Wednesday, May 1, 2013

London Calling-- The first couple days

Hello old friends! Sorry for the three week gap in blogging, but I've been quite busy. First, I had to take a fantastic, amazing, perfect trip to Europe with my wonderful husband... then I had to recover from the trip for almost a week :)  But now I'm back in full form, ready to tell you all about our travels. And I'm going to talk a lot about my travels, because 700 pictures can't be contained in one blog post!

The trip started in London, a city I'd never visited. I'm lucky to say that due to parents who prioritized travel and also lived in Europe, I've lost count of how many times I'd been overseas. This was my 8th or 9th trip, I believe, and in all those visits to Europe the only part of England I'd seen was the airport terminal at Heathrow.  When my youngest sister announced that she would be studying abroad in London this Spring, I knew it was time to change that fact.

We flew out of Chicago late in the evening, and arrived in London around 10am on Thursday. We wanted to make the most of our time, so we dropped our bags off with my sister, and headed out to start seeing some sites. After a stylish lunch at All Bar One, we went across the street to visit the famous London Tower. A sudden rain and hail storm disrupted those plans, though, so we decided a museum was a better option during the questionable weather.

Do we look tired, or what?!

Approximately 5 minutes later, it started hailing!
Luckily, they refunded our £22 entry fee, since we'd just arrived. 

Onto beautiful Trafalgar Square, where it had mostly stopped raining.
(I should mention the rest of our time in London was full of amazing sunny weather)

We spent some time drying off inside the National Gallery, enjoying the gorgeous building and some impressionist art (my favorite). Then it was off to meet Colleen at her internship in the super posh neighborhood of Chelsea. On our way we popped into a fancy market, Daylesford, for a caffeine fix and a slice of bakewell tart.

After meeting up with our Air BnB host to drop off our luggage and get some keys, we went back to Colleen's flat in South Kensington. (Air BnB was a GREAT experience, by the way! We got to meet a local and stay in a room in his flat. It felt more comfortable and authentic than a hotel, and was cheaper, too!)  The rest of our night involved a little eating and drinking, and by 10 pm we hit the wall and had to crash. We were pretty proud of ourselves for making it that late, considering our only sleep the night before was a few hours on the airplane.

Sampling various English ciders.

Ending the first night at a classic English pub. Cheers!
Day two we woke up feeling waaaay more human! Joe and I had a triumphant return to the Tower of London, which was really fun to see. Big old castle + crown jewels = my kind of tourism. We packed a ton into this day, too-- after the tower we visited Selfridges and did some shopping on Oxford Street, and then Colleen and I had a proper English tea in the afternoon. We did more walking after that, going past Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Parliament. Many pictures were taken. Many laughs were had. And much tea and sweets were consumed. A very good day, for sure.

"Mind the Gap"

A peek at the food hall at Selfridges.

Only the best...
Pierre Herme Macarons

We can't afford to shop on Old Bond Street... but we can still dream!

Tea time at The Wolseley
Charming, posh, and perfectly British.

Happy 21st Birthday Colleen!

Buckingham Palace

Thanks for being our tour guide Colleen!

We ended our day with an epic late night pub crawl around Camden Town. I'll save that for another post, though, because I'm officially ready to admit that this post is far too long! There were too many wonderful adventures on this trip, and I'm taking advantage of the blog as a good place to capture the memories.

And now, it's my day off, and the sun is shining strong in Chicago! Time to go soak up a bit of this lovely spring weather. Until next time...


  1. ahhhhhhhhhhhh please post like 500 other blogs/pictures! You guys look so carefree and relaxed ... and that pic of C in the museum kills me, she is so grown up! Can't wait to see more! xo

  2. So fun! I LOVE these pictures. We've never explored London (only stopped for a layover) but this definitely makes me want to check it out!