After Fiji, I had experienced travel in a new way, so I started to rethink how to book accommodations. Looking into apartment rentals, I stumbled upon Vacations Rentals By Owner, http://www.vrbo.com/, and started dreaming about a week in Paris. After e-mailing Rick several options, I started to research flights as well, and found that they were pretty affordable during my Spring Break. My favorite flight search engine is kayak, http://www.kayak.com/, and so I started to look at different dates and prices and e-mailing dream scenarios. It was pretty easy to convince Rick to go to Paris, as he had never been. I had a brief Paris rendezvous during the World Cup, and longed to go back.
The apartment I found seemed too good to be true--a studio a block from the Eiffel Tower and subway. It seemed so charming in the pictures, and averaged $75 a night, which was a steel for the neighborhood. I was a little skeptical until we arrived, but it all worked out brilliantly! Our host didn't speak a word of English, but we understood everything through pantomime and demonstrations. Here's our view of the courtyard:
My addiction to dream vacations becoming a reality became a pattern...I would plan vacations while working through sometimes tough moments with teenagers, and Rick would encourage us to make it happen. Our week in Paris was glorious--we walked everywhere, and occasionally took the subway. We tried to speak French everywhere, even though we both know very little, so people treated us rather well.
Rick and I love going to museums--me being a history buff and art lover--so we bought a Paris Pass, which gave us admission to tons of sights and a week on the metro for a huge discount. Most cities have them--I've used them in London, New York, and Oslo--and they're a great way to see alot of sights in a few days. You do need to figure out if you have time to dedicate to seeing so many things, so it really depends on how much you want to do for your particular destination. If you're not in the mood for a fast paced visit, then it's not a good way to spend your time, as you feel obligated to get your money's worth. It was an amazing week, and I look forward to visiting the beautiful city of lights once again.