This is an update Alicia sent on here travels in Europe.
Sounds like fun!!!
Phelbe and I were pretty tired last night and didnt watch a movie but instead read and then went to bed around midnight. Then we had planned on getting up around 9 am but then that became 10 am so I trully understand the need for extra sleep:) We had breakfast and then left her apartment around 12 pm. We first took the metro to the hill of Montmatre the area associated with artists and the Moulin Rouge. There was a great view of Paris from this location and we visited the Sacre Coeur church in the Neo Romanesque style. We also saw many street artists offering to paint portraits of tourists. Then for lunch we went to the cafe where Amelie was filmed which was neat. After that we walked around the Hotel de Ville (the home of the city council), the outside of the Lourve, and the Tour St Jaques (a late Gothic tower). We also walked along the Rue de Rivoli a major shopping area where the first department stores with electricity opened. Following that we journeyed through the Jardin des Tuileries (i think the garden we visited in Salzburg was much prettier). Next we arrived at the Place de la Concorde and viewed the grand Luxor obelisk. I learned that this was the location where both Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were beheaded. Afterward we walked along the Avenue des Champs Elysees and just in time the trees and other holiday decorations were illuminated. It was very beautiful and enchanting to see Paris illuminated by night. Now I am back at Phelbes apartment because she has to take care of the children of the owner of her apartment for about 2 hours and then we will probably head back out to see the Arc de Triomphe by night and the Eiffel Tower. Tomorrow I think I will visit her uni and the Notre Dame and other sites. This visit to Paris will be short like our trip to D.C. but I have enjoyed catching up with Phelbe and seeing the city. Ellie...I think you would enjoy visiting here and seeing all of the well dressed women and men and this center of fashion.
Before coming to Paris I just got back from 5 days in Austria ( 4 days of skiing and one day of visiting Salzburg the home of Mozart). The skiing conditions were great and only on the last day there were snow blowers on while we were skiing. Wouter, Tom, Wouters Mom, and I skied together the first day. Then Wouter and I basically skied together the following days since Tom skis very fast and his mom wanted to ski at a slower pace. New Years Eve was also fun because we went into the small town of Radstadt for a nice dinner for which Wouters father generously paid. Then there was a stage in the center of the town with music and lots of fireworks.