Middle Class Traveler

Adventures of the Middle Class

Category: Throw Back Thursday

Stockholm

24 Hours in Stockholm



Back in 2009 I had the opportunity to travel to Stockholm, Sweden. I travelled there from Hannover, Germany and the flight wasn’t to long minus the layover in Copenhagen. I was able to spend 24 hours in Stockholm before going to Northern Sweden for a few days. The airline we flew to go to Stockholm was Scandinavian Air lines (SAS) and it was really nice. The staff was great and people on the plane were friendly. We even had some conversations with other passengers during the flight!

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Should you want to go to Sweden I will give you some advice first hand, exchange your money and put your Euro’s away. While in Sweden my travel buddy for the trip had the unfortunate accident of paying with Euro’s instead of Kronor. At the time the Euro was very expensive and the Kronor not so much. I would have compared it to 50 Kronor was like $5 Canadian in purchasing power. Nonetheless do this because my buddy paid 500 Euro’s for a steak instead of 500 Kronor and didn’t realize until getting back to the hotel. 
FlightHub

Now what to do in Stockholm? This is such  a beautiful city, it really is. When I arrived in Stockholm I had no clue how nice the city was. The city of Stockholm is rich with history and you are going to want to take advantage of some of the things to see while there.

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When I was in Stockholm I never used a vehicle and it is a very walkable city. You are actually going to want to walk and see all the unique architecture compared to North American cities. You will also love the stone roads and sidewalks, such a work of history.

Nobel MuseumWhen there you will want to check out the Nobel Museum. This is the museum where that they have dedicated to all the Nobel prize winners. You can find out more about this historic tour at their website by clicking here.

Now that you have done that you will want to check out The National Museum. This museum is located on the peninsula in Stockholm. This is in the middle of Stockholm so no need to worry, you will not miss it. The Museum displays art exhibits of the Royalty in Sweden. Before travelling to Sweden I didn’t even know they had a King, Queen or anything like that so it was a surprise to learn about the history. Again you can click here to direct you to the link of the museum.

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Another Place you will want to go to is the Rosenadler Place (Brankontoret). This are was built in 1679 and is a wonderful sight to see. In this area you will also find the tour of where the Princess of Sweden and such things like that. Really rich on history and was something worth seeing. Here in North America we don’t learn to much about the history of European countries and more specifically of Scandinavian countries so it was really nice to see.

Olof PalmeOlof Palme

One of the historical things to also see is where the murder f Sweden’s Prime Minister took place. This is right in Stockholm and they have the area marked off with a plaque and is part of the countries rich history. Prime Minister Olof Palme was murdered on February 28, 1986. This is something I also learned while I was in Sweden that I had never even heard of before going there.

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Now that you have toured a bit of Sweden’s history you will also notice the shops and markets. These are also great things to do when in Stockholm. If you are going to spend some time there you will be able to see much more but for 24 hours in Stockholm you will find that this will be satisfying.

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St.John's

Fun in St.John’s Newfoundland



In the beginning of June in 2014  we decided to take a vacation. I had won 2 passes at an auction/fundraiser to fly anywhere Porter Flies. Me and my wife decided to go and have some fun in St. John’s Newfoundland. So we flew from a warm June Sudbury, Ontario…. to a freezing cold June St.John’s Newfoundland.

We started our trip off flying out of Sudbury and our flight was as such. Sudbury to Toronto, Toronto to Ottawa, Ottawa to Halifax and Halifax to St.John’s. When we landed in St.Johns I had rented a car so we could get around. The car we ended up getting was a Ford Taurus but it was all good and surprisingly to me, who drives foreign cars, it was a really good ride.

First Day in St.John’s

We went from the airport in St.John’s to our accommodations. While on this trip we decided to stay at three B&B’s and for the last night we decided to stay at a traditional hotel. So we left the airport and headed towards the Bed and Breakfast. The first B&B we stayed at was the Banberry House within walking distance to the heart of St.John’s. This place was in a great location and we were able to walk everywhere no problem.

