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.