Wednesday, August 12, 2015

London...then Paris with my "original family"

Ok catch up starts NOW.  Here we go on a blog post rewind of the summer.

After our trip to Mexico, I had two weeks at home (which included the only weekend at home with a fun trip to Wichita) and then it was time to go away again.  This time instead of to Mexico, it was to London for work.  Last March, when I was pregnant with Maddie, I made my first trip to London for work and had a grand time.  (You can read about my time there here: day 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5).  So this time, I decided that it would be SUPER fun if my mom, dad and sister tagged along.  Don't worry - you can already guess that I was NOT that detailed of keeping track of our every move this time as I was last time with a post each day.  Just one post.  Two months later.  Such is life.

We had a big year for our family - my dad had just retired and my mom turned 60 - so why not all go to Europe to celebrate!?  And we did just that!!!

On June 13, we headed to Dallas then to London overnight.  We flew American Airlines this time (I flew British Airways last time and it was amazing) and yeah, the airplane was not so great...but we lived through the long flight and when we landed in mom was 60 years old!!!

My dad was already asleep at the KC airport

My seat partner on the way to London!

Sister and mom ready to go to London!
 When we finally got to our flat, it was about 3PM.  And by that point, even though we all got terrible sleep, it would have been silly to try to go to sleep.  So we went exploring.  Walked down to my office, went to the London Bridge, I showed them the tube station closest to our flat and got them some tube passes.  Then we had dinner to celebrate the birthday girl!!!!

And then I got this picture with the caption from Jimmy:
"Pot roast (Maddie's nickname" eating pot roast at Grana's".

Pretty cute, huh?!

Since we were all pooped, we went to bed early and I was up early the next morning and had a nice little commute to work through some pretty amazing streets.  

I loved how quiet it was in the morning by our apartment.

And then you emerge on a main street and see the hustle and bustle that London really is.

My parents and sister had a good day and bought the London Pass and were off to see lots of sights.  When I got home after a long day at work, I was ready to go somewhere, but they were all pooped.  I did convince my dad to go on the Jack the Ripper London Walk.  This was my first time going on a London Walk and it was great!!!  It was only 10 GBP and there was an awesome tour guide that took us all around the city.  Such awesome history and a fun way to enjoy the time after work!!  Glad my dad came with me for sure!!!

The second night, I'm pretty sure was when we went to dinner by Trafalgar Square area.  It was a mess because I told my parents I would meet them outside of a tube stop around there...I really went there to go to the UK baby store in search of a new cord for my pump.  Yep, I was pumping and was stuck with batteries.  Jimmy sent me to the "Buy buy baby" of the UK (called Mothercare) and of course they had no cord...but it was fun to go to a store like that there.  I ended up buying a manual pump in hopes that might be easier.  OMG no, not at all.  So I sucked it up and suffered through battery pumping the whole time.

But after that debacle, I finally found my family and we searched high and low for a restaurant that one of my co-workers recommended.  And then decided we didn't want to go there.

We were starving at that point and went to this delicious Italian place.

One thing to note about London that I seem to forget.  The service there is SO different than the US.  In my mind, they are SOOOO slow.  But really I think they just are like that and want you to enjoy dinner.  Oh and they hate ice.  It's weird.

Wednesday night, my family came in for lunch at my office.  And Mary got our picture on the balcony, which overlooks the Thames River and has an awesome view of the Tower Bridge!

That night, they hosted beers on the balcony because it was SO nice in London that week and my family was there along with another one of my KC co-workers and her husband and 3 kids.  We had fun and I had a few beers and was feeling very happy when it was time to leave!

We had planned on taking the boat to Greenwich, but on our way to the boat, we decided to just take the tube to Canary Wharf instead.

We did have some great views during the walk from my office to the tube station! 

Tower Bridge

Walking by the big boats in St Katharine's docks
Who owns these boats??!

We made it to Canary Wharf via the tube and did our usual "we cannot make a decision on where to eat for dinner" (right, family!?) until we all got so hungry we got mad!!  Ha!

After making our way through a race that was going on, we ended up at Wahaca, which was a DELICIOUS Mexican restaurant (not tex-mex for sure!).  They have mutliple chains/locations and one was actually under construction right by our flat that we walked by like a ton of times, so I'm glad we got to try it.  I thought it was awesome!

Then we took some pictures of Canary Wharf!

