Since I have had a break of a week with no racing, I decided it would be really fun to travel a bit while I have the opportunity. Craig Richey and I were trying to figure out where we would got for 4 days and we settled on London. The trip was made pretty easy because Gabby Day was heading back to her national championships in the UK and was able to drop us off in the outskirts of London.
We made our way into downtown london via the commuter rail from just outside of the city. We had pre-booked a hostel to stay in and figured we would get off the train and head straight there. That was until we realized the train station that we ended up at was just outside the London Eye, Big Ben and the Parliament Building and all sorts of the famous touristy stuff.
So we decided to not check into our hostel and instead start walking and checking out the sites. In the first 2 hours that we were there we saw the London Eye, Big Ben, and Abbey Road. A great start to a 4 day vacation in a new country. The best thing about this trip was being around other english speakers. You spend so much time not knowing what anyone is saying here in Belgium that when you can talk to your waiter, or order train tickets in your home language it feels a bit like home.
After seeing a lot of the sights we decided to head back to the Hostel and get a feel for where we would be staying for the next few days. We were staying in the Swiss Cottage region just north of the main city area. The hostel was really nice and relatively inexpensive for London.
We settled in for the night and had a few drinks at the bar that was in the basement of the hostel. The next day we continued our adventures by going to check out Buckingham Palace, The Natural History Museum, The Science Museum, and im sure there was a lot more that I dont recall right now.
We wanted to see the city in a different way, so we looked for group things to do and settled on a good ‘ol PUB CRAWL!!! This was probably the most fun thing that we did while we were in London. Met plenty of cool people, some fellow Americans and a group of Australians. We went to five bars but I dont remember much of the last two except for the photographs on my camera!
I bought a top hat for the evening because I figured no one on the pub crawl knows me… So i can pretend to be a little different and wear a cool top hat! The pub crawl ended at 1am and we tried to get on the train but it was closed, and we assumed the next station would be open… We were wrong and at this point we had already been walking for 45 mins and fully committed to the full walk home, which ended up being 2 hours long and at least 6 miles. Blistered feet and a busted toe later we reached our home around 3am. Wow, what a crazy night!
Next day we went and saw the rest of the things that we missed the couple days before. This included the London Tower, the London Bridge, and a couple more museums! I did so many things, but its hard to write it all down here and not bore all you readers!! So i will keep it brief and put some pics instead.
Then after a couple days back in Belgium, Gabby Day was back from her nationals and we were headed off to the city of love, Paris France for a couple days.
When we first arrived in Paris and got onto the Metro to head towards the Cathedral of Notre Dame, there was an old man playing very french music on the accordion like in the movies. It was a perfect reception to Paris for the first time! We headed to Notre Dame and grabbed some lunch before climbing up the bell towers to look over the city.
We then took some time and walked down the old Latin section where some of the oldest buildings are in Paris. We grabbed some snacks and headed over to where the Louvre is. Unfortunately it was closed for some reason and we couldn’t get into it this day. We went over to the love bridge thing where everyone puts locks on the bridge like that place in Prague.
Next up was the a few parks on our way to the Champs Elysees. I didn’t realize how jam packed the Champs Elysees was with concept stores and high end shopping. Really fun to check things out at the Mercedes concept store where they had the car that was used in transformers.
I wont bore you all with long wordy explanations of where we went, as they were all pretty much the touristy things that you all already know about. So I will just put a bunch of pictures up with captions!
I have so many pictures but I cant put them all on here. I had an amazing time traveling around a bit before getting ready to be done my season after this weekend World Cup in France. Paris really is an amazing city, and I would travel back there again in a heart beat.
Now I have to get on my bike to get the legs spinning for this weekends race!!