Since Tom and I got married, we knew Europe was the next major trip on our list. Time flew by and we kept saying “maybe next year”, but I wasn’t going to let that happen again this year. In the Spring, I said let’s put it on the calendar or it’ll never happen. We figured out how long we could afford to take off from work, where we wanted to go, what we wanted to see, and roughly what it would cost us. We picked a rough deadline and started budgeting for our trip.
Time flew by and before we knew it, it was September. I can’t believe our trip has come and gone, or that I’m just now sitting down to share the details. But to be honest, since we got home I’ve been running a marathon. Owning a business and taking ten days off can be challenging to say the least. It’s hard to totally unplug, especially when you’re a one woman show. So apologies on the delayed trip details, I’ve been extra busy this last month!
Our adventure started with four days in London. We left on the red eye Thursday night and were in London by 10am. We took the Heathrow Express from the airport, and got settled into our hotel near Russell Square. After a power nap and a shower, we headed for a bite to eat around the corner, and came across a Hop-On Hop-Off double decker bus tour. We were all in, we had no shame when it came to being tourists. We wanted to see, do, and taste everything we could, while finally taking a trip that seemed like it would never happen.
Tom and I spent three hours on the bus tour, taking in the city and getting a lay of the land. We actually really enjoyed getting to see where everything was in relation to each other. The commentary on the bus was super helpful, and it meant a little break for our feet. We rode all over London before getting off at Piccadilly Circus. It reminded us of Times Square in Manhattan, with its neon signs and souvenir shops. From there we wandered to Trafalgar Square, only a short walk from Piccadilly, to the iconic fountains and architecture. We wandered around until we came across Chinatown and decided on Vietnamese for dinner, it was the best pho we ever had!! By the time we wrapped up dinner it was close to 10pm and we decided it was best to call it a night so we ready for a full day tomorrow.
Double Decker Bus Tour
Saturday morning we walked 3.5 miles to Buckingham Palace from our hotel (we walked an average of 10 miles a day!). It gave us a chance to see the city, and walk off the chocolate croissant I was on the hunt for. Buckingham Palace was unreal, absolutely amazing. I was hoping the queen would come out and invite me in for tea, but unfortunately she was on holiday in Scotland. We walked from the palace, to Westminster Abbey, to Big Ben, and across Westminster Bridge to the Thames river cruise (complimentary with our hop-on hop-off bus tour!). I took a seat on the top deck of the river cruise and Tom surprised me with some champagne for the ride. We took the cruise one way down the Thames and grabbed a taxi back to the London Eye with no time to waste! We had tickets for the London Eye champagne experience, which allowed us to skip the line. The view was breathtaking and the champagne didn’t hurt either.
After taking in the city we went back to the hotel to change into our Arsenal gear, we were headed to a football match! Tom surprised me with a jersey he borrowed from my college roommate before we left on our trip, so I felt like a true football fan. The energy at the game was unreal, the blocks before the stadium were blocked off and crowds of fans were walking up the street. It was an incredible experience (Arsenal won!), and probably the highlight of Tom’s trip.
After the game, we felt ambitious and hiked about 3.5 miles back to our hotel. I laid down for a power nap and ended up falling asleep for a few hours. When we woke up it was about 8pm and we took off in search for dinner. We ended up at an Italian restaurant around the corner from our hotel. I indulged in spaghetti and profiteroles before pouring myself back in bed.
Stuffing my face with a chocolate croissant
Thames River Cruise (London Eye)
Emirates Stadium– Arsenal vs Bournemouth match
We walked (of course) from our hotel through Hyde Park on our way to Harrods, the world’s most magical department store. The park reminded me very much of Central Park, and for a minute I felt like I was in NYC. They were hosting a concert in the park and crowds of people were coming from every direction. We finally made it to the other side of the park and made our way to Harrods.
Harrods is a luxury department store, think Saks Fifth Avenue, but better. It was literally insane, they have everything from clothing and jewelry, to art and books, to electronics, and restaurants. I was very excited but my wallet was not. Yet, we wandered around every floor, drooled over luxury items we couldn’t afford, and then headed to their tea room for afternoon tea. We snacked on scones and clotted cream, finger sandwiches, and eclairs. I left fat and happy, and ready for some shopping!
We spent the rest of the afternoon walking down Carnaby St and Oxford St, two of London’s best known shopping destinations. I checked out some of my favorite stores; Zara, Topshop, Mac, H&M, and very excitedly, the three-story Lush flagship store. Tom had to keep me from walking out with every Lush product ever created. We picked up some cool souvenirs, a few things to add to my closet, and headed back to get ready for dinner. We went to Aquashard at The Shard, a 95-story skyscraper nicknamed for looking like a shard of glass, and the tallest building in the U.K.. It was beautiful and arguably the best view in London. We ate dinner and spent hours taking in the view over drinks.
Afternoon Tea at Harrods
Flagship Lush store
Picked up some souvenirs in Phonica Records
Dinner at Aquashard
Monday was our last day in London before catching the afternoon train to Paris. We got ourselves packed up, checked out of our hotel, and left our bags with the concierge. Looking for souvenirs for family, we headed back to Piccadilly, where there’s a souvenir shop on every corner. We walked around taking in our last few hours in London and stumbled upon Savile Row, known worldwide as the home for a handmade suit. Of course, we did some more shopping.
I wasn’t ready to leave this magical place, but I was excited and nervous (I don’t speak a lick of French) to head to Paris! We grabbed a burger at Shake Shack and headed to the train station. The Eurostar was nicer than any train or airplane I’ve ever been on. Our seats reclined, had power outlets, and they served us a full meal of our choice with wine and beer. Two hours and some change later we arrived in Paris…
Stay tuned for our trip to Paris! Check out what I wore.