20 November 2016

Post-Europe

8/16/16
LHR --> LIT

I'm not use to waking up early mornings now. I guess this was the alarm that brought me back to real life.  It reminds me that tomorrow it will go off at 5:45 and instead of getting ready to explore a beautiful city in a fascinating country-- I'll instead be driving myself to 1st- Starbucks to make sure my man club breakfast club is still meeting and 2nd- down Cantrell to AEDC. Which reminds me-- school started while we were gone and I will again hate Episcopal Collegiate traffic. Man, I just got low and so negative. Let's not end my fabulous trip on this note. 

The car picked us up at our hotel at promptly 6:30 this morning. It felt like the longest drive ever to the airport. When we pulled up to Heathrow, all I could think of was the quote in "Love Actually." It's a giant airport. Seriously planes take off every 2 minutes. I timed it since we sat on the runway for so darn long. 

I snapped this going in to the London airport. I realized I never grabbed a picture of us wearing these darn backpacks. 
 Holly and Scott left about 2 hours before us so we had some time to waste. We did plenty of duty free looking. Should we buy the booze? Why would we buy this? We can buy it in America. Well Maybe let's buy cologne? Those are just some of our conversations. We did try to track down some cologne for Brian but quickly got headaches and decided against it. 

I found a Zara and tried on basically everything. Why is it that I find like 6 coats that I love but don't need AND they won't fit in my bag? The real reason I haven't bought more is the latter. I do have plans to get online sooner rather than later and purchase at least one. Or 4. I promise I'll get rid of at least 1 that I don't wear anymore. 

Boarding our plane was a nightmare. We were actually in the first boarding group but waited some since there were so many people! Finally, we get to the front only to be pulled out of line since we hadn't been "screened." So we had to wait, for a long time. And then we were basically interrogated by someone we couldn't understand. For the first time, the entire trip, we were frustrated... and rightfully so. It was the worst game of 20 questions, ever. "Why are you here? Where did you go? What was the address of your hotel? What countries did you visit? Where are you going? Why? Where do you work? What is your boss' name? How long have you worked there? What city? Give me a vial of blood." Okay, not the last one. But you get my point. WHY?! We are Americans entering America! 

Our flight was long and mostly uneventful. I do feel like they fed us 10 meals. The second half was bumpy and I was anxious. After landing, I immediately regretted checking our bags. Mine had to be the very last one to come out. Customs was easy, we grabbed Burger King and it was time to head to Little Rock. 

Every meal we ate while in Europe, I took a picture of Brian. For our very last meal (at Burger Kind) I asked to take a picture. This is what I got!


Now I'm on our last flight, from Charlotte to Little Rock. We're flying over Tennessee somewhere I assume. I'm looking forward to being home soon. We had the best trip, made amazing memories. Most of which I will carry with me forever. We ate great food, drank perfect wine, saw beautiful sights and I fell more in love with my adorable husband (above). Life is good. On to the next... where to? Central Europe, Spain, South America?? I don't know. We shall see :) 

XOXO 

19 November 2016

I can't believe this is our last day....

8/15/16
London- last day 

Good Morning from London! We met up with the Lars this morning to tour Parliament. Until we found out that you have to buy tickets ahead of time or stand in line all day. So we got online, booked our 2:30 tickets and went our separate ways. Free day in London! 

Scott and Holly went shopping and Brian and I went to hit up some bookstores on Saville Row. The 1st one was really cool. I wish we had them like this in America. I would be way more inclined to go with Brian. We followed the big, cool one with a million small, vintage stores. Brian got 2 books and we just kept walking. Our plan was to walk to the Tate Modern Museum. But we got sidetracked-- I did a little shopping. 


 


Once we got close to the river, we went to the court/lawyer area of which I can't remember the formal name. It was really cool. Brian loved it. The Royal Courts of Justice was open so we took a look around and then walked through the "Temple." Maybe that's the formal word I was looking for? 








One of these buildings would house 30-40 lawyers, even Judges. It was just really cool. Almost every alleyway was filled with cute buildings. We made it to the river and sat down to plan what we should do for the next couple hours. Brian, always with a map.. 




We decided to skip the museum. We're almost museum-ed out. We drew out a walking path to make our way to Saint James Park. Then we got sidetracked-- again-- and saw bikes. Everyone we have talked to here hates the bikes. They said everyone is stupid and they will die, blah blah. So what do we decide to do? Rent bikes! YOLO. 

It took us far too long to figure out how to rent the bikes from the kiosk. We downloaded the app and 2 pounds later had bikes for the next 24 hours. We were able to carry all our purchased in the front of our bikes. I felt so local. 

So we took off on the bikes and rode along the River Thames. Quickly the bike lane disappeared and I got a little scared. But I just followed my fearless leader (Brian) so I knew we were OK. We basically followed the locals and acted like we knew what we were doing. It's so crazy! You can basically ride anywhere. Skip cars, ride between them. It's totally bizarre!





