Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Christmas Holidays - Warsaw December 24th - 28th 2007

Christmas Eve in Warsaw

Tarja, Grandpa, me

Elisa, Orpheu, Janina

The whole lot of us feasting on Christmas Eve dinner.

Babcia likes her gift!

Marcin's parents house - Elisa, Marcin's mom, Dagmara (pregnant!)

Smoking in the kitchen - Orpheu, me, Marcin's dad, Tarja

In honour of Pope John Paul 2

Interesting building downtown designed by an American architect. Looks like cascading water.

Palace of Culture

We arrived in Warsaw at about 1pm and were met by Tarja and Orpheu as they had arrived from Amsterdam a couple of hours before us and we had agreed beforehand that they would wait for us and that the four of us would take a taxi to the Grandparents' house together.

We were greeted by Grandma, Grandpa, Janina and Eliza with big hugs and kisses. It was about 3pm by the time we got there so we all sat down to eat once we had put our bags away in our bedrooms.

We were served a FANTASTIC meal ( though there was no turkey, of course! :( ) We all opened our presents after dinner and then the bunch of us (minus grandma & grandpa) went to Luke's uncle's house for a few drinks.

Night out in Warsaw Old City

Fake Irish guy & Luke

Grandpa making warm beer

Raphal's mother and photos of his new baby

We were all raring to go out since we had been spending alot of our time with family (of course, and it's not that we minded but we wanted to get out and do some 'kid stuff'). We weren't sure what would be open since it was the holidays so Luke made a few calls to some bars/pubs from the phonebook and found a few in the old city that were open. We then (just us kids) hopped onto the public transportation and made our way to the old city. Once there I met two Irish guys (I swear, one of them was faking his accent, but he and his friend swore he was Irish) who I chatted with for a while and then they joined us. Some of us had warm beer (not me) and the rest of us had cold beer (me & luke). We hung out at this bar until about midnight and then moved on to another place where we each had a beer. Once the bar was closing we all left, hopped into a taxi and headed home.

Drinks with Luke's first ever girlfriend, Kasia

Kasia & Luke

When Luke and I were here the first time, a few years ago, we went out for drinks with Kasia and her boyfriend. Since we were back for Christmas and were staying longer than just a weekend we decided to hook up with her again. Kasia, for those of you that don't know, was Luke's first girlfriend (when he was about 9 yrs old or something like that). She's very nice and can be quite funny though she and I need Luke to translate much of what we're talking about as her English is just alright and my Polish is miserable. We met her at the same place we went to the first time, however she was not joined by her boyfriend as he's no longer her boyfriend (which is a bummer because he could speak English quite well which made me have a little more fun).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Hi everyone. I know we're taking forever to put up the Christmas in Poland photos and do a write up, and we apologise. Things have been busy and we're just getting back into the swing of things. I'm sure you all know what that's like. We bought ourselves a laptop (YAY!) so we'll be getting online this week. We'll put the blog together at home where we have time (currently I do it at work on my lunch). So... forgive us for the delays. It'll all be up by next Monday (if the internet arrives as planned).

Love to you all.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Christmas Holidays - Paris December 22nd - 24th 2006

Street the hostel is on - at Voltaire Metro Station

Recognize the decor (or lack of it)? This is the same place we stayed the first time we were in Paris back in July 2005.

I would have used a glass however the hostel did not provide us with any...!

Small Christmas Market

Damn paparazzi!

I realize that I look appalling in this photo but get a load of the size of the crab at the right side of the photo!

Wintertime in Paris.... how lovely.

We arrived at about 12noon and once we had our baggage we hopped onto the bus that takes passengers to the city centre. We weren't positive where we were when we were dropped off so we had a look at the little map that the bus company gave us and we were drawn to the big arrow that pointed to an Irish Pub right around the corner. So.... you guessed it, we walked to the pub for a pint and to get our shit together. The price of the pints took us by surprise - €13 for two of them! That's even more expensive than Dublin, one of the most expensive cities in Europe! Geez. We took the metro to Voltaire station where we got off and walked up to the hostel. Checked in, dropped our bags and headed out to have a look around the old neighborhood (stayed in the same hostel the first time we were in Paris), hit the grocery store and then went back to the hostel. We got changed and took a little walk to find somewhere in the area that we could have a meal at. We happened upon a place we went to for a drink the last time we were there. The menu was appealing so we sat down and ordered escargot as well as some bruschetta as neither of us was all that hungry. During dinner, clumsy, goofy me knocked my glass of red wine onto the floor where it promptly smashed, sending red wine flying toward the gentleman in the expensive-looking suit using his laptop. Fortunately, after the gentleman's initial panic, we were certain that no wine had stained his precious suit and that we could just move on without an argument. The restaurant however, treated me like gold. They ran over, cleaned the mess up, brought me another glass, filled it and the topped Luke's up as well. It was nice to be treated like an adult.
From there we headed back to the hostel to decide what to do. After a sip of wine and a beer, Luke and I took the metro out to what we were told would be a nice area to see some jazz or other live music. We were cold after browsing through a Christmas market so we headed into a cafe for a hot drink. Luke had a cappuccino and I had the best hot chocolate that was ever made. It was incredible. Truly delicious. After we were cozy we headed out to find a pub/bar that we could stop at to have a couple of drinks. We found a place where we plopped ourselves at the bar. I ordered a Bloody Mary, which was not on the menu and ended up costing €10 each and Luke had beer. After a couple of drinks we paid the bill and headed downstairs to where there were a few more people and where we could sit at a table. At 9pm, karaoke started. I love watching karaoke so we stayed for a couple more drinks. When we were ready to leave we asked for the bill and were shocked (to say the least) to see that our bill for 4 drinks was over €50! Luke approached the server to ask about this and we were told that €3 is added to each drink once karaoke starts. WHAT THE F*UCK?! We couldn't argue as the server pointed to the tiny print on the menu that stated this fact so we paid and made our way back to the hostel.

Next day we woke up and made ourselves some sandwiches for brekkie (baguette, brie cheese, cucumber and tomato, mmmm) and then we hopped onto the Metro and took it to the L'Arc de Triumphe. From there we walked to the Eiffel Tower and we puttered around that area for a few hours. Once it became dark we headed back to the Eiffel Tower to watch the light show. I know that some people think the Eiffel Tower is over-rated or that it's just a hunk of metal but I really love it. After the show we headed back to our area by Metro and went to the restaurant down the street for some more escargot (we each ordered our own this time) and a meal. It was a lovely way to end the trip.