All things Gaudí!

The last day of our vacation - so bittersweet! We missed our pup Franklin, but we absolutely loved Barcelona. How could you not? We woke up and grabbed an early tapas lunch at Casa Guinart before touring the city. I miss starting my day this way!securedownload-35We spent our last day on a self-guided Antoni Gaudí architectural tour. We were so impressed with Casa Batlló that we decided to dedicate a full day to all things Gaudí. How amazing is this?? In Barcelona it's known as the "house of bones" because of it's skull and bone structure. securedownload-38We started at Park Güell, which is one of the coolest places to see in Barcelona. The architecture is insane! Gaudí is a genius, and we couldn't have asked for a more perfect day...the weather was amazing, the sky was bright blue and the sun shined all day long. DSCN0333 DSCN0334 DSCN0335 DSCN0337 DSCN0339DSCN0342DSCN0345 DSCN0346 DSCN0350 DSCN0351 DSCN0354 DSCN0355 DSCN0356DSCN0359 DSCN0361 DSCN0362 DSCN0366 DSCN0367 DSCN0368 DSCN0369 DSCN0370Hey stud!DSCN0371View from the top! DSCN0374After the park, we walked to La Sagrada Familia, one of Gaudí's most famous works, only to find that it was under so much construction on the outside that it was unrecognizable and they sold out of tickets to tour the inside (on Sundays they only sell a limited number of tickets due to mass). Bummer - this is the only pic I managed to get. DSCN0379It looked amazing and I wish we could have seen the inside! Oh well, we'll just have to go back :) We ended up heading back towards our hotel to check out Palau Güell, the former palace of Eusebi Güell designed once again by Gaudí. The details were just incredible! DSCN0381DSCN0383DSCN0385DSCN0388DSCN0392DSCN0393DSCN0397DSCN0400My favorite part of the house though was definitely the roof - these are all chimneys, and each one was so unique and colorful!DSCN0403 DSCN0404 DSCN0409Yes, that's Reese checking out the chimneys - and he's over 6ft tall, so you can see just how big these were!DSCN0412 DSCN0402Barcelona has a ton of awesome graffiti - I spotted this from the roof.DSCN0411 DSCN0414Such an AMAZING vacation with my husband - I can't wait to travel with him again!! He's the best travel buddy because we're always on the same page. Where should we go next??

xo Court

 

 

 

 

Hola, Barcelona!

I'm finally getting around to posting our pics from Barcelona! We hosted a surprise party for my parents 25th anniversary on Friday so I was pretty busy, but it went off without a hitch and was a huge success! Their actual anniversary is today - happy anniversary mom and dad! Love you guys! Okay, back to Barcelona - what an amazing city!! We spent our first two days at the beach at the W Barcelona and it was by far one of the coolest hotels I've ever stayed at. We relaxed at the hotel until that evening, and then headed to the Primavera Sound music festival to see Arcade Fire. Such an awesome festival - unfortunately, I got my phone stolen! Not a big deal, I just lost a few pictures I had from that day.

The next day we got massages and spent some time at the spa at the W, which was wonderful. It was raining, so we headed over to the Barcelona casino for a bit before heading to dinner at Barraca. Some of the best paella I've ever had - and the burrata salad was to die for. The wine wasn't too shabby either!securedownload-33On Saturday, we headed downtown to the Le Meridien, where we spent the rest of our trip. As much as I loved the W, it was a little secluded so I'm glad we got the best of both worlds. Our hotel was conveniently located right off of La Rambla, so we spent Saturday just wandering around the city. We made our way over to La Boqueria, which is an amazing outdoor market. Check out all of the amazing colors!! DSCN0268The fresh fruit juices were so good and only 1 euro! DSCN0272 DSCN0276 DSCN0278 DSCN0279 DSCN0281After the market, we found the Barcelona Cathedral. It was so beautiful! DSCN0329DSCN0312DSCN0317DSCN0314DSCN0316I loved this courtyard in the middle of the church - so calming and peaceful!DSCN0296DSCN0301DSCN0293One of the coolest things we did was take an elevator to the roof of the cathedral - talk about a view!!DSCN0321DSCN0322DSCN0324One of the best things about Barcelona is wandering around the streets and alleys - it's the perfect city to get lost in. DSCN0285 DSCN0286 DSCN0290 DSCN0331Saturday night we had the most incredible dinner at Cinc Sentits, which means 5 senses. 12 courses and wine pairings later, we rolled ourselves home. Wow - it really did utilize all 5 senses and was a true experience. Seriously some of the best food we've ever had. If you're in Barcelona, I highly recommend making a reservation. It's pricey, but you won't be disappointed! The attention to detail on every dish was amazing - we even had this adorable welcome on our table when we arrived. securedownload-32Tomorrow, I'll post all about Gaudi and the amazing architecture in Barcelona - some of my favorite pics from the entire trip!

