As I mentioned last week, I am in smack-dab in the middle of Mike & Mary Chris’ European adventure this week (okay, I’m actually sort of nearing the end… but middle sounds nicer, yes?) The adventure started when we arrived in Birmingham, England last Friday and got to hang out with our goddaughter (and her amazing parents and super-cool big brother) for a couple of days. Sunday we hopped on the train to Paris and today we are en route to Brussels where I plan to consume all the beer and chocolate.
While I’m not a big fan of micro-planning every moment of a trip, and believe letting things unfold spontaneously is what creates moments of beautiful travel happenstance– we did do some prep work to ensure we could make the most of our limited time (and not get stuck eating in tourist-y restaurants). Here are a few of the awesome resources I consulted:
- Kelly Purkey’s blog posts about her 3 months in Paris, including this one about her trip to Brussels. I have been a long time reader of Kelly’s blog and highly recommend it, but be forewarned — it may cause serious wanderlust and the desire to move to New York (or maybe that last part is just me).
- Karen A. Chase’s book, Bonjour 40. I’m lucky enough to be friends with Karen and also left with a map marked with all her favorite spots for food and shopping in the 4th arrondissement.
- Air B&B, for fabulous and affordable apartments. Plus that live-like-a-local feeling you just can’t get in a hotel.
- Duolingo, to brush up on basic French, such as: J’aime boire du vin et manger du fromage. (translation: I like to drink wine and eat cheese.)
- Not specifically part of planning for this trip, but David Lebovitz’s The Sweet Life in Paris is a favorite of mine. It’s perfect to get lost in for a few hours and take a little vacation from wherever you are. (In case you looked around Kelly’s blog and are all wanderlust-y.)
I’ve been posting pictures from my trip on Instagram, so feel free to follow along @marychris_e. Now I’m off in search of chocolate …