midWest

Europe in a Week: London

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We arrived in London, England🇬🇧 at approximately 10:00 pm on Monday, October 2nd, where we took a 1.5 hour bus ride to a street corner about 1 mile from the place we were staying. Then we took an Uber directly to our rental location! 😅   #wemadeit I had found an Airbnb rental that looked decent in Notting Hill. (Nothing great but again we were just getting some shut-eye and leaving.)  This was the first time I had stayed at one and to be honest wasn’t very impressed.  I’ve heard great things about Airbnb but our experience was just alright.  Although, I can’t say I had totally counted Airbnb out, especially since our stay in our last country was booked through them as well.  I was hoping for better luck then. 🙏🏼 –More stories to come!

London was the city with the most sites to see on our ✔️ list, so it was going to be a packed Tuesday!

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1st Grouping-Definitely wanted to see  •  2nd Grouping-If we had time

The place we were staying was about 3 miles from most of our major sites and so our challenge for the day was to figure out the best method for traveling to see it all–if even possible.  Coming up with our list of sites was the extent of our planning prior to arriving there–we wanted to be able to plan each day accordingly, in case we felt like doing something different! Being flexible is definitely a great tip for keeping your travels spontaneous and enjoyable–and something I’m learning in each facet of life. lol  

Tuesday morning we slept in a bit to try to catch back up from a late night arrival into London.  We decided to start the day by taking an Uber the 3 miles into the heart of London (which would get us closer to numerous sites), and then from there we would wing it!  Buckingham Palace was our choice drop off where we thought we might find a close cafe for brunch and then be back out in front of it for the changing of the guards at 11 am.  We quickly saw that cafes weren’t very close and the guards were gated off. #unlikethemoviesshow💂🏼‍♀️  Nonetheless, Buckingham Palace is GORGEOUS– pictures don’t do justice, because everywhere you turn there are tourists in your photos!

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We took our pics (we were probably in someone else’s photos too) and then walked through Green Park where we headed to brunch.  As we began walking we quickly realized it was going to be quicker to just walk to most places instead of doing an on-off bus tour or pay for an Uber to chauffeur us around. Walking 26 miles for the afternoon doesn’t seem half bad when you are seeing beautiful sites! #walkingfordaze  Here was our approximate route for the day that worked pretty well for us!

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Around the corner from Green Park was The Wolseley where we had an amazing brunch!  This place was all of your London feels 😍 –an extensive menu for all hours including London’s traditional afternoon tea time.  The immaculate Venetian styles were restored from what was once a luxury car dealership and then a bank, to finally become a ritzy restaurant on London’s Piccadilly Blvd.

After finishing up, we walked toward our next point of interest– Oxford Street (known for great shopping) where in the meantime we stumbled upon one of the classic red telephone booths–something London is well-known for and are actually still in working order! #whoknew

We then headed towards Trafalgar Square where we made a couple of pits stops along the way– Carnaby Street (became popular in the 60’s for the hippie fashion and pop culture–cars only allowed during certain hours, which allowed for strolls down the middle of the street). #funphotoopt

The famous, curved Regent Street was another point of interest along our path! If you aren’t familiar with this it was originally built between 2 palaces to go around other marked off land; it was also a barrier for the affluent Mayfair and the less respectable area of Soho. #historylesson #yourewelcome Hands down, this was my favorite street view🙌🏼

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The New England Patriots had just played their London game the weekend before–hence all of NFL banners!

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We made it to Trafalgar Square– which allows for some amazing views of the city, even on the cloudy afternoon! Don’t miss the National Gallery when you stop here👌🏼

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Next, we ventured towards Westminster Abbey, where we saw Parliament Square, Palace of Westminster, and Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower).  We actually made the mistake of walking right past Westminster Abbey as we were focused on Big Ben. So made the loop and came back through the private Westminster Boarding School yard.  I’m pretty sure this is off-limits because as we passed through the north wing it was gated off 🙄 but we just casually walked through! 💁🏼

Over Westminster Bridge to the London Eye✔️ We talked about going back that evening to ride it in the dark so we could see the city all lit up, but we were so busy we didn’t even remember too.

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Following the pathway north along the Thames River was a great way to see numerous sites… St. Paul’s Cathedral, Shard, City Hall, Shakespeare’s Globe, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, Tower of London.  We ducked back into a couple of side streets so we could pass through Borough Market–this was something I heard was a must see, but wasn’t worth the time.  #justsaying

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Some extras along the way

We crossed the Tower Bridge (not to be confused with London Bridge 😂) and then saw how far we had walked! #woof  At this point we had completed most of our ✔️ list along with seeing many extras that just happened to be along the way!!

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#breaktime

Now it was time for something a little more chill, like this ICEBAR.  This was so much fun and would have even been more if I hadn’t had sandals on! (The blisters made me wear them.) This room is nothing but crystal clear ice that was harvested from the frozen Thorne River in Sweden–the floor, your cup, I mean everything!  They give you a thermal cape and gloves to wear but no boots. ❄️ My sandals froze to the floor, my toes were numb, and my phone stopped working for the remainder of the day because it was below freezing in there!  #firstworldproblems  Haha it was ok though because it was definitely worth it!  If you get the chance you should check it out, it’s even kid friendly!!

Next stop Cafe Nero, where we went for a little phone re-charge and was the only thing we could find close. (Cafe Nero in Europe = Starbucks in America) I don’t think it was a coincidence that we stopped here because when I came back from ordering an Americano Jess was in on a Bible Study with two girls–so I joined them and we did a short mini study of John 1. (They had limited time, as church was starting soon.) Thanks Jess for taking this opportunity so that we could all be blessed by community.  It was refreshing to find fellow believers there in London– they thought it was really neat too, knowing we were Americans!

By now it was dark (7 pm) and we weren’t quite sure what we wanted to do for the rest of the evening.  Harrod’s was a remaining item on our list and so we decided to walk that way. #threemiles  (I think at one point we were walking through the red-light district of London! 😳) If you aren’t familiar with Harrod’s it is the luxurious department store in London– luxury as in in 2007 they had a pair of diamond embellished sandals retailing at €62,000. #woof  The store takes up 5 acres of land (right there in the city) and even has a dress code for shoppers! Another fun fact–A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh was named after a bear in the London Zoo but was inspired by seeing his son Christopher Robin play with a bear bought in Harrod’s in 1921.  Ok enough with the cheesy facts– we saw the beautifully lit store and then finally found a place for dinner.

 Caffe Concerto was nearby and caught our eye with all of the glitz and glam, so that’s where we had dinner! I didn’t even grab a pic, I was so enthralled with the dinner conversation Jess and I were having!  Thankful for you Jess and the friendship we have! By the end of dinner it was well after 11:00 pm.  We called it an evening with an Uber ride back–It was going to be an early morning!

Next stop ✈️Athens, Greece🇸🇻
If you missed our adventures in Ireland go here.

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