Our last day in London/first day in Paris was mostly spent in transit. We took a flight between the two cities and then navigated the Parisian Metro system for the first time. We are pros now! The first night consisted of checking in and finding a restaurant to relax in. We ended the night with delicious paninis and bed.
Today we did a crash tour of Paris. Breakfast is included, and we received a sweet and buttery croissant and roll. Thank goodness for coffee! We headed on the Metro to L’Arc de Triomphe, which is quite literally in front of the metro stop exit. After that, we directed our attention to the Eiffel Tower, taking the Champs Elysees to the Seine river and across a bridge to the south of the city. Along the way we saw the Hotel des Invalides, a former soldiers’ hospital. We stopped to get fresh baguettes, cheese, cold-cuts, and fruit and made a picnic in the grass beneath the Eiffel Tower. So beautiful. Side note: we could not have asked for a better day. It has been sunny and mild with a light breeze.
From the Eiffel Tower, we made our way to the Louvre. I had no idea how large the facility is. It includes a huge greenway with large fountains and playgrounds and at the end is the former palace of the French monarchy before Versailles. Once we got the Louvre, we discovered that it is closed on Tuesdays so we made plans to return tomorrow. Because of this, we detoured to Notre Dame. On the way, we found a bridge where sweethearts place locks with their names/initials on them-symbolic for locking their love in. It was beautiful and romantic and very French. Notre Dame was breathtaking. I had no idea the emotional impact it would have on me, but I was truly moved by the beauty and the history packed into one single building. Every bit of it is intricate, delicate, and meaningful.
After Notre Dame, we headed back to the hostel, which is where I am now.
I’m so grateful to my two friends on this trip that speak French, they have been life-savers. They also have put up with my constant questions about the language and the culture. I’ve grown obsessed with learned the pronunciation of every word that looks interesting or important. Found a new language to get lost in!
I have made a pact with the city to come back again. It is too beautiful and fascinating not to return for another visit. Plus, we didn’t get the chance to see Versailles.
Tomorrow calls for a real trip to the Louvre and our flight to Vienna, where we will be staying with my Viennese extended family. So excited!!
So today was my second day in London. And it was just as much fun as yesterday, but in different ways. Yesterday we arrived here at around 7:30 AM (via overnight bus- a not so fun experience for a dirt cheap price) and checked into our hostel. Because we got here so early, we had a lot of daytime to cram in the sights. We started with Green Park, which leads to Buckingham Palace. The changing of the guards was supposed to happen, but got cancelled. Instead, we took tons of pictures and toured the park on the other side, which leads to the area of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. I touched the Abbey as compensation for not being able afford to go in. We had lunch in front of the London Eye and crossed the Thames to check out the other side. Once it got late we took the Tube to Baker Street (Sherlock Holmes anyone?) and had dinner. My friends bought me a birthday cupcake and drink and then we relaxed for the rest of the night.
Today was also jam-packed with sightseeing. We started off with complimentary breakfast at the hostel (which I completely love and hopefully the pictures will show you why) and then hit the city. We walked across the Tower Bridge to see the Tower of London. I absolutely loved walking around the Tower, which is actually a fortress made op of lots of towers with actors or displays set up in the turrets. Very cool. Plenty of Beefeaters were leading tours and the Crown Jewels were as bling-ed out as expected. Of course, the tour was followed by a lunch of fish and chips and then a jaunt to St Paul’s Cathedral. The area around the cathedral is very artsy and less tourist-y than the other parts of London that we visited. We walked back over the Thames to see the Globe Theater. It is a lot smaller than I thought it would be. From there we took the Tube to Harrods and basked in the awesomeness of luxury items offered. The toy floor was a big hit!
We are currently relaxing in the hostel before we decide on plans for the night.
Having a blast!
After dinner tonight, myself and 4 other friends will be taking off for London! From there, us girls will continue on to Paris, Vienna, and Budapest. Can I tell you how excited I am to be spending my 20th birthday in London tomorrow?? It almost makes up for not being able to spend it with my family. But they’ll be in Scotland the next week. So there’s my real birthday present.
To my family: Thank you so much for the birthday cards! It’s so cool to get international mail.
Pictures from the trip to hopefully be loaded ASAP.
So I didn’t.
What started off as a trip for coffee and paper writing turned into a 3 hour adventure in the beautiful sunny weather here in St Andrews. My friend Autumn and I went to Starbucks to get caffeine and work on our respective papers, but only the coffee was finished in record time. We decided it was a wash, so we went exploring. Pictures will follow this post. Everything looked so much more vibrant today because of the sun and the bright blue clouds. We walked through the cathedral and cemetery, talking about how interesting it is to think that 600 years ago people were worshiping and living on the grounds where we were stepping. Pretty cool, huh?
Then we walked out to the infamous pier, which I only had a few pictures of before and now have PLENTY. This was followed by icecream (!!!) and walking along the beach.
After today, I feel like the children whose parents send them out to play until they’re exhausted and no longer driving the parents insane. The fresh air and sunshine did me good, and the calmness in my heart and mind will hopefully aid in finally writing this paper!
40 MPH winds today! That really just sums up the day.
Happy first day of Spring everyone :)
(4 days until my Birthday!!!!)
I haven’t posted in a while, so I figured I’d let you guys know what I’ve been up to. This past week was essentially devoted to writing a paper for my Historiography class, which I turned in on Friday (hurray!). Saturday was St Patrick’s Day, as you all know. I spent the day wearing green, being festive, and spending time with my friends. We made a killer breakfast for dinner that wasn’t complete without….you guessed it, potatoes. If I never see another potato when I arrive in Dulles Airport in May, I will be a happy girl. But for now, they are the meal staple.
Today was spent enjoying the quiet as everyone in the world seems to be recovering from yesterday. Side note- the Moroccan food I got at the grocery store today was incredible. Maybe it was the lack of potatoes :)
Off to plan more for Spring Break!
As promised, we went back to the bakery for Sunday afternoon tea. They did no disappoint. We were served massive tea sandwiches, thick brownies, enormous scones (with strawberry jam and fresh cream), and absolutely delicious cupcakes. My cupcake was tiramisu, with espresso cream. Amazing. By the end, we were stuffed in our tea dresses. To burn all those sugar calories, we decided to explore the town for a bit. We went down to the cathedral again (see previous pictures). The main cathedral was closed for the day but the cemetery was not, so we walked around and just took in how beautiful it was at dusk. The cathedral is atop a hill and after the cemetery we strolled down to the beach. I found a bunch of sea glass and pottery chips to add to my growing collection. Finally, we walked along the wall of the infamous St Andrews pier and watched the sun go down behind the skyline. It was such an ethereal experience to see the glowing dusk light behind the silhouettes of the town. The castle was especially haunting to look at. Once the sun went down, we started the walk home. Cities really become entirely different places at night. St Andrews is no exception. The ancient cobblestones are highlighted by the street lamps, reminiscent of the town it was 600 years ago. I am such a lucky girl, to be able to experience this on a daily basis.
Much love to you all-