Banbury House Bed and BreakfastBanberry House

Our first day in St.John’s was coming to an end because of the travel time there and the time change so we decided to grab a quick meal. While we were on our way to St.John’s we decided that we would eat at one of the restaurants that was features on You Gotta Eat Here Canada. Did you know that a number of restaurants in St.John’s have been featured on the show? I had no idea but when I tried to google which one we ate at I couldn’t find it because of that.


FlightHub

Our first night in St.John’s was awesome. Our visit at the Banberry House was exceptional. This was the first time for me to stay in a bed and breakfast and it really impressed me. I was surprised about the breakfast that you get and the hosts were extremely friendly. The place was clean and cozy, all in all it was great.

Second Day in Newfoundland

Now we wake up the first day and we decide to drive up to Signal Hill to do some exploring of St.John’s before we head to Bay Bulls where we will be spending our second night. The view from signal hill was amazing and considering I have yet to see a iceberg on the trip I was looking forward to seeing one from there. If I could see one from the distance the trip would be a success, I never knew how close I would get to seeing one either.

Signal HillSignal HillView From Signal Hill

We made it up to Signal Hill and seen the beautiful landscape of St.John’s and the outlook over the ocean. While we were there we walked the boardwalk they have made all the way to a gully where we turned around and came back to the car.

Now we were on our way to Bay Bulls. This place wasn’t far at all from St.John’s. We took the ride up the highway and we stayed at another B&B. The bed and breakfast we stayed at was amazing. We had amazing views right from the room. While there, we were able to go on a little hike through the property and along the Ocean front. These little towns are amazing. Nothing like it anywhere and I recommend going and seeing this atleast once in your life.

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Third Day in Newfoundland

After spending a wonderful evening in Bay Bulls we woke up to a beautiful breakfast. After breakfast we had decided to go on a iceberg tour and on the tour we would see Puffins. The name of the Tour was O’Briens Puffins Whales and Iceberg Tours. This tour was amazing and if you ever want to go see icebergs or whales this is the tour for you. I totally recommend it and you need to do this if you are in the area. Even if you are just in St.John’s it is worth the short drive over to BayBulls to take this tour.

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On the tour we seen so many icebergs and got real close to them. If you like Birds we seen thousands of Puffins. Puffins live there and are a nice looking bird. On our adventure we actually seen a Puffin caught in plastic and our tour guide pulled up to the bird and actually scooped it up from the water and saved it. What a remarkable bunch at the O’Briens Tours. While on the trip they were ready to do some screeching in. If you have never heard of what it means to be screeched in then click the link here but, in general it is an initiation into the Newfoundland Culture, awesome!

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Once we finished the tour we decided to stop at a little dinner to have a quick bite to eat then headed over to Dildo, Newfoundland. The trip was about 82km West and it was a beautiful drive as the weather was crisp and clear. When we arrived in Dildo we checked in to our Bed And Breakfast for the evening. We stayed at the George House Heritage Bed and Breakfast. This place had a wonderful view of the ocean and a large frontward set up with Muskoka Chairs to watch the sunset. While here we decided to relax and enjoy the time there.

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While in Dildo we did take a drive and found a diner where I had enjoyed the Newfoundland dish Scrunchions. I found them great and would have them again if I was ever there. Something to try if you are ever in Newfoundland.

Final Day in Newfoundland

Iceberg Beer

Iceberg Beer From Quidi Vidi Brewery

We woke up early the next day and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast before we made the trek back to St.John’s. When arriving in St.Johns, since it was so early, we decided to do a couple things before we checked into our hotel. The first thing we decided to do was hit the Quidi Vidi Brewery for a tour of the Island Brewery. If you have never done this and have been in St.John’s then you have definitely missed out. Not only is this place awesome but it is the home of Iceberg Beer. Now coming from Ontario I had never heard of Iceberg Beer. Now that I have I think it just happens to be my favourite beer hands down. I actually brought some home to Ontario with me.

