Jeff and I spent part of the summer of 2009 in Europe, first travelling with friends, and then I stayed longer in the Netherlands to do a five week urban design studio with the University of British Columbia. Was it the best school experience of my life? Yes, I would have to say so, but more on that some other time perhaps. Was it the best trip Jeff and I have ever been on? Definitely.
We began our trip in London, staying there for just a couple of days before heading to Barcelona with our friends Carrah and Jamie. We rented an apartment in Barcelona and had the most amazing five days in that city. From there, we briefly went our separate ways and Jeff and I headed to Paris.
Neither of us had ever been to Paris before and we stayed at two really cute, beyond-tiny hotels and visited all of the Paris tourist traps and places slightly more off the beaten track, like the cemetery that Jim Morrison and Edith Piaf are buried in (among the other famous people buried there). Above is the cat that lived on Edith Piaf's grave. It had gum stuck in its tail and it scratched me. I was worried I would get bubonic plague as a result of our encounter. We walked for millions of kilometres a day, looked at art until our eyes hurt, and ate Nutella until we couldn't anymore (didn't know that was possible until then...). Oh, we also tried to find vegetarian food in Paris, which is pretty tough, and ended up eating the best falafels ever and a lot of pizza. Perfect.
Then, one night back in our hotel, after being together for almost eight years, Jeff proposed to me with the most beautiful Karen Konzuk engagement ring. And I said yes. Below is the view we had that night. Any of you who know us know that a romantic Paris engagement doesn't sound much like a story that we'd have to tell, let alone one that we would tell if we did have that story in our back pocket. But that is our engagement story, and here I am telling it just a few days before our wedding. It should also be known Jeff just walked into the room and told me that we should learn to speak French fluently and move to Paris.
After we left Paris we spent a couple of days in a Dutch town on the North Sea coast. Our hotel room was gigantic by Parisian standards, with its own walk-out balcony and a view of the German tourists flocking into the town from the train station. We spent an evening on a freezing cold beach and then continued on to Amsterdam.
The church clocks in Zandvoort sounded like this. We felt like we were living in a music box full of vowels (have you ever seen a Dutch street sign) and Germans. It was awesome.
We listened to this song a lot and its recently come back on our summer playlist: