Almost missing our train to Paris

This summer I went on a two weekΒ long excursion throughout Europe with my family. We hit four different countries and eight cities in just 14 days. When it comes to my family, something always goes wrong on our many adventures. This story I’m about to tell is just one of the many stories that are worth telling about our European adventure. This also might teach you how to not miss your train from London to Paris.

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We arrived in London on Monday, July 5th, at around 3:00 pm. We didn’t even have two days to spend in London so the first thing we did was the London Eye after a solid four hours of sleep. Luckily, we spent all of Tuesday in London and hit just about everything (well, the touristy stuff at least). We took a double decker bus tour, saw the Tower of London, went to Buckingham palace, went to Madame Tussauds, and saw a production of The Lion King. You may notice that a very important London must do was not accomplished. We still hadn’t gone to Westminster Abbey.

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Due to our crunch for time, we weren’t able to make it to Westminster Abbey on our full day in London, but the next day, our train for Paris didn’t leave until around 11:30. We got up early that morning and took the tube to Westminster Abbey. Here’s a little tip for people who haven’t mastered the tube, don’t use it during rush hour.

When we used the tube to go to Westminster Abbey it was also the time that everyone was going to work and let me tell you, those trains are packed. You have to push your way onto them and those locals have mastered the art of getting on the tube and pushing everyone out the way, something I struggle at.

Finally, we managed to push our way through the crowds and onto the train, my little brother getting on first. Suddenly the doors slam shut right in front of the rest of my family and leaves with my little, 13 year old brother stuck inside, all alone. I’ll admit, my family definitely laughed as he looked through the window at us in distress before we mouthed to him the place where he had to get off the tube.

After that memorable event, we finally made it to Westminster Abbey and it was absolutely stunning. Here’s where it all goes downhill. Earlier that morning, my grandpa, who scheduled the entire trip, told us that we needed to check out of our hotel at 11:00. We made it back to our hotel, the St. Pancras hotel, right on time to check out. Then, we hear some family members calling our name and rushing toward us, looking distressed. It turns out, the times got mixed up and we were actually supposed to board our Train at 11:00.

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Luckily, the St. Pancras hotel is literally at Kings Cross station so we didn’t have too far to go. Now you can imagine a family of about 15 people sprinting through the train station with loads of bags and extremely panicked faces. In the end, we weren’t the only ones running this late and we did end up making our train.

If you ever take the train out of Kings Cross station, please double checkΒ when you need to be on that train. From what we saw, most people board a bit before they need to, but better safe than sorry. Just don’t make the same mistake we did, otherwise you’ll catch yourself in a situation where other people are staring at you as you sprint through the train station. Trust me, you don’t want to look like that kind of tourist.

London || 2016 European Adventure

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageThis summer, I was lucky enough to go on one of the most amazing adventures of my life. My family and I took a two week excursion to Europe. I went so many places, I can’t possibly write it down in just one blog post. I’ve decided that I will be doing individual posts about everywhere I went so that they can be more in depth and I can write a little more about my experience.

Our first destination was London. London was probably the place I was most excited to explore because of my love for Harry Potter. When we first arrived it was late afternoon in London, although it felt like 6:00 am. Our cab took us to the St. Pancras hotel at Kings Cross station. Our hotel was stunning. It towered over the other buildings and the architecture made it feel as if you had gone back in time.

After arriving, we quickly met up with the rest of the family and waked from our hotel to the London eye. We took the tube part of the way. For those who don’t know, the tube is London’s subway system. I’ve never been to New York but London was some what how I imagine New York to be. Using the tube in London during rush hour is incredibly stressful due to how popular it is for people coming and going from work.

The London Eye was amazing. I loved seeing the city from such a high point of view. It felt like Peter Pan when they are flying over London. Following the London Eye, we went to dinner at a restaurant with delicious food and then made our way back to the hotel where we all instantly fell asleep after our long day of traveling.

The next day was packed with things to do. We started with taking a double decker bus tour. There seemed to be something going on with the roads because we had to take a different route and ended up spending more time than we would have liked on the bus.

We got off at the Tower of London. It was absolutely stunning. The tour guides wore authentic clothing and it was so interesting to go inside all of the rooms. I learned so much about Britain’s history just through those few hours. We also saw the London bridge there which was so exciting. It was even more amazing than I expected it to be!

After the Tower of London we decided it would be more efficient to use the tube to travel the city rather than a bus. Using the tube is a whole new experience for me. I’ve never been to New York and haven’t used their subway system before. I’m generally the kind of person to let others go before me so pushing my way into the train was entertaining.We next went to a fantastic restaurant where I had some of the most delicious steak of my life. It was an adorable place with beautiful decorations and giant windows that let light fill the room.

We had tickets for Madame Toussands the we bought ahead of time which was convenient. The wax museum was so fun. It was hilarious seeing all of these people made into life size figures. If only I went back in time a few years ago to middle school, when my One Direction obsession was concerning. I would’ve been ecstatic to see their wax figures.

