Peace Out, Part 3. London Edition.

May 20 to June 10, 2015

*Throwback Post Alert*

Part 3.

Read Part 1 here.

First, a quick anecdote- When I was going through security to fly to London, my contact solution was taken since the bottle was too big. No biggie, but I did need to get some ASAP. My cousin took me to a local pharmacy to pick some up. The only issue was I only had dollars and Euros on me, neither of which would help me in the UK. So, I said, “Thank you, but I don’t have any shillings on me,” to which everyone in the car began laughing at. Completely oblivious to how stupid what I had just said was, my cousin handed me some British pounds and said, “Here, Robyn, here are some shillings for you!” Needless to say, I will NEVER forget what currency is used in the UK. Funny enough (if this could get funnier), shillings haven’t been circulating since 1970 — 25 years before I was born!

By the way, the pharmacy was closed. LOL.

My trip in London was short-lived. I spent most of the time with family, seeing many that I hadn’t seen in over a decade and meeting some I had actually never met (or remember meeting). Can you believe that? Big family probs.

The highlight of my time in London (and the main purpose of being there) was my cousin Kelly’s wedding.

The ceremony was beautiful. The sun shown down on the happy couple. They beamed with as much happiness as the sun. The reception was just as great! Full of more love, dancing, and good ol’ family time.

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Kelly & Dan waiting to become Husband & Wife!

There, I found my love of Peroni Italian lager. Also, champagne, and white wine, and red wine. Honestly, all the alcohol. #TurnUp

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Just me and bae.

Wondering when I visited downtown? Look no further!

My final day in London was spent exploring many of the hotspots.

Below is a list of some of the things I did and saw:

Ferry along the River Thames

My cousin, who hosted me (THANK YOU, JOHN & FAMILY!) during my time in London, lives on the outskirts of the city, so we needed to take the ferry. This was super awesome! You know the London Bridge? Well, thankfully it wasn’t falling down anymore because I went under it! The ferry was a great way to get quickly get the essence of London.

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London Eye

Sure, the River Thames was a cool way to see London. The London Eye was even cooler. Basically, it’s a huge Ferris wheel with standing room and a clear enclosure. By the time you reach the top, you can see all of London.

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Big Ben and Palace of Westminster

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Me and my boy, Big Ben, enjoying the sunny London day.

I was most excited to see Big Ben when I visited London. Besides Buckingham Palace, the clock tower was what my mind’s eye pictured when I thought of London. I did not go inside the tower, as international visitors are not allowed. UK residents and British citizens must get written permission to inside. The Palace of Westminster is the home of the English Parliament. It is also known as the Houses of Parliament.

I was able to get good views of the clock tower from the London Eye, across the river, and I even got to stand in front of it! Unfortunately, if you visit London now, the view of Big Ben will be skewed because of ongoing restoration of the tower. According to the UK Parliament’s website, the restoration is scheduled to be completed in 2021. Even with the scaffolding present, I’m sure it’s still a sight to see.

Quick fact: Big Ben is the name of the bell. The tower itself is called the Elizabeth Tower, after Queen Elizabeth II (Parliament UK).

The National Gallery

I love me a museum, especially in a different country than my own. While in London, we stopped in to see Van Gogh’s Sunflowers (fourth edition). It was interesting to see this piece, as my parents have a print hanging in our house! Never did I think that I would see the real thing.

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Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

Fish & Chips.

We stopped to get lunch during my mini-tour of London. I chose to go with the traditional “Fish & Chips,” which came with, the also-traditional, mushy peas (delish, even if they sound gross!). Sadly, no pictures of this meal survive, most likely because it was eaten so quickly! YUM

Buckingham Palace.

I found my summer home while in London. It’s this quaint little place. Maybe you’ve heard of it – Buckingham Palace?

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Got my bag packed – I’m ready to move in!

Ok, so maybe The Queen won’t want to share her palace with me, but no one stopped me from taking pictures in front or watching the Changing of the Guard ceremony. It’s amazing to see how serious those men stay during the ceremony, even with people making faces at them. I was unable to go inside the Palace because I had a flight to catch, but it is possible. Visit the Royal Trust Collection’s website to find out when you can visit. P.S. If the flag is up when you visit, The Queen IS IN THE HOUSE! She was when I was there…score.

There are many more things than what I was able to do when I visited in 2015. Luckily, I was able to see Big Ben without scaffolding, it WAS NOT raining (surprise), and The Queen was at her Palace when I visited.

My next trip I hope to visit the Tower of London, tour Buckingham Palace, see more of the art in the National Gallery, and maybe (if I’m lucky!) spot a royal.

Have you ever been to London? Do you have any other recommendations of where to go?

 

Until my next adventure,

Robyn ♥

Peace Out, Mom & Dad! I’m going on a trip!

*Throwback Post Alert*

Part 1.

In 2015, traveling to Europe was just a dream… until it wasn’t. If you’ve read my About Me page, you’ll know that my mother is from Ireland. As a child, I traveled there frequently with my family, but had not returned since 2001. School, sports, finances, etc., kept my family and I from returning together.

In 2015, I was finishing up my sophomore year of college. I was going through a transition period and it was the perfect occasion to take the trip of a lifetime. I didn’t just plan to take the trip on a whim, though. My cousin was getting married in London. So, I stole my parents’ invite and decided I was going to crash the party!

Just kidding about the party crashing part. Karma is real, folks!

I was about to go to my first wedding, take my first solo plane ride, and leave my parents longer than a few days for the first time.

Was I nervous? Sure.

Was I excited? You have no idea!

Fun Fact: This adventure is where the idea for this blog was first thought of, but it would take years for it to finally come to fruition.

In this series of posts, I’ll be telling the story of my first trip to England and my first solo trip to Ireland. Along the way, I’ll be sharing photos from the trip and as much as I can remember. Don’t forget, three years have gone by and there was a fair bit of alcohol consumed during my time in my mother’s homeland.

What was the first time you traveled alone? Have you ever or do you always bring a partner? Comment below!

Stay tuned,

Robyn ♥

Photo Info: View of Dublin from the Guinness Storehouse’s Gravity Bar.

Read Part 2 here.