Days 15+16: More long flights, and Paris again!

Cape Town > Johannesburg > Paris > Boston. That’s a long way, and a lot of long-haul flights. Oh boy.

Luckily we had an excellent stop in Paris along the way! We landed in Paris around 5:30AM and decided to head to Montmartre, and neighborhood we didn’t have a chance to explore on our first day in the city. It was very cool to be at the top of the city while everything was still quite – we even had the famous stairs to ourselves!

We decided that we didn’t eat nearly enough French food on our first day, but really, when can you ever? As such, the focus of our day was to eat as much as possible. First stop, a lovely café in Montmartre for crepes and coffee.

We wandered the quiet streets before everyone woke up, and enjoyed the stunning views and vendors putting out their food for the morning’s markets.

After a pain au chocolate to whet our pallets, we walked from Montmartre all the way to Notre Dame – about a 2.5 hour walk. This allowed us to see so much of Paris, and was a lovely way to spend the morning! We had fun window shopping and eyeing all the yummy pastries.

We finally made it to Notre Dame, and were able to see the buttresses, something we missed the first time around.

We had just enough time to dart into one more café to pick up a baguette, croissants and macaroons before heading back to the airport.

 

By the time we made it back to our apartment in Boston we had been traveling for about 44 hours, including our time in Paris. Oof. We crashed, but not before spending some quality time with out cat, that we missed very dearly. Overall, this was the trip of a lifetime, and I’d highly recommend a trip to the amazing country of South Africa if you every have the opportunity. It was truly incredible, and something I’ll remember forever.

Now, back to reality…the hard part!

Days 1+2: A Day in Paris…and two LONG flights

It’s vacation time! Teddy and I have been planning a two-week escape to celebrate the completion of a very large work-related project and have been very excited to get away from everything. We decided to travel in the fall to avoid summer crowds, but it’s certainly been difficult watching everyone take lovely beach vacations! Needless to say, we were thrilled to start the long journey to our final destination – South Africa!

 

When we booked our flights we realized that it would be able to fly direct due to the nature of our plans. Making lemonade out of lemons, we decided to have very long layovers – in Paris!

 

After leaving Boston on Friday night, we arrived in Paris on Saturday morning a bit tired, but thrilled to finally be on vacation! First stop: crepes. We found a vendor on the street and each downed a coffee and split a cheese and a nutella crepe. When in Paris!

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Our timing ended up being perfect for jumping onto the mid-morning Sandman’s walking tour! We’ve done these tours in several other cities that we’ve visited (Dublin, Munich, Amsterdam…we are basically walking tour groupies). It was an excellent way to see a lot of the city and get some great history. I’ve been to Paris a number of times before, but it was Teddy’s first time. I’m glad we were able to see so many of the highlights on such a short layover! Notre Dame, the Louvre, Tuilerie Gardens, Place de la Concord – the list was quite long. Our tour guide was great, and before we knew it we were finishing up near the Arc d’Triomphe. We decided to walk over to the Eiffel Tower and enjoy some snacks, since we were starting to get tired.

 

With our second wind we jumped onto a beautiful sunset boat ride down the seine. Next time I’d prefer to go with the classic Bateau Mouche, but we got a coupon for tickets through our walking tour and still got to see all the monuments along the river light up as the sun goes down. Doesn’t get more beautiful than that!

 

Finally, we made the long walk along the seine from the Eiffel Tower over to Notre Dame to jump back on the train to the airport.

 

After another 11 hour flight and extensive lines at customs, we made it to Johannesburg, South Africa! We had arranged a cab from our hotel to pick us up, and I’m glad we did – the airport was super chaotic and our hotel was in the suburbs. We ended up checking into our hotel a bit early and headed out to explore the area. Time for a third wind!

We headed towards the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens. This was a long walk, and we were tired (might I just point out that by this point we had slept on a plane two nights in a row – i.e. we were running on fumes). The garden was more like a public park and it was pleasant, but we had a difficult time enjoying it. At this point I could barely keep my eyes open. We decided to take the “short way” back to the hotel – famous last words. What can only be described as a forced march on my part ended up being an exceptionally long, uphill walk in the African heat. Not fun.

 

On the bright side, we finally made it back into town and headed to a local café for a lovely meal – Teddy had an ostrich burger! I inhaled a veggie burger and we crashed in bed by 6pm. I don’t even think it was dark yet! Oh well. Bed = good.