Friday, September 29, 2017

Honeymoon Day 11: Swimming, Star Wars underpants, and Blue Tea

Honeymoon Day 11: Swimming, Star Wars underpants, and Blue Tea

Quick! Do all the last minute things we want to do in Paris!

Our very quick 1.5 days in Paris on the honeymoon was action packed, and this morning was no exception. Our first stop was the absolutely crazy swimming pool on the bottom floor of the amazing Raffles Le Royal Monceau Paris. This super unusual and amazing spa/pool was underneath of an outdoor terrace (you can see the roof in these two photos below). I had a tea at the entrance to the pool area, and then we went to go take a swim in this crazy place. As we were swimming, it started raining outside on the upper deck and there were rain droplets visible from the pool! Of course, this was all in Phillipe Starck-designed style, with mirrors everywhere and bright white paint everywhere, interesting and weird metal work, etc. Check this madness out!

A view from the upper deck from online, this is the roof of the pool

Ever seen billowy curtains on the wall of a swimming pool before?! Me neither.
The spa area was cray, too. It was also in the same Phillipe Starck-style of bright bright white paint and rows of white lights everywhere (less mirrors though inside the bathroom area, thankfully!)

After a swim, we tried out the hot tub and then went off to try the spa areas. I tried the warm seat, steam room, sauna and shower. The design of the place was so unusual I had to snap a few photos when no one was in there (thankfully it was very quiet so there was so one else in there at all, really!)

Warm seat to relax on
Shower area, steam room
Crazy epic rain shower thing!! See video below.
Back to the classic Phillipe Starck style, TONS of mirrors everywhere... in the change room portion of the pool!
The best thing by far was this crazy rain spa shower thing. It had 4 different "rain" options you could choose from, Tropical Rainforest, etc. Obviously I tried all of them :) Tropical Rainforest was awesome and had some thunder and "rain" and the lights were pretty crazy too. That rocked. There was one called "Nuit Siberienne" (Siberian Night!) and it was cold!!!! There were a couple others too, it was all awesome. They all had epic lightshows and 3 different shower mists and temperatures. Definitely the absolute coolest shower I've ever seen.

Amazing. The best.

We met up outside of the spa area and had a mini-muffin and a cappucino there before heading back to the room. Upstairs, we took a few more photos of our awesome room and then we split the remaining to-do items: we needed to both pack AND do laundry... so, Michal packed while I raced around outside to take care of some "chores" before flying out of CDG later that day.

First stop was the Laverie -- I found one close-ish and walked about 10 min down some verrrry French sideroads to find it. Along the way I saw tons of cobbler shops making handmade dress shoes, it was so cool. I wasn't sure how it was gonna go at the Laverie but it was fine -- I chucked the laundry in and it was a pretty fancy machine, actually! You entered the info into a main machine and then selected digitally on the machine the cycle you wanted. Pretty fun and I read the whole instructions in French before realizing later that another sign on another wall was in English. haha.

With our laundry safely in a washing machine, I raced back past the hotel towards the Eric Kayser to grab a baguette for lunch. But wait!!! A Celio store! It was sortof of a side-road so I figured I might be lucky and they might have my Star Wars underpants that I desperately wanted to buy. "Excuse-et-moi... est-ce que vous avez un Boite de Star War?"... "Oui!" Yay!!!!!

The lady had kindly helped me after I had already rifled through several boxes, opening them all up to check the designs (as there were 4 or 5 different designs, and you couldn't tell which one it was from the outside of the box). "Can I help?"... "Different designs?"... "I think so..." After a pretty minimal amount of effort she said, "These seem all the same." I had already jumbled up things enough to try to find all the possible designs, so I just got one box and well as a single Darth Vader one that seemed to be extra special. I also got some awesome Celio socks and another 5 pack of nice varied colour boxers. Between Celio and Pull-In, Paris sure knows how to make a kick-ass boxer short, let me tell you!

Damn this was awesome.
And here's the kicker... the dude at the front rings it all up... and there was a tinnny little sign I didn't even see (that was definitely not on the Champs-Elysees Celio the day before)... that said "Tous les collections -50%"... OMG. 80 Euros?!? NOPE.... 40 EUROS. The entire damn purchase was 40 Euros. I was like.... WHAAAATTT?!?!?!? Soooo epic. What a successful day already! Already got my Star Wars boxers, and got some other crazy awesome ones for like 3 Euros each. Incredible. Underpants! Woo!

After that excitement I made it to Eric Kayser and got Le Baguette Eternale... sounds good! I got a cookie and a pain au chocolat to take back for lunch, too.

Don't forget, the laundry still needed to be dried! So I schlepped again.. 10 min back to the hotel area, past our hotel, and then 10 more min to the Laverie. Thankfully no one stole our clothes (though I just got so many new boxer shorts I probably would have been OK if they did), and I switched them from the washer into a dryer. Now, time for lunch. On the walk back (again!) to the hotel, I stopped a small local Franprix mini grocery store and picked up some awesome looking 8 Euros of various cheeses, Bonne Maman jam, and a 7up Saveur Mojito flavour pop can. Now back to the hotel room to check in on Michal, eat some lunch and drop off all the stuff I just bought :)

Lunch of champions
Since I'd already been to Celio and successfully scored a bazillion boxer shorts, we ditched the plan we had originally to schlep to some other further Celio and also stop by the Pullin store (for yet more underpants -- what's the deal with me and fancy French underpants?!) Too many underpants already.

