Today I hiked the most amazing sub-alpine terrain with beautiful sunny skies, crossed waterfalls and flowing rivers, ran up a peak to eat lunch in the pouring rain staring over a valley, hiked up snow and ice covered volcanic rocks, and took a nice sand dune walk along the beach. New Zealand – you have my heart.
Being snow bunnies in Boston for the weekend!!!
And we got to see The Saloon, the infamous place where Tyler’s mom served Tyler’s dad a free shot that fateful day.
Earlier this summer, Tyler and I traveled with his whole family to London and Paris. It was an amazing week! It was so nice to spend so much time with his family and doing so while exploring new countries is by far my favorite. I even got to celebrate my 25th birthday in Paris – Tyler may never top that! Be warned, this post has tons of photos!
Here are some snapshots from London. Top things we did: Buckingham Palace, The London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and saw Wicked! There is so much of London we didn’t even touch, but I will save that for next time. Seeing the inside of the Palace was really neat since it is only open for a very limited time every year.
All the siblings together.
Lovely View of the London
View of London from on top St. Paul’s Cathedral
Amazing clock tower seen from on top of St. Paul’s
Us at St. Paul’s
The Globe Theatre
The London Eye
Hubby and I
Up in the London Eye
Seeing WIcked – we sat in the 4th row!!!!
Next up, Paris. I fell in love from the moment we got off the train. Every last inch of this city is beautiful. Every street felt like it was from a movie; I could have wandered around random streets for days. To me, Paris was so much bigger and more beautiful than anywhere I have been. We went to the Louvre, saw the Arc de Triumph, the Eiffle Tower (of course, and went up at night), saw Notre Dame, and ate macaroons from Laduree. I cannot wait to come back and see so much more!
The ceiling of our Apartment
Watching the Eiffel Tower light up!
We have such a good looking family
Arc de Triumph
SO many MACAROONS!
View from inside the Louvre
I loved every building in Paris
Gluten Free Crepes – Just for Tyler.
Getting Berthillon’s world famous ice cream.
Best espresso of my life
The whole city looks this perfect.
WIth my love
Just wandering around…
This amazing building is actually a hotel.
This summer to celebrate the end of my Step 1 studying, as a belated Part 2 to our anniversary, and a fun summer getaway – Tyler and I road-tripped from NYC to Quebec City to Montreal and back.
We hit Quebec first, a very french part of Canada. We stayed at the most charming B&B on a lake and enjoyed slow mornings, french food, hiking, and exploring the most beautiful city I have ever seen in all of North America. We fell in love with the city and were in awe of how beautiful it was. The city was immaculately maintained and the buildings were stupendous.
After 3 days there, we went to Montreal to enjoy some city life. We stayed at a B&B closer to the more happening parts of the city. We got to hit an art museum, travel into downtown, and we even got to watch the USA’s entry in a fireworks competition. Honestly, we spent a ton of time relaxing and just slowing down. Life was a tad busy for us. And since we love driving so much, coursing through upstate NY, Vermont, New Hampshire and the country roads of Canada was so relaxing. And we saw so many adorable little towns and homes and old churches.
We enjoyed Quebec City more since Montreal was a little too much like NYC for a vacation, so we have definitely added it to our list to go back to. Maybe in the winter when the scenery is white and crisp.
I will keep the words short and sweet and let the pictures do most of the talking!
So I blame the delay of posting on Tyler, I really do. I really wanted him to post a recap of his trip to Africa, but alas he has not found the time. Maybe in the next few months one might pop up.
We are back in Grenada after a fun but exhausting 3 weeks in California. We are both so exhausted. I think the trip broke us, we just cannot keep our eyes open. We slept almost the entire day on Thursday after we landed and have been taking way too many 3 hour naps since then. Lets hope I can snap out of it as classes begin tomorrow and I need to return to some sort of normalcy.
Our trip to the States was fun and I sadly did not take very many pictures. I am actually shocked as I was so excited to use my cool new GPS camera to tag all the pictures, and then I didn’t even take one picture while we were snowboarding in Colorado. I know, I should be ashamed. It was beautiful and cold! We enjoyed spending some holiday/vacation time with a good majority of the family on my side and Tyler’s immediate family too!
One specific fun thing was we did go visit the the Ronald Reagan Museum while we were in Simi Valley for Tyler’s birthday. He really wanted to go. I had been several time before during school, but it was cool to see the Air force 1 which was new and this really cool Disney exhibit that was visiting there.
I did also manage to bring back a few family pics and some of Tyler and I’s adorable niece, Samantha. She is getting so big and so cute and she definitely loves Auntie Stef. Plus I totally taught her how to wave while we were there – so adorable.
Anyways, since I have nothing interesting to say, you can look at these pictures instead!