We stopped at a Pret-A-Manger and grabbed lunch. Brian held the bikes outfront while I loaded us up. We could even strap the food on the front of the bikes. We're totally legit locals right now. This whole bike situation was so fun. You could use the app to find places to dock your bike. It also tells you how many spots are open. 

We took our lunch to Saint James park and ate with the rest of London. SO many people. It looked like everyone grabs Pret and takes their lunch to the park. Business suits, casual, students, people doing yoga, families, everyone. 


Location of the beach volleyball from the 2012 Olympics. 





After lunch we laid in the park for about an hour and grabbed a quick nap. 






10 Downing Street 




Off to Parliament to meet Scott and Holly. The park was really close to our tour. The tour was really neat. Very educational! We got to see where the Queen sits and where she gives the "Queen's Speech." Also the chambers-- the Lord's was very gold. House of Commons was a little more simple. BTW- I'm totally obsessed with their curtains and will recreate these somehow during my lifetime. I loved the green and while theme going on. I've already tried googling images but the Queen has that ish on lock down! 










The tour was a little over 2 hours so we left right after it was over to go back to the hotel and get ready for our show. We got an uber to the Queen Theater and planned to find something to eat close by. We picked the place next door-- it was surprisingly really good. Great wine! And again, awesome bread. We've had so many carbs on this trip. But we're also walking 8 plus miles a day. I can justify that, right?! 



After dinner, I ran down the road to find a small tote bag for the trip home. Brian and I decided we are going to check our backpacks for the trek home. I settled on the ugliest London tote bag I've ever seen. Desperate times. 

On to the show! Very small theater. And can I tell you how much I miss the A/C? No air anywhere, no ice. I don't get these people. 



The show started right on time (OH YEAH, we're see Les Mis). It was awesome! I love going to the theater. It's such a production and everything about it is so fun to me. The live orchestra-- so phenomenal! We were on the 3rd row so we were all in the action! 

After the show we grabbed an uber back to the hotel and decided to try the pub idea again. We went to this really old, cool bar about a block away. I ordered a grapefruit and nutmeg gin and tonic. Perfection in a glass. 

We went back to the hotel pretty early to pack since we had an early morning flight. I DONT WANT TO LEAVE. I packed our bags and ironed. Far too tried to shower tonight. I'll wait until the morning. Hopefully it will wake me up. Leaving for the airport at 6:30 AM. 

I'm really not ready for the trip to end. I did end up writing a journal about the trip as a whole and the trek home. So let's stretch these posts out just one more... until then.. XOXO 

18 November 2016

I've been to London to visit the Queen

8/14/15
London

We got up early this morning to catch the train to London. We got to the train station and went through security. Which was kind of nice because we've traveled so freely up to this point. Makes me feel safe! There really has been little security everywhere we've been. We haven't gotten a single passport stamp! Now finally-- 2 stamps on this leg. We even got slightly interrogated leaving London. It was fun. 

The train ride wasn't bad, we went under the English channel. I actually slept most of the time. Woke myself up a few times with my loud snort snores. Whats new these days. My cold is getting worse! 

Hello London town! 
I don't think we completely understood how today was going to work. We didn't grab lunch before getting on the train or on the train since we figured we would eat when we arrived in London. Well we arrived at noon and were rushed to the bus for a 3 hour tourrrr. Oops. 

I felt really sick when we got off the train and needed cold meds. So we snuck in a store really quick to grab some food and medicine. I left Brian to check out so I could run to the ladies room really quick. Bad idea. They wouldn't sell to Brian since he had my credit card and no idea. We're starving. 

Our local guide was great and very funny. We took a boat down the River Thames and saw some of the big sights. Stopped at Big Ben, photo-ops, and back on the bus. By Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, all the big ones. I love London! The taxis are adorable. The tour ended at our hotel-- BJ ran off to find an ATM as soon as we got back for a tip. We didn't get our pounds before and through we would have plenty of time to get them. 

  













We stayed at a Double Tree and they met us at the door with a cookie-- which I scarfed down and toyed with the idea of eating Brian's before he got back. We checked in, freshened up and went to a nearby pub for a drink and snack. All of these places are so cool! I love them all. 

Again, we discussed dropping our reservation and eating fish and chips. Looking back.. this was stupid. We had dinner at Frenchie in Covent Garden. This place was awesome. Is it sad I pulled pictures of the things we ate on Yelp because I NEVER want to forget this. 

Every. Single. Thing. was amazing. I can't pick a favorite place we ate while in Europe. It's too hard! I can't. I won't! The bacon scones, crab whatever they were-- OMG. The wines. The desserts. The berry shortcake. Every single bite. Every single flavor-- where/HOW will I eat in America again?! 













I will remember ALL the food for the rest of my life. Fond memories and my mouth is watering recapping this. We ubered back to the hotel to hang out in a pub. They were all closed! Someone told us today was holiday but I think it just happened to be a Sunday night. So we grabbed a night cap at the hotel bar and chatted with some of the people from our group. I made sure to get a Pimm's cup and boy was it pretty. 

Tomorrow we have a free day in London. So much to see, so little time! 


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