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Now that we finished our tour of the brewery we decided to go to where the sun reaches first upon sunrise, Cape Spear Light House. In case you didn’t know, when the sun first hits North America the first place the sun rises is at the Cape Spear Light House in St.John’s Newfoundland. I never knew this until travelling here but it was an interesting fact. The views and history that you will learn at the Light House is very knowledgeable especially about the history of our great country. You have to go there if you are ever in St.John’s, it’s a must do.

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When we travelled back from Cape Spear we decided to check into our hotel. For the last night of our trip we did decide to stay at a traditional hotel. We stayed at the Sheraton Hotel on Cavendish Square. The hotel was very nice and refreshing as we had stayed at B&B’s the entire trip so far. In our hotel we stayed in a Signature Club room which gave us the luxury of having some drinks and food for free.

St.John'sThe Gypsy Tea Room

After we checked into our room we decided to go out for dinner. For our last dinner in St.John’s we decided to eat at The Gypsy Tea Room. This restaurant is top notch with a combination of excellent food in a relaxing atmosphere it was nothing short of a beauty and a great way to end the trip. After we had our final meal we did go down to George Street and hit a little bar so we could have a few drinks. While we were there I did do my shot of screech and loved it.

The one great thing I found in St.John’s was how friendly everyone was. When walking down the street and wanting to cross, the cars would just stop and let you go. That was something I found very remarkable, especially coming from Ontario.

Our flight home had a little snag because of an inflight emergency on another plane and our connection was delayed in Halifax so we spent the afternoon in the airport and by the time we got to Toronto we missed our final flight home to Sudbury. Porter airlines was very accommodating and gave us a room at the Fairmont Royal York. We caught our flight home the next morning and all was good!

These are definite must do’s for anyone who plans to vacation on the East Coast of Canada!

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Wine Tour

Niagara Falls Wine Tour

Niagara Falls Wine Tour

While in Niagara Falls, Ontario a few years back we decided to check out a full day wine tour. This Niagara Falls wine tour was amazing. The hotel we stayed at called The Sterling Inn had set the whole thing up in one of there packages.

Wine Tour Niagara Falls IMG_0387_2This hotel all came to be by accident. One time in Niagara Falls myself and my wife were driving around and deciding if we should stay at Fallsview Casino or another hotel and we got lost. This was the best getting lost decision ever! If it is a decision. Nonetheless we stumbled upon this unique looking hotel with a giant milk jug covered in stucco. We decided to stop in and see if there was anything available and there was. Now overtime we visit the city we always stay there.

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Back to the adventure that leads this post. Myself and my wife decided on visiting Niagara and called the hotel to see if there was any types of winery tours or anything that they set up and luck would have it there was. We decided to go with the full day guided wine tour that provided a lunch at one of the beautiful wineries at Niagara on the Lake. This is a beautiful place as well if you ever get a chance to be in the area.

Niagara Vintage Wine Tours

To start the wine tour the driver picked us up first so we did get amazing seats on the bus. The good thing that happened is it wasn’t a party bus but we all had a good time. I can assure you if you like wine tours this is the one. The wine tour stopped at two wineries in the morning and then we stopped for lunch. Once we had an amazing lunch we ended up at two more wineries before heading back to the hotel. Once we arrived back at the hotel we were privileged to have an excellent multi course dinner in the hotel restaurant which is top notch.

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The restaurant at the Sterling Inn is called AG Inspired Cuisine and is a hidden gem for tourists in the city. If you ever want to be blown away in Niagara Falls while having a romantic get away, this is it.

This whole entire experience happened because of being lost in a city that you shouldn’t get lost in. We had decided to return a number of times and we have stayed here every time. This is one of the greatest places to stay in Niagara Falls that you will find.

