Better late than never? September 2012 Report -COMPLETE!

Discussion in 'Disneyland Paris Trip Reports Board' started by maryr1oz, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. maryr1oz

    maryr1oz Mouseketeer

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    This was our last full day in Paris. We felt content with what we'd seen in the city, so we went ahead and visited Versailles this day.

    We walked to the closest station to our hotel which was on the RER line to Versailles and caught a train. It was so easy. Once we got off at the end of the line, we grabbed a coffee and it was not even 5 minutes walk to the edge of the carpark, and couple more minutes to the gates.

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    We were there just after opening, so it wasn't TOO crazy inside to begin with. We walked through the Palace and marvelled at the amazing rooms.

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    Once outside, we ventured back to the garden. Standing atop those steps looking out over the garden was amazing. I'd been told it was big, until i stood there looking out, i realised i'd had no idea.

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    We walked down through hedge mazes, around lakes on tracks and ended up at the Trianon Palaces.

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    Through a mix up of my own, we didn't have admission tickets to these buildings, so we walked around the outside of them, and then ended up catching the trolley back up to the main Palace.

    We caught the train back to Paris, changed to Metro and exited at the Louvre. It was mid afternoon at this stage. The museum was mobbed. I had been before and spent a whole day here, but my husband hadn't so we were on a mission to see a few highlights in a short amount of time.

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    A couple of hours in we were absolutely done from all the walking, and caught a train back to the hotel. We then spent the evening packing, so we'd be ready for our early Eurostar train ride to London the next morning.

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  3. maryr1oz

    maryr1oz Mouseketeer

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    Ah, that's so interesting about the Tower and the lifts - it makes alot of sense! I too love hearing about tourist experiences in my home city, it's so interesting to see what people get taken with!

    Ah i know the feeling... i'm hoping next year we'll be back!

    Thanks so much, we certainly did have a great time. Malta was fantastic, i'm sure you will love it there! I wish we lived that close...
     
  4. mamatutu

    mamatutu Earning My Ears

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    Great trip report cant wait for the rest.
     
  5. Disneyfanswicklow

    Disneyfanswicklow Disney Fanatic!

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    WOW amazing how much you managed to do! Tired just reading your report! Your photos are amazing.......really looking forward to the rest of your trip report :cool1:
     
  6. HappyPanda

    HappyPanda Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow

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    Loving your trip report so far! Can't wait for more! popcorn::popcorn::
     
  7. maryr1oz

    maryr1oz Mouseketeer

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    Thanks so much :goodvibes

    When i look back i actually can't believe how much we crammed into 3 weeks... i'm sure my husband wishes i was the sort of person who could lie on a beach for a week, i'm not :thumbsup2

    Thanks so much!! :yay:
     
  8. maryr1oz

    maryr1oz Mouseketeer

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    By this stage it was Thursday morning, and we were headed to London! I was super excited about this day, as i had never been on the Eurostar, and also we were going to London to see my family. When i went to Europe as a teenager, i remember liking London more than Paris. After the amazing few days we had spent in Paris, i wondered whether London could top it this time. In fact, it didn't :thumbsup2

    So i woke up early, and went to a nearby patisserie for our last round of French pastries - yum!

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    We caught a taxi from the hotel to the nearby Gare du Nord station to check in for the Eurostar. We didn't have alot of time before departure, so we were soon on the train. I had researched seating arrangements, and we had seats forward facing in the carriage with power outlets.

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    The trip was great, very quick. I just enjoyed watching the scenery pass by. I thought i would have a little claustrophobia in the portion of the tunnel, but it turned out to be a complete non-issue to me. I also made a trip to the snack car to pass some time.

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    We arrived at St. Pancras station, and went outside to get a taxi. The driver was not very impressed as we were only going about 1.5kms to our hotel at Russell Square - the Mercure London Bloomsbury. However, with so much luggage we really had no choice.

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    The hotel did not have a room ready for us, as it was only about 11:30am at this stage, so we stored our bags, and went for a walk. We walked down towards Leicester Square, then onto Piccadilly Circus. At that stage we spotted a Wholefoods and had to stop for lunch. We love these places!

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    From there we walked up Regent St, along Oxford St and back to the hotel. We were then able to check into our room. This is another hotel i would recommend staying in. We loved the location, so easy to walk most places, plenty of public transport and a really comfortable hotel. The room we were given was quite large, and the bathroom was very modern.

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    That night we were to meet up with my Aunt, and go to meet my cousin for a pre-wedding dinner. My cousin who got married is Australian/Polish, his now wife, American. It was quite a multi-cultural dinner with all families combined! I didn't take any photos, as i had left my camera at the hotel.
     
  9. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Great updates!

    It's funny.....as a kid, I think London holds more appeal because of the stuff we learn about England being Aussie. But as an adult.....Paris is so much more exciting and romantic. :thumbsup2
     
  10. maryr1oz

    maryr1oz Mouseketeer

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    It was Friday morning, and one of only 2 full sightseeing days we had to ourselves in London. We began the day early, catching the Tube to Notting Hill, and walking back to Bill Granger's restaurant - Granger and Co. My husband had been keen to eat in one of his establishment's, and today was the day.

