A Travellerspoint blog

And the touring begins!


sunny 90 °F

What an adventure (pr. "Exhausting") our first day in Europe was! Landing in Amsterdam and traversing via rail to Paris, then navigating the Metro subway and walking to the hotel. On the way to the hotel, I couldn't stop looking around at the incredible architecture. The train station "gare" was incredible.


We are staying at the Marriott Paris Rive Gauche hotel and after getting checked in, we rallied a bit, showered off the 24 hours of travel and went out in pursuit of something to eat. We visited Montparnasse and took the elevator to the 56th floor, onto the observation deck. It gave us a 360* view of the city, a nice way to see the lay of the land and begin to plan our adventures. As excited as we were, we knew food needed to be next on out plan.


We wandered around the district a bit and saw a restaurant that looked inviting. In France, the menu, including pricing, is all displayed outside of the restaurant and prices include tax and service charge. Fortunately, this Brasserie had an English translation below each item and we kind of needed that!! The server did not speak a lot of English, and we used our phrase book and ordered. Eric asked to have the confit duck, but was told the kitchen had run out. He looked over at the special hamburger menu and the server ripped it out of his hand super fast and said "NO HAHMBEURGERS! (In a very deep French accent) hahahaha! He recommended a veal dish over risotto and Eric agreed to try it. At this point, I didn't dare do anything but ask him for a recommendation. He asked if I liked seafood and then recommended the cod prepared basque style, served over potatoes. We each ordered a beer and sat back to take everything in. Both meals were incredible. The French sure know how to cook!! We finished up dinner and headed back to the hotel. We no sooner stretched out on the bed and were both fast asleep. Happy first day in Paris!


Posted by Kemnitzer 17:00 Archived in France Comments (0)

We don't care what city we land in, let's just get there!

We made it to Europe!

View Europe 2015 on Kemnitzer's travel map.


So we decided to hedge our bets and head over to the Amsterdam departure gate and see if our odds were any better than the Paris flight. We were excited to hear that they had many open seats. Our flexible travel plans allowed us to change directions on our trip pretty easily. And since my super efficient husband had managed to pack us into 2 carry-on suitcases and 2 backpacks, we had no checked luggage to manage! Our goal in the moment was simply to get to Europe. We simply figured we'd get to Paris somehow!

Just a quick nod to the Detroit airport. It was very modern with a lot of shops and dining options. Many airports have a train to get you to the various terminals, but this one was very cool. It's elevated, directly above the gates and shops and visible to the people below. Fun and different.

We really got lucky and were assigned seats next to each other. Even luckier was that the A330 we came over on has the 2-4-2 seat configuration and we didn't even have to sit next to anyone. Alright, now you're thinking this is a newlywed thing, ; ) but really, it was about the mouth breathing and drooling that a red-eye flight with Tylenol PM might induce! But for now, we could smell the food being warmed up and realized sleep would have to wait until we had a chance to eat. Lasagna was the meal of choice. We enjoyed a glass of red wine and settled in for the flight. The crew treated us so well. Extra perks here and there. They even let us finish off the evening with ice cream sundaes, smuggled back from 1st class!


Inspite of the sexy eyeware, It was not a particularly restful night of sleep, but as we have committed to, "it's part of the adventure"!


It was nice to wake up to find we were most of the way there! The cool maps were at each seat. There were games and music and movies all to choose from to pass the time. We hit the high score for the onboard trivia game and maintained our leader status until morning. We are pretty decent in the sciences!



The purser was kind enough to give us a tip. Out our window, just off the coast of the Netherlands, there is a field of windmills out in the ocean. Pretty cool to see! And even better, it meant we were landing soon!! A little hard to see in picture, but there are around 50 giant turbines out there in a triangular pattern.


Arriving in Amsterdam, we were delighted to find how easy it was to find everything we need. 1st order of business waste get through customs. The line was short and the process was easy! We both got a new stamp on our passports and we were on our way. Next to find an ATM to get some Euros, then find a place to sit down and plan our trek to Paris. The airport was nice, under a bit of construction, but navigating it was no harder than any U.S. airport. Most everything is also written in English and everyone we encountered spoke English and was very kind to us. Not sure we will get as lucky in Paris! Now to figure out how we will get to Paris... ; )

Posted by Kemnitzer 15:01 Archived in Netherlands Tagged paris france flight amsterdam netherlands detroit delta Comments (0)

Official start of vacation!

And we are off...

overcast 74 °F
View Europe 2015 on Kemnitzer's travel map.

