No matter how many times I go to England, I’m always amazed at how comfortable I feel there.
I don’t know if it’s because I get to speak and be surrounded by English-speaking people all the time, but I love it there so when my family and I were deciding where to go this summer, I had the UK in mind. However, it was not the first choice. Since we had been to Brighton last year, we wanted to visit another country so we had opted for Amsterdam. However, the Airbnb prices were through the roof and added to the plane tickets (or even car fees), it was too much for 4 people. We then decided on Edinburgh again but still, the prices of the plane tickets were way to expensive. Bath was next, but again, plane tickets+ train tickets (how can they be so expensive!) and airbnb was again too much. They we thought why not London then? We have a direct flight from Lyon and though we have already been, like any big city it can never all be done in one go? I looked up the price of the plane tickets and of the Airbnbs and it was decided, London it was!
Needless to say, my sister and I were so excited about it so we decided to plan the trip right away. Back in May. Two months early. Yep, we are freaks. However, what she didn’t know was that my mom and I had a little surprise for her and my dad…
Sunday 29th July
After only about 3 hours of sleep, we were off to the airport. Even though were quite tired, we were also very excited. And busy talking about how we had discovered the day before that our neighbor was leading a double life…
We finally arrived at the airport after about 1 and 15 minute of driving and leaving our car at the airport parking lot. As we had done the check-in online, were went directly through security – my lease favorite part. I hate it, the whole process gives me anxiety even though I always do everything by the book. We then stopped to eat and drink a little something as we would not have time once at Gatwick airport. I got a green tea (I don’t do well with coffee when anxious- though it would have been much needed – and I had a stomachache) and a chausson aux pommes whilst chatting with the fam.
After about an hour of flight, we arrived at Gatwick airport and headed for the south terminal to get our train to London. After a lil’ issue with out tickets, we were off. The train ride was short – about 20min to London Victoria and there we took a train to Paddington. Since we only could enter our airbnb at about 12p.m., we decided to go get something to eat. We went to a Burger King, ordered lunch and then played Categories. It was fun and helped us pass the time because by then, we had been awake for 8 hours.
At noon, we went to the Airbnb, dropped our bags and went for a little stroll around Lisson Grove… to see 221B Baker Street. We are huge Sherlock fans and seeing the building where it all took place was so much fun. We had planned on doing the visit of the museum the next day so we just looked at the outside.
After a bit, we went back to the Airbnb and took a much needed nap – after some photo editing for my sister and I.
Sunday was quite rainy so we ended up going out for nothing because we couldn’t take the bus without tickets bought at a station, we were tired and the rain did not help the mood. We decided to hop into a Tesco to get some food and go back home.
After some much needed rest, we woke up at 7:30 a.m. on Monday to head to the Sherlock Holmes museum. We wanted to get there early to avoid a long queue and that was a great choice. We arrived a little after 9a.m. to only a few people before us. We took some photos of the outside before getting our tickets. The inside was incredible. It was so strange to walk into it and see what we usually see in the films and the serie. We were so happy to see it all, however, the visit was quite short, only about 15 minutes for a price of £15 per adult which is a bit overpriced I think. We bought a few things at the souvenir ship and ended out. After a stop at Costa for coffee, we went back at our airbnb to cook some lunch.
In the afternoon, we had decided to do the Imperial War museum. First of all, this museum is incredible, there are 5 floors, all dedicated to a certain period of history. There are a lot of information, objects, even tanks and machines,… from that period and it’s very interested. My dad knew a lot about it as well so we had our own tour guide with us – even though he doesn’t speak English, but we translated him further information written.
After that, we went to in the Westminster bridge area to walk around a bit before taking the train to Covent Garden. We shopped a few cards stores and then headed to Covent Garden. What my sister and dad didn’t know was that this part was all part of the surprise plan… After a little walk around, we headed to Bella Italia, an Italian restaurant nearby. After ordering our food (pizzas for me and my sister, lasagnas for my parents), we told them that we had a little surprise for them… we were going to see Mamma mia the musical that night! After two months of not being able to tell them, it was so good to say it out loud. We are huge Abba fans and are obsessed with the movie and had been meaning to see the musical for ages.
Needless to say, this was one of the best night of my existence. I cried, I laughed, I cried laughed. We danced and sang our hearts out. It was so so so so so so good. Even when leaving the theatre we ended up singing “Dancing Queen” along with a bunch of schoolgirls and the entire musical in the Tube.
Tuesday 31st July
After our crazy night out – can you tell we don’t go out much? – we had a slow start to our day and then headed to the British Museum. There were quite a lot of people and it was a very large museum so we only did a few sections of it. But did enjoy it but the crowd didn’t make it easy for us to look closely.
After that, we headed to the National Gallery. We really enjoyed it, the paintings were amazing and they have a really large collection. My favorite painter was Claude, his paintings were insanely realistic.
For our late lunch we headed to Prêt-A-Manger to get a salad (so good) before walking to Covent Garden. Again. We just love it there. We really wandered the streets and the Covent garden market. I love this neighborhood, the buildings are so beautiful and creative with flowers and beautiful shops.
We then headed home for dinner and some more photo editing (clearly obsessed with photography).
Wednesday 1st August
How come it’s already August is beyond me. Anyways, for our last day we had to pack our suitcases, do a little bit of tidying before heading to London Victoria to leave our luggages at the station’s left-luggage. We then walked around Buckingham Palace Gardens to go to Buckingham Palace. There was a ton of people out front and when we were in front of the gates, a policeman asked us to move back so we got our hopes up to actually see someone from the Royal family (read Meghan Markle for me), but it was only for a maintenance truck to come… Deception my friends.
After that, we wandered some more before heading to my one lost true love – Nando’s. After two years of waiting, I was finally able to eat a Halloumi and portobello mushroom burger again, and let me tell you, life was good. We also got some spicy fries and garlic bread and that was so good. We wandered some more – I love Westminster! before wandering around the Westminster bridge and then headed to the station. We got our suitcases and took the train to Gatwick airport. Of course in good Snow family style we were 2 and a half hours early so we window-shopped a bit (nothing for the sister and I, aka 2 Broke Girls) and snacked a bit.
Imagine how happy we were when it was announced that our plane was delayed 20 minutes, went to the gate at the due time, waited in the waiting room for quite some time before being told that they had no staff and we had to wait an hour and a half before being able to board. Yep, not too happy… We were all exhausted, thankfully they moved us to a larger gate area, some of us were sitting on the ground, some playing cards, kids were coloring, people were talking, sleeping, reading… It was funny to see how people spend their time waiting. But dear god we were tired. By the time the plane took off, we should have landed in Lyon. We ended up landing at 00:30a.m., had to wait so long at the police control and arrived home at 2:30a.m. Dead tired.
Stay tuned for my Spain trip diary…