Summer 2017 has been breathtaking, stunning, memorable, and so many other things.
I wish I could put all of it into words, but I really don’t think I can. I mean, how do you explain everything you’ve experienced when you visited so many places and when you’ve created so many memories with your best friend.
I thought the summer that Trevor and I got married would be the best summer of my life. Don’t get me wrong, that summer had so many amazing things going for it, but this one tops it. We worked through struggle and this summer was a celebration of conquering hard things in our life together. Despite all of the ick going on early in our marriage, we got to feel some of the most amazing feelings in the world this summer. We felt a heck of a lot of love. We felt a pulse for adventure and a spirit of exploring. We pushed ourselves out of our comfort zones and found something even more miraculous. We focused on our marriage in ways we didn’t know was possible.
While I don’t think many future events will top this summer’s adventures, I can’t wait to see what is ahead and how I’ll be proved wrong in this way.
(Psst… Hoping to write about Portland soon-ish, but we’ll see…)
We spent a lot of great time in London and probably could have spent even more there! Here is another post about our time there!
LONDON DAY 4
We toiled with the idea of skipping our first stop, the British Museum, and just going to see West End Live in Trafalgar Square. We ended up sticking to our plan of the British Museum and saw The Rosetta Stone and a lot of amazing artifacts from Ancient Egypt.
I’m a sucker for beautiful ceilings!
The British Museum is also free, so we didn’t feel bad going in and not spending forever there. We headed toward Trafalgar Square after feeling like we spent enough time in the British Museum and listened to a little of West End Live! We heard hits from Mamma Mia!, Hair, Annie, and more, all while enjoying macaroni and cheese from Pret. We couldn’t stick around too long though because I had bought us tickets to see Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre! If you’re into musicals and you’re in London, I highly recommend seeing Phantom! It was perhaps one of my favorite things we did on the entire trip. Thanks so much Crystal for pushing me to actually purchase the tickets!
The stage set before the show started.
The fallen chandelier at intermission.
The outside of the beautiful Her Majesty’s Theatre!
By the time the show was over, we were ready for dinner! We headed over to Covent Garden to enjoy some street performers and some good eats. We ended up having a hard time deciding where to go because everywhere was so busy at that time! We ended up finding this amazing restaurant where I enjoyed an amazing passion fruit bellini!
A visit to Covent Garden wouldn’t have been complete without Trevor stepping foot into Apple Covent Garden.
Eventually, we moved on to the area around St. Paul’s Cathedral. During my last visit to London, I had really enjoyed my time at St. Paul’s. This time I didn’t time it well and the Cathedral was already closed. But we walked around and went to the top floor of the mall next door for some amazing views.
We also happened to be close to the Millenium Bridge. Any Harry Potter fans out there? Thankfully they’ve reassembled the bridge so we could walk across it. 😉
We walked by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on our way back to the hotel and stopped for another Mississippi Mud Pie McFlurry from McDonald’s. All in all, it was a much more relaxed day. It was definitely one of my favorites though.
Tomorrow’s post will entail our departure from London 😦
Sorry, I took a few days off from sharing our time in Europe, but I’m glad you’ve come back to hear more about our European Adventures! BTW (as always), you can check out the hashtag #tandeineurope to see some of the photos that I’ve posted there from/during our trip.
LONDON DAY 3
After a crazy busy DAY 2, I didn’t know if we could ever surpass the busyness and enjoyment of that day.
So Day 3…
The original plan was to head over to Trafalgar Square and do some people watching and just enjoy the morning there. Of course, we got there and they were setting up a stage and intense seating area. And then the MUSIC. We walked closer and they’re performing a soundcheck for Hair! As we did some more reading of the signage all over, we found out that West End Theatre was putting on an event the next day called West End Live with portions and excerpts from a large variety of their shows.
After listening for a bit we headed into National Gallery since that’s situated right on Trafalgar Square and is free! We didn’t last in there as long as I thought we would and ended up walking around Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus area. We also headed down Regent Street and saw another Apple Store. It was a beautiful day to just walk and enjoy the city!
We then took a bus to Hyde Park and Kensington Palace! Hyde Park had some amazing greenery! There was a cute little ice cream truck I just couldn’t pass up. Trust me, Trevor tried to get me to pass it up…
After Kensington Palace, we realized we were running a little behind schedule, so we hopped on a bus quickly to get over to the London Eye!
