Semana Santa 2012

Two years ago I fell for France. This week, I finally rekindled my love affair with a trip to the “City of Light” during my twelve day break known here as Semana Santa. While you may have thought only schoolchildren deserve Spring Break or that “Holy Week” celebrations should occur outside of work hours, the people of Spain think a little differently. If you’ve kept up with my blog and caught on to the numerous days I get off, this probably doesn’t come as a big surprise.

Before my Parisian getaway, I had one of the best gifts of all- a visit from one of my best friends Taylor. We fit in as much as we could in her quick stay from a day trip to the town of Cuenca to running the Madrid Half Marathon side by side. We were exhausted by the end but it was so worth getting to spend time together less alone in another country!

Alongside the Casas Colgadas in Cuenca

Then came France with Gabe. After our first flight was cancelled due to an airport strike, we arrived Wednesday afternoon and I was ready to take a walk hike to the top of Sacre Couer which I heard had a view to rival that of the Eiffel Tower.

It definitely did not disappoint

Afterwards, we took a break in a cafe in the Montmarte neighborhood before walking back to our apartment to rest up before dinner at a delicious creperie. On the way, we made a stop at notorious Lauderée because I was determined to find out what the hype was about. With one bite into a fresh macaroon, I understood.

Simply delicious.

After a tasty dinner of exotic crepes, cidre, and fromage blanc, it was off to bed for our big adventure the next day to none other than…

Disneyland Paris!

We spent all day running around Walt Disney Studios and Disneyland Park. Unfortunately, the weather was not the best but it made for short lines and certainly put a little bit of a spring in our step as I wanted to minimize our wait in line outdoors for as long as possible. Favorite rides? Crush’s Coaster, Tower of Terror (classic), and Pirates of the Caribbean. We were wiped by the end of the day.

20th Anniversary Parade!

Friday morning we woke up and hopped on a train to Versailles. I loved the city last time but missed the chance to tour the palace. This time we did just that and and spent hours wandering the vast gardens. We even stumbled upon a fairytale village, equipped with a farm and everything, near the Marie-Antoinette’s estate that literally threw me into a storybook. Somehow we had enough energy afterwards to make the climb up to the top of the Eiffel Tower when we returned to the city.

View from the top

All that walking had our stomachs rumbling and we stumbled into a tiny French bistro called Le Hide near our apartment. We shared close corners with other Americans but dined on some amazing Parisian food including pan-roasted foie gras, veal, pepper steak, and tarte tatin, or apple pie. I was in heaven and wanted to take a picture of every dish that came out but did not want to feel judged. Regardless, I went to bed full and happy.

Our flight was late afternoon Saturday and I did not want to leave before walking around Le Marais, a neighborhood I already loved from all I had read. Again, it fulfilled my expectations from Le Marche de Enfants Rouges to the most amazing falafel.

Heaven

After a pit stop at a delicious sweet shop for last minute macaroons and chocolates, we boarded a plane to make it back to Madrid in time for Easter Sunday. The best part of the holiday this year was getting to gorge on potatoes which I gave up for Lent this year. Let me tell you, it’s not easy to resist potato chips, patatas bravas, tortilla española, and any other dish the Spainiards like to throw at ya that include potatoes; however, I made it through but am happy to say it’s all over now.

With work on Tuesday looming, I’m a bit sad but seeing as this might be my last “spring break” ever, I will make sure the memories last for a lifetime.

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