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    DH knew exactly what he wanted to try, so he ordered and we split two meals. It was fantastic!

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    After filling up on breakfast, we joined another hop-on hop-off bus line in Notting Hill, and sat up top seeing the sights of London. When we arrived in Trafalgar Square, we disembarked. There was a live site for the Olympics here, and it was fun checking it all out.

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    We then walked down Whitehall, past Downing Street and onto Westminster Abbey. I loved walking around the outside of the Abbey, and there were so many people around!

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    It was then across the Thames, to view the London Eye and Big Ben. The weather was so amazing for our whole trip to Europe, but it was particularly appreciated in London. I believe it was mid to high 20's each day - and this was September.

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    We boarded back on the tourist bus, and looped down the river, across Tower Bridge. It was really hard to take photos on the bus that didn't have someone's head or hat or hand in the frame.

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    Once we were back up near Buckingham Palace we got off again. I had really wanted to see the Buckingham Palace shop, as i had been to a conference where the woman who heads up their whole retail operations had spoken. She was a wonderful speaker, and i wanted to see everything she had spoken about. It was a really great shop. Purchases in hand, we wandered around the front of the Palace, and then down the other side bordering Green Park.

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    We were now on our way to Harrods, but first, we spotted a Pret and had to stop in for a late lunch. I wish we had something comparable that was as widely found in Australia as these shops!

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    We continued on walking to Harrods and went inside. I had forgotten how big this place was. We spent hours wandering around. We ended up at the Ice Cream Parlour, where we shared an exorbitantly priced sundae - but my gosh, it was worth every penny!

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    We were still not finished on crossing things off our list to get achieved today, so back to the Tube it was. We caught it out to Shepherd's Bush to visit the Westfield shopping centre. There is a Lego store here, and we wanted to visit one while we were away. We didn't really buy much on this shopping trip, and we were tiring fast. Back on the Tube to Euston, and back to the hotel it was. We met my Aunt for dinner at a nearby cafe that night, and had an early night before the big wedding the next day! I have no photos from the time we left Harrods, so must have been a little too weary to think about it.
     
  11. aussie shaz

    aussie shaz DIS Veteran

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    Loooove the picture of the Harrods sundae. Yumm!!
     
  12. maryr1oz

    maryr1oz Mouseketeer

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    Yeah, i bet you're right... i remember Mum being a little intrigued as to why i'd liked London much better Paris at the time.

    Yum is right - wish there was somewhere in Melbourne you could get something similar!!
     
  13. maryr1oz

    maryr1oz Mouseketeer

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    Saturday was wedding day, and it we had such a fantastic time. The weather was perfect - about 30 degrees and beautifully clear blue skies, they were really lucky!

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    DH and i got ready in our hotel room, and then went by taxi with my Aunty to the Islington Town Hall, where the ceremony took place. It was a short ceremony, but still very sweet and intimate.

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    After the ceremony, the bride and groom lead the party on a small walk through the suburbs to a very nice little pub. Here we had drinks and nibbles. We have an English friend who loves pork pies, so i had to try them. They were ok, not my favorite thing though.

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    We spent an hour or so here, before moving to the park across the road where the photographer organised all the family and professional photos.

    From there we got a taxi to a small community hall in Shoreditch which was where the reception would take place. They had decorated the bare hall themselves, and i think it turned out wonderfully!

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    There were so many small details that had been executed so well. The food was also pretty amazing. One of my cousin's housemates had hand made 80 pavlovas for dessert - a very Australian touch.

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    We ate, danced and caught up with family until late in the night. DH and i admittedly left before some of the older relatives - i think our big days were catching up with us!

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  14. maryr1oz

    maryr1oz Mouseketeer

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    Sunday in London, and another busy day. Today we were spending the day with my half-sister and her family. I cannot believe how few photos i took this day, i think i was just so caught up in chatting to my sister and the kids that i didn't think too much about it.

    We met up at Covent Garden, and walked to Regent St. The kids wanted to have a look at a couple of shops.

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    From there, we caught the Tube down to Embankment. As we surfaced, we came across the Paralympic marathon! It was great to watch for a little while.

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    We boarded a boat that would take us down to Greenwich. The cruise was lovely, although it was another quite warm day, and inside the boat was a little stuffy. As we went under Tower Bridge, the arms were raised as there was a tall ship following us!

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    At Greenwich, we had lunch at a little market, and then walked up the hill to the park. We didn't go into the Observatory, but stopped for ice cream and to enjoy the view.

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    Back down the hill, and we descended into the tunnel that runs underneath the Thames. That was fun and brought some much needed coolness.

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    Once up the other side, we caught the train over to the Olympic Park. This was the evening of the Paralympic Closing Ceremony, and the place was mobbed. It was really cool to see, and amazing to say we'd been there.

