hi guys! today we are headed to europe! cassie is one of my sorority sisters who has succumbed to the wonderful world of blogging and i'm so happy to have her here to share some of her travel tips and stories with you. be sure to head on over to her blog, on the daily, to show her some love and welcome her to this crazy little community we have! take it away, cass!
“I see London, I see France…”
Greetings Everyone! I am Cassie Brewer, you can find more from me at On The Daily. I am so excited to be a guest blogger for Kelsey here at Eat, Drink, Be a Tourist. When Kels asked me to contribute to Tourist Tuesday I was beyond excited, but then the hard part set it, which of my traveled places should I write about? Traveling is by far my favorite hobby and I have many fond memories of the places I’ve been and the people that I’ve been there with. After some careful consideration it clicked. Today, I have chosen to take you all on a journey to London and Paris, two places I recently visited with my Father, the person who first introduced me to the joys of travel and who lives by the quote:
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel only read one page…”
A quick back-story. I have been trying to go to Europe for the past nine years! My first plans fell through in 2004 when three of my girlfriends and I were supposed to go to Europe after we graduated High School. Ultimately, we decided to drop Europe and go to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with a larger group of our other friends. Mexico was awesome, but it’s definitely not Europe. My next opportunity to visit Europe came in 2008, as a college graduation present from my parents. It was just going to be my best friend and I, an adventure of a lifetime. We had booked our flights and travel plans with Contiki and then just three weeks before we were supposed to leave, I ended up in the hospital with a blood clot in my lung and the trip was cancelled. With two failed attempts under my belt, I thought that I would never find the right time to go to Europe. Sad story, I know, but it gets better.
About a year ago my Father had a heart attack, his second one in ten years, and while visiting him in the hospital he asked me to go to Europe with him. My answer was a no-brainer, of course! Life is too short and family is too important to not share and make as many memories as you can… and what better memories than ones made in EUROPE.
They say third times a charm, and whoever “they are,” they were right. On May 12, 2012 we set out on our twelve day expedition. Before we left I made two lists, one for London and one for Paris, with my “must sees” and like I mentioned earlier, my Father is an avid traveler and has visited these two places many times and knowing that I had the best travel guide around there was no way I was missing anything.
From LAX to JFK straight on to London we made it! We only had about 48 hours in London, but we definitely made the best of it. One thing to note, as we were descending into London all I could think about looking out the window at the outside city was “Wow, this looks exactly like Mary Poppins and Peter Pan.” Ergo excitement commenced.
I must say that my favorite place in London is by far Hyde Park/ Kensington Gardens. I can’t even describe how beautiful it is. Crisp, green, foliage with various paths that lead you to different statues and sculptures placed within it. Even in the damp, drizzling weather there were still a good amount of people out exercising, walking their dogs and just enjoying the view, like us. It gorgeous.
Now there are many gems hidden in this park. Three in particular stood out to me. First was the statue of Peter Pan, which just blew my mind because its not just that Peter Pan my favorite Disney movie, I just happen to be obsessed.
The second treasure that stood out to me was the Princess Dianna Memorial. Simple, clean and serene.
But the best park placement that we discovered later was the Lido Café and Bar, right smack dab in the middle of where Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens divide. They serve food and drinks of all kind. We ordered a cappuccino and an espresso and sat outside and enjoyed they scenery, which included a swan nesting.
Some of my other “Must Sees” in London were Abbey Road (made famous by The Beatles), Big Ben and the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. Now I must warn you, the changing of the guards is a bit boring and totally crowded, but it is definitely something iconic to see in this lifetime.
And like that, we were done with London. Off to Paris we go for the next eight days!
Paris has been hyped up my whole life. It is my Father’s most favorite place in the world. I am telling you this man love’s this city and would move there at any second if he could. Consequently, because of him I had very high expectations of it. Luckily, Paris met very ounce of them.
That’s me saying “I made it!”
There are so many things to see and do in Paris and many of them are on everyone’s “to do” list. But here are some things that you might not be on your radar that you must see and do.
The Louvre. Probably the most famous museum in the world. It is home to the Mona Lisa, Venus and Nike. What you might miss while there is the café in the Louvre. Before or after you tour the museum, you should grab a bite to eat at the Le Café Marly, located on the left wing. Another lesser known exhibit there is Napoleon’s apartment located on the right wing, that was my favorite part while visiting the Louvre. Do it, it is amazing.
Without a doubt, the most special moment I shared with my Father while in Paris was when he took me to The Shakespeare & Company bookstore. Books and writing are my life and when I walked into this place a wave of emotion took over my body and I just started crying, I had to leave the store. To this day I still do not know what made me so emotional. Probably the history and just being in Paris in general, but it was a very special moment. I will never forget when my Father asked me what was wrong and I said “I don’t know” while sobbing and he started crying too, because being in Paris does the same thing to him.
There are a lot of café’s in Paris where you can order wine and other spirits, but you are looking for a bar and are missing a little of states I have just the place for you. Harry’s New York Bar.
Harry’s New York Bar was important for me to visit because due to my research it is known to be one of the bars that Ernest Hemingway tended frequent. Now, Hemingway liked to frequent many bars, but this one is special. Luckily for us, while we were there they were celebrating the bars 100th birthday. Now that’s some boozy history.
As for my favorite café, hands down it has to be Café Louise. One reason it is a favorite is because Louise is my middle name and two, it is the last place we ate before I left and one of the best meals we had the entire time we were in Paris.
As for my recommendation, go to London and Paris now, what are you waiting for?
Au Revoir… till next time. xoxo
thanks for sharing, cassie!
i can't wait until my next trip abroad!