After a great lunch and regaling Michal about 5 times with the same story about how I got 50% off all the things at Celio, Michal packed the stuff I just bought while I then raced back and forth, ONE MORE TIME, to go pick UP the dry laundry!!!! OMG we are insane.

We packed the last of the clothes and checked out of the hotel. The was still enough time for a quick tea at Mariage Freres, a fancy-as-heck tea place that is very similar to TWG Tea from Singapore, it has the same sort of vibe (and I always wondered if they were related somehow). They had an actual Mariage Freres sit-down tea room and it was right near the hotel so we went to check it out. Michal chose the "Mariage" tea and I got "Marco Polo Bleu" tea. SERIOUSLY, BLUE TEA. I had never heard of it before and it was sooo crazy I had to try it. Seriously, the colour was nuts! The guy said it was on the scale of teas between Black tea and Green tea. Very odd indeed. It was sortof bluey-green. Insane!

Ladies and gentlemen, BLUE tea!!!

The blue tea looked SO weird but I loved trying it. It had a good, mild flavour, and was a bit "malty" and "vanilla-y". So cray. With tea we also had some scones which were great and some "Tea Madelines" which were FANTASTIC. We got Rose and Earl Grey tea-infused madelines and they were soft and very tasty. A delicious and fabulous spot to take a short rest amidst the running around! The tea menu here was insane too, it was like the Multnomah Whisky Library of tea!

What a great wrap-up day to the Europe portion of our honeymoon adventure. On the way back to the hotel to grab our bags, Michal found a store called "Naf Naf" that was her exact style of funky and cute and really matched the types of clothes she likes. It was so great, and "Tres Parisienne"! This place was totally Michal's style and she got a few things. Fun! And crazy right as we were about to leave for the airport!

We got our bags and took an Uber (Uue-beaaarrr!) to CDG. That was sweet and very easy. Upon arrival to the airport we were surprised to see a long line for checking in for Air Seychelles -- kind of surprising! Quite a busy flight! We were a bit concerned about our luggage weight but it was all good and no problems. Amazingly, we each only packed ONE bag for this month-long, multi-continent, every-type-of-weather trip each and had not yet gone over the weight limit.

Here we go!!!!!
We boarded and were ready for a long 10 hr flight to Mahe, Seychelles... but it was a GREAT flight! I actually slept...  a lot! I probably slept more hours than I did on our crazy United Global First flight on the way from SF to Europe. I was so glad to get some sleep as I suspected with a red-eye I was going to be so tired. So this was perfect.

It was such a good plan to do this flight from Paris and to be able to arrive in the Seychelles but not to be jetlagged or to have to deal with a major time difference since we had already intentionally acclimatized to the time zone over the past week in Europe, and Seychelles was only a couple hours different in time zone than France.

We had a great chicken dinner on the plane and when they came around with the drink cart I asked the stewardess "what would the locals recommend?" She said the Takamaka Bay Dark Rum and Coke was the best choice. I was very excited to try that and she seemed very pleased that I chose the rum of the Seychelles.

And then began our next part of the trip... to the magnificent Indian Ocean paradise of The Seychelles... we could hardly wait for the next part of this insane adventure around the world.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Honeymoon Day 10: Pastries in Paris

Honeymoon Day 10: Pastries in Paris

Today is our only full day in Paris on the trip, so let's make the most of it! We had a bit of a late start, but went FULL TILT with HOURS of walking! Yay! This is the best way to really experience the epicness of Paris and we went all-out.

One of the first stops was based on Michal's friend Gavin's recommendation, a place I hadn't been to before, Sadaharu Aoki (a Japanese patisserie) in the Galleries Lafayette. I think I had wandered into the shopping portion of Galleries Lafayette on a previous Paris trip, but had never been to the food area before. It was an awesome and lucky find. It was a bit like the epic Food Hall at Harrod's in London -- tons of little counters of different foods, all amazingly prepared and the option to try lots of stuff (and insanely fancy, to boot).

We picked up two cheeses including an amazing smooth goat cheese. To go with the cheese we picked up some awesome confitures (jams) that went amazingly well with it. There was a long line for an Italian Pizza spot, so I grabbed a slide there as well as some tasty looking Cannelloni to go. Also, gotta stop for a nice espresso and also to pick up some pastries -- we got a Tarte Yuzu and a Millefeuille Vanille.

Fun espresso area, the dude was awesome and we chatted about coffee in San Francisco a bunch.

