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Dublin, Ireland; Paris, France; & London, England – August 2016 – April Smith

April Smith and her husband, Nick, traveled to Dublin, Paris, and London for their first anniversary in August. Here is more about her trip in April’s words and pictures:

Where did you travel?
My husband and I, for our one year anniversary decided we wanted to go back to Europe for our one year anniversary since we went to Italy for our honeymoon. We first traveled to Ireland for 3 nights, then flew to Paris for 2 nights, then took a train from Paris to London for 3 nights and then flew back home to Memphis from there.

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What dates where you there?
We were gone August 19th – August 28th 2016.

How long did it take you to get there?
We had an overnight flight from Atlanta to Dublin that took about 8 hours. Our flight to Paris from Dublin was about an hour and a half. Our train from Paris to London was 2 and a half hours. Then, London coming back home was almost about 10 hours air time. Both of our international layovers were in Atlanta then we flew back to Memphis from there.

Have you been there before?
We have never been to any of these cities so this was a first!

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Tell a little about your trip.
Prepare yourself for a long paragraph for each…being gone for 9 days to 3 different countries is a lot to talk about.
Dublin: So first, we arrived in Dublin on the 20th and went straight to the hotel (Best Western Plaza Hotel). We had them hold our luggage until our room was ready and we went out to explore Trinity College which was a short walk from our hotel and other parts of the city that was nearby. Once our room was ready, we went back and took a long nap since we lost about 6 hours of sleep on the ride over. After that, we got dressed and went out to eat at a pub in Temple Bar, which is the hotspot for locals. Pubs everywhere! We enjoyed lamb stew and a rotisserie chicken and chips (as we call potatoes). The next full day we had, we did the hop on hop off tour bus around the whole city. This took us to see many churches, Guinness Storehouse, the Dublin zoo, and many more attractions. I always recommend this if you are somewhere for a short period of time. At one of our stops, my husband is a whiskey lover so we stopped and did a tour at the Jameson Distillery to learn about the making process. Our last full day in Dublin, we decided to rent a car, this day was actually our first anniversary, and drive 3 and a half hours (where the cars drive on the wrong side of the road) to see the Cliffs of Moher, which is a major attraction on the complete opposite side of country. It was definitely worth it! We also got to see Malahide Castle on the way there which was a castle built in the 1100’s. At the end of the day, we ate a nice steak meal at a restaurant nearby.

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Paris: Paris, France was our next destination. We originally weren’t going to travel to Paris, but our layover between Dublin and London was going to be in Paris, and since we had never been, we decided to stay two extra nights in Paris. As soon as we arrived in Paris and off the subway to our hotel (Paris Marriott Rive Gauche), I fell IN LOVE with this city. I never had a desire to go to Paris because it was over talked about I felt like, but I think this was my favorite city out of all three and we only had two nights here. Everything about this city is beautiful. Every building is so unique and has so much history, it just amazes me to no end. After we checked in to our hotel, we took a taxi to the Eiffel Tower to catch a glimpse of it before night time. We walked around and eventually found a café somewhere near to grab us some dinner. Once we were done with dinner, we walked back over to the Eiffel Tower to catch it at night. We grabbed some ice cream nearby and watched it twinkle for the 5 minutes it does on the top of the hour at night. The next and only full day we had, we decided to do a hop on hop off package that included a river boat tour, a day tour, and a city of lights night tour. We did the river boat tour first and cruised the Seine river. It had commentary in all languages so that was a neat experience to see the city and cruise the river that connects two sides of the city. After the riverboat tour, we did the hop on hop off day tour bus and we got to see everything from the Louvre Museum, the Opera, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, the Grand Palace, Moulin Rouge, and many more! At one stop we did get off to explore the Louvre Museum and we did get to take a peak of the original Mona Lisa portrait! We grabbed a quick bite to eat before we had to get back for the night tour which toured the city at night! I will be definitely be coming back here in the future to actually go in to all the wonder places we saw!

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London: After we got up the next morning, we took the subway to the Paris train station and headed our way to London! It works just like an airport but not as big! The fast train was an experience in itself because we got the see the suburbs outside the city. Arriving in London at the train station, we automatically got a subway pass since that is the main way of transport around the area. We headed straight for the hotel (Marriott Kensington) dropped off our luggage and went downtown to walk around the city. We explored the Big Ben and the London Eye. For our first full day, we got up, ate brunch and headed to Kensington Palace (where royals William & Kate reside) and then to Buckingham Palace (where the Queen lives during the week). We ended the day seeing Chelsea Stadium and eating at Marco Grill nearby, which was honestly the BEST meal I have ever had in my life . Our next full day, we decided to take the train to Windsor Palace, which was about an hour away. It is the Palace the Queen lives on the weekends and man is it enormous! We also did a private tour called Conquer the Tower which allowed us to reach the highest point of the castle, 200 spiral steps up & down! Heading back into town, we ate a meal we can get here in the states, Benihana’s, and went back to the hotel, ordered dessert room service, watched a movie and crashed before our long flight the next day!

