And we're off! After a fast 24 hours of final stateside preparations in New York City (including one spontaneous rushed trip to REI in Soho to purchase a new pack for Rachel, as the one she was planning on bringing didn't fit in the end), we made it to the airport, into the air, and back down again in England.
But first a word about this pack. I purchased, back in May, a pack I am extemely proud of, because I got it on mega-sale (probably because it is nearly neon blue and no one else wants it). I love it. Well, as it would happen, when we went to remedy Rachel's last minute pack fiasco, what did we find on sale again (and the only thing at an affordable rate) ... the EXACT same pack. Same color. Same sale. Months apart. So now Rachel and I (who you may have noticed already look somewhat alike) are packing through Europe with identical day-glow blue backpacks. Yes. We're just that cool. We're thinking about starting a club.
So, after handling this saga, packing our bags (and me stuffing a lot of stuff from my pack into Rachel's when she wasn't looking - true story), we took off from NYC for Paris, via Manchester, England where we had a 7 hour layover, and where I am currently writing this.
Taking off from the airport however, we wandered through Manchester, drank some Italian coffee (yeah, I wanted to say tea there, but that would have been a lie), and happened upon a gorgeous little Catholic Church, really called St. Mary's, but locally known as "The Hidden Gem." It really is, actually -- we found it by getting lost (take one), and trying to cut through an alley that led us behind some dumpsters and -- and voila! This church, it turns out, was the first in England to be built after it became legal for Catholics to worship publicly again -- in 1791.
Even better, they were having Adoration!
Tonight, after a lovely 36 hours of almost constant awakeness, we will arrive in Paris -- and we're really excited. Enough said.