European Adventures with Shelley: Parisbound

On our last day in London, we had some important things to check off our list. First, I ran to Wimbledon and along the way, I saw my future home aka Kensington Palace.

 

Later in the day, we visited Hyde Park, the Tower of London and Herrod’s for afternoon tea.

 

We ended the day by seeing Wicked.

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Early the next morning, we were Parisbound. As soon as we stepped off the train, we were ready for our next adventure. Except…we realized immediately…that we don’t speak French. It may have taken us over an hour to figure out how to navigate the underground system and get to our hotel…but WE DID IT.

Here’s me. Trying to figure out Paris.

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We headed to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, Sacre Coeur. We climbed the million steps to the top, but it was worth it for the views. By then end of this day, my Garmins told me we had climbed 47 flights of stairs.

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Then we headed to Notre Dame. No hunchback was found, if you were wondering.

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Finally, we headed to see the Eiffel Tower.

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The next day, we headed to a traditional Parisian brunch at Claus and it was amazing.

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Once we loaded up on carbs and butter, we were excited to explore the Louvre. Thankfully, Shelley and I had a game plan because, otherwise, we would still be wondering around that place.

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The Code of Hammurabi, the Winged Victory, and the Pyramid du Louvre.

 

After our efficient exploring, we had a champagne cruise on the Seine. Life is the bubbles.

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A fellow passenger took our picture. I think she was a professional.

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After the cruise, we found a cafe close to the Tower so we could “catch it while it was sparkling.” After a few glasses of Bourdeaux and some Creme Brulee, we became fast friends with the waitstaff. When they learned we were from Texas, they immediately played Old Crow Medicine Show’s Wagon Wheel. It may not have been Texas country, but it was appreciated. Oh and they gave us free champagne. So they were our favorites.

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So if you’re keeping count, Shelley and I spent a whirlwind three days in London and two in Paris. It was quick, but perfect. Our next adventure will be in Spain and Portugal and it can’t come soon enough.

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European Adventures with Shelley: London and Countryside

For years, one of my dearest friends, Shelley, and I have always wanted to go on an adventure to the UK. And this year, we finally did it.

After a few months of planning, we arrived in London at approximately 6am. Knowing that we couldn’t fall asleep for fear of jet-lag, we dropped off our luggage at our hotel and immediately headed for Abbey Road.

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Unfortunately, it was under a little construction but we still crossed it in Beatles’ fashion.

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Afterwards, we felt royal and headed to Buckingham Palace, Westminster, and Big Ben. We decided to journey into Westminster because, well, if I get married, it would probably be here. But it was also incredibly cool to see where many royals along with Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, and Laurence Olivier were all laid to rest.

As the day continued on, we found our way to a pub for lunch before visiting Trafalgar Square. And Shelley needed her first European Guinness.

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We randomly wondered into the National Gallery and found ourselves surrounded by Rembrandts, Monets, and da Vincis. Fun Fact: We saw the second version of the “Virgin on the Rocks” pained by da Vinci in London and the first version later in Paris. He made two. Crazy right?

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Soon, we needed to head to the interactive show: Alice’s Adventures Underground. I need to preface that, at this point, we’d been up for nearly 36 hours so we were delirious, confused, and not exactly sure what was happening. Now throw us into an “Alice in Wonderland” type environment and life was a struggle. A group of about 30 of us were herded from room to room, interacting with characters from Alice in Wonderland.

After the show ended, we headed to our hotel for some much needed sleep. After checking in…oh wait, just kidding. At 11pm, upon attempting to check-in, we realized that we were at the wrong hotel. Yes. The WRONG hotel. So we hauled our luggage a quarter of a mile to the correct hotel. Yes, Alice, we had our own above-ground adventure.

Regardless, we got some much needed sleep because the next day, we headed for the countryside.

We started in Windsor, England, visiting my future home, Windsor Castle.

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We even got to see the changing of the guard.

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Soon, we headed to Lacock where we ate lunch and took some time to explore. This place is special because several films have been made here. Think Harry Potter (his parent’s house in the movie below), Downton Abbey, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

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There was also the Church of St Cyriac where the first photograph was ever taken.

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After Lacock, we headed for Bath. We didn’t spend too much time here, but enough time for us to grab a famous bath bun and enjoy a beer. Oh! And Jane Austen spent some time in Bath so that was cool. AND the first letter ever mailed was from Bath to London.

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Finally, we ended the day at Stonehenge.

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This thing is over 5,000 years old. Each of these rocks weigh tons, yall. It’s crazy. Essentially, historians believe this was a place of healing and where people would make regular pilgrimages.

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Anyway, we ended the evening back in London where we only had one more day in town plus a trip to Paris ahead of us. Ready or not, the adventure continues…in the next blog post.

Maui or Bust

Momma Higg celebrated her birthday in March. Her gift from Poppa Higg? A trip to Hawaii. Fortunately, I benefitted from Poppa Higg’s hatred of the beach and was asked to accompany Momma Higg.

My charge for tagging along? Use my incredible travel agent skills (otherwise known as Google and Pinterest) to plan the trip. The only direction I was given was to stay in Maui. So that’s where I started.

We chose the West Coast of Maui, on Kaanapali Beach near the old town of Lahaina. The Royal Lahaina looked good to me because it had beach access. And it didn’t look like a Motel 6. And it was a big fat guess. Thank goodness it was a winner.

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Funny thing about Hawaii is that there’s a 5 hour time difference. Meaning, when it was 9:30am in Texas…it was 4:30am in Maui. By 8:30pm, I was toast. I’d wake up at 5:30am, go on a run, and bring fresh coffee and a muffin to the room to be eaten on our patio overlooking a golf course and the waves.

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Nearly every day, Momma Higg and I set out to be beach bums by 8am. By mid-afternoon, we were exploring the Whaler’s Village or Front Street in Lahaina.

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One evening, we went to a Luau at the hotel, “The Myths of Maui.” I had never been to a Luau before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Momma Higg was slightly disappointed that there was only one “fire dance.” I’ll try better next time.

One day, we took a quick plane ride to Ouahu to visit the Pearl Harbor and USS Ariozona Memorial in Honolulu. I’ve always been fascinated by WWII—all the bravery and love men and women showed to fight evil–so, naturally, I soaked up every minute at the memorial. Afterwards, we ate at Restaurant 604. Well, first we walked a half-mile in the wrong direction and finally Lyfted 100 yards in the right direction to the restaurant. The service was horrible. The food wasn’t terrible. Beer also makes food taste better.

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Being a beach bum was easier than I thought. Finishing two books and running into the ocean to take pictures of sea turtles kept me more occupied than I imagined.

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I think Momma Higg has decided that Maui will be an annual girls trip. Or maybe I’m trying to convince her.

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Stay tuned for the next beach babes’ vacay.