Category Archives: Vacation

Versailles, Paris, France | Spring 2013 | Travel

I have wanted to visit Versailles for several years now, probably close to a decade. I’m not sure why I didn’t visit there when I went to Paris a decade ago. I don’t think I realized how close to central Paris it was. Over the years, I’ve heard from several people of the beauty and grandeur of Versailles, how it was a place I shouldn’t miss. That made me feel really good after I had missed it!

We got there at a reasonable time (if I had to guess, probably around 9), and there was a line to match the grandeur of the palace. We had bought tickets in advance, but we still had to wait in line for an hour to get in. It was cold, but we kept ourselves entertained by scoping out the fashion of tourists from all over the world. Jihfan and I still preferred the very “proper” fashion of London, especially for men, although we did see some exquisitely dressed women in Paris. We took turns guessing where each group tourists were from: USA, Japan, Spain, Italy, etc. We saw a group of students from America, and Jihfan and I were surprised by how you could even tell they were Americans by the way they walked. Strange. Emiri nearly died of embarrassment by how a group of Japanese tourists were outfitted. Let’s just say there was no doubt they were tourists… and they were wearing matching electric blue ponchos.

Maria Kim | Versailles, Paris, France | Travel Maria Kim | Versailles, Paris, France | Travel

If I had to describe Versailles and my experience in two words, those words would be “overwhelming opulence”. You simply cannot cover the entire place in a day. I am an ambitious traveler, and there is simply no way. I will be the first to admit that I am largely history ignorant, and there is still no way. We covered the Palace, the Gardens, and Marie-Antoinette’s estate very quickly. I got exhausted because everything was so overwhelming – the history, the extravagance and visual overload, the enormousness of the estate, and the crowds. I can only take so much of so much.

Maria Kim | Versailles, Paris, France | Travel Maria Kim | Versailles, Paris, France | Travel Maria Kim | Versailles, Paris, France | Travel

I particularly loved Marie-Antoinette’s estate. The estate was where Marie-Antoinette could escape from all the pomp and manners of the Court of Versailles and retreat to simpler, rural living. Access to her estate was based on invite only. I don’t blame her, the estate, created in the manner of a village, was so cute and cozy. Each house in the village had it’s own vegetable garden and my favorite were the tulips that were growing on top of the roofs. If we ever own a house, I will grow tulips on the roof.

Maria Kim | Versailles, Paris, France | Travel Maria Kim | Versailles, Paris, France | Travel Maria Kim | Versailles, Paris, France | Travel
Next stop: Cotswold! More cute and cozy villages!

Versailles Recommendation:
Buy the Passport in advance and get there early!!! – The Passport gets you into all of the ticketed areas (like the Palace, Marie-Antoinette’s Estate, etc), and you can buy it in advance at the main train station at the information desk. Even with buying it in advance, we still had to wait an hour to enter.
Marie-Antoinette’s Estate
The Gardens (I would imagine it to be absolutely phenomenal in the spring time)

 

Family Vacation at the Outerbanks | July 4th

This summer was our second annual July 4th vacation to the Outerbanks with my in-laws and cutie nephews. What a huge difference there is in spending several days with twin 2-year-olds and spending several days with twin 3 year-olds. This year the twins played more, fought less, and definitely had more brotherly love for one another. It is so heartwarming to see little people love on each other. Even as an aunt it makes me proud, so I can only imagine how a parent must feel when their own little ones do the same.

This year’s beach trip didn’t disappoint. We always have a good time when we hang out with my SIL (and BFF) Lindsay, my BIL Ron, and their kids, and we were also joined by my MIL and Stuart’s cousin Leah. We played Mini Golf, ate “Baby” Popsicles (these are really quite amazing), fished, had loads of beach time, played lots of beach baseball where I learned to properly swing the bat by squishing the bug (thanks Ron!), went “deep” once due to ice cold waters, taught my MIL how to use her iPad, and we had even started a new family tradition of eating dessert on the deck. With a house full of people you would think there would be no quiet time, but there was and those were some of my favorite moments to capture. It was so sweet to watch the twins play quietly with their trains in their pajamas

Now that we’re in Vancouver, I am not sure when we’ll do another July 4th with them at the Outerbanks, but I am working on rallying everyone to come visit us.

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