Ten Nights in Europe

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Last month I officially did my first overseas trip! I have technically been out of the country before with a trip to the Bahamas and a couple trips to Mexico by way of a cruise . . . but this was my longest/furthest flight.

If you’re not already up to speed, my best friend (Molly) of 30+ years moved to Cambridge, England last year. Chris and I both like to be the people that if we say “we should get together” . . . we actually pick a day to get together and make it happen, even if it requires a trip over the ocean.

Our trip included a weekend in Cambridge, England with Molly and her family, and then Chris and I took a train to London for a couple nights, and then another train to Paris for a couple nights, and then back to Molly’s for the weekend.

With my new-found love of photography, I came back with a memory card full of photos. I’ve been brainstorming how I want to share them, how many to share, etc. Short of uploading hundreds upon hundreds of memories, I’ve decided to pick my top 10 favorite things and use a photo on each one that tells the story of the trip. Sit back, grab a croissant and a coffee, and please enjoy . . .

In no particular order, though a countdown feels right . . .

10. Coffee

Our standard American-style of getting drip coffee isn’t really a thing in Europe. I took the opportunity to work my way through all of the coffee drinks I’ve ever wanted to try. Pictured here is a “flat white” at a café Molly took us to and described as a “hipster place.” While I loved all the coffee drinks I tried as we hopped place-to-place, it’s the conversation over coffee that’s always my favorite.

9. Cafes

Saying “cafes” feels a little repetitive of saying “coffee,” but the one thing I wanted to do the most was sit outside at cafes and eat breakfast/eat my weight in chocolate croissants. We had the opportunity to do this several times in Paris, and unlike the United States, they only bring you the check when you ask for it — which oftentimes results in sitting at tables and people-watching or chatting longer than in our normal rushed day-to-day. This is from the first café we stopped at in London, called L’ETO.

8. Photography

My favorite thing about any trip these days is the chance to take my new hobby on the road. While taking my own photos was great, my favorite unexpected part of the trip was discovering Molly’s daughter’s (Harper) secret photography interest. Watching her little tiny self tote around a digital camera beside or behind me on our first night in Cambridge was a fun night.

7. Weather

Our ideal weather is anywhere from 60-70 degrees and it seemed Europe was aware of our preference! We had awesome weather the entire time we were there, which makes a big difference with all the walking we typically do.

6. Markets

Any time we can hit a market . . . we do!

5. Bus Tours

When we’re on a trip and only in a location for a couple days, we’re not above doing the most touristy things we can find. Fortunately, my team at work was very clever in giving Chris and I tickets for the London Bus Tour for my birthday back in March because they knew we had this trip scheduled. We enjoyed the bus tour in London so much, we bought tickets to do a bus tour in Paris too. It’s a double-decker bus that has an open air top so you can sit up there, take photos, and listen to headphones as they narrate what you’re seeing (with 9 different channels to accommodate multiple languages). It was a great way to see more than we could visit on foot in each location. Even better, you can hop on and off the bus all day! I took this from the top of the bus while in Paris.

4. Unique Gifts

While in Cambridge, Molly took us to a little market area where you can have a custom belt made. You pick out the leather, the buckle, and give them your initials to emboss in it. It may be my favorite souvenir I’ve ever bought myself. A fun and unique experience!

3. Harper & Ben

When your best friend has kids, you kind of feel like you get to claim them as your kids a little bit too. Harper and Ben brought so much joy to our visit. We missed them when we left to go to London and Paris in the middle of the week and looked forward to going back to Molly’s to hang out with them again. They danced for us and played games with us and ate with us and told us about their school and all kinds of fun stuff! They are the best kids around and we love them so much! This whole blog post (possibly another one?) could be dedicated to all of the cute photos I captured of them. I have to stop myself . . . or do I?!

2. My BFF

As fun as all the adventuring was and exploring the different parts of London and Paris . . . the fact that Molly and I met when we were about 6 years old and here we are at 37 and still a part of each other’s lives even with an ocean between us is very special to me. I’m very proud of her for taking the leap to move, for being such a hard worker, and for raising the two coolest kids around. She’s stuck with me for life!

  1. My Travel Partner

I’d never go to all of these places if it weren’t for Chris. We always have fun and come home with a lot of fun stories!