IMG_00000629Konzelmann Estate WineryBetween The Lines WineryIMG_00000635

A couple of places we had visited was Between The Lines, Peller Estates, Konzelmann Estate Winery and Pillitteri Estates. The wine tour brings you to some of the best wineries in the world, believe it or not. The wineries we went to had wine masters that had won multiple awards. The awards were won for ice wine mostly. So if you like that kind of wine I will say go! The climate in Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake is pristine for ice wine so take advantage of these conditions and enjoy your wine.

Wine Cellar

The next time you are in Niagara Falls with your significant other or are deciding what to do for a weekend you will not be disappointed with doing anything in this post. If you want a great wine tour experience the one at Sterling Inn is magnificent and if you want to visit a spa they also have those facilities as well. This is a reasonable priced destination and you will surely have a blast.

Until next time Cheers!

Weekend in New York flying Porter

12105811_10153657821705797_3894906078008117685_nPorter AirlinesDuring the fall of 2016 myself and a friend flew Porter Airlines from Sudbury to New York for the weekend. When travelling to New York from Sudbury it will probably be cheaper if you fly Porter Airlines. In Sudbury you can hop on a Porter Flight and with one connection in Toronto you can either go directly to New York or do like we did, fly into Newark, New Jersey.

NewarkWhen we landed in New Jersey and went through customs you could see the sky line of New York City. It was breathtaking, and a real nice thing to see. So since we were just going for a few days and its two dudes we only had a carry-on which was nice because we didn’t have to wait for our luggage to come through. Now when we arrived there we had a few options to get us into the city. We could take the bus, train or taxi. We decided on taking the bus and for the time of day it was we made it downtown New York from the Newark Airport in under an hour.

Subway in New YorkWhen you get to New York you are going to want to examine the subway system. For me this was the second time I had used the subway in my adult life, the first was Montreal and you can’t really compare the two cities. Now we were downtown New York and had to get to Long Island, New York and the hands down best way to do that is by subway. The subway system in New York was so much easier than I had anticipated. You just buy a metro pass and you have access to the subway with no problems, you just swipe and go.

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Now that we were checked into the hotel we were off to start our weekend in the big apple. What we had decided to do was check out the Mets game against the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs were in town for game 1 of the National League Championship Series. We got our tickets the night before on Stub Hub and it wasn’t that expensive either. I think $200 a ticket and compared to what the Jays tickets were going for it was a bargain.

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For us to go to the game at Citi Field we took the subway which was about a 20 minute subway ride. When taking the subway to Citi Field you are dropped off virtually at the front door. The public transportation in New York, in my opinion, was awesome.

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The Mets game was unbelievable and the stadium is world class. I would definitely recommend checking out a baseball game if you are in the area. When we went to the game the stadium was packed but the fans where awesome and considering I wore a Toronto Blue Jays Jersey made for all the fun. When we were there the food was great to and the prices weren’t that expensive, at least compared to Canada. After the game which the Mets won! woo hoo we hoped back on the subway and got back to our hotel with no problems at all.

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The next day we woke up early to hit the New York Rangers afternoon game. The Saturday afternoon game was interesting because I would have thought a Saturday game would be at night but it was all good. We showed up extremely early just because I guess but it wasn’t a problem and we were able to get down to ice level for the pre game warm ups. Being in Madison Square Garden (MSG) was awesome if you are a sports fan. Madison Square Garden was packed and the lineups at the concessions where very short and the price of beer was reasonable as well. Remember when I say reasonable I am comparing the pricing to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

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The game was against the New Jersey Devils so the crowd was definitely pumped up. During the game we sat beside some Americans who had there kid at the game and they were very friendly. We chatted about the difference in hockey development between the U.S. and Canada and all was good. During the game I just happened to look over and what did we see? A Fight! HAHA Very funny. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing actually. A fight in the stands at a Rangers game? Awesome!

