Tales of a Travel Addict: London
Last summer I did something crazy. Something amazing. Something that made me feel more alive than I ever have in my entire life. I gathered up every single penny in my bank account and even dipped into the last of my loan money to book my trip to Europe for three entire weeks.
Going to Europe has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. The chance to make it a reality was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget, and something that I can’t wait to relive. Traveling is such an adventure, one that I want to experience for the rest of my life.
One of my New Years resolutions is to book a life changing trip by the end of the year. Traveling is what makes me happy, what makes me feel alive. I don’t plan on giving that up for anyone, anything or any job.
My sister Stephanie, my best friend Kim and I decided we were actually going to take the plunge and take the trip of our dreams. We did our research and discovered a tour group called Contiki which offered thousands of different tours of Europe as well as other continents for 18 to 35 year olds. The trip we chose was three weeks long and hit 7 countries and 15 cities. We were originally planning on backpacking on our own, but Contiki included transportation to each of these cities and hotels in each city. Not to mention that the Contiki experience was one that is both indescribable and irreplaceable. Spending day after day experiencing new cultures, seeing new cities, and making new memories can turns strangers into friends and then family.
The first stop on our whirlwind journey was London, baby! (FRIENDS anyone??)
My sister and I took a red eye flight from Orlando to Newark to Heathrow. Although our flight was delayed 3 hours, it ended up working out perfectly. Our flight landed just as Kim’s did from Washington DC and we were able to meet up after customs. We were ready for our adventure to begin!
After a 45 minute ride on the Picadilly line (mind the gap, please.) we ended up at our hotel for the night. We checked in, dropped off our bags, and then went on an hour walk throughout the city before making our way back to the hotel. We were even stopped by a tourist couple who needed directions, I guess we looked like townies! We got lost a few times, and almost were hit by cars while trying to cross the street – I could not get used to the fact that they drove on the opposite side of the road! Luckily there was large writing on the ground at most intersections which stated “LOOK RIGHT!”. That was helpful
One of my biggest regrets is not having enough time to take advantage of all the awesome things London has to offer. Although we were able to walk around the city, I didn’t get to see the London Eye, Big Ben, or Buckingham Palace. However, I did experience the awesome London nightlife. Priorities, people.
After checking in with our tour group later that night, a group of us grabbed a few beers at a pub down the street. Kim and I received a text from our sorority sister who just so happened to be in London for the weekend and was going on a bar crawl. Kim and I were exhausted, both of us taking red eye’s to London, but we’re only abroad once – so we were going out!
We paid 15 pounds for a ticket which gave us free entry to every bar, a free t-shirt, and a free shot at every bar. I was hesitant to pay that much for one night (especially because I was so tired) but I did it anyways and I’m so glad I did!
Steph was tired so she decided to stay in for the night, but Kim, Lauren, and I had an awesome time dancing, drinking, and exploring the London nightlife!
The next morning came bright and early. The nice thing about staying awake’ til midnight the night before was the next morning I felt completely rested. A fun night out in London and I never had to deal with the problem of adapting to the jet lag – win win!
We boarded the Contiki bus that would become our mode of transportation, and our second home for the next three weeks.
The time was passed with Catch Phrase, card games, and talking with the other passengers – a majority of whom were from Australia. WHAT’S UP AUSSIES?!?
And before I knew it, we were in Amsterdam! But that’s a tale for another time
Let’s Talk – Have you ever taken a trip abroad? Where did you go?