London: March 18-20, 2016.
I will choose a city over a beach any day. Something about the hustle and bustle speaks to me. Needless to say.. Europe was AMAZING! I would go back today if I could. The architecture. The sights. The history. The people. The shopping!
Our itinerary was: London, March 18-20. Paris, March 20-26. 8 nights altogether. Believe it or not, we packed only 4 backpacks (here, here, here, and similar) + a stroller for the four of us! We rented an apartment in Paris, so we knew we would have access to a washer/dryer. We’ve never attempted it before, but packing light made sense if we wanted to take public transportation. Traveling with kids (especially a toddler) can be hectic in its own right and we did not want to worry about lugging around suitcases.
I managed to squeeze 6.5 outfits into Olivia’s backpack, 10 pairs of undies, 4 pairs of tights, 1 pair of sunglasses, 2 pair of gloves, an Oli&Carol baby chick, and a ton of potty liners. As for the rest of us, we stuck with versatile pieces of clothing that we could easily mix and match. With the exception of my Zuzii oxfords, we only wore the shoes we were going to wear the entire trip so we didn't have to pack any. PS. I rolled our clothes and it definitely gives you more room to work with.
Our first stop was London. We booked a red-eye, nonstop flight from Miami airport to London Heathrow in hopes our kids would consider it bedtime and we wouldn’t be dealing with much jet lag when we landed. While things don’t often go as planned, I’m so glad that it did this time! Bubs & Livi slept through almost the entire flight so when we landed around 9am, they were pretty refreshed.
Because we were staying at The Citadines by Trafalgar Square, we decided to take the tube from Heathrow because it got us closest to our hotel without having to take a taxi. We took the Piccadilly Line to Piccadilly Circus and walked the rest of the way.
We loved The Citadines! Being a family of four makes it a tad harder to find one hotel room that will accommodate four people. We stayed in a one bedroom room that had a living room and a kitchenette.
The location was perfect! We were within walking distance of Trafalgar Square, The London Eye, Big Ben, and not too far off from Buckingham Palace.
We inadvertently showed up at Buckingham Palace on our last day during the changing of the guard (we went the day prior, but we were all hungry at that point so we didn’t stay too long). It was CROWDED. There was barely any walking room. We managed to catch a glimpse of the end of it when an area cleared out.
We took a taxi to the London Tower right after and a pitstop at Shakespeare’s Globe. We were on a time crunch because we were catching the train to Paris at 3pm.
Eurostar changed our trains last minute and we were in a crowded car and not seated together ideally. Fortunately, they let us move to our original ticketed seats in a roomier cabin. We were able to sit in a section of 4 seats with a table between us. Unfortunately, because we were on a time crunch, we didn’t eat anything prior to the train ride and their card machines were down (really wish we had time to stop by Nando’s again). The amazing and friendly staff gave us 4 free drink tickets, but we needed to find some euros or pounds if we wanted to feed the kids. Luckily, we had 10 pounds on us leftover + some Kinder surprise eggs, granola, Annie’s cheddar bunnies, and Justin’s peanut butter/hazelnut packages. After that, it was a smooth 2 hour ride to Paris.
Stay tuned for the rest of our European vacation!