Day 1: Went to Charles Darwin’s house in London, had shepard’s pie at a local pub. Got yelled at by a british lady in her car on the bus. Enjoyed seeing Darwin’s garden. Went to more pubs at night and wondered around London. Went to a bookstore and got some interesting books.
Day 2: Went to Kennsington Park and saw alot of great monuments. This one in particular was really great. Didn’t even know who Albert was. Had great food at the park. Love the freedom the british like to give their dogs. A lot of cute dogs and birds were great to see at the park aswell. Saw a fat pigeon.
Day 3: On the third day had alot of fun at Borough Market. A nice lady gave sold me a wheat grass smoothie while I was there. It tasted really bad but I was happy that she looked happy making it. I drunk a good amount of it. Also walked around London Bridge. The tower bridge was the best bridge we saw. Got to go up to the top of the tower and take a lot of selfies on it. They had a clear floor so you can take pictures of yourself laying down and you can see everything on the ground. Looked scary at first but it looked really cool. Also got a lot of souvenirs in the gift shop for my family. Also went to a cool retro looking ice cream place.
Day 4: Touch down in Paris! Got to see Notre Dame and try an actual Crepe made in Paris. I really loved the crepe with nutella, butter, and ice cream in it. Tried alot of other crepes afterwards too. Loved the architecture in Notre Dame. Had a very chill vibe, which is to be expected since it’s one of the more holier sights. Loved the glass windows on the inside and the beautiful statues as well. Also walked around with Caroline along the Rue De Monge which had amazing restaurants.
Day 5: Went to the fossil museum and had a great time seeing the fossils. Looked very interesting considering the fact that I’m typically not a fossil person. Had very interesting structures. Almost fell a couple times in the secret garden because of the rain. Loved the mineral museum as well. Also went to the Louvre for the first time but had a hard time finding the Mona Lisa. A little disappointing when I found her but I thought everything else in the museum was amazing. Also went to an awesome fondue place with other people and LOVED the cheese.
Day 6: Last day in Paris. Very sad but had a great time spending the day venturing out on my own. Wanted to go to a popular macaron place and buy some macarons. Didn’t know the Louvre and other important sights were right next to it! They blocked off a lot of important sights because of the protests and took me a while to get around a gate. Loved seeing my first lock bridge, very beautiful to see how much they value love in Paris. Then went to a mall district 30 minutes before the malls close. Went to this one place that I didn’t think was name brand but had a 300 euro jacket. I’ll come back when I make the money in a couple hundred years. Went to a McDonald’s to end the night, not the same as in America but still okay.
AKA the day that everything goes wrong. We started off by going to the Pantheon, then realized we had to pay to get in and didn’t think the museum pass covered it. Ya…I messed that one up because apparently we did but, we never made it back. From there, we went to Luxemburg Park which was pretty, but there wasn’t much to do there aside from watching sail boats. After that, we decided to go to the catacombs, but got there and realized there was a HUGE line and decided it wasn’t worth our time. We grabbed food, met a couple from Florida, then headed to the Arc to get a music box for Theresa’s mom. After a 30 minute metro ride, we walked out from the station and people with yellow vest were everywhere. Yes, that’s right we walked into a protest. There were cops completely surrounding the arc, along with them blocking the streets off. Cautiously, we still wanted to try to see if we could get to the arc, so we walked around until we found the doors and saw the underground tunnel was blocked off. Trying to find the metro to get the heck out of there, we turned left and saw a march of people coming down the street toward the Arc and decided to just walk to the next metro stop to get out of there as fast as possible. At this point, I think the universe was trying to tell me to just stay in the hotel and study for my biochem exam, but I didn’t listen and we ended up meeting some of the group at a mall, then found the I love you wall, and went to the Place du Tetre and getting some last minute paintings. That actually ended up turning around the day, and ended by grabbing dinner and crapes with John and Alicia. After we headed back to the hotel and got ready for our flight the next morning.
How many museums can you fit in one day?? Well Friday was the day we tested to see. We started off by going to the Eiffel Tower. I gave a presentation on some cool facts I found online, so hit me up if you have any questions. As we were waiting in line, we got the most heartbreaking news of the entire trip. Yes, that’s right, it was too windy too go all the way up to the top of the tower. I was heartbroken, but still felt like I was able to see everything and get pretty much the same experience from the second floor (even though it was only 378 feet high versus 906 feet). I was even able to see the 2ndstatue of liberty that was by a bridge (didn’t get to see up close). After, we headed across the street to the Musse de L’Homme where we were able to get some nice pics with the Eiffel Tower in the back. The museum was cool because it was more modern science related. I really like the display with the heads up the wall, and they also had other exhibits like prosthetics and glasses. I also got tricked into wasting my money on tiny Eiffel Tower key chains because the guy wouldn’t leave us alone. Anywho, we grabbed lunch then met up and headed to the Pasteur Museum. This museum was probably the worst because I started getting sick and my nose would not stop running! She also spoke crap English and I was just ready for my afternoon nap. This museum wasn’t pointless though because it was cool being able to see the different glassware he had to make for the experiments he did and seeing the crypt in the basement with his and his wife’s casket. I definitely think it helped that we actually knew who he was before going there. Afterwards, we headed to ANOTHER museum (yes this is 3… 4 is you count the Eiffel Tower). This museum was the Musée des Arts et Metiers. Walking in, we saw the 3rdstatue of liberty, and the 4thwas there too but it was in the chapel and we ran out of time to see it. This museum had so much stuff and I wish I would have been able to look around more, but at least the tour guide for this place was funny and understood how dead we were. After getting kicked out of this museum, we headed back to the hotel, grabbed dinner at a restaurant nearby, then crashed for the night.
