fantastic cooking class this morning! A 4 hour pizza making class! We made the dough, 2 different kinds, one with butter and one with olive oil. We made pizzette, or mini pizzas with the dough with butter, then made pizza with the olive oil dough. The instructor also made a simple dough for fried pizza dough, YUM! She also made a simple, almost tempura like batter and we had fried zucchini flowers! Those are amazing!! We have so much zucchini in Northern Michigan in particular, how come I never see the flowers? We could make magical things with those!! Even Crepes! Anyway, the dough we made was so easy and delicious, it almost had a pie crust quality to it. We are ready to try a pizza night at That French Place sometime this winter! Who's interested??? We could definitely do pizza classes, that's for sure! We already made pizza a lot for ourselves, now, with our improved, authentic, straight from Italy dough recipe, we feel ready for unleashing it on the world!! LOL. Like I said, it was a really great class! Check the pictures, the pizzas were gorgeous! It was only a 4 person class so it was very hands on, perfect for us!! After that, we went back to our apartment, took a little nap, showered then packed up to leave. Leaving Florence was really hard! Emily cried! 😔 it's one of those special places to us now that we will always dream of those 6 magical days we spent there! In the evenings, after dinner, we watched a miniseries on YouTube about the Medicis and that really gave us a the knowledge that made what we were seeing that much more meaningful. All in all, that was about as good as it gets for traveling! We waited for our train for 2 hours at the station in Florence. We got there early, just so we wouldn't have to worry and rush, then our train was 30 minutes late! We have a connection in Milan, but we were assured that they will wait for us, and they did! Just barely!!! We had to sprint to get to our car and when we got there, we were so hot from running, it made for a rough start, late at night, sweating, hot car. Should make for a fun night!!! LOL. And no internet, so for the first time in a month I won't be able to get the blog up until the next day. 😡. Oh well. At least we made the train in time to sleep. Goodnight all. Thanks for following our journey, some days are easy, some are hard, and some start easy, then get really hard at the very end, like this one. It's always an adventure and I wouldn't trade that for anything! Now, Emily, she didn't like sleeping on the train so much, but I loved it!
Friday, November 24
I wish I had a more exciting day to describe for you all on our last full day of our trip. We aren't coming back from Europe until Monday, but tomorrow we leave in the evening on a night train to Paris. We will be sleeping in bunk beds called couchettes and leaving Florence at 9:00 and we stop in Milan for 25 minutes then get on the sleeper train and arrive in Paris at 10:00am! We have Sunday in Paris, then we leave Monday so, while we have most of two more days left and a few hours on the third day, this is the last day we will be going to sleep in the same place we are waking up the next day. We had a big dinner of pasta and bread and between that and the constant moving the past 24 days, we just couldn't get out of bed!! We left bed at 4:00 to get ready for our special dinner, but other than that, we didn't move all day! We made a reservation right when we got here for the restaurant we went to tonight. I did a ton of research. Florence is known for its steak. I'm particular it's Bistecca ala Fiorentina. It's typically made with this special type of beef called Chianina beef. It's like Italian Kobe beef. The cows are treated like kings their whole lives and the steaks are legendarily great! They are traditionally served very rare with just salt, pepper and fantastic olive oil. The idea is, you actually are supposed to taste the beef flavor which is extraordinary! With beef this good you don't need anything else and cooking this particular type of beef makes it chewy and tough. When it's rare, it's tender, juicy and the flavor is unlike any steak you'll ever have in your life, I promise you that! I wanted to find a place that really specialized in it and get it someplace awesome for our most special meal of the trip. The place was perfect! A true temple of beef! It was without a doubt the best meal of the trip!! The steak is magical! It's a porterhouse cut, so there's a filet on one side of the bone and a NY Strip on the other. I am typically a NY Strip guy, but I can honestly say, the first bite I had of the filet part was one of the great bites of food I've had in my life! They serve it with 3 little things of different sauces, but it didn't need anything! WOW! Emily has been looking for a cake she has had called a Nonna Cake. They had it here, the 1st time we have seen it in Italy. We got it for a small dessert and it was really great also! A wonderful evening after an uneventful day. Of course we HAD to finish the night with some gelato from our favorite shop around the corner! Another magical evening in Florence! It will be tough to leave here. It's really easy to get into a groove here and find your routine for living life the way they do here! Without the working, of course!! LOL. The thing I always tell myself when I feel this way, though is, I will be back here one day, I will make sure of that! So, that makes leaving a city like this a little easier. But, I'll tell you, Florence gets into your blood and stays in your soul! It's a truly special place! We have just loved our time here and can't wait to return! Anyways, tomorrow we are supposed to have our final cooking class, a pizza making class! It should be amazing! We can't wait. We are gonna go to sleep now and get up early for our class and then pack and leave for Paris again! That doesn't suck! 😜. Hope you enjoy reading about Florence even a tiny bit as much as we've enjoyed being here. TRAVEL!! Travel often! Come to places like this that steal your heart over and over again so you feel like you actually KNOW a city like this. This is my 4th time here and I can picture directions of how to get to all the places I love and I know all the streets and my favorite restaurants. And that's a wonderful feeling. Nothing makes you realize what a big, fascinating world we live in like traveling. Nothing makes you feel as much like a citizen of the world like traveling does. I never knew how much I loved art until I came to Europe the first time. After that, I realized how amazing the Detroit Institute of Art is and how many great things we have all around us. Knowing what a treasure a man like my friend Todd Warner is! Without traveling, I'd never have had my mind expanded like it is. I am so grateful to have parents that took me to Europe for the first time and showed me that it's not as difficult as it feels sometimes to just GO and see the world! I especially want to thank my Father, for giving me the inquisitive mind that I have and my desire to explore! Dad, you're the best! I wish you'd come travel with me again to Europe some day so I can show you MY Europe! I love you, I love you all! Thanks for sharing this journey of a lifetime with us! We are so grateful for what we have and all of you who have helped us get here! And thanks to my wife Emily! The best wife, friend, business partner, travel companion and person I've ever had the honor to know! The trip isn't over, but I felt like I needed to say these things! Thanks for caring!