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    Back over to St Pancras station, and we grabbed a quick drink before it was time for the family to catch their train back up north to where they live.

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  15. maryr1oz

    maryr1oz Mouseketeer

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    This was our last day in London, tomorrow we would be spending our last day in England driving up North.

    First thing we caught the Tube over the Thames, as we had tickets to the London Dungeon. I was a little apprehensive as i really get scared over silly things, but DH's distant relative was killed by Jack the Ripper, and we felt a family obligation to go and check out the display dedicated to her story.

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    I shouldn't have worried, it was a bit scary in parts, and gory in others, but overall it wasn't too bad. It was nearly lunchtime now, so back to the hotel quickly to dump some stuff, then to the Pret a Manger by the hotel for lunch.

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    After lunch, we walked the 2 blocks to the British Museum. We knew we would never see the majority of things in half a day, so we picked some must sees and started to wander. A few hours in we both decided we'd had enough and called it a day.

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    That night we were packing up ready to leave, and neither of us could get up the motivation to leave the hotel. We ordered room service instead, and it did the job.

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  16. maryr1oz

    maryr1oz Mouseketeer

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    Tuesday morning came too fast. Our time in London was over. This morning we checked out of the hotel, and caught the Tube out to Heathrow. We weren't flying, but collecting a rental car. We were given a Skoda, it was really nice to drive. Today we were headed to a small town in Yorkshire, Monk Fryston, to meet more family for lunch. I was driving, and after a couple of wrong turns, we were finally on the correct road heading north!

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    The drive was about 2.5 hours, and we met at a beautiful little pub for lunch. It was great to see all my Aunts, Uncles and several cousins who had driven south to meet us. DH had never met most of them before, so it was very nice to be able to introduce him to them.

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    After several hours at the pub, we drove the short distance into York, and basically had a quick drive through so i could show DH the landmarks.

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    Back onto the freeway, heading south. Our destination tonight would be Luton Airport, as we were flying to Malta from there at the crack of dawn the next day. We stopped at a cool highway rest stop that was much nicer than most places in Australia.

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    At the airport, we checked into our hotel, returned the rental car and had a walk through the terminal to orientate ourselves for the morning. I found a cute little chocolate snack to sustain me for the walk back to the hotel. We stayed at the Ibis Luton Airport. It was ok. I mean it was super cheap, and a 10 minute walk to the terminal, even with our luggage. The rooms were just ok though, very basic and just a little icky feeling. They did give us free wi-fi which was a bonus. Then it was off to sleep, we would have to be awake about 3:45am to be ready for our flight.

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  17. maryr1oz

    maryr1oz Mouseketeer

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    There were 2 reasons we were travelling to Malta on this trip. Firstly, my Aunt was there working for 3 years - and in September she was in her final couple of months. She had a beautiful house with the job, and we were able to stay there with her. Secondly, DH's grandmother emigrated from Malta to Australia in the 50's, so he still has alot of family there, along with alot of family history.

    We woke up super early, checked out and trekked over to the terminal about 4:30am. We were flying Ryanair, and i wanted to make sure everything went smoothly. I had pre-paid our luggage, i had also paid extra for an allocated seat, and pre-boarding. Check-in was great, very smooth. We got our boarding passes stamped, and then headed for security. It seemed very crazy up there, and there were so many people everywhere. It did take some time, but we went through each check point with no hassles, and were eventually out in the departure area. We grabbed some breakfast, stood in a long boarding queue, and then finally boarded the plane. We were given seats in the second row, and fortunately no one sat in the 3rd seat, so we had room to stretch for the flight to Malta. I believe it took about 3 hours.

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    We landed in Malta and my Aunt had sent a car for us. When we arrived at the residence, she had just gotten home, so we dumped our stuff, and she took us out in her car for some sightseeing.

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    We headed first to the 'Popeye Village'. This is an actual movie set they built to film the Robin Williams Popeye movie. Now it's a tourist attraction (trap?) that you can walk through and explore.

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    Then onto Golden Bay, where we enjoyed a drink overlooking the beach.

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    We went home for dinner, but afterwards we went back out the old town of Mdina. It was fantastic to walk through there at night, it was beautifully lit, and there were so many people around!

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  18. Isila

    Isila There is a big beautiful tomorrow

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    wonderful pictures. You did have a great time. I want to travel.
     
  19. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Gorgeous shots. Love the ones in England and Malta is wonderful! You must have such happy memories of your time there.
     
  20. Minniemum

    Minniemum DIS Veteran

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    Great TR! I'm really enjoying reading about all your family connections (history) and catch ups.
     
  21. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

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    Finally caught up on your London section and the start of Malta. You sure packed a lot in to your days! I'm not one of those people who can lie on a beach all day either, but I don't think I could keep up that pace :rotfl:

    I know someone who got engaged in Medina, and then and there decided that they would call their first daughter Medina. And went through with it years later :goodvibes
     

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