September 05, 2016

London Update!

It only took just under seventy-two hours for London to completely blow me away. I am actually in complete awe at how much I love this city. Maybe it's because this is the first stop of the trip or because it's a new place, but regardless, I never want to leave! Going into this trip, I was of course looking forward to visiting London, just like I'm excited to visit every city on this trip, but not with the burning desire I feel about getting to Paris or Madrid. I knew I would like London, I just honestly didn't expect to quite this much. The city itself is modern yet so old and historic, it's pristine, so beautiful, and everywhere I turn I am finding a new reason to love it. I have probably said this a dozen times now in the past three days, but it is a city I could absolutely see myself living in. I strongly suggest that if London isn't already on your list of places to visit, you must add it asap. It's amazing to say the least.

Although my time here is limited, I still feel as though I have gotten an amazing London experience in three short days. I of course haven't been able to do and see everything that London has to offer, but I have gotten to the 'must do's' and also a few extra things that I wanted to do. I'm sure I could spend a whole week here and still not see everything - there is just so much to do and see. Just another reason for me to get back to this city! 

I just wanted to give you all a little update on what I have been up to the for the past few days. With limited time I've been keeping busy trying to do as much as I can. Tonight is my last night here, so I have a few more hours of exploring left, but I can still say at this point I have been successful at making the absolute most of my time here. My heart is very happy! Check it out below and enjoy! 

My first day in London was spent settling into the hotel and also exploring the surrounding area. Our hotel is in West London, in a town called Chiswick, and is super nice. It is very modern and reminds me very much of somewhere I would stay back home in the states. Chiswick is the perfect little town as it is a quick tube ride into London, but also has it's own things to offer. There are tons of cute little sandwich & coffee shops, along with a few stores, and pubs. I spent most of my day wandering around loving every second of exploring quaint neighborhoods and going in and out of shops. To end the first day, there was a welcome mixer with the entire group of people I am traveling with, and then a few of us went out for a 'pint' of beer at a local pub. It was the perfect way to settle in and get to meet new people! 

Day two started bright and early with a bus tour around London that highlighted all the major sights and famous places. Our local tour guide, Joel, was hilarious and so smart. He didn't miss a thing and had so much knowledge to share with us about everything from history to how to speak like a local. It was the perfect way to see the entire city and get a feel for where things were and what I wanted to explore by foot. The bus tour ended at Buckingham Palace where we were able to see the famous changing of the guards, before quickly grabbing a bite to eat in Trafalger Square. After lunch of group of girls and I checked out the National Gallery, a museum that featured some famous art by Van Gogh and Da Vinci. We headed out to see Big Ben up close, as well as Westminster Abbey, where we were lucky enough to be able to sit in on a service. The combination of the architecture and the fact that we saw a mass was amazing to say the least. We headed back into Chiswick for dinner, where I had some of the best Thai food I have ever had, and then returned to the hotel to get ready for the night. To end a great day, we participated in a bar crawl that went all over Central London and was a great way to experience London nightlife. We met new people, both locals and some other Americans, and it ended up being such a fun night. 

After sleeping in a bit, I woke up to a rainy, cloudy London, but it didn't stop me from spending the day doing one of my favorite things.. shopping! For those of you that don't know, Harrods is a famous, upscale London department store. It is one of those places like Bergdorfs or Saks in New York, where most of what is sold is out of my price range but it is still a fun place to explore. It was on my list of places to check out in London and I'm so glad I did. If I could choose what my heaven is, Harrods would be probably be it! I was totally in my element. After Harrods, I took the tube from Knightsbridge to Piccadilly Circus, where I spent the majority of the afternoon going in and out of shops on Regent Street. It definitely seemed to be the place to go for any and all shopping needs, and was a mix of both high end stores like Burberry and then store more my speed like J.Crew, Anthropologie, and Zara. It reminded me of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. You name it and it's there. It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon!

I'm not sure what's in store for the evening, but I plan on making the most of the last few hours I have in this city! It will be bittersweet to leave, but I am so excited to head to Paris tomorrow. I have been waiting for this day for as long as I can remember.

Cheers London! Thank you for a wonderful experience, I will most definitely be back for you! 

xo. G

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