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The game ended up going into overtime so they were down to 3 on 3. During OT one of the Rangers players hit the crossbar and the sound it made was pretty cool, you could hear it throughout the arena, awesome. Now the game ended with the Devils scoring in OT but it was awesome to watch a hockey game in Madison Square Garden.

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After the game we headed out to see Time Square and do some shopping in that area. When we were down in Time Square we shopped at Grand Slam New York which is an awesome gift shop that had amazing deals on stuff. After this we ate at a pizza place called Patzeria Perfection Pizza Pasta and Grill. This pizza place is located on West 46th Street and doesn’t have a website but the place was phenomenal and I recommend it hands down.

After spending some time in that area we headed back to the hotel for a couple drinks and didn’t really do much after that. I will be back to New York to visit more of the sites but this was really just a sporting weekend where we got to see the Mets and Rangers play.

For our way back on the Sunday we totally figured out the easiest way. To get back to the Newark Airport we took the Subway to Grand Central Station and once we were there we hopped on the Amtrak to Newark and then the monorail straight to the terminal where Porter has its lounge. In the Newark airport Porter Airlines has there own lounge which is awesome so we went there and flew back to Canada which was super easy. If you are near Toronto or live in a city that Porter flies to Toronto from I would say this is probably one of the fastest, cheapest ways to get to New York and you won’t be disappointed!

 

Until next time thanks for reading and check out my Facebook Page for more upcoming trips!

Mexico, Riviera Maya

El Dorado Royale, MexicoMexicoFlying from Sudbury, Ontario to Cancun, Mexico was a great experience. We left Sudbury the day after boxing day to go to the Maya Riviera and while we were there we stayed at the resort El Dorado Royale. This resort is an adults only resort and is very very nice, Gourmet Inclusive they call it. For me it was my first time in Mexico and actually my first time on an all inclusive vacation. Before then and ever since I have never been to an all inclusive resort.

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When arriving in Mexico we were one of the lucky randoms to have our bags checked. When you arrive you have to walk through a metal detector and press a button and if its green you go and red they check your stuff. I am not quite sure what they are looking for because what are you gonna bring into Mexico? Really?


FlightHub

The type of traveller I am when going to an all inclusive resort is to sit down and drink and eat but we decided to do some sight seeing. If you remember correctly I do believe there was a travel advisory at that time for Canadians in Mexico so I was a little nervous. I remember when we got on the tour bus from our resort in Playa Del Carmen and headed towards Tulum I thought we were going direct so for our tour bus to pull over in the middle of the highway and the driver to exit to go for a walk really freaked me out, LOL. Nonetheless we were waiting for another bus to catch up so we travelled together.

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On our day adventure we went snorkelling at a place called Xel Ha and it was a great time. While there it was extremely busy but at the end of the day it wasn’t that expensive and it was a good snorkelling experience. After that we boarded the bus and headed to Tulum to see the ruins. This was nice as architecture interests me and I would definitely recommend going to see it if you are ever in that part of the world.

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After our day out in Mexico when we returned to the resort we decided to go to Playa Del Carmen for the evening to do some shopping and whatever. We went down to the strip there and on the way I can remember all the check points we went through to get there. It is really something different to see as coming from Canada we don’t really see that… ever. I actually have never seen anything like that since. Nonetheless while in Playa Del Carmen there was some amazing bars and shops. The funniest thing that happened to us was we were sitting at our table having some authentic Mexican food when a truck pulls up and takes a hose about 6 inch diameter and runs it through the restaurant and starts pumping. Not sure if they were sucking out grease or something else! So that amused us for a while.

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Back at the Resort we had a swim up room. This was an amazing room where you open the patio door and you have a hammock area with some chairs then you step down into the water where its about a foot deep and then the lazy river is connected to that. If you ever go to a hotel with a swim up room I would definitely recommend it. It was great to walk out the room and hop in the lazy river and float/walk to the swim up bar to grab a drink.

