A few months ago, I was offered a chance to go to Frankfurt, Germany to check out a new trade show. Five or six years ago, I would have dropped everything at the opportunity to travel so it was really weird to feel resistance and anxiety about leaving home this time. When vacation days are few and precious, money isn’t exactly flowing, and life at home is really comfortable, it’s much harder to leave (yikes, I am getting old and boring aren’t I?!) However, a free trip to Europe doesn’t come around often so before I knew it, I was planning a trip!
Before the trade show, Lauren (my travel buddy/friend/co-worker) and I headed to London and Paris for a few days. We chose these two cities because we knew that we would have to quickly switch gears from “play” to “work” and we didn’t want to go anywhere too exotic and exhausting since prepping for a trade show is hard enough! We spent 3.5 days in London and less than 24 hours in Paris. In hindsight, we probably should have just chosen one city but…no regrets!
I spent my sophomore year at Pepperdine backpacking through Europe. Home base was Heidelberg, Germany and I spent most of my weekends on the train going somewhere new. During that time, I got pretty good at navigating new cities via trains, buses and metros, communicating through body language, and converting Euros to USD. Not going to lie, throwing myself back into that life seven-ish years later made me super anxious but I’m happy to report that it all came back pretty easily! Just like riding a bike.
We stayed in an Airbnb flat in Pimlico, a neighborhood just 10 minutes away (walking) from Buckingham Palace. Our first full day, we took to the streets with a vague plan of what we wanted to do: walk through Victoria, head to Leicester Square to get tickets for a Broadway show at TKTS, head to 221B Baker St. via Oxford, catch afternoon tea at Kensington Palace, dip into the museums in South Kensington (‘cuz they’re all free!), and then get ourselves back to Covent Garden. Easy right? Well, we did it — logging 12+ miles on foot on day one. I am SHOCKED that I didn’t destroy my feet for the rest of the trip. Lauren’s soles were another story but she’s a trooper!
Here are a few things we saw that day…we sure lucked out with the weather! Not one drop of rain.
(Lauren in front of the palace gates, looking a lot like Duchess Kate!)
(We’re still not quite sure what is going on here, but we stopped when we saw red coats, shiny helmets and horses! Weird to think that this is just part of someone’s normal routine, right?)
(This bright blue rooster is a relatively new installation and it stands out against the grey sky. This is in front of the National Gallery Museum inside Trafalgar Square.)
(Portrait of Mick Jagger inside the National Portrait Gallery.)
(We ended up splurging on tickets to see Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Wow, that was definitely a highlight of the trip! The production value of the show was incredible and you just can’t beat a classic Andrew Lloyd Webber show in London.)
(Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington)
(Had to take a photo of this. Tea to go? Anytime & anywhere? Only in London!)
(Beautiful lighting as the sun set over London.)
(I love that London also loves the color red.)
I’m still going through my photos – more to come!