It was our last day in London… We had a major case of the blues. This morning we went to breakfast at Fred’s. Fred is a kind Frenchman who owns a little dining shop with fresh juice and light food. He and my mom chat and chuckle on the regular.
Once nourished, I led the final tour to Buckingham Palace and Green Park. After very touristy pictures we walked through Hyde Park to see Peter Pan and the Italian Gardens.
We couldn’t leave London without afternoon tea, so we stopped at The Muffin Man. I had the house blend of tea, which is lovely, especially for someone who really doesn’t like tea so much.
Earlier in the week my dad saw a mini article about a flash mob outside the Tate Modern Museum scheduled for 6 PM on Saturday so we headed there to see what it was all about. It was super disappointing, but we were able to see more of South Bank.
We happily and sadly ended our stay at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant. I was in diners heaven. Everything was delicious and the atmosphere was elegant yet relaxed.
So even though we were out late on Thursday, we were all up and ready to go by 11 AM. It was a gorgeous day… finally! This was the perfect day to ride the London Eye.
While visiting the eye on the south side, we did pop over towards Big Ben, Parliament and Westminister Abbey. One of our less than great ideas was eating just McDonalds for lunch, but we walked it off as we journeyed to Trafalgar Square to see my parents.
There were tons of street performers at the square and a giant blue rooster. After witnessing the crazy, we went to Piccadilly Circus and stopped at the big London tourist shop for gifts.
To our right, down Regent Street, were NFL and American flags hanging all down the street. Apparently they opened a store there. We walked ghat way but never saw the store. Somehow it was already five o’clock and we took the bus home.
For dinner we went to Byron for burgers because they are delicious. We made it a wild night and bought dessert on the way home to enjoy while watching comedic British television for the rest of the night. Go crazy!
Back in London, and my turn to play tour guide. After sleeping in and a Starbucks, we took the bus to Harrod’s.
Like most things in major cities, Harrod’s is a spectacle. If I lived here, I would never actually shop here because it is ginormous; however, I was pleased that it was not crowded at all during our visit.
We walked every floor and oohed and ahed over everything because we’re doing it wrong! The ice cream parlor served your sundae with ray ice so it stayed cold and looked so cool. There were puppies to buy and of course the Diana and Dodi memorial. Harrod’s also has a Laduree store in the building, which also serves tea and meals.
After a few small purchases, we went to Harvey Nichols for lunch. There is a bit of construction on the fifth floor where the restaurants and food hall are located, but we were able to be seated at one of the bistros right away.
Nourished and shopped out, we took a stroll to the Victoria and Albert Museum. A majority of the museum is free, like the jewelry hall, paintings and statues. Right now, there is a fashion exhibit that you can pay to visit and a pearl exhibit started on Saturday (Tri Delta love!).
We had to head home after the museum to get ready for our night at the theater. My mom got us tickets to see Wicked. While I love the music from this play and have watched the whole thing in pieces on YouTube, I’ve never seen it on Broadway. Needless to say, I was very excited!
So how was it you ask? Amazeballs! The actress who played Elphie sounded and acted just like Idina Menzel, the songs were sensational, and the whole ordering your intermission beverage upon arrival is genius!
Since it was just the girls and I at the play, we decided to check out the city by night after the play. We hoped on the tube to Embankment and went to a bar right in the alley outside the station. Naturally, we American girls made friends with the bouncer and server immediately. They pretty much told us their bar was not the place to be, though it was pretty chill to us. They recommended we walk to Covent Garden and go to this bar which was safe, cheap and fun. Count us in!
In Covent Gardens we saw the crazy people in line for the Apple launch the next day and then we headed into the bar. There was a cover band who sang lots of American songs. We sang and danced the night away and were home at 4 AM. We were pooped the next morning to say it politely.
Wednesday was our last day in Paris and once again, the weather was not playing nice. Our train back to London also wasn’t until late in the evening so we had several tricky factors to work in our plan.
The Arch de Triumph is something I photographed from a street corner during my last visit. While I didn’t feel the need to climb up the arch, I did want to ga closer look. Of course, this monument did not disappoint and was full of detail and sustainability over hundreds of years.
Right near the arch is the famous Champs de Elyesse. This road houses all of the fancy shopping stores I dream of affording and frequenting one day. Obviously didn’t buy much during this walk, but it was still fun to window shop.
At the end of the road and just past a park stands the Concord. Couldn’t tell you off hand what it’s about, but we saw it! By now, we were hungry and went to a local bread shop next to our hotel for some Classic French snacks.
Once nourished, we grabbed our bags from the hotel and went tot brain station to lock our bags so we could continue to tour and walk during the day. Go figure, the lockers were not available! Wrench, meet, plan. Rude! Mom was able to get some information from one of the many police officers, and was told there was a suspicious package threat they were investigating. Hooray!
Mom decided to stay with all out bags in the security threat station and send us on our merry way. Nothing about this sounds like a good idea, and in the end everything was fine; however, it’s all about the journey.
The girls and I had a map and were told where not to walk to get to Sacre Coeur and Montmartre - more spectacular views from a pretty church near a Dutch artsy town. On our way to the top of the mountain, we naturally and accidentally ended up where we were not supposed to be. Let’s just say, during our final stretch to the top of the mountain, a streetman got in my personal sphere and said, “give me all your money,” to which I replaced, “uh no” and never stopped walking. The man hissed at me for saying no. Crazy.
We did arrive to the mountain, enjoyed the views, bought a few souvenirs and went back to the station to head back to London. Mini Paris adventurer complete!
My saying for this entire Eurotrip is, “we’re doing it wrong!”. There are so many things that London and Paris have or do that make so much more sense than things in America. I’m positive Europeans feel the same way about things we do in the States, but still, we are doing it wrong!
On Tuesday we took a train to Versailles. In short, the place is spectacular, unbelievable and nothing in the United States compares. Sorry Versailles wannabe in Florida!
The palace (one of three on the property - might be its own zip code? country?) is ginormous. We did the audio tour of the public parts of the main palace and gardens. It took three hours to tour, but it was worth it. History lesson and looking at shiny, pretty things? No problem!
We opted out of visiting Marie Antoinette’s estate and area of the palace because that would have added two more hours to our visit. Nonetheless, I can’t imagine how grand the place must look.
I did purchase my Laduree macarons at a shop within the palace - winning!
After swooning for hours, we head back to Paris and prepared for our evening. This night, we walked around St. Louis isle and had dinner at the same place mom and I went to during our last visit. The food was very Parisian and delish!
We ended the night with a boat tour around Paris and watched the Eiffel Tower sparkle at 11 PM. It was gorgeous, despite the rain and the men who mooned our boat.