El Dorado RoyaleMexico

This resort was huge and had golf cart shuttle from everywhere on the resort. What we did was wait at a bus stop type and the servers would come around and pick you up and bring you where you needed to go. I do have to say this though being in our early 30’s we were by far the youngest at this resort as I do remember looking around and thinking its all older people here. The resort had a number of walk up bars, swim up bars, restaurants and a breakfast buffet. The one thing that I did love about the resort was the restaurants were all the type that you order off the menu. They call it Gourmet Inclusive and I can tell you it is Gourmet! When we were there in 2010-2011 the resort had 24 hour room service which was awesome and fast, the drinks were real and not watered down and the service was top notch.

El Dorado RoyaleMexico Beach

While on the beach there  we did rent a Sea-Doo for some of the time and that was fun and really not that expensive but you don’t have the sales people hounding you up and down the beach either so that was a good thing. While there the one thing we did do that I never do is go see the time share program. We didn’t buy into it but by going we got a nice message on the beach one of the night and that rocked! The pictures in this post are from a camera not a phone lol sorry!

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All and all this is an awesome resort for someone on a Middle Class budget who like to live the Luxury Life.

 

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Honeymoon in Paris, France


Eiffel TowerEiffel Tower

Our trip to Paris, France, it was July of 2009 and the summer weather was nice and hot. To take you to the beginning of the trip we flew out of Toronto Pearson International Airport Using Air France. When we flew from Canada we just happened to pick the wrong time of day to fly out. This is one thing that I recommend is if you are flying to Europe from the East Coast of North America I highly recommend taking the red eye or the latest departure flight out of Canada or U.S. as you can. With the time change you will lose a day but unless you can sleep on a plane or stay awake from 7 am all day, it will screw up your biological clock and may ruin your trip if its not a long one.


So we flew out of Toronto around 4 p.m. EST if I remember correctly and we arrived in Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport at about 6:00 am Paris time. So by the time we received our bags and caught a cab it was a little rough considering our hotel room wasn’t available for check in until later in the day. I don’t think that is uncommon even here in Canada.

Paris, France Eiffel Tower

Our trip to Paris was sensational despite the jet lag at the beginning of the trip. We stayed at the Novotel which was about a 15 minute walk to the Eiffel Tower. We visited tons of tourists attractions while we there. Our trip was a week long and during that week we visited Euro Disney, Dom Perignon Champagnes tour, Moet Champagnes tour, Catacombs, Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre, Arc De Triomphe and had dinner in the Eiffel Tower seen the original Mona Lisa. During the trip we frequented a number of local establishments and I can write a blog on every individual one probably.

LouvreArc De Triomphe

During our stay we did happen to be there during the French National Holiday called Bastille Day. This was very interesting to witness and definitely recommend someone to go there at that time. It would be like going to Ottawa on Canada Day or to the United States on the 4th of July. We seen a number of tanks rolling through the streets with tons of soldiers and lots of fighter jets all over the sky. It was a wonderful time in deed.

Notre Dame CathedralNotre Dame CathedralMona LisaEiffel Tower

I just want to say one thing about the taxi service there and why I would recommend Uber while in Paris. We were taken for a ride and with the exchange rate from Canadian Dollars to Euro’s I can tell you it wasn’t a cheap ride. My wife and went from our hotel to one of the multi level malls and it was roughly a 30-35 Euro cab ride there. When we returned back from the mall it was a 12 Euro taxi ride so with the language barrier that we had it was a disadvantage and we were taken advantage of. So I will always support Uber in these situations. Other than that it was an awesome trip and can’t wait to go back again!

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While uploading pictures there was so much more to Paris that I could talk about but this is a blog and not a novel!  😉 One more thought and that is that since this was 2009 all these pics are pre-iphone camera I think! lol Well I didn’t have an iPhone camera phone then any ways!

Cheers!

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