xo Court

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An American Couple in Paris: Part Deux

The title of this post is a nod to the series finale of Sex and the City - I figured it was fitting! Anyway, we went to the Louvre on our third day in Paris. I can't even describe how massive it is! It was so insanely cool - and crowded. Luckily, a little research led me to a secret side entrance to the museum which allowed us to skip the hour and a half wait! So worth it. DSCN0252 DSCN0253 DSCN0254Louvre selfies!securedownload-1I didn't take too many pictures inside the museum because I wanted to take it all in. Also, I was SO annoyed by all of the camera phones and iPads (yes, people were taking photos with iPads), blocking all of the paintings. Seriously, you could barely see the Mona Lisa because of all of the phones in the way! You're at the Louvre - just enjoy it! You can google pics of the Mona Lisa later. Sorry for the mini rant....anyway, check out this ceiling!DSCN0259 My favorite parts were all of the crowns and royal heirlooms, the Egyptian tombs and Napoleon's apartment! I did take a few pics of that because it was so extravagant...DSCN0261 DSCN0262 After the Louvre we just walked around Paris - it's amazing to just wander around and take in all of the sights. Like this building we walked by - I don't even know what it is, but it's magnificent! DSCN0266We had a low key night since we had to wake up super early for our champagne tour the next day, but we did find a amazing little pizza place called Cote Pizza. Fresh ingredients, great wine and some of the best tiramisu I've ever had in my life! After three days I needed a little break from French food and it was the perfect spot.

The next day we woke up super early - our ride picked us up at 7AM - and headed off to Reims for the day for our champagne tour! It's about 2 hours away, but I highly recommend it if you're in Paris and looking for a day trip. We used Paris Champagne Tour and they were awesome! It's 175 euros but it includes your transportation, 2 champagne tours and tastings, a delicious lunch and a tour of the Reims Cathedral. It was a small tour too - just us and two other couples, who happened to be young Australians also on their honeymoons! We lucked out with a great group.

Our first stop was at the actual vineyards - all of the grapes for champagne in the entire world are grown right here! Also, it's not called champagne unless it's grown in this area - they are very strict about that! securedownload-20 securedownload-21Ah, my fave!securedownload-22Our next stop was at Cuperly - a small, family owned champagne maker. We toured their entire facility and they walked us through the whole champagne making process, which is very extensive. We learned a ton! Afterwards, we had a well deserved tasting - and we took home a bottle of the delicious rose! securedownload-8Fun fact, the bigger the bottle, the better the champagne! And, champagne doesn't need to age - it's already been aged enough after it's bottled. So drink up!

After Cuperly, we had a delicious lunch in Reims - I don't even remember the name! It was traditional French cuisine and there were only 2 options for a three course meal. Luckily, our tour guide stayed with us to help us order. We also drank a lot of champagne - it's all part of the tour, right?