Well, I was still dead from the day before, but up for another day of adventures. We went to the garden of plants with the class. I started off in the Paleontology building which I found super interesting seeing all of the bones set up on display. One thing that caught my eye was the whale with very thin looking teeth. I’d never seen teeth like that before and thought it was super interesting (pre-dental major showing)! While we were there, I also saw the minerology building and the zoo. The minerology building was cool but small, and the zoo was decent, but the animals seemed to be hiding from me or hard to see through the tall grass around the exhibits. I really enjoyed this place however, all the captions on the exhibits were in French so it was hard to know what certain things were. After this, we had the rest of the day on our own and I ended up going to the Louvre and the Musse de Orssay, but was in a group of 7 people so it was kind of crazy. I was able to see the Mona Lisa, which was cool to say I saw, but really didn’t understand why this chick was famous until Alicia explained that her eyes follow you no matter where you’re at in the room! Also, at the Musse de Orssay we saw 1 of the 4 statues of liberty in Paris. To end the night, we had a group dinner that was really good! I got to try snail for the first time! That was a little nerve wracking but actually ended up being very good.
Sadly, the London portion was over, and we traveled to Paris on the Eurostar. Carrying heavy luggage up and down multiple staircases was definitely a workout! We got to Paris, got checking into our hotel, then headed to Notre Dame. After walking around Notre Dame, John, Quent, Theresa and I headed to sacre’ couer then Place du Tetre. Place du Tetre was an art district and was very fun to walk around seeing shops selling different types of acrylic paintings and other little things. We grabbed dinner at a restaurant, then headed to the Arc de Triomphe. Side note: Paris food is already better than London’s. After climbing 285 steps, we were finally at the top of the Arc and just in time to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle on the hour. It was beautiful to see at night, and we decided to take the metro and see it up close. After seeing the Eiffel Tower, we ventured to the Princess Diana “memorial” which was a statue of liberty flame. This was kind of disappointing because it looked like it was at one point a memorial, but the plaque was taken down and is not an unofficial memorial (need to look into that still). Finally, we made our way back to the hotel, the long way of course since John was leading. According to my phone, we walked 10.3 miles and climbed 72 flights so I was dead!
Monday was our free day. The first stop of the day was St.Paul’s Cathedral. This building was absolutely beautiful, and we even had blue skies to make it even better! After taking a thousand pics (including a cliché phone booth pic), we next headed to Borough Market. Borough Market was just ok. It had a bunch of food vendors, but like I said earlier, I wasn’t a big fan of London’s food. Next, we saw the London Bridge, which ended up being pretty plain, then went to the Tower Bridge. The Tower Bridge was very cool, and we stumbled upon a gift shop at the bottom. Once in the gift shop, we realized you could take a tour of the Bridge and the engine room that lifts the bridge for boats. During the tour we were able to walk across the top walkway above the bridge, which had an amazing view! After Tower Bridge we walked past the Tower of London. In the process of finding food, we fell upon a church bunker/cellar/tunnel thing that had different artifacts on display under a (functioning) church. We finally got food, then took the metro to King’s Cross Station and found the Harry Potter Platform we tried to find the day before! After a long and exhausting day, we headed back to the hotel then eventually got dinner in China town. We ran into a couple that gave us tips on places to go in Paris, then finished the day by grabbing a drink at the John Snow pub.
Sunday we started off going to the British Museum and was able to see many cool things, including the Rosetta Stone. After the British Museum, we traveled on the metro to Camden Street market and explored little shops set up along the street. I loved Camden market and got some cool souvenirs while I was there too. After, Theresa, Quent, Khadejah, and I went to Kensington park where we saw a “Dalmatian”, got to feed some awesome green birds, and saw Kensington Palace. On the way back we attempted to find the Harry Potter Platform but failed and just grabbed dinner at the Jack Horner pub. I had fish and chips, which was probably my best meal in London!
