I’ve been a bit M.I.A. here on the blog, but that’s just because we’ve been traveling like mad this past year and I have been loving every bit of it! While we took many great trips in 2014, I thought I’d start off this Travel Tuesdays series with our biggest trip EVER… our European Honeymoon!
Yes, it was 3 years late, but I am so glad we waited! Having that extra time to save money allowed us to really experience Europe the way we wanted to. We didn’t feel the need to skimp on food and we stayed in comfortable, clean, reasonably priced places. Without even meaning to, Maika and I felt like we had gotten to go on a cuisine tour! In fact, the food was one of our favorite things about our whole trip… more on that later.
Throughout this little mini-series, I’ll share some of our photos from our adventures (shot on a mix of my Canon 5D Mark iii, our trusty little point and shoot, and of course, our handy iPhones- Maika refused to let me bring my Contax, but promises I can take it next time!). I’ll also be sharing some tips we picked up along the way and recommendations for the places we visited. Hope you enjoy!
Let’s jump right in! We planned a 19 day trip to Europe for the end of April through mid-May. This was the best choice for us with Maika’s work schedule and so I purposely kept this time slot open and didn’t book any weddings for those few weeks. It worked out wonderfully, since travel costs were a bit lower and the weather wasn’t too bad. A bit cold in London, but other than that, we were pretty comfortable! For those of you who are planning your first trip to Europe, try to avoid going during peak times in the summer, as this can heavily affect prices and wait times at the places you want to see. I had been to Europe before, but that was right after high school on a tour. This time around, I wanted to plan it myself… a seemingly overwhelming task at first, but I was determined! I knew what I wanted to see and I knew what Maika would enjoy (and what he would not… aka too many museums). More planning tips that made the process easier for us will be coming in future posts.
We decided to fly into and out of London. It saved us several thousand dollars (totally serious) versus flying home from another city. Maika has never travelled that far before so I was a little nervous with how he would handle it. He gets migraines that can sometimes be pretty severe, but he made it to London without any issues and we had a great time talking about the things we couldn’t wait to see and watching A LOT of movies.
We arrived in London right as the sun was starting to come up, which was just absolutely magical. As we made our descent, I watched as we flew over the misty countryside and trees. Then, as if out of a dream, the mist cleared and revealed what I’m pretty sure was Windsor Castle! It made me smile from ear to ear and I felt like the magic of the experiences we were about to have had just washed over me. Others may disagree with me, but I loved that we got in so early in the morning! It gave us time to find our way to the city (our first time on a train like that), settle in, eat some breakfast at a great nearby restaurant, Del’Aziz Bermondsey, and take a quick nap.
After that, we hit the one place I knew I just had to see- the Tower of London. I have always had an interest in the history of the tower- the lost Princes in the Tower, Anne Boleyn and the history of the Tudors, it’s all so fascinating to me. We walked from our place just across Tower Bridge and that was an experience in itself! Such an amazing piece of architecture and engineering and I would totally recommend a walk across it.
At first, we thought we scored a free tour because we “snuck” into the group of tourists huddled around one of the Yeomen Warders, or Beefeaters, talking about some of the tower’s history. Apparently they give free tours throughout the day, but for a few hours we got to feel like we were rebels. 😉 Maika is not a history buff like me, but prior to our trip, I had him watch several movies and shows like The White Queen, to prepare him. Maika has actually admitted that he hated history class, so it was REALLY cool to see him enjoying learning about the tower and wanting to check out different areas of the grounds.
A photo posted by Cherie Mariko Murashige (@cheriemariko) on
After the Tower of London, we headed back to our place and got ready for a night out on the town, in Piccadilly. We saw an amazing show, Jersey Boys, which also plays in Las Vegas. If you get a chance to see it, we highly recommend it! Overall, it was a wonderful start to our trip and we got to finish off the night with our first double decker bus ride- 1st row on the top is a bit scary, but so cool!
Next week, I’ll be talking about our love of “the tube” and how we realized you really need to be on time for the trains in Europe!