take: the rest of Paris

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We went to this hipster bar in this hipster neighborhood. Ordered two beers, stared at the bartender blankly when he tried to simply tell me $12 in French. But then we were rewarded by watching the man in this picture dance around for awhile.

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Napoleon never got to enjoy the arch, but we did.

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We ate here on our first night, then realized we could see it from our hotel balcony.

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Somewhere in Paris…

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Sacré-Cœur

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From inside the Louvre

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They removed the love locks from the bridge, but left them on the fence leading up to the Pont des Arts bridge.

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I got all up in the gargoyles of Notre Dame’s faces

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Our walking tour was wet and wild. Ok, just wet.

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Luxembourg gardens

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take: Versailles

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When you look at these photos from our day at Chateau of Versailles you are going to think “what a beautiful perfect day” but the reality is very different. The day we headed out to Versailles ended up being one of the hottest days of our vacation. As we walked up we noticed people, hundreds of people, but since we had already taken the time to ride the train out we got in line to buy our tickets. The first line wasn’t bad, but once we got in the line to get in the Palace we winded around and around for two hours. Once we got inside the crowds didn’t subside and the French Kings’ decisions to put marble on marble on marble wasn’t the most impressive. After wandering along the hallways of the palace we got some French sustenance in the royal cafeteria and headed out in to the gardens.

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The gardens made the trip worth the crowds. Only a few of the fountains were running due to a water shortage. However when the few fountains did turn on they were magnificent.

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We didn’t have enough time (or energy) to walk all of the gardens or even most of the gardens, but we did see some beautiful things.

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take: Paris, Eiffel Tower

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We took a morning flight to Paris from Copenhagen. Dropped our bags at the hotel and went to the nearby Luxembourg gardens to walk around a bit. Since we skipped lunch, we did a Parisian  local no no and went for dinner around 6pm. We were hungry and were talked in to going in a very Parisian restaurant. It was a great choice as we got olives and bread and wine and steak and fries and it was delicious.  Since it was still so early we walked to the Eiffel Tower to see it lit up at night. We got there a few minutes before the 9pm light show and enjoyed the sights as it started raining.

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As with any 986 foot tower we saw it from all over and we took pictures of it from all over. And headed back a few days later to go to the top.

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We read all kinds of reviews and opinions on going to the top, that it was crowded and overhyped. I have to disagree, but to reduce the line waiting time we decided to take the stairs up the first two sections. The line to take the stairs only took us around a half hour and the stairs were not crowded at all. Its something like 670 stairs to the second level. We took a break on the first level for photos and catching our breath and then headed on up to the second level. There is another line to take the elevator to the top, but from this line you have views of Paris so the time flew by. The first and second levels were honestly more fun. Once you got to the top it was really crowded and they kept reminding us there were pick pocketers all around.

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The views however were amazing… Nothing like going up a tall building/tower.

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A surprise to us was a snack stand on the first level. We each got a cold beer, split a granola bar and enjoyed the view from the swinging chairs. Just chilling on the Eiffel Tower was a fun way to relax after two lines and 700 stairs (which didn’t hurt at the time, but we definitely felt them in our legs the next day).

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take: Copenhagen

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gardens at Tivoli

Brian and I just got back from our trip to Copenhagen and Paris. We took a few photos… ok around 1,400 when you add the cell phone photos with the camera. So I decided to share a few favorites over a few posts, starting with Copenhagen and Malmo.

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view from the Round Tower

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Copenhagen from the Round Tower

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castle in Malmo, Sweden

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famous Nyhavn – photo by Brian

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Copenhagen city hall

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following the Queen’s band through town

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another gorgeous steeple

Copenhagen was a mix of castles and canals with American hipster culture. At least the parts we visited. New and old design was all around. Everyone we met spoke impeccable english and there were a few (too many) American style restaurants. The city felt very safe, clean, and accessible.

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the Meatpacking district

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art in Malmo

We visited all three palaces in Copenhagen, did a walking tour, a canal boat tour, climbed the Round Tower and went up in the Taarnet. Spent a day in Malmo, Sweden with its very modern architecture mixed with some old town. The craft brew scene is alive in Denmark and we tried a few. A surprise treat was the pizza. We went to two places, Gorm’s pizza and Neighborhood. They both served a pizza with a thin crispy crust that was almost cracker like. The toppings were fresh and delicious. At Neighborhood the pizza had sliced figs and an olive tapenade that was amazing.

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the Cirkelbroen or circle bridge

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the Rundetaarn or Round Tower

make: camera cuboid

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When I travel I try to fit in with the locals. I’m probably not good at this at all, but I like to believe no one can tell I’m a tourist. The last few trips I took I pretty successfully carried my camera in a larger purse. The zipper broke on the large purse I used when I went to Amsterdam so I went shopping for a new one. I found a pretty brown fossil bag at Macy’s that is a great size. Most bags were either HUGE or tiny, so I was happy when Brian spotted this one.

I’d been thinking of making some type of protective camera holder for my purse for a while (like since I got my camera over two years ago), but I never quite got around to it. So for this trip I decided to make it happen. After a few searches on Google and Pinterest I found a few examples, but nothing I wanted to copy. There were a few examples of more elaborate camera holders made by covering foam with fabric. With these in mind I set to make my own pattern.

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I made some bags with a flat bottom for Christmas gifts last year, so I used the same premise to make the flat bottom. I sketched out my design on newspaper, but when I assembled the pattern it seemed a little big. So I shaved off a half-inch of depth. I basically made a 8x5x5 cuboid by adding a 1/4 inch seam allowance on each edge that would be sewn.

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I cut out four pieces of the pattern material and two of the batting. I used a pretty thin batting because that is what I had in the craft cabinet, but if I was shopping specifically for this project I might buy something a little thicker or fluffier or even a thin foam. The box is made by sewing the sides and bottom of the lining material, then diagonally to sew the bottom corners. I did the same with the exterior fabric and batting. I put right sides together and sewed the pieces together, leaving a hole for turning. I did a quick hidden stitch to finish it off. After finishing I realized it might be easier/cleaner to leave a hole in the bottom to turn, but you decide.

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I’m happy with the result. It fits nicely in my purse with room left for my wallet and other necessities. There is also room in the cuboid for both my lenses if I decide to carry them both around. Its not enough protection for dropping my camera off the Eiffel Tower, but plenty of protection from keys, coins, lip gloss, and gentle bumps.

take: trying out a new lens

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In preparation for our trip to Europe in a few weeks I purchased a new lens for my Canon DSLR camera. I just had the kit lens and wanted to get something with a little more zoom. I ended up buying a 55-250mm used from a nice local camera shop in Dupont. Yesterday Brian and I walked down to the mall to try out the zoom. We ended the day at the Nationals-Rockies game so I had another great opportunity to try out the zoom. I was impressed! We were standing above center field and I could practically call pitches.

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