“The more I travel, the more I realize that I see the world through the eyes of a world travelers’ lenses.”
Hello friends and family! Thanks for joining me again.
I have had a very unique and slow-paced summer until now, so knowing how much I travel you all can imagine how much I was looking forward to this trip to Europe! My mother and I went to London and Paris for a week with another mother daughter duo whom we have known since my early childhood years. We had a great time in both locations and I am excited to share each special moment of the trip.
We arrived in London Heathrow Airport on Saturday August 3 and took the metro or “tube” as they call it straight to the Doubletree hotel by the Tower of London. We then went to have a look around Tower Bridge and we found a bunch of food trucks offering a nice variety of options for dinner. I ate some Peruvian cuisine and it was pretty good and then we continued with our sightseeing adventures. I could tell immediately when I arrived in London that it was just as diverse as the rest of the Europe, and it gave me the chance to practice my language skills with many different people which was a nice experience.
I also could tell almost immediately the impact that Britain has had on the world simply by its mesmerizing architecture and historical and cultural artifacts on every corner. The best part of the day was the end. We were sitting in our hotel enjoying some fish and chips and this couple from the same area as my mother and I walked in. We ended up having an amazing and necessary conversation with them which ended up being one of the best highlights of everyone’s trips. The more I travel the more I truly recognize how small the world really is!
On our second day we took the infamous London taxicab sitting backwards and going down the wrong side of the street. We did some more sightseeing and went to the national portrait gallery museum and saw the history and culture of Britain and its monarchy all along the walls with portrait after portrait of a King, Duchess, Queen, Prince,etc. My absolute favorite part of the entire museum was the section of the museum by John Stezaker that made a moving video of a bunch of portraits of famous actors and actresses and conglomerated their faces to intertwine each other. It was one of the coolest collections of art I have ever seen in a museum and I enjoyed it very much.
We also went to the London Eye however we did not get a chance to ride it so I definitely want to do that next time I go. We then went to St Stephens Tavern where I met a nice Senegalese waitress from France. However if I’m being honest I did not enjoy the traditional English food like I had the night before. We then went on a River Cruise on the Thames from the end of London by the Eye all the way down to Greenwich Village and back and the tour guide was fun and I learned a lot about the area. That evening my friend Kelly and I did the Jack the Ripper walking tour and it was like being a part of a CSI investigation with all of us tourists trying to solve and put together the pieces of the puzzle. On the tour we also passed the Jamaican restaurant of famous Olympian runner Usain Bolt known as Tracks and Records which had a very nice setup and a great menu.
On our third day we went to Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and did the Hop on Hop Off Tour. At Buckingham which is like the White House in the U.S. we saw the changing of the guards ceremony which was nice to experience and I recommend that you go and visit London during a time when it occurs. Afterwards the highlight of my day was having my first crumpets at a little cafe called Crumpets and traditional English breakfast with peppermint tea which tasted amazing. At Westminster Abbey I was overwhelmed by the amount of sculptures and paintings of members of the British monarchy and it was surreal seeing my history books come alive. I also was able to visit the cute cafe El&N and it was experience I would recommend for anyone looking to have a cute and posh tea party with a group of friends.
On our fourth day we left the hotel and took the Eurotrain from London to one of my favorite cities in the world. Once we arrived in Charles de Gaulle we took a taxi with a nice Congolese man to our hotel the hotel Astoria which I enjoyed very much and would recommend to anyone traveling for a few days in the city. That evening we went to a restaurant called le percolateur and I had some kind of eggplant lasagna which was really good.
The next day we went sightseeing with the Big Bus tour. We went to the Arc de triomphe and climbed a whole lot of steps to get to the top but I do believe the spectacular 365 view of the city was kind of worth it. There were historical artifacts, videos, and a replica of the monument at the top as well, with a nice little souvenir shop. From there we went to an Italian restaurant right by Champs d’Élysée and it had some great ice cream. We then continued our tour on the bus and went to the louvre museum and the place was packed full of people just like one would expect.
Unfortunately we did not get to go into the area where the most famous paintings were but I did still get a picture of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre as you can see below, which still counts right? We also visited the area with the carousel known as and I got some great pictures of the area. I was also able to get a Belgian waffle with chocolate drizzled on top which tasted just as amazing as it sounds. We ended our time there being serenaded by this lovely band of three men as featured below.
Our last day there we did a mother daughter photo shoot in front of the Eiffel Tower, which turned out quite nicely. It is something I definitely recommend you do when traveling with a group because the memories from the picture capturing that moment in time will last forever. From this trip I learned a lot and observed a lot, but what I remember standing out to me the most were the people. I noticed the similarities between the British and Americans and the French and Cameroonians in mannerisms and behaviors.
In Europe you meet people from literally every region, culture and language the world has to offer. This is mostly because of the impact of colonialism on the world, and I found it interesting that the British seemed to appreciate the foods and cultures of the places they colonized much more than their own, but I digress. This trip was certainly one for the books, and it taught me a lot about myself and the world around me. I hope to visit both places again soon, and perhaps stay a little while longer, but more on that later. The marathon continues…..
Until the next adventure,