Every year our family takes a vacation somewhere. Usually it is in the vicinity of family where we see the traditional sites on the way. Throughout the years, our family has seen the Grand Canyon, the St. Louis Arch, a pineapple maze and my favorite the meteor crater. I can still hear the girls bemoaning that event. “But mom, it’s just a big hole in the ground!”
This year was a little different. My husband and I have been married twenty five years. Yay! So of course something extraordinary had to happen. As my husband tells it, we’d been joking around for years that we would spend our twenty fifth anniversary in Paris. I never thought it was a joke. Anyhow, the stars aligned on this particular occasion. My husband headed to Scotland to teach a class. After the class was over, we met him in London and our adventures began.
There are so many wonderful things that happened in London but the thing that sticks out most for me is the Afternoon Tea at the Atheneaum Hotel. We were served a traditional English tea that didn’t disappoint. First, we were given a selection of teas. There were so many different types it was hard to narrow it down. Luckily we were given a choice of five. We decided on Earl Grey, rooibos, Jasmine, a green and a white tea. And that was only the beginning.
The waiter brought a three tiered tray filled with tea sandwiches, scones and pastries. I especially liked the cucumber sandwiches and the ham and red onion marmalade. As an extra added bonus, they brought more of our favorite sandwiches. The scones, jam and clotted cream were not to be missed. We made our way to the top tier filled with chocolate covered strawberries, Champaign jelly, merengue’s and petit fours. See picture below.
Nestled in a little nook with a half octagon window overlooking a small garden, we enjoyed each and every one of these treats. The waiter came by on another round and offered us more scones. No, really we couldn’t eat another bite. So in true American fashion we asked for the check. That’s when the real surprise came. “You’re kidding,” He said. “We haven’t brought the dessert trolley yet.” What? There was more to this tea we didn’t know about. I assure you the menu on the website made no mention of the dessert trolley.
In shame, we asked to see the trolley. It was a wonder to behold. There were pound cakes, fruit tarts, pies and seven layer cakes. We were full. There was no way we could consume even a minute portion of one item. So we didn’t. The waiters were shocked. Normally their customers ignore the tasty treats on the third tier of the tray so they save room for the desserts on the trolley. See picture below.
Well, next time we’ll know better. But it really doesn’t matter. The food was delicious. The atmosphere was divine and the third tier was delectable. We weren’t deprived of a thing.
After London, we took the Chunnel to Paris. I was very excited about this part of the trip. One of my favorite excursions was to Montmartre where we saw the Moulin Rouge and the adorable city that surrounds it. Montmartre was how I envisioned all of Paris with its winding hills, old architecture and markets. But the thing that sticks out most for me was the Eiffel Tower.
I don’t know why it was so important to me to see the Eiffel Tower. Maybe because it’s so iconic and the biggest symbol France has. Although it is my understanding Parisians hate it, there is no denying the power of the structure. I expected it to be black when it was actually brown. There was a huge green space surrounding it. The whole experience was romantic and awe inspiring. And I thought. This is it. I have finally been to Paris and seen the Eiffel tower. What could be better than this?
But I didn’t know there were bigger forces at play. As my husband was deciding if he would pay the 5 euros to go up in the tower, my daughters bent their heads together in discussion. My youngest asked, “Should we tell them?” My oldest nodded. We were informed there was no need to pay the 5 euros to go up in the tower. The girls had paid for us to eat at the restaurant later that night. Their gift to us for our twenty fifth anniversary.
It was one of the most awesome experiences in my life. We sat on the second floor as Paris went from day to night. We were given a glass of champagne as we perused our pre fix menu. With each course (there were three) we were served a glass of wine. I had an appetizer of salmon, main dish of lamb and a fruit and cream dessert. My husband had the salmon appetizer, main dish cod and chocolate cake. After dinner, we walked further up the Eiffel Tower. It was a magical evening. My only regret is that we didn’t get to see the tower light show as we were inside when it happened.
Scott and I up in the Eiffel Tower.
This trip was more productive than I anticipated. See I have a small bucket list forming. On that list is go to Paris, have dinner in the Eiffel Tower and see the Moulin Rouge. In one fell swoop, that list was completed. I think I need a bigger bucket list.
That’s all I have for now. Thank you for reading my post.