If you’re crunched for time, like we were, there are things I would recommend doing rather than the wax museum. If you have plenty of time for it, go for it! We next took the tube to Buckingham Palace. This was something I had been looking forward too. It was so amazing in person. It was huge and towered over everyone. Every time a car pulled in we’d try as hard as we could to see who was inside, hoping to see someone fascinating.

The park surrounding Buckingham palace is incredible. It was so green. Everyone was riding their bikes through the trees and sitting on the grass with their books. It seemed like the kind of place a person would go when they were looking to feel 100% content with their lives. There were enchanting cottages and fountains with beautiful gardens surrounding them. I wish I would have taken more photos!

The last part of our day I will never forget(not that I’d forget the rest of it either). In England, theater is very popular and a musical I had been dying to see just happened to be in town. The Lion King. We all got dressed up and made our way for the show, using the tube of course. Running through tunnels under London to get to the right tube is incredibly frustrating in heels, as is forcing your way into the tube itself.

Naturally, my entire family, a whopping group of 15, was running a little late. Of course, the street that the theater was on just had to be a cobblestone street. For those unaware, running in heels on cobblestone is even worse than running in heels in general. When we walked into the theater it was during the blackout right before the show began and right as we found our seats the lights went up and the music began.

It was so fascinating and captivating seeing a show like that. The sets, the costumes, and the music were all amazing and I wouldn’t trade that memory for anything.

The last thing I did that night was of course, take a picture in front of platform 9 3/4! I was so thrilled to be able to finally get the generic photo as I make my way to the Hogwarts express. I also got a shirt that I wear way too often and some “Bertie Botts every flavor beans” that I was unable to finish. I tried but it’s awfully hard to voluntarily eat a vomit flavored jelly bean.

The next morning we had about four hours before we needed to be at Kings Cross to board our train to Paris. We all woke up early and quickly made our way to Westminster Abbey. We had a few problems having to do with the tube of course.

The time we were going to Westminster Abbey was also the time everyone was going to work. The entire place was packed and when the first train came only one of us could make it on before the doors slammed shut and we were separated. The next train came and we did our best to squeeze in again. First my younger brother and then I. As I stepped on, I could see the doors closing right on me out of the corner of my eye and I quickly hopped off the train. Then my 13 year old brother was completely alone in a city he had never been to.

When we arrived at Westminster Abbey it was stunning. I wish we could have spent more time there but that was about the time we got a call saying we needed to be back at Kings Cross from the rest of the family.

As I have already shown, my family is often late for important things. This train has been added to the list. Somehow, the time for our train departure had been misunderstood and we were running incredibly late. You can now imagine 15 people frantically speed walking through Kings Cross in order to make their way to Paris.

Spoiler: we did, and I’ll be writing about that too.

I have this obsession with telling the stories of my adventures and I am so incredibly thrilled to have a place to do that. Stick around for more about my crazy Europe adventure.

My Summer Adventures

Typically, I spend my summers locked in my room, reading or binge watching tv shows and Harry Potter. I’ve never had a summer as packed as these last few months have been. I’ve had so many amazing adventures this summer and I couldn’t be more thankful for all the life changing experiences I’ve had.

At the end of June I went on a trip to the Oregon coast with two of my friends. We stayed in a house on the beach where we had bonfires and watched the sunsets. Beach sunsets are fascinating. One minute, you’re looking at the sun sitting on top of the water. The next minute, it’s sunk below the horizon. Sometimes you’ve got to take in the beautiful moments because you never know how quickly they might disappear.

The next adventure I took part in was about four days after my beach trip. My family got on a nine hour flight to London. Being the Harry Potter fan that I am, I was absolutely ecstatic to see that our hotel was literally at Kings Cross station. This adventure didn’t end in London. We spent about two days in London before taking the train to Paris. Paris is by far my favorite place that I have ever traveled. We were lucky enough to be there during the euro cup semi finals and we got to experience everyone celebrating France’s win. After Paris, we took a plane to Barcelona. In Barcelona, we got on a cruise ship and stopped all over Spain, France, and Italy.

Being somewhere with such different lifestyles really reminded me how much I love traveling and how much I dream of studying abroad. There is such a giant world out there and everyone is so different. It will never cease to amaze me.

After I got back from my two week long Europe vacation, I had one day of rest before flying across the country. I went to something called Triennium. Triennium is a Presbyterian youth trip. High school kids from all over the world come to worship God. I met so many people and am truly grateful for everything I learned there and everything I discovered about myself.

After returning from triennium I had a week until I went camping with my youth group. Every year, my youth group takes a trip to the river and we raft. I always look forward to it because it is a time for me to be worry free and just have fun. Swimming in that river and floating down the rapids is always a little stressful. The thought of how strong the current is always makes my a little uneasy but I love how beautiful everything is out there.

Now, summer is about over. Autumn here I come!

The adventure continues!