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Italy – August 2015 – April Smith

This past August, April Smith and her husband honeymooned in Italy! Here is more about their amazing trip, in her own words and pictures:

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Where did you travel?
My husband and I traveled to Rome, taking excursions from Rome to the Tuscany Region of Florence, then traveled to Naples and the island of Capri.

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What dates were you there?
I left Memphis on August 24th, 2015, arriving in Rome on the 25th and came back August 30th, 2015.

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How long did it take you to get there?
I had one stop in Atlanta, GA between Memphis and Rome. Our flight left Memphis around 2:30pm on the 24th and arrived in Atlanta around 4:30pm. Our flight in Atlanta to Rome left around 6:30pm. The time difference from Memphis and Rome is 7 hours. Therefore, if it was 12:00PM in the afternoon in Memphis, it was 7:00PM at night in Rome. Our flight from Atlanta to Rome was about a 8hr and 45min flight. Therefore we landed in Rome around 9:30AM (Rome time). The flight back to the U.S. from Rome on August 30th was about a 10hr and 45min flight. We also had one stop between Rome and Memphis, which again was Atlanta.

Have you been there before?
Neither me nor my husband had been to Italy, let alone out of the country. This was our first out of the country trip together for our Honeymoon!

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Tell us a little bit about your trip.
Before Nick and I got to Italy, we already had a set schedule of things and excursions to do each day. On Tuesday the 25th, we arrived in Italy and got to our hotel by our private transfer around 1pm. Our room wasn’t ready yet, so we decided to take a walk around our hotel to explore around the city. After arriving back to our hotel around 3pm, we took a long nap til about 8pm because of the time difference. After that, we went to a close restaurant nearby and got our first real Italian dish. On the 26th, we had a Cooking Class and Walking Tour of Florence. We got up that morning and walked to the Rome Train Station to catch an early train to Florence. It was about an hour and a half train ride. It was actually a nice train ride because we were able to see the open land between the two cities. Once we got to our specific location, they first took us around the city of Florence on a walking tour and to the local supermarkets to get our ingredients for the dishes we were going to make later that day. After the walking tour, they took us by bus up the Tuscany hills to a gorgeous home overlooking the city. We then cooked and prepared several meals. After our tour was over, we explored the city ourselves and then took a train back to Rome that night. On the 27th, we explored Rome, taking an all inclusive tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. Then we went to the Vatican City and received more shared tours of the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. We also were able to sit in a mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, which was once in a lifetime thing to do! On the 28th, we traveled with a tour group by bus to Naples, which then took us on a fairy to the island of Capri. We passed by the second most active volcano that destroyed the town of Pompeii. At Capri, we traveled to Anacapri for a delicious lunch and were able to take in the beautiful island! After that we purchased tickets to see the Blue Grotto, which is a blue lit cave that individuals can go inside and experience. This island is beautiful! On the 29th, my husband and I got a couples massage at a local Thai massage spa and then just explored more of the city of Rome, really focusing on all the beautiful fountains. After that, we went to one of the locals favorite American style restaurants and walked around the city some more with a bowl full of gelato! Our flight was the next morning back to the U.S.

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What was my favorite part?
Everything was amazing! I think my favorite was the Italian Cooking Class in Florence because all the delicious food, wine, and views! However, the landscape and views of Capri were amazing! Probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen! Everything about Italy was beautiful. Many buildings, history, and tradition you don’t see much in the U.S.

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London, England and Paris, France – March 2014 – Mo Mobley

One of the agents in our office, Mo Mobley, traveled to London and Paris earlier this month along with her daughter! Here are some highlights from her trip:

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Where did you travel?

London and Paris

What dates where you there?

March 6-12, 2014

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How long did it take you to get there?

It was a 7 hour flight from Minneapolis to London. We took a 2 hour and 20 minutes Eurostar from London to Paris. On the way home we had an 8 hour flight from Paris to Minneapolis.

Have you been there before?

Yes! I was an exchange student in London when I was in college….many, many years ago. We were visiting a friend of mine. And I have also been back 2 other times.

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Tell a little about your trip.

In London we stayed with a friend.  In Paris we stayed at the Marriott Rive Gauche. It was a great hotel in a great location! It was right across from a metro station.

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What was your favorite part?

I love London period!!! I love the parks, walking along the river and the museums.

I loved Paris. This was my first time to really explore Paris. I loved the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame. My daughter, Erin’s, priority was to visit the Lock Bridge (Pont Des Arts Bridge) where we added our lock to the collection.

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Anything else you want to add?

I am ready to go back!!

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