Amazing fresh pasta
Crazy different kinds of pink and purple salt
This pizza rocked

As always, the cheese in France is the best
This was the goat cheese we got, called Pelardon Fermier A.O.P. It was insanely creamy and tasty.
Armed with all of this amazing food, we continued on with our walk through Opera (wow!!) The architecture in Paris is always overwhelmingly amazing, and as always it did not disappoint. To make the day even more perfect, we stopped in at the world-changing Baguette place, Eric Kayser. Now, with some pastries, some incredible cheese, and probably the best damn baguette that you can buy in the entire world, we headed to my favourite park ever, the Jardis de Tuilleries.

Opera architecture
Crazy epic buildings

Someone give this goose a sippy-cup!
Arriving at the magnifique Jardis de Tuilleries, we found a nice bench and had the most romantic picnic of all time. #honeymoon :) Staring into each other's eyes, laughing, dancing, smiling, and eating the heck out of an incredible baguette with amazing cheese and perfectly-matched confitures... now THIS is a honeymoon!!


Cannelloni was awesome
To accompany cheese... they're not kiddin'!!!
Dessert, mais oui!
Dancing in the park
My silly love
So that was friggin' ROMANTIC and amazing. Paris, you are awesome. And to think we just "stuck" Paris into the honeymoon plans because we needed to fly out of CDG... silly!!! This place is so awesome and perfect and no wonder so many people come here for special romantic trips. Ahhhh Paris.... c'est le belle vie :)

And then... more walking! A.k.a. do the Paris thing! We walked and walked, eventually across the Seine and towards Ile de la Cite. At one point we wandered by Notre Dame and were like, "Uh, yeah, I guess let's take a Notre Dame photo..." having both seen it before and been inside on previous trips. "We're such jerks!" we said to each other and had a good laugh. While I suppose it seemed a bit silly to be in Paris and literally not go to any museums or art exhibits or historical stuff... but with only a day and a half here, we needed to focus on the most necessary things -- including, of course, Berthillion gelato.

Ferris wheel with Eiffel Tower in the distance

The obligatory Notre Dame photo
Seine river, you magnificent fiend
So off we went, giving a very short nod to the continued epic architecture, and headed to my favourite Ile St. Louis ice cream shop, Berthillion. We got to the shop and it wasn't busy and was starting to get dark. I asked the dude if I could have a taste of a couple of flavours. He said, "normally no, but for you it is OK." hahah oh man, special treatment, this place already is amazing. I got two flavours, unsurprisingly, Passionfruit and Cafe.

The best damn part of the whole experience was when he then started to hand me the cone.... he spun the cone in his hand over, I thought he was gonna drop it... OH NO!!!!!! But this was totally on purpose, like a Buster Keaton hat-trick or slight of hand... hahahaha!!! It was SO funny. So, so funny. It was like a trick that he would presumably usually only do for a young kid, but I enjoyed it just as much. It was so awesome. Talk about adding some fun and sillyness to an already awesome day. That gave me a really good laugh. I could have sworn he was gonna drop the ice cream! Haha, amazing.

We had been walking for 5+ hours, so we took a short break off our feet to stop for a Kir and espresso and rest our legs a bit. We continued to walk and went into our favourite crazy housewares store called Pylones, and I got a black cat scrubbing brush holder which is awesome. We also bought a Citron Sucre crepe on the side of the road to keep us going -- gotta have it.

Me, VERY pleased with my gelato cone
Back to our Crepe place from last time we were in Paris!
We continued walking to our neighbourhood from the last trip, near Maubert–Mutualité. We found our old crepe dude from the previous visit and he was still in the same spot. Amazing. We got a Nutella-Banana crepe for good measure and then ultimately we took the Subway back to the Champs-Élysées after SO much walking.

Celio Star Wars boxers?! I must find them in my size!!
Our crazy hotel was near the Champs-Élysées this time which was crazy as I've never stayed near there before. We got off the Subway near the main shopping area of the street and bought our Salt and Pepper grinders at the Puegot store. Sooooo excited about those :)

We went into the giant Celio store there (kindof like a French Gap or UniQlo). I love that place. Unfortunately with all the amazing cheese eating and so on, I wasn't finding much that fit well at the moment :) So that was a fail but... they had Celio Star Wars Boxers ("boites")!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't find my size there, but I will try to get them tomorrow.

After a glorious day out, we headed back to the hotel to chill for a bit. Here are some more photos of the crazy interesting room and all the odd and fun art in the room.

"Phone's ringing, dude"

Crystal thing on the wall
Even the door handles were fancy

Weird shifted desk thing

Cool carpet

After a short relax, we headed down to the bar area to grab a small dinner. I got a Matcha latte and a salad, and Michal got a Gratinee (French Onion soup). It was nice and relaxing there at the hotel after a busy and epic full day out.

Michal LOVED these mugs -- they were also designed by Philippe Starck (who also designed the hotel), and were made by the super fanced Raynaud Limoges chinaware company.
Magic salad

We took another look at the mugs at the shop, but it was 220 Euros for 2 mugs!! Oof. So we didn't get them, but Michal loved the concept anyhow :)
An awesome and long day in Paris. Action-packed!