We saved the last day of our trip to wander around London. And really that just consisted of us taking the Underground to Westminster, seeing the touristy sights, then taking the train back to the hotel. Still... BIG BEN.
We did get to watch the sunset from the Eye (that giant Ferris Wheel in the middle of London), which was pretty awesome. It led to some really great photos. (I mean that last one? Still takes my breath away every time I look at it.)
I really wish I could go back knowing what I know now. But isn't that the way it is with trips? I always want to take my vacations twice, because I never get to see EVERYTHING the first time. Also, the stress levels are always ridiculous for me. I really don't think that was something that could be helped, since it was Adam and I's first time out of the country. At least we picked a place where we could speak the language!
Things I'd change if I could do it again:
I'd bring multiple forms of payment. I think I mentioned it in the last post, but we were not prepared for the hassle of paying for things overseas. I knew it would be an inconvenience, but there were some miscommunications with our bank, so it crossed the line from annoying into a Problem. We got it all sorted out in the end, but for the rest of the trip I was second guessing every time we swiped a card.
I'd set an alarm. I like to sleep in during vacations, but we didn't set an alarm and ended up missing half of our day. I love sleep, I really do, but I don't think I needed to sleep THAT much.
I'd wander more. Besides the one "pub crawl," we didn't really give ourselves a lot of time to wander. I like the kind of serendipity that comes with stepping into the perfect book store, or getting the awesome meal you didn't expect.
I'd get fish and chips from the West Gate. They were just served adorably.
I. Hate. Buses. Well, no I don't hate buses. They're a great form of transportation. Rather comfortable, well heated, and I was usually able to get to sleep on them. But we had problems booking bus tickets every time, and we waited too long, (oops...) so we ended up sitting at a bus station at 1 in the morning on more than one occasion.
Things I absolutely would not change for the world:
The company. My awesome, handsome, patient husband and my fantastic, amazing, world traveling sister. I couldn't ask for two better people to enjoy another country with.
Spending so much time in Bath. I wanted to see London because, well, it's London, but I wish we could have spent another week in Bath. I loved the feeling I got from being there.
How much we walked. I averaged 16k steps a day, and I was so excited I didn't think to complain.
What I took. We just had carry on luggage, and I was worried we wouldn't have enough space on the way home, but it worked out very well. I took a sketchbook specifically bought for the trip, and a small set of watercolors. I didn't do a ton of sketching, but it was nice to have it all the same.
Buying my new headphones! I saw them at a store at home and fell in love, but we had to leave in a few days so I knew that ordering them online wouldn't work. Then I found the exact pair I wanted at a shop in O'Hare. I took that as my chance and bought them immediately. And I love them.
Heathrow airport. The security was easy, there were arrows pointing us to where we needed to go, and there was pretty much a mall to entertain you while you waited.
The sights we saw. I made a prioritized list of what I wanted to see, and I can happily say that I checked off every place.
I know there's tons of other things I wouldn't change, but if I listed every single one out it would get quite boring very quickly. So I'll just leave this off by saying that our trip to England was literally a dream come true. Thank you to everyone (*ahem* Adam and Bre) who made this not only a possibility, but a reality. I can't express how much I loved every second (even the stressful ones).