It had been awhile since I had travelled. 7 months since being in Portland and 8 months since having last left the country. Okay, okay, so in the grand scheme of things that really isn’t a long time, but somehow it was long enough to forget how awesome it is to be somewhere new.
You know when you make a list on your computer of things to get done on a given day or in a given week? And then you get through about half the list and copy paste the rest of the list for the next day….or worse yet you just delete everything and pretend that either you did it or that it wasn’t important in the first place? Yeah, I do that all the time. I have been making plans with one of my friends to go to the Como Zoo for at least two months now, and I have been wanting to go back to Minnehaha Falls for weeks even though it is a 20 minute walk or 5 minute drive from my apartment. They keep getting pushed back because I know that I will have the opportunity in the future, and that there is no rush so it is alright to be tired or have real excuses that cause you to change your mind about going and doing things like this.
How is this related to my week in Europe and not traveling in forever? Well, being in Europe I was reminded how much a person is capable of cramming into one day and how fun it is to experience culture and go on random adventures wherever you are.
My dad had to go to London for work, so my mom, brother and I followed along and went sightseeing while he had meetings, and then on Thursday we flew to Switzerland and drove to Annecy, France, where I will be studying starting two weeks from now. Despite being jet lagged we fit a ton into the week and I have a bunch of pictures to share with you all!
This was my third trip to London; the first being when I was 7-years-old and the second you may remember from my previous post two years ago. (Though all my pictures disappeared and I have yet to update it…sorry….)
Anyway, some of what we did was a repeat for me, but since my brother was 3 when he was last there he remembered absolutely nothing–and besides, I adore London and so many things are worth repeating again and again–even if you take the same pictures every time! 😛
We started off our first day–just hours after landing–at the Tower of London. Our hotel was minutes from the tower, and since we arrived around 8:30am and the hotel room wouldn’t be ready until at least 11:00am we really had no choice to brush off our extreme fatigue and go out adventuring. So off to the Tower we went!
If you are in London you basically have to go to the Tower of London. It is absolutely fascinating to walk around hearing about Kings and Queens of centuries past and realize that they once stood where you stand and touched the walls that you touched. It is one thing that I think is severely lacking growing up in America–there just isn’t anything that impressively old with such a well recorded history.
After that my brother and parents took naps while I proved myself to be the queen of conquering jet lag–not only staying awake but actually having the energy to shower, upload photos, and talk to people back home. My dad and I went out on a walking adventure–despite the fact that it was like 36 degrees Fahrenheit and I had packed clothes for like 45+ degrees…..so yeah we went out and explored the area, sort of aimlessly but also sort of looking for a pastry shop called Paul that I had read about. We found the shop but they weren’t serving any savory food and we were unfortunately in need of a late lunch so we moved on, of course taking pictures as we went!
Okay so I was taking pictures and my dad was rolling his eyes as I constantly was ten steps behind him and running to catch up!
Anyway, on to the best day. Yes you guessed it–it revolved around food, as all the best days do.
As you probably know or have guessed, my world revolves around delicious pastries and new food adventures. And tea. I drink anywhere from one to eight cups of tea a day. Basically every day of the year. And while I never actually take “tea time” in the afternoon, it is a concept I thoroughly support and believe in.
So day two started out with heading West of the Tower of London towards the richer/shopping/residential part of town–rather than the business section of town where our hotel was. Honestly it was like my ideal day. We went to Harrods and spent a solid hour in the food department, then went to Laduree so I could buy macarons, had tea time at Harrods, went to Harvey Nichols, and then went to Pierre Herme, because obviously.
Honest to god, I could have left London–left Europe all together–at this point and have been completely satisfied with my trip. That one day basically fit everything I had on my to-do list. It was beautiful. And I wish everyday was as magical.
The highlights of the next days included:
Going to see The Phantom of the Opera in the theatre where it was originally performed…
Going to the top of The Shard and eating delicious Chinese food while looking out over the London cityscape at night…
Going to see Big Ben…
And ESPECIALLY going to Westminster Abbey, which was the first time I had been there and it was absolutely breathtaking–another must if you are in London!
After all of our adventuring in London, as I mentioned briefly before, we woke up at an absolutely ungodly hour of the morning in order to be in a cab by 5:30am and on a plane at 7:30 to fly to Geneva, Switzerland. We weren’t actually going to Switzerland, but it was the easiest way to get to Annecy, which is a smallish town in the French Alps just outside of Switzerland.
Annecy, as far as I can tell from Google and the basically 24 hours we spent there, is the best of all worlds. There are mountains, there are rivers, there is a huge lake, there is a very old and stereotypical “Old French” section of town, and there is a very new and modern section of town. Basically everyone we came across was French with a smattering of European tourists, so it really is a perfect place to study French and be completely absorbed in the language without the distraction of English everywhere. There really was a little bit of everything, and I got enough of a taste to know that I am absolutely thrilled to go back and explore some more! (Speaking of which I found out my host family assignment this morning and I CANT WAIT TO MEET THEM! Two more weeks!!!).
Here are a few of my favorite pictures of the time we spent there, but I won’t share too much because you will hopefully be getting an overdose soon!
Thank you all for reading about my recent travel adventures! Hopefully you liked some of my pictures!
Come back soon for more adventures in and out of the kitchen! ^_^