Tyler about to attack his 50% ground beef, 50% ground bacon gfree burger.
Samantha and I
Us with our niece
As the final installment in the blogging about all the glorious adventures of Trinidad (read more here, here and here) I want to host a segment called where are we. As there is generally a lot of contention among the students at SGU who are trying to gage how great Trinidad is. I mean is it like Grenada but just a little further south? Or is is better? Of course the Trinidadian students here rave that Trinidad is the best country ever…but they are not to be trusted. So lets just look at these few pictures and see for ourselves how different Trinidad really is.
Coffee Drinks - real ones!
Lastly, remind anyone of Costco? Looks exactly like it on the inside, EXACTLY!
All of this to say, Trinidad is a LOT more developed than Grenada. They have a huge highway traversing across the country, they have so many large grocery stores and malls, real malls, and Costco. I mean you can go and buy all your food in ridiculously cheap ginormous packages. What more could you want? Trinidad was much more like the U.S. than Grenada. It was so developed and we were so shocked to see so many American chains there and everything. We did breakdown and buy some Coldstone and it was heavenly. And of course after we went to the mall to shop for a bit Tyler’s reward was eating Pizza Hut.
I guess in conclusion Tyler and I came out thinking Trinidad was pretty awesome. We will certainly remember just how developed they are from now on. We still love the fact that Grenada has the beauty and the beaches, but all that convenience sure reminds us of why we like our good ol’ US home.
Anyways that pretty much sums up our trip. Hard to believe we are turning around and leaving next Friday for Barbados and then heading to the States for a quick visit and a wedding. Plus school starts in a week – that is so saddening. Summer break where have you gone? I guess that about sums it up for the Paulson’s.
Fresh Hot Doubles!
After all the fun we had exploring some on our first day in Trinidad we packed up and spent another day seeing some of the awesome sights Trinidad has to offer. However we had to grab some local breakfast first. Grenada and Trinidad alike are hearty, savory breakfast and big lunch with small suppers kind of places. The nutritionist at the hospital was baffled when I tried to explain to her that in the US we like to eat a muffin or a granola bar for breakfast. She was shocked it wasn’t fish and bread. So anyways, we just had to try these “hot doubles” that Kelsie said were so great and try our hand at a big, heavy breakfast. Well, they were amazing! Such a combination of flavors I had never had all together, but still tasted like breakfast. And they did a pretty good job keeping me full. Although since they normally like to eat lunch at 2 or 3 pm, I was still starving by then.
Our first stop of the day was the mud volcano. It is a literal volcano that spews mud. I guess it erupts pretty massively every so often. Kelsie said she was pretty sure it had a big eruption fairly recently and that is why it was actually quite flat. Usually the little volcano-like peaks grow as they spill out mud but after the large eruption they spread the mud out. So it was not as impressive as if it was the huge peak, but still crazy to see it all bubbly. I guess next time I hear about a big eruption of the Trinidad mud volcano I can remember how powerful it really is even if it looks tame.
Our second stop was Pitch Lake. Apparently there is a gigantic lake of asphalt in Trinidad that basically supplies the world with asphalt. That’s right, the world. Who would have thunk that the roads I drove on most of my life came from this stuff. Tyler and I kept saying how we never even though about where asphalt came from. The lake is huge, and the rainfall causes lots of water to accumulate so you can actually swim or wade through that part. But we got to step on it and a lot of it was soft and mold-able like asphalt would be and there were pathways that were literally made from asphalt seeping up from the ground and melting together in the heat. 1/3 of the lake is liquid at anytime so the tour guide dug some of the tar up for us. Of course we were careful not to walk in those liquid areas. The whole think was fascinating and amazing and really cool! And maybe the rumors of the Pitch Lake water being good for your skin will prove true. Who knows.
The last event for the night was dancing. Yes I said dancing! We went Latin Dancing with Kelsie to this club that she goes to regularly.
All of us at the club!
She arranged for tickets for the both of us so even Tyler couldn’t say no. Anyone that has ever met my loving and wonderful husband knows that among all of his marvelous qualities, dancing is no where to be found. But, I got him to dance! Yes, that is right – he DANCED! He was likely the only guy there who actually got asked by a girl to dance (not me for the record) but he did it. I was unable to capture it on camera as I was immediately pulled up to dance. Kelsie’s dance instructor and one of the other students in Kelsie’s class were gracious enough to show Tyler the basic moves so he could dance one song with me. He did okay, but could use some work. But this might make it easier to get him to take classes with me as I have been begging him to do. Tyler took a few pictures of me but they didn’t come out that great. I always have countless attempts at taking photos while dancing and they always look the same – very unimpressive. But it was truly a fun night. We enjoyed ourselves tremendously and were out later than we ever are even though we proceeded to get up to make it to 6am church the next day.