Next we toured the Reims Cathedral, which was absolutely beautiful. The photos speak for themselves!securedownload-23 securedownload-26securedownload-28The stained glass was just incredible. securedownload-30 securedownload-24My favorite statue - doesn't she look happy? Rock on. securedownload-25Next stop? The Pommery, which I've decided is the champagne equivalent of Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. It was so bizarre but really cool. Lots of contemporary art, bright colors and interesting architecture. securedownload-10 securedownload-11 securedownload-12This is what it looked like inside - completely different from Cuperly! And yes, that is a real stuffed circus elephant. Creepy!securedownload-9The whole tour was underground, and they make their champagne in these dark caverns. Again, a little creepy, but we were with a big group so it wasn't too scary. securedownload-15 securedownload-14 securedownload-16Really interesting place - one of those things you just have to see in person to get the full effect! Our last stop was the Veuve Clicquot tasting room, per our request! Completely different vibe from the last two - very clean cut and sophisticated. And of course, delicious!securedownload-19Another low key night - we didn't get back until almost 8 so we were exhausted. The next day we just walked around Paris, did some shopping and enjoyed our last day. That night, we had dinner at Saturne - by far our best meal in Paris! I had the best bottle of chardonnay of my life - here's a pic of the bottle. The meal was spectacular. The lobster with baby potatoes was absolutely to die for! Highly recommend - just make a reservation. securedownload-31

Tomorrow - all about our first few days in Barcelona! Ah I loved that city....can't wait to share it with you all!

xo Court

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recap: Our European Honeymoon!

Reese and I returned to the states yesterday from such a fabulous honeymoon! We ate some of the most amazing meals we've ever had, stayed at one of the coolest hotels I've ever seen and witnessed some of the most beautiful and iconic sights in each city. It may take a few posts to share all of the details, so let's start with Paris - Part 1! We used Airbnb for our stay in Paris - our host Maxime was great! He was very responsive and stocked the wine fridge with lots of rose...what more can you ask for?? The apartment was located on Boulevard Haussmann, right near the Champs Elysees in the Madeleine neighborhood. It was a great spot - we were within walking distance to so many great shops and spots, including the Eiffel Tower, but it was on a quieter street away from the hustle and bustle. That's ours on the third floor. securedownload-5We also had charming juliet balconies overlooking the street - so romantic! The view wasn't too shabby either... securedownload-6Our first day we were a little jet-lagged so we just wandered around our neighborhood. We accidentally discovered this amazing gourmet shop called Fauchon - I seriously wanted to eat everything in there!! From the cheese and charcuterie to the delectable desserts, it was incredible. We brought back cheese, jambon, fig spread and a baguette and had a nice little lunch with a great bottle of rose. securedownload-3Look at the colors on these desserts! We couldn't leave without buying a few macarons - so good. securedownload-4

That night we had a great dinner at Pomze, a restaurant right near our apartment. I'm still craving the strawberry gazpacho we had for dessert! Then we wondered over to a cocktail bar near by called Le Forum - it was one of the coolest cocktail bars I've ever been to! Reese ordered an old fashioned and it had actual Fruit Loops on top, and my champagne cocktail was served with spritz of rose essence from an old perfume bottle that the waiter sprayed table side. It was dark (hence the photo), mysterious and romantic - very Parisian. I also loved the menu design!securedownload-2I don't know how we found a second wind but we managed to bar hop after, stopping at the swanky Buddha Bar, which was very cool but crowded, and ending the night at Harry's New York Bar, a total dive where we partied with a few Brits and drank one too many Vodka Collins. We did manage to spot the Eiffel Tower at night before pouring ourselves into a cab - just breathtaking! The next day (after a bit of a late start, thanks to me), we made our way back over the Eiffel Tower with a pit stop at the Arc de Triomphe. It was under construction, but still pretty amazing!securedownloadSeeing the Eiffel Tower up close and in person was one of the highlights of the trip. It's truly magnificent! Is it even possible to take a bad photo of it?DSCN0216 DSCN0222 DSCN0225 DSCN0226 DSCN0229Eiffel tower selfies with my love. securedownload-7The view of the Seine River was spectacular as well!DSCN0235DSCN0231 DSCN0233On our walk back, we stopped at a local market to pick up some fruit and then found this amazing, quaint garden tucked away off of the sidewalk. We wandered in and ate our snack - it was so peaceful and one of my favorite moments of the trip. DSCN0236 DSCN0237 DSCN0238 DSCN0240 DSCN0242 DSCN0243

Tomorrow, I'll recap our visit to the Louvre and our day trip to Reims for our champagne tour! Stay tuned!

xo Courtney