Explore: Paris

Explore: Paris

Explore: Paris

I was lucky enough to visit one of the most beautiful cities in the world this summer, Paris, France. It was a dream come true!

Explore: Paris

We were mesmerized by all the gorgeous pastries around every corner. If only I could have eaten them all. We did try a pretty amazing eclair from this shop. I wish I could have had one of each.

Explore: Paris

By far my favorite area in Paris was Monmartre. The gorgeous narrow streets wrapping around the Sacre Couer are like something out of a dream. Though it is a bit of a tourist trap, if you squint your eyes just so, you can imagine yourself transported to those bohemian revelries. I think I dreamed of being a cancan girl that night. 

Explore: Paris

Breakfast in Paris is awesome, you guys. It’s just carbs on carbs with jam. And I learned that there is some basis for the stereotype of the grumpy French waiter. Prepare to be scoffed at if you want milk for your tea. It’s worth it to be able to eat two kinds of bread for breakfast and have it be perfectly normal.

Explore: Paris

Paris is very expensive, and a lot of the major attractions were just too pricey for me to justify over three days. The one thing we couldn’t miss was the Eifel Tower. It’s cheapest if you take the stairs. It was hard work but totally manageable, and I’m pretty out of shape. The Euros were on while we were in France, so that’s why there was a giant soccer ball in the middle of the tower. Get there early to avoid the crowds and plan where you want to eat after that. We were starving when we came down.

Explore: Paris

What kind of food blogger can go to Paris without eating macarons. I could have eaten a hundred a day. This was actually my favorite evening. We bought some cheese and a baguette and a few other snacks and had an impromptu picnic along the canal near out hotel. We wandered around in the shade, sat in a square and at macarons, and watched people playing lawn games in a park. So simply perfect.

Explore: Paris

Our last day in Paris was spent among the outrageous opulence of this city. There is nothing subtle about Paris. It is the epitome of grand. I mentioned before that most of the museums and attractions were too pricey, but luckily the architecture and outdoor sculpture is magnificent enough in its own right that you don’t really miss it.

Explore: Paris

That being said, the permanent collections of many of the national museums are free. We visited the modern art museum as well as the Petit Palais. 

We spent three days in Paris, and I feel like we barely scratched the surface. I can’t wait to get back there and see what else this magnificent city has to offer. Oh, and eat a few more of those pastries.

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Explore: Edinburgh

Explore: Edinburgh

Explore: Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a dream for wanderers. We recently took a quick day trip to explore the city for the first time, and I already can’t wait to go back. The old town is full of narrow crooked lanes with unique little shops and quirky architecture tucked away everywhere. You just stumble upon history everywhere you look. And above it all Edinburgh Castle is always looming.

Explore: Edinburgh

But you know I was really there to explore the city that helped to make my favorite story come to life and walk the streets that Jo walked and feel the energy she might have felt as Harry and Hermione and all the Weasleys, so many of my imaginary friends, were coming to life in her mind. 

Explore: Edinburgh

Obviously, we had to stop off at The Elephant House, one of the cafes that Jo frequently visited to avoid paying for heating in her Edinburgh flat while she struggled as a single mom. I don’t usually go all gooey over celebrities, but you guys, it’s Jo Rowling. You’ll have to forgive me. Besides, the hot chocolate was great.

Explore: Edinburgh

See that! That’s magic being born. Just shut up.

Explore: Edinburgh

Just around the corner from the Elephant House is Grey Friar’s Kirkyard. It’s creepy and beautiful. Of course, I had to find the grave of Tom Riddle, but really, if you’re one of those weirdos who likes wandering around in old graveyards, this one is definitely worth checking out. I think there are actual famous people buried there, but all I really cared about was Voldemort.

Explore: Edinburgh

Not far from here is Grassmarket and Victoria Street. I absolutely loved wandering past the colorful shops on the curving narrow road that some say was the inspiration for Diagon Alley. There was a vintage tweed shop that had me wanting exactly everything in the window, but the joke shop definitely put a huge smile on my face.

Explore: Edinburgh

You know I was happy when we found ourselves in an open market selling fresh produce, handcrafted jewelry, fresh bread, and gorgeous macarons. 

Explore: Edinburgh

I love that Edinburgh embraces it’s reputation as a magical city. They could have created tourist traps, but instead, this city seems to just hint at magic if you’re looking in the right places. I can’t wait to return and experience so much more of what Edinburgh has to offer.

Exploring: World of Wings

Exploring: World of Wings

Exploring: World of Wings

For Christmas this year, I opted for an untraditional gift for my husband. Instead of a tie or a watch or some other ultimately useless thing, I gifted him a Bird of Prey experience at World of Wings in Cumbernauld, Scotland.

Exploring: World of Wings

I married a man who happens to love animals more than people. I’m quite convinced he’d happily trade me in for a dog if he could figure out how to get the dog to make dinner. This gift was better than any single thing I could have bought him for a store. He was gloriously happy.

Exploring: World of Wings

I found a deal on Groupon to make his experience more affordable. They seem to run offers on a fairly regular basis in the winter months. I’m betting that if you want to go in the summer, you’ll have to pay full price.

Exploring: World of Wings

I was able to pay regular admission for myself and visit their entire collection of birds. I also got to take photos while Geoff got to handle some of the beautiful birds they care for. 

Exploring: World of Wings

If you want to do one of these hands-on experiences, you’ll need to book ahead, but if you just want to see the birds and watch a flying demonstration, you can stop by any time during their opening hours.

Exploring: World of Wings

It snowed the weekend we went, so the 15 minute walk from the train station was a bit more unpleasant than it might otherwise have been. If you have the ability to drive there, I’d recommend it, but it is reachable by public transport.

Exploring: World of Wings

We also grabbed a quick breakfast between the handling and the flying demonstration, and the food was better than I expected.

Exploring: World of Wings

If you’re an animal lover in the Glasgow area, I’d definitely recommend keeping an eye out for a deal at World of Wings. It was a lovely, if very cold, day well-spent.

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