Once I finished up my work day and we got Lauren on her flight, we decided to grab something to eat. While initially hesitant, Eric was finally open minded to trying "Chicken and Waffles". Shake your head as you may, but fried chicken served over golden waffles with maple syrup and butter, is DELICIOUS! Pair that with our first cold and yummy vacation beer and you have quite the dinner : )

We opted to stay at the beautifully renovated Courtyard Scottsdale Old Town for the night, its proximity to the airport and wildly passionate staff, made it a no brainier! The rooms are modern and sleek and the bed linens fluffy and soft. It even has great wifi service. (I have it on good authority they just upgraded their router and added bandwidth!) Combined with its location in Scottsdsle and all of the great dining, shopping and entertainment in the area, we were glad to start our vacation this way. Yes, that was a shameless plug for my very own hotel, but it really was awesome and fun to experience the new rooms first hand! I digress... Back to our dinner...Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles is right across the street, and the atmosphere is pretty cool. It was a Friday night and they had a DJ. The GM Josh and our bartender Keenan were great.

After a good night sleep, we got up waaaaaaay too early as we needed to get to the airport. Thanks to Doug and the team at DC Transportation, we arrived in style in a luxurious black SUV with tinted windows. We felt like jet setters!


We were pretty excited to get on our way and catch a flight to Detroit. We got right on and Delta gave us seats in "Economy Comfort" a section just behind first class. Pretty nice! A little extra leg room and upgraded snacks. Who doesn't love snacks?

So here we sit..waiting to know our traveling fate. When flying standby, you have to be patient and flexible. Our goal is to get to Paris, but if that doesn't go our way, we will simply dance in the moment and try to get to Amsterdam, London, or Rome. We simply look at it as an adventure! More to come...

Posted by Kemnitzer 13:40 Archived in USA Tagged planes courtyard detroit delta chicken-and-waffles dc_transportation Comments (1)

Adventure Day!

West Fork - Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, AZ

sunny 90 °F

One last hike before we leave on our trip! We picked this particular trek because we heard the end of the hike was pretty similar to the Narrows in Zion National Park. Since the weather on that trip was a little sketchy, we didn't end up getting to experience it. We were determined to get to do it this time.

We arrived at the trailhead parking lot early on Sunday since we heard parking was a bit limited. We were awfully glad we did, there was a large family and a school group all arriving at the same time. The trail started off pretty simple, in a beautiful meadow full of ferns and apple trees. The cliffs were a striking contrast to the lush greens.

We continued on about a half a mile and came to a bridge, this would be the first of many times (13) we would cross Oak Creek!

Suddenly, the hike was a dirt path, winding through big beautiful trees. We crossed the creek over and over again, enjoying how cool it was near the water. The sun was peeking out from a couple of clouds and we were reveling in the temp difference from Phoenix.


After nearly 3.5 miles of winding through the Forrest, we reached the end of the maintained trail.

We had come prepared with our water sandals and waterproof sack and were ready to face a bit of unknown, the rest of the hike was through the more narrow canyon. We had read that we could expect the water levels to range from thigh deep to chest deep. The difference is wading or swimming! We decided to tackle the "trail" and face whatever might be ahead. What we found was beautiful and amazing. Every turn of the canyon brought a beautiful view!! Some parts were harder than others, that's for sure. Some slick rocks, and some deeper and muddier water and all the stuff you can only imagine lurking below the surface. The narrow headed gartersnake were the one part of the wild we hoped to not encounter!

The pictures don't come close to doing it justice. It really was remarkable. About a mile and a half into the canyon, we heard the second scariest sound you can hear on a hike like this. No, not karaoke! We heard the sound of thunder. Since thunder might mean it's raining up north, and rain means risk of flash flooding (not what you want when you're in a river bed, trapped between the narrow walls of a canyon) we decided to high tail it out of there and get back to civilization. So you might be wondering, what's the first scariest sound? That would be the sound of the canyon's sirens. The sirens mean that a flash flood is imminent and that you have mere minutes to get to higher ground. Luckily our thunder warning didn't turn out to be anything at all, but it made for a fun adventure and workout getting out of the canyon! Can't wait to do it again. We want to camp overnight next time.

Posted by Kemnitzer 17:00 Archived in USA Tagged sedona hike oak_creek_canyon Comments (1)

Flagstaff Basecamp!

One last hike before Europe

sunny 88 °F


We found a trail outside of Sedona that looks awesome. It's often compared to the Narrows in Zion. While we easily could have driven up Sunday morning, we decided to take advantage of our awesome hotel benefits and stay the night in Flagstaff. (Thank you Courtyard by Marriott Flagstaff for squeezing is in!). Lauren is considering Northern Arizona University for next year and we've decided this area is definitely appealing! We wandered around the cute downtown area and stopped off for a cold beverage and something to eat at Lumberyard, a local brewery. Everything was yummy, but the 7,000 foot elevation made one beer feel like three! (So we each had a second one! Hahaha) Looking forward to getting up early for our hike tomorrow.


Posted by Kemnitzer 19:20 Archived in USA Tagged flagstaff lumberyard courtyard_flagstaff Comments (0)

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