So Round 1 of London for me did not include the London Eye. I decided it would be a great thing for us to do as Trevor loves good views and great photo opportunities, so the London Eye seemed like no problem. If you know me, you know I’m afraid of heights. So, does the Eye sound like a good idea for me? Probs not. I figured once we got going, I’d be fine. I’ve been to the top of the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower before, so the London Eye should be no problem, right?! Nah, I was in panic and internal freak out mode for about 50% of the ride. Once we got to the top and began descending, I ended up being fine and we even got a picture! Would I do it again? Probably not. Am I glad I did it? Sure, I guess.
When we purchased our tickets for the London Eye online, we saw there was also a River Cruise provided through them that we decided to book. We had kind of an awkward amount of time left between the two, so we got food at Giraffe. They had super delicious soda that I wish was sold in the US. We made it back just in time for the River Cruise.
The River Cruise was an amazing experience. Not only did we get to see London from another angle (and quickly), but also we got to hear a lot of the really cool history of the buildings and city as well! Trevor was in heaven, constantly shooting the whole time. I’m not even sure he heard a single fact of history because he was so busy with photos.
After the River Cruise, we wandered back to our hotel for a good night’s rest along with a night cap of Doctor Who!
I forgot to include that on London Day 2, we ended up stopping by Platform 9 3/4 and enjoyed some Harry Potter loving!
I cannot wait to continue sharing about the rest of our trip! Check back for more (hopefully tomorrow)!
Glad you’ve come back to hear more about our European Adventures and our time in London! BTW, you can check out the hashtag #tandeineurope to see some of the photos that I’ve posted there from/during our trip.
LONDON DAY 2
You’re going to be hearing a lot about London and be getting potentially overkilled with images. I planned a pretty tight schedule for our time in London. London was my favorite spot from my trip to Europe in 2013 and there was a lot I wanted to revisit or didn’t feel I got the chance to do! We did sooo much in London and spent the most time there, so prepare yourselves!
I woke up ready to take on the city! Trevor wanted to sleep. This is the story of our lives. I had pre-ordered tickets to Tower of London and wanted to get there right away. I loved Tower of London last time I was in England and was excited to go again and take the time to read more of the information this time. Once we got there, we made our way straight to the Crown Jewels. My first time there, we waited in line outside of the building for probably an hour before getting to actually walk through the building and felt like we were pushed through like cows. It was very much timed and I didn’t really enjoy the experience that much. Visiting earlier in the day was the best decision ever, purely for being able to walk through the Crown Jewels building at our own pace and actually look around!
After our time at the Tower of London, we took some classic pictures out front of Tower Bridge!
OH – so Trevor and I both have Apple Watches, which we super love for so many reasons. The picture above was taken by triggering the shutter of Trevor’s iPhone with a button/app on his Watch – talk about slick! Most of the photos of us together are taken that way!
After our time by the Tower, we took the Tube toward Churchill War Rooms. We snagged these photos on our walk from the station to the War Rooms.
When we arrived at the War Rooms we debated if it was a good time to go or not. There was a pretty hefty line but decided to wait it out.
I am SO glad we decided to do Churchill War Rooms. It was something on our agenda I didn’t go to back in 2013, so that was a plus to start. The price includes an audio tour, which most places require you to pay extra for, another plus. The area you get to tour is HUGE. We spent over an hour and a half (maybe 2 hours) there and felt we were being engaged by the material the whole time. (wow, just used some major teacher lingo there) All around, such a good experience. They even have the 10 Downing Street door from when Churchill was Prime Minister in the Museum area!
By the time we finished walking through the War Rooms, we were starving. We decided to eat at Pret-A-Manger because they were everywhere. We found an area near Westminster Abbey to enjoy our sandwiches! They were amazing and visiting Pret became a noticable pattern in our time in London.
Upon the completion of our delicious (late) lunch, I convinced Trevor to let us go into Westminster Abbey. Although not originally on the agenda, I figured since we were there, we should do it! We only have pictures from the outside because they have a policy of no photos on the inside. But believe me, it was phenomenal inside. If you’re ever in London – GO. I almost cried because of the beauty.
Following the beauty of Westminster Abbey, we walked around the area around the Abbey and Big Ben to enjoy some of the typical sightseeing.