On Thursday, my sister and dad took a train to Windsor Castle, outside of London.  I was so jealous because I wanted to go there so bad!!!  They said it was amazing and so fun to get out of the city.  I bet - next time, I'm doing it!!  They also did a ton of stuff during the days with their London Pass.  They were to the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge tour, went to Kensington Palace, did the London Eye, saw Big Ben, took a boat tour and the list goes on.  I'm sure they had fun while I was at work!!  So glad they did!!

We were all pooped knew that Friday morning would come early early!  We booked the Eurostar train to Paris earlier in the week.  My dad and sister had mentioned wanting to wasn't super cheap at all, but cheaper then another plane trip over, so my mom and dad bought us tickets and we were off on the 5:30AM train.

The whole thing was so cool and crazy!  The train station was organized just like an airport is to scan your luggage, take your ticket and go through security.  The train was so nice!!!  It goes under the ocean to from London to Paris - which is nuts.  But in about two hours, we had another stamp on our passports and were in France. So crazy!

Paris is SO different than London for sure - right off the bat the language barrier for sure.  Since we knew we just had that day and wanted to see all the big sites...we bought four tickets for a bus tour that picked us up right outside of the train station.  Which was awesome because we didn't have to learn their train or bus system and it went right to all the main sites.

First stop was Notre Dame, which was amazing.  We might have cut in line (on accident!) to get into it, but it was amazing.  You could light candles for family too - which was really neat.  Lots of prayer and reflection in an amazing building.  We went to a fun little cafe nearby for lunch and had a great lunch - with CREPES of course!!  They were SOOO good.

After lunch, we got back on the bus and made our way over to the Eiffel Tower.  It was SO big and so awesome.  Unfortunately, the line to go up it was SOOO long and we still wanted to see a few more things in more detail before we had to be back to the train station.  So we just walked around and looked and it and then got back on the bus - but I made us take some family pictures (my sister has them!) 

We did take a trip back around on the bus (which went surprisingly slow because there is crazy traffic in Paris!!) and went back to walk through the Louvre area (didn't go in that either) and then back to buy some pretty neat art from the stands nearby the river.  

And we laughed and had fun! 

FINALLY - we got some macaroons, but my poor sister wanted some gelato SO bad and we couldn't find any by the train station as well.  I felt so bad!

Then we had dinner by the station and hung out a little bit before it was time to get loaded in the train again and head back to London.  We didn't get back to London until like 11:30 or we were pooped!!  And our flight back to the States left at 7:30AM, so we had an early car coming to pick us up.  But we made the best of our day in Paris.  And had a good time eating a bunch of sweets on our way back to London.

In the mean time, while I was gone all week - Jimmy and the kids were having some fun!!  I was getting lots of pictures from day care (which was awesome) and from Jimmy.  The worst though (but still cute), was a video that Jimmy sent to me of Charlie singing a song for me and then asking where I was at the end. Poor, sweet boy!!!  You must watch this:

But Jimmy did great and so did the kids.  Jimmy is a rock star for sure and didn't complain once.  (when he goes out of town for work- you better believe I complain!).  They had fun and we got to FaceTime a lot.  The time change just kills me because I have to stay up until 11PM each night to even talk to them.  But they would call me in the car on the way home from school each day and Charlie did SO much better at FaceTiming me and understanding what to do, etc. this time.  It made it so much easier!!!  Let's hope when I go back in January that Maddie has it figured out too!!!

What facetiming with an almost 3 year old looks like!!!

We had a LONG layover in Chicago.  Which they changed on us after we booked our flights and wouldn't let us change.  So annoying.  But we enjoyed the last moments of time with our "original family" aka the Bruns family and ate lots of yummy Garrett's popcorn (ha!). 

And laughed so hard when Jimmy sent us pictures like this!  This kid!!!

Ok, so I probably missed a ton, but there's a quick recap of our fun trip.  I asked my sister if she wanted to blog about it and add some pictures, etc., so we will see if she does!!!  I just love London so much and all my coworkers over there.  While it's quite the trip, they always make it so enjoyable and while I'm able to do all my work with them via video conference each week, it is so much easier physically being there!!  So until next time, London (and maybe Paris, but I wouldn't be sad if I didn't go there again...).  And the best part?  I think my parents and sister enjoyed it!  What a great experience to go just the four of us like we used to do growing up - but this time our first European adventure.  Having them there for sure made me miss my family at home a lot less!!!

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed these event venues and you can definitely find me here for more events. I didn't eat anything when on my recent visit, but those around me had truffle fries, pizza, and wings all seemed to enjoy.