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Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Free Trip to Paris

As a surprise for Sam, we headed off to Paris for 3 nights on the 16th February. Firstly, it wasn't a Valentines trip - I'm not that soft! It was just that Airmiles had a really good offer on for a return to Paris on the Eurostar, and 3 nights in a top location Paris hotel all for free (well, if you forget about the 2400 airmiles it cost!). And that top location Paris hotel, the Antin Trinite (2*) sounded to good an opportunity to miss!

We took the Eurostar on Friday morning from Waterloo and were in Paris for Lunchtime. We dropped our bags in our 'top location' Paris hotel and headed out to explore... we would have spent longer exploring the room, but if I'd have had a cat with me I don't think I would have been able to swing it, but you can't complain when it didn't cost anything! The tariff chart on the back of the room door made me laugh - €155 a night!!!

All of the food we had was great, from the €15 for two Chinese to the €195 meal on Saturday night (ouch)! We walked miles and miles over the weekend, and I didn't take very good walking shoes!

Sam found a great looking bar in the Wallpaper guide of Paris, and we headed there on Friday night - it was about 11.00pm when we got there, but you guessed it - we were too early - it didn't open till 12. With aching feet after all the walking, we decided to go back to our 'top location' Paris hotel and crash out!

I planned to take Sam up the Eiffel Tower on Sunday evening... as I thought it would be a bit more relaxed at the end of the weekend - how wrong could I have been! We didn't get up it, I ended up taking photos of it from the opposite side of the river. I've never taken photos from this angle before, and I think it is much better than standing right underneath - you can't get the full picture from there. I'll let you decide, here are the results...

As a commiseration for not managing to do what we set out to do, we headed for a bargain Chinese restaurant instead. It was Chinese new years day after all!

Then off to meet up with Evelyn, who moved out to Paris a month ago. She's living in a real authentic Parisian apartment, it was nice to get to go inside a proper French apartment- all very art deco and stylish.

On Monday morning I was up at 5am to head to Helsinki via Copenhagen, while Sam was left to get the train back through the tunnel to work...


Fuji Sushi, 5 Rue Joubert, Near Galleries Lafayette
Rival de Luxe, 3 ave Matignon, off the Champs Elysees
Georges, Pompidou Centre - maybe only go for a drink unless you want to spend a lot on dinner

Monday, 5 February 2007

Wedding Weekend 1 - Belfast

We spent the first weekend in February in what turned out to be Sunny Belfast, at Laura and Jez's wedding. After an early start on Friday morning, we flew to George Best Belfast City airport and checked into the Malmasion in Belfast. The wedding was in Bangor at Bangor Abbey on the Friday, and the service was nice, with some great tunes that Sam really enjoyed singing. I think she can tell that I used to be an altar boy ;)

All of the pictures I have are of me pulling an extremely strange face, I don't really know what came over me - maybe it was the gallons of champagne that we drank at the reception!
Later on, the dancing shoes were brought out and I think I did a good job of embarrassing Sam with my attempts at Jiving, expertly taught by Laura's brother, John.

Saturday we went for a wander around Belfast city centre, and took in the sights. The city hall was an amazing looking building, but it seemed to be surrounded by hoards of teenagers in Goth dress, there were hundreds (well maybe a hundred) of them!

We then found a great food market, unfortunately by the time we got there it was starting to close up, but what we did see and eat was great - highly recommended if you find yourself in Belfast on a Saturday morning. It's called St Peters market and is marked on the free city map you can get.

On Saturday night we went to a Thai restaurant with Caroline and Brian, which was excellent. We were lucky as it was about the 5th place we had tried to get in to, it seems that all of the restaurants in Belfast are booked solid on a Saturday night... must have been the weekend after pay day!

Sunday morning and we had a look around the river, where we took this delightful picture...

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