As promised, a quick entry about London.
Long story short, I feel like the sisters and I deserve an “I Survived London” t-shirt.
By no means was the trip bad. Actually, now that I’ve had time to process and look back on the vacation, it was actually quite a success. We started out with a bucket list of 32 things to do/see in London and we were able to cross off 20. Not bad considering we technically only had 4 days in London (one day was spent in Paris and another was shot due to traveling misfortunes, if you will).
Many people have asked why we chose London. For starters, we were limited in where we could travel. We were coordinating our trip to coincide with the end of the little’s study abroad program, and due to the Schengen Treaty, we ideally wanted a country where she wouldn’t need to apply for a visa. Plus we wanted to be in a place where English was the primary language since it was our first international trip together.
The deciding factor, though? The Harry Potter studio tour. Naturally we hit that up the first day (which was technically our second, but due to the little’s terrible luck with delays flights and the jet lag the middle and I had, the day we got there was pretty well shot).
The next few days were a little overwhelming, probably in part because we didn’t research and plan as thoroughly as we could have (although it’s difficult to coordinate via skype conversations given busy schedules, not to mention vastly different time zones). I think what it boiled down to, other that the little’s terrible luck with literally all modes of transportation, is that it wasn’t what I expected. What you see in Love Actually and Bridget Jones’s Diary? Not quite the same. Although the Westminster area is relatively close to what I pictured.
The highlight of our trip (which admittedly seems a bit ironic) was our day (technically 6 hours…) in Paris. Beautiful sites, amazing weather, delicious crepes and a gorgeous view of the Eiffel Tower. We got to see it in the daylight just as the sun was going down, so it was perfect timing. I think all three of us were on cloud nine watching the Eiffel Tower light up as we ate crepes and baguettes in a nearby park. That moment literally made the whole trip worthwhile for us (again, ironic given it was a London vacation).
Thankfully, though, we hit a groove on our last day. We (and by we I really mean the middle) mastered the tube, we felt relatively comfortable with the currency and stuck to a short and specific set of bucket list items (as opposed to day following Harry Potter where we tried to tackle the whole freakin’ city with the aid of a hop-on, hop-off bus tour – although we naturally chose the not so punctual company, either). For once we didn’t feel overwhelmed and frustrated with London. Success!
I think the greatest success, though, is how well the sisters got along and stuck together. Particularly given how crammed our living quarters were and how much time we spent with one another, it could have turned ugly. And that’s not to say there weren’t frustrations and mini breakdowns, including my own. But I couldn’t have picked better ladies to have such…interesting, shall we say, adventures with in London. They made the trip worthwhile for me, bad luck and all. Plus now we have fantastic stories to share (like why we only got 6 instead of 9 hours in Paris…which out of respect for the little won’t be blog material).
And just to be on the safe side, we’re going to start planning our next sisters trip. It’s likely years away, but lesson learned: you can never plan too much for international travel. Take that to the bank!
“The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you.” Kendall Hailey