After a 6 hour plane ride, we arrived in Heathrow, London around 10am and took a coach bus to the Down house. I was dead tired from not sleeping much on the plane, but thankfully was able to catch a quick nap on the bus. Towards the end, the bus ride was definitely interesting trying to fit a tiny bus down small backroads, another driver tried to fight our bus driver! Once we got to the town, we stopped at the George and Dragon pub, checked out Emma’s grave (Darwin’s wife), then walked to the Down house. After the Down house we headed back to the hotel, then explored around the hotel to find dinner. We ate at rising sun, where I got a nasty philly cheesesteak “sandwich” …but also had the best cider ever! Side note: The food in London was not my favorite.
The first day of the trip consisted of driving to Down House to see where Charles Darwin had lived. We had gone to the George and Dragon Inn where we stopped for lunch that I enjoyed as it was the first time I had a chicken and leek shepherd’s pie and finally got to try leek for the first time. We then looked at the cemetery where some of the Darwins were buried and then drove to Charles Darwins house where you could tell by the spacious landscape how important nature was for him. I liked the drive as it really displayed the landscape of smaller suburbs in London and gave a little bit of an idea of how it would feel to live there. After the tour, we then drove to the heart of London where I got to finally see famous buildings in person like the parliament building and Big Ben (kinda). Finally later that night, I left and found an Indian restaurant with Indian food that you will not find anywhere in America that was also very good and quite inexpensive.
For this day we first stopped at the British Museum that I enjoyed a lot as a lot of the artifacts were quite beautiful like the statues from Greece and the Museum itself was gorgeous as well. It was very interesting to see the Rosetta stone in person and real sarcophagi from Egypt as well. Later, I spent the day wandering around London just to admire the layout of the city more by also taking time to eat in a cafe and to go around and see the bridges and Trafalgar square. I additionally went to the National Museum and got to see a lot of beautiful paintings that night. Later that night I joined a group of people to eat at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant, which I was quite excited about because I have watched a lot of shows by Ramsay and really wanted to try dishes that he had created and was not disappointed.
For this day, I woke up and went to look at the bridges further down from our hotel and saw the London Bridge and then went on a tour of the really impressive Tower Bridge. I also got to go on a tour to see how the draw bridge of it actually works and got to walk along the top of it. I also got to ride a double decker bus which was more fun than I expected it to be. I then met up with some friends in Europe where we went exploring and found a bar where you had to enter through a bookshelf.
This day we had gone to Westminister Abbey which I was really happy about because I got to see where Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawkings were burried, two scientists who I admire greatly. I also like seeing the other famous people buried there from various writers to political figures. I additionally thought that much of the stonework and stained glass was beautiful to look at as well. Then we went to the London Eye and even though it was raining, I still thought it was a really nice view. After the group dinner we went to the Royal Society, which I thought the ancient books they showed were fascinating because of how long they have survived. In the afternoon, I tried to find a shop to buy some tea but then ended up lost and walked around and went to a lot of little stores. I then later joined for the group dinner at a different Indian restaurant and later spent the night roaming again where I went to Trafalgar square at night and wandered into places like Chinatown.
(London 5/Paris 1)
This day we went to the train station to go to Paris which made me a little sad because I didn’t want to leave London quite yet. Paris was completely different compared to England in layout and architecture and was actually nothing like I thought it would look or feel. Touring Notre Dame was incredible as just the sheer size of it combined with its stonework and stainglass was more beautiful than the pictures of it that I had seen online. Later that night I joined a group of people and we walked everywhere for sight seeing with first the Sacre Coeur then to the Arts district where we ate in a shop with a very talented piano player who sadly didn’t get tipped and then to the top of the Arc de Triumph for another pretty view of the city at night. We also saw the Eiffel tower at night and finally the Flame of Liberty.
This day we visited mainly museums where we first went to the Musée de Paleontology. My favorite part of the museum was seeing the whale skeletons which reminded me how massive they could be and impressed that creatures that size still exist. I later went to the zoo and saw animals that would not be thought of in America . Then I ate lunch at the Grand Mosque de Paris where I had the best tea in my life. Later I just explored the other various museums and also found some Banksy graffiti. That night I went to the group dinner in Au Pére Louis where I got to try stereotypical French food like snails.
Then on this day we went to the Eiffel tower and got to see a really nice view of the city. Then we went to see the Museé de l’Homme which I didn’t find that interesting due to the lack of actual artifacts there. Later we went to the Pasteur Institute where my favorite part was seeing Pasteur’s tomb. I also did think that the Musée des Arts et Metiers would have been more interesting if we were allowed to explore it by ourselves as there were a lot of interesting artifacts in there that the tour guide spent little to no time on. I also tried to go shopping later that night but didn’t have much luck as I didn’t realize how early stores closed in Paris. I did manage to go to eat at an outside patio places and then wandered around looking at the architecture for the remainder of the night.
On this free day I went to the Pantheon which I really like because of its interior and the fact that many famous people who lived in France were buried there. Next I went to the gardens nearby our hotel to explore a little. I later finally made it to the Lourve and got to see paintings and sculptures that I have read about and marveled at for such a long time. The rest of the night I did a lot of shopping that night from going into book stores to finding pastry shops and buying macrons.