There’s nothing quite as sporadic as booking a last minute trip to Europe. I was fortunate enough to garner an invitation to join one of my best, Danielle and an artist she manages (who is also a friend, Lauren) on a trip with them to London as part of a celebratory work event. They were both being honored by the music industry, MTV specifically for winning Cover of the Month in June. The video they created (Idrise was another artist on the track and in the video too!) had over 33 million views! Pretty incredible for an independent artist(s).
There was work that needed to be done, but also time for fun. I was there for the fun! 🙂 It was a short trip (considering travel) and we crammed A LOT of tourist stuff in! Here is a breakdown of our trip…
We arrived on Friday afternoon and then had to navigate to the hotel. I flew separate and into a different airport so I was on my own. For my travel I landed in Heathrow and then took the tube to our hotel. I was a bit nervous that I was going to get lost several times, so being the nerd and over planner that I am, I practically memorized the different lines and figured out all of the different ways I could get there. HA! And actually, the tube was a breeze. Way worth taking (and less money too!). Upon arrival I decided to grab a celebratory drink and snack in the hotel restaurant while I waited for the girls. And to my pleasant surprise I learned a little history about the hotel as I was looking over the cocktail menu. I saw all of these drinks that were related to Harry Potter. Butter beer, Love elixir and so on. The bartender told me that they were celebrating 20 years of Harry Potter (what, already?!) and coincidently the hotel where we stayed is the train station where Platform 9 3/4 is! Say what?! Uber fan over here immediately determined this was going to be the best trip EVER! Then it got even sweeter….
“Yo, I tell you what I want, what I really, really want, so tell me what you want, what you really, really want. I wanna ah, I wanna ah, I wanna ah, I really, really want a zigga zig ahhhh!” That song my friends is Wannabe by the Spice Girls. That music video was also filmed at our hotel. Officially. In. Love.
Saturday was tourist day. We got the ever so awesome hop-on, hop-off bus pass for the day so that we could more easily navigate the sites. Unfortunately, traffic is a bit rough in London and it also happened to be a special day in the city — a parade where they welcome the new Lord Mayor. So the traffic was even worse. It did cut into the time we were going to have. Bummer. We ended up getting to see the castle, the oldest church in London (675 AD), Big Ben, Parliament, MI-6 Headquarters (James Bond fan anyone?), London Eye, Waterloo Station, Borough Market (which looked AMAZING), and a few other notable spots. Those were all of the ones we didn’t get a chance to get out and see because we had to prioritize. We opted instead to get out for Green Park, Buckingham Palace and lunch. All of which were amazing! After taking in some sites, later that afternoon we had the MTV Award Event which was also fun! Following those festivities, we decided we wanted to do a traditional British type dinner. Long story short we ended up traveling thru the city to find a pub style restaurant (kind of like our lunch experience). We ended at the river walk near the London Eye which was a spectacular experience! The river walk is amazing and I highly recommend it! Tons of pop up eateries, shops, carnival rides and it was buzzing with people. The views from there in the evening were breathtaking…I wish I would have had my camera. *Palm smacks face* We decided on a steak and jazz restaurant that was in an old tunnel which had been refurbished. So cool!
After a long day of sites and girl talk in the evening on Saturday, we ended up sleeping in way late on Sunday. Whoops! To be fair we had been operating on practically no sleep thus far so we needed it. Sunday, the girls had events to do with MTV so I was on my own. What was I going to do with half a day to myself? I decided to take the tube to the British Museum. It was so cool! Holy moly was it big though. I wandered thru most of the museum and stopped at the things that were interesting to me…Ancient Greece and Rome, Asian heirlooms, Egyptian artifacts and an exhibit on currency and another on Communism in Russia. There was a lot! After the museum (which was in the cutest neighborhood!) I decided I wanted to relax and shop a bit. I did some shopping at the cutest places in the St. Pancras Train Station and then took myself to a romantic Italian dinner which was scrumptious! Afterwards I ended up at the hotel spa. It was an awesome day!
The alarm rang at 4 AM…it was Paris day! We took the early morning train to Paris for a day of Parisian fun. Gosh, was it beautiful. We decided again to do the hop-on, hop-off tour and it worked perfectly. We saw SO much! We hopped off the bus for the Louvre, Notre Dame from there we walked to the Pantheon and Luxembourg Palace and the gardens. So beautiful! Back on the bus we toured near the famous arch (which I had no clue you could go to the top of!) and then made our way to the site we had been waiting for, the Eiffel Tower! First we decided we needed to refresh though because we had journeyed a lot that day so we had a delicious leisurely lunch at an adorable cafe, Le Wilson, just outside of the site. As we started walking to the tower it became clear just how big it was. It was magnificent! Way bigger than I had ever expected. Just, WOW! We spent quite a bit of time there and then it was time to head back to London. We did have a chance to grab some crepes outside of the train station before departure, but the service was not very great. Oh well. Once aboard the train it was nap time.
Well, Tuesday wraps up the trip. It was the day we headed back home. Boo.
This was such a healing and fun girls trip for me. I discovered that I really needed to getaway, be in a new space and recharge my batteries. 2017 has been quite the year and this was a nice way to redeem some of the sadness and stress that has ensued. I am grateful my husband was so wonderful and helped me plan this trip so last minute. I will cherish these memories forever. <3
Also, read here on my personal blog Inspired By Ginger for an Essential Packing Guide.
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