Honestly, London offers so much natural beauty. I could only imagine living in such an amazing area. Following our walk around, we headed to our meeting place for the Jack the Ripper Tour! I was sooo excited for the tour and I have watched so many documentaries and read so much about Jack the Ripper. Trevor, on the other hand, had no idea any of the information shared with us (apparently he never cared to listen when I’d shared details earlier) and found it super fascinating. Below are some photos of some of the locations we visited on the walking tour!
After the amazing tour, we made our way back to our hotel. It was a day filled with a lot of walking and we were ready for some rest. I just looked back on my activity – on this day we walked 9.75 miles!
I can’t wait to keep sharing our fun time in Europe, be sure to check back for more!
Glad you’ve come back to hear more about our European Adventures! BTW, you can check out the hashtag #tandeineurope to see some of the photos that I’ve posted there from/during our trip.
TRAVEL FROM AMSTERDAM TO LONDON / LONDON DAY 1
Y’all are in for quite the read. We had delays and reschedule-ments and everything in between. At this point in the trip, I was assuming (and hoping) this would be the only hiccups we would experience.
We grabbed a quick and simple breakfast from a café not too far from our AirBnB and walked around the area along the canals. We packed up and hit the road. Our walk to the train station was much easier than our way to the AirBnB – no wrong trains were gotten on, no misunderstandings of where we were going to. All in all, it was feeling easy at this point.
We made it to Amsterdam’s airport with ease and boarded our plane. We had a connection through Paris CDG. We learned on our first transfer through CDG that France will make you go through security again even for connections. Also, thanks to the security requirements, I have more stamps in my passport from France than I anticipated gaining! Our connection from Amsterdam to London, however, was much shorter than our first. We ended up having to run through CDG, which is quite the large airport, to make sure we would make boarding on time. Definitely not my favorite moment of the trip.
By the time we made it to our gate, we hopped in line and began boarding shortly. We all made it on the plane pretty promptly but got delayed on the plane for some reason I don’t remember. Our flight got delayed about 20 minutes on the Paris side and then we sat in the plane even longer once landing in London. For only a 40 minute flight, we spent a lot of time on that plane. When we finally got off of our plane, we grabbed our luggage and got onto the Tube to go to our hotel. I had scheduled a Jack the Ripper Tour for that evening at 7 pm and I knew we weren’t going to make it on time. It was about 6 by the time we got off the Tube and were starting to walk to our hotel. I called up the tour company and they so willingly offered to reschedule our time with the next day’s group! (Seriously, shoutout to Discovery Tours. You rocked. Read my Yelp review.)
Once we finally checked into our hotel, we just kind of SAT. After our less than perfect AirBnB experience in Amsterdam, hotel-living was feeling amazing. Trevor is the King of “travel hacking” and we got our nights in our London hotel for free! Seriously, the only reason we were able to do even half of this trip was that he invested so much time in finding amazing deals on travel.
Eventually, we got pretty hungry and decided to grab some food. After some Yelp research, we found a place that we thought would be a good fit because they apparently serve the best fish and chips. We wanted to make sure we had fish and chips at least once over there, so why not the first night?! We walked over to the cutest little place, which ended up being really fancy inside. We were asked if we had a reservation, in which we awkwardly responded “No” to and received an odd look. Yelp didn’t prepare us for that! They ended up finding a spot for us, although we were definitely not receiving the top end service or experience that was raved about. Nonetheless, the food was fantastic! We split a plate of fish and chips with mushy peas since it was getting later in the evening. I was so surprised that Trevor was loving the mushy peas! No excuses about peas in the future now…
Our fish & chips
After a hearty dinner, we walked around the area near our hotel a bit. We weren’t in central London by any means and couldn’t see any significant landmarks without a bus or Tube ride. I was glad we selected a more neighborhood-like area though. The streets were clean, there were very few homeless people in our hotel’s immediate vicinity, and there were smaller shops nearby. We ended up stumbling upon a cute little store that apparently sold film! We were hoping to return when it was open but never did.
Night 1 in London ended with an enjoyable shower (since we only ever did a quick rinse in Amsterdam) and enjoying some Doctor Who on Netflix before being fast asleep in our oh-so-comfy hotel bed!
There’s a lot more to read about our time in London and I’ll keep sharing the rest of our journey through Europe, so check back later for more!