We arrived in London after an overnight flight and hit the ground running. Walked the loop around Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament and the River Thames to the London Eye and loved it!
Everything was changing colors and the trees are just enormous.  We were determined to break the cliche that London food is bad, but holy smokes, it's sort of true. We went to an awesome restaurant similar to Chipotle with killer queso and that was the highlight food wise! We went to really well-reviewed places and it was like a crappy buffet in the states. Cut corners, from the can sauces, and we couldn't get a sear on a piece of meat if we tried, it was all boiled meat or something. Sort of a bummer! 

The Tube was super user friendly so we got around pretty easily and saw so much. Buckingham, Green Park, The British Library, the National Gallery, Oxford Circus and this insane tea place called Sketch.
Stopped into Cos and loved it all, went to Portabello Road markets, had awesome street food. Saw the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Another amazing use of set, what a fascinating job that would be! We were both really moved by the story line and the acting was superb. We walked through Chinatown ate at a packed but terrible restaurant called Lido, saw a couple prostitutes. London has such a wild night life. Its all about the pub but it seemed like the streets tripled in people after 10 pm. I love that they love to party! I also noticed that they are master conversationalists and really engaged with one another.
Coventry Garden where we watched the most amazing mime perform. At the end he held up signs in 10 different languages "A day without laughter is a day wasted." the whole thing made me cry it was so beautiful and watching hundreds gather around him every single one with a smile on their face, it was super moving.

Sketch's bathroom pods. Every room was decorated insanely, and was such an eye feast. I loved it!! Also had a killer pain au chocolat there that couldn't be topped. // Notting Hill right off Portobello Road. super cute.
Also you know you're in London when you can find a personalized anything with Callum on it!

We then got on our boat a brand new excursion Anthem of the Seas. I haven't ever cruised so I had nothing to compare it to, but from what I gather it was super innovative and beautiful. The decor and art reminded me of the Cosmo in Vegas. Also a Casino, so Russ was pumped, but lost quick and hard and didn't return. Ha! They didn't have any buffets just reservation dinners so everything felt super nice. We had a nice balcony and honestly being on the boat was the perfect excuse to just relax for a few hours a day instead of the hustle of London. Also leaving luggage on the boat instead of lugging it on trains and buses and taxis and subways, that is the only way to go. And sleeping with our deck door open was amazing, ocean sounds trump a fan anyday! 

While we were traveling we saw another boat sink right before our eyes. Like a pretty big rig, it was insane! Just one of the sunsets on our way to Paris...
Brugge Belgium was unreal. If there weren't new cars on the streets you would think you were transported in time.
Everything is old but not worn down. Well manicured gardens, everyone takes great care so its just the most picturesque thing. They call it the Venice of the North because of the canals and I took probably 100 pictures because everything struck me as the cutest thing I'd ever seen until I got to the next street. It made me wonder why the States are so afraid of aging. Like it all has to be new and modern and I don't understand that.

We walked for HOURS and miles. Had amazing Belgian waffles and chocolate like true tourists. Saw beautiful churches, parks, and markets. The architecture alone was such an experience that you just won't find anywhere but Europe I'd wager.

Paris - we rented bikes and biked ALL over that city. The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Jardin de Tuileries, Champs Elysees, Saint Germain, Grand and Mini Palais arrondisements galore, neighborhoods, gardens, parks, squares, churches.

 We covered so much ground and had delicious food everywhere. A croque monsieur that will haunt my dreams from Village le Monge, and crepes at base of the Eiffel were especially delicious. Russ actually ate a burger, is anyone surprised? And had to have his $5 cokes all over Europe.

I felt like I got my fill of each city, but not Paris. I guess I'll just have to go back! Definitely wanted to do Versailles, all the museums and more of the insides of churches. The lines were outrageous and so we opted to cover more ground then less since we knew our time was so limited!
I've held Paris on a pedestal since I was little and made myself a deal that I would see it before 30 and before the next baby. I cried when we drove up out of the tunnel. For hours at a time I had this surreal blissful incredulous feeling "We are in Paris. I am riding my bike through the streets, that is the Eiffel tower." I had the hugest smile on my face just non-stop. 

SUCH a dream, I felt and still feel so spoiled and grateful to have been able to see it all. It was a huge sacrifice, we both saved up like crazy and will be making up for weeks to come and we didn't even go crazy while we were there, it just adds up so fast! But it was money well spent in my eyes. What a beautiful city, gilded in gold and everything was so wonderful. I fell hard! 

Souvenirs - we opted for art from a painter on the Seine, I unknowingly collected all the still water bottles from each country so I have one from each of those. Sort of perfectly funny if you know my water only at all times motto. Maybe I'll start a travel collection? Found the most darling shop in Brugge called Paper Tiger that was like Ikea meets Target but curated down to only a small shop worth of product. We brought home Belgian chocolate home that was eaten in minutes and I bought a ring from a Nepalese jewelry maker at Portobello road. 

Lastly, our last pic of the trip entering back into America in NYC. We were so tired. Making the dumbest faces to show customs. They loved Russ' especially.

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