Tyler with the peacock at the entrance.
So after the East Indian Cultural Lesson, we headed over to see this beautiful nature preserve that is smack dab in the middle of the giant oil factory. Kind of ironic ey? But Trinidad is like the US in the fact that they tend to destroy the natural beauty around (and the wildlife with it) for the sake of development and then realize that an important part of their country is disappearing so then try and preserve it again by rebuilding the natural habitat into preserves, etc. That is basically what the Wild Fowl Trust is, a nature preserve to maintain the high diversity of fauna and different species of birds native to the Trinidad and to create a space to teach children about conservation. Honestly, I think I was reminded of like three field trips I probably went on as a kid that were exactly like that.
Anyways, no matter why it is there the place is beautiful. Lush and full of vegetation and the walkway completely encircles this beautiful pond. It was of course a super rainy day and most of the place was a big mushy mud puddle – perfect in my white sandals – but it was worth trekking through.
Here are just some of the awesome photos I managed to get of the place.
Grabbing a drink at the Avenue
After we made it to their house, we rested up and then decided to head to the Avenue in Port of Spain, the capitol of Trinidad, for dinner and to stroll along the street that is lined with clubs and bars and nightlife. It is apparently a popular thing to do. We mostly just hung out and walked around. But we did grab a drink at a local roadside bar just so we could say we did. And with no open bottle policy, you can stroll around with your beer too! We even went up on a hill to see a beautiful overview of the city lights at night – it was so magical. Wish I could have captured it properly on my camera.
Such a great first day!
Tyler and I at the Hindu Temple
So to blog our trip to Trinidad, rather than blog a long two or three part series with a day by day account, I have decided to share some of the fun stories we have from our time and of course the lovely pictures and allow them to tell of the fun we had in Trinidad. So, do be sure to read the first installment about our insane airport adventure.
So to recap, Tyler and I went to Trinidad and Tobago (Trinidad for short) to visit my friend and study buddy Kelsie. She planned for us a trip packed full of adventures and sight-seeing and there is still so much to do there. She says it is for the next time we come. I was so proud of her for planning so many adventures, she isn’t a big plan-ahead person. So on the way from the airport we started our adventures and went on an East-Indian cultural extravaganza. We visited the Hindu temple built out in the ocean, got to see some cremations going on, saw the tall Hanuman statue, went to the cultural museum, and ate Roti’s which is an IndoCaribbean dish. And later in the weekend we even bought me a Sari (yes, I look awesome and I do intend to wear it to something) and went to a cultural fair type thing for India. I don’t think Tyler and I have ever learned so much about how one culture influenced a whole nation before on vacation.
So basically, we had an East Indian themed visit. There are a lot of East Indians in Grenada and of course even more in Trinidad. You can see the Hindu flags flying all over in peoples yards and in parks to designate holy places of sacrifice and remembrance and such.
I must say, I liked this part of our trip.
And of course a few more pictures.
So this post is way overdue, but break sure did fly by. I just lost track of time. We spent about 18 days in the States and it was packed full of family, friends, and stocking up on American goodies.
Our first big adventure shortly after getting to California was a trip to the cold. After spending the last 5 months in continual August, cold was what we wanted. Compared to Grenada’s sunny, humid, 87 degree weather everyday – California’s chilly 50’s were quite a shock for us. But we decided that we wanted to soak as much up as possible, so we decided to make a trip to the mountains in search of snow. We rented a little cabin at the most beautiful, cozy little inn in Julian for the night. Going to Julian during the holidays is already pretty special to us because last Christmas we went for the anual tree lighting ceremony which we sadly missed this year. But it is a tradition that I wouldn’t mind keeping – and so is staying up there at this inn – so beautiful!
Anyways, we started off our little 36 hour mini-vacation by hiking up in Mt. Laguna. Snow was everywhere – about a foot and half to two feet. That might not sound like much to our friends in the mountains or on the east coast, but that is pretty good for the San Diego county mountains.
We were able to enjoy all of the classic snow activities, snowball fights, building a snowman, snow angels, and even a relaxing bath in a tub full of ice! It was super sunny and cold, for us at least, and the best part was that not too many people had tracked through yet so all of the snow was perfect and free of footprints.
After our hike, we enjoyed Julian and the awesome Cabin we got to stay in. The main lodge of the inn has the best large fireplace where we sat and drank wine and beer, ate cheese and fruit, and read travel magazines. We even read one about the Caribbean – Grenada wasn’t even mentioned. We clearly know more about the Caribbean than they do.
It was the most perfect trip. We loved getting some time to relax, just the two of us after a chaotic semester. It was perfect – many, many husband points to Tyler for planning a great little trip for us.