Over the summer I got to make my first trip overseas to London and Paris. These were the two places I’ve always wanted to visit so when I found out I was going I was ecstatic. I went with a bunch of college age kids from all over the country through a program called EF College Break, which my friend recommended to me. Now, I have been on trips without my family to LA, but it didn’t even cross my mind I would basically be going overseas for the first time ALONE. I was seriously terrified and almost backed out but I knew I couldn’t pass this up.
I’m an only child so when my parents dropped me off at the airport it sunk in they wouldn’t be with me, and I would be absolutely alone. A lot of times people go on these trips with friends but I didn’t know a single soul on this trip. Sitting on a plane to actual London, I really started to forget about the fact I would have to hold my own and started to get really, really, really excited. I had a whole itinerary made for the free day we would get to explore and couldn’t believe I was getting to explore the UK.
My first stop was Notting Hill. I knew going into this trip I absolutely wouldn’t leave London until I went to Notting Hill. I’d seen so many pictures of the colorful flats and how quaint the area was I swore I was in a dreamland. In my research before the trip I discovered a café called Farm Girl, tucked away in a little corner on Portobello Road. The most popular drink? The rose latte! It was the cutest thing I’d seen, sprinkled with actual edible roses (VERY Instagram friendly). Next up, I had to visit Abbey Road. Yes, THE Abbey Road crosswalk that The Beatles walked for their album cover. You could feel the history just leading up to the crosswalk and walking across it was just an incredible moment. And who goes to London without taking a classic photobooth picture with Big Ben as the backdrop? A majority of photos I had seen with the red booths were positioned in a particular spot where Big Ben perfectly aligned with your picture. I was really persistent with our tour director that we visit this spot because I knew I’d regret not getting this. After everyone got their photo, they all thanked me for suggesting that spot. You’re allllll welcome. Next stop, PARIS!
Everything in London was in English so I hadn’t really felt out of my element…until we got off the Eurostar in Paris. Everything was in French. Everyone around us spoke French. It was a bit of a culture shock and I decided to utilize my tour director for this part of the trip. Everything in Paris just looked amazing. The architecture made NYC look mediocre at best; it really was stunning. We went out for a big group dinner on a beautiful Parisan night and I’m a pretty picky eater so this was a bit unsettling for me.
My new friends had ordered escargot and begged me to try. You’re talking to a girl whose range is chicken and salmon, but I thought “When in Paris?” and just went for it. Coming from the picky one, it honestly wasn’t as bad as I thought (I also took three bites max and just swallowed it). But, the seasoning was really great and now I could say I had escargot IN FRANCE!
Obviously we couldn’t visit Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower and this is where my emotions kinda took over. Since I was a little girl I dreamed of seeing the Eiffel Tower and here I was walking the path that lead to it. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have tears in my eyes (I am NOT an emotional person) for about 30seconds. I was like a kid in a candy shop soaking in my surroundings. We had to get some shopping in before our time was over in Paris and being the fashion lover I am, had to visit Yves Saint Laurent. Walking down the Champs-Elysees was fashion heaven and finding myself at Avenue Montaigne was the icing on this trip. I had my eye on some platform sneakers so I went in just to see if they had them. My credit card was crying afterwards but it was worth every penny. In the name of fashion, right? In just 8 days in Europe I boarded my flight home feeling so happy and incredibly blessed that I decided to take this trip myself, and experience the things I did.