It was hard for Jack and I to leave Paris but it was also surreal we were headed to a completely different place. As mentioned a good bit in my writing, I am drawn to the smaller cities and comfortable, homey feels and know none of the cities we chose were that as a whole. I, however, really wanted to see and experience London. London was also a main city on Jack’s list and it made sense in our travel route so we made it happen!
As soon as we landed in London we could tell that we were not in Paris anymore. One thing significantly changed. That was the pace of the people! Paris is very leisurely in a sense – not as much as Spain or Italy, probably because they have taken on some of the touristy speed, but still quite relaxed. Since we do not live everyday like this, it is nice to soak it all up when traveling! Well, like I said, London is different and more to the pace that we are used to. Also, we could read all the signs and the first language is English! That certainly helped some, too.

We decided to take on the “tube” as our transportation from the airport. I enjoying learning the mass transit in all the places I travel. It is so simple to use and pretty efficient. Not efficient as Germany, but it certainly worked for us. One aspect I found that made it simple for us was the names of each line. They named them catchy names like “Jubilee” or “Waterloo”. Also, all were color coordinated. Love it!!

We stayed in Bankside and even though we were 4,000 miles away from Charlotte, it did not feel that way. We did not feel like we were actually in London until we walked down the Thames River and saw Big Ben, the Tower Bridge and the London Eye. Then continued walking and saw Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. As we walked we we saw the red double-decker busses and the classic black taxis. We were definitely in London! Not to sound cliché, but this set it apart for any other city for us. Our first evening we sat in a pub and drank a couple of pints and talked wedding. The pints were a bit warm but supposedly that’s how they do it in London! I am still trying to figure out why! Then we ended our night on the London Eye. It was a beautiful ride at sunset. It took about 30 minutes and we could see the whole city. That was a great way to kick off our time. We loved all the pubs and that even as a big city, London definitely sets itself apart.

One place highly recommended to us, and one that cannot be missed, is Borough Market. We were about a 5 minute walk from there where we were staying. Quick note – if anyone is looking for a swanky, fun hotel to stay in Bankside that is pretty awesome location wise, citizenM is for you! We would definitely stay in that location and hotel again. The streets surrounding Borough Market have fantastic pubs and all the storefronts in the market are beautiful and fresh. The produce, meats, cheese, beers…everything! We would have liked to spend days there! Unfortunately we were not there on a weekend, so not every shop was open, so cannot even imagine how much more impressive it can get.

Another part of our time in London, was experiencing Flytographer for the second time. We first experienced in Paris for our engagement (which I will touch on in our engagement story so stay tuned) so you would think we are pros by now. Absolutely not! Nina was our photographer and she was fantastic. She made it fun, easy, and as less awkward as possible. We are extremely awkward so this is not an easy task! We had a fun morning learning about different sights of London and just enjoying each other!

A highlight for the both of us was our trip to Goring to see Jack’s aunt and uncle (and my soon to be officially) Jeremy and Kathy. We took the train, which took about 90 minutes, to meet them at their home in their village. How perfect does that sound? I absolutely love spending time with family and seeing “off the beaten path” type of places. This was just that. It was exactly as it is said, a village. Kathy was so kind to give us a tour before we went to dinner (which was good because we had pudding even though we were stuffed). Our dinner was at the oldest pub in Goring and Kathy showed us all the stops in between. I like to live in a simplistic and minimalistic manner, but we do all get wrapped up in not from time to time. They had one butcher, a bakery, small grocery store that was also the post office, church, town hall…everything you could need but just one. Well I take that back, there are two hair salons! I loved that! We had a fantastic dinner laughing and catching up. I have not seen them in almost 6 years and it was like we see them regularly. We appreciate the warm hospitality and have not stopped talking about this little trip since. We cannot wait to be back to visit. We fell in love with the village , which was mostly due to good company!

A special surprise I had in store for Jack was taking him to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour – the making of Harry Potter! Yes, we were complete nerds. I have never read the books but love the movies. That isn’t a real fan though, is it? I am going to start them when I get back home. It was quite an experience. We had to take the train to get there but it was well worth it! All the sets and costumes are the real thing!!! It blew me away with all the details. I do understand how much detail goes into a production like that but at the same time, I do not at all. It is mind blowing. From every single detail on the set, to the make up, props…just wow! We were able to push a card on platform 9 3/4, see Harry’s house, The downsized replica of the outside of Hogwarts used for filming, and even had butterbeer! Oh yum, butterbeer!! It was everything and very fun watching it through Jack’s eyes because it was his childhood coming to life right in front of him.

On to Ireland – where a lot of his roots lie, Guinness, and Conor McGregor! Jack could not be more excited. I am, too!




April 17, 2016

london + goring + hp

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