My final flight back to the United States flew out of Heathrow Airport in London. Despite having spent a semester studying here, there were still a few things I knew I absolutely had to see. I gave myself a final four days in London before I had to fly home, and in this time I had the most lovely sights and experiences, topping everything from my semester. If you’re interested in picture-perfect sights and instagram-worthy settings, here are my must do’s.
1. Notting Hill
This neighborhood of London, home to Portobello Market, is worthy of being famous for much more than the movie. Behind the tube station “Notting Hill Gate,” as well as further into the neighborhood towards Portobello Market, the houses are painted in gorgeous pastel hues, with vibrant doors as centerpieces. This is my absolute favorite neighborhood in London for simply walking around.
As my return to the good ol’ US of A draws closer, I’m hoping to share a few more places with you! In this endeavor, I realized I never gave the inside scoop on Versailles. So, without further ado, the lovely royal château.
Ever seen the movie Marie Antoinette, with Kirsten Dunst? Versailles was all that and so much more. Pastel, ornate, gilded glory, pure and not-at-all-simple. As you walk through the town of Versailles to get to the Chateau, you’re first greeted by a huge, brilliant, gleaming golden gate, which lets you inside the Chateau grounds to access the ticket office. As soon as you step through the first gate, the ground changes to cobblestones and the architecture becomes ornate. After you make it through the ticket office, you can go inside the next gate (also gleaming gold) and view the vivid colors adorning Chateau du Versailles.
I spent more time in Lisbon that I did in any other city over the summer, and I absolutely fell in love. The sidewalks are paved in intricate designs, the buildings are painted in brilliant colors, the sun shines brightly and a lovely breeze is never far away.
Before Prague, I was in Baden Baden. I took a train to Nuremberg, Germany, where Mom and I discovered a Dunkin’ Donuts in the train station and proceeded to rejoice at the sugary goodness there. Then, we hopped on a 3 hour bus to Prague. This was the absolute most luxurious bus ride I have ever taken; a two story bus, with a bathroom, air conditioning, high speed wifi, wide seats, a luggage compartment, and drink and food options. You could literally push a button above you, and a bus stewardess (complete with classy stewardess outfit) would magically appear, take your order, and bring you wine (or anything else you ordered, but let’s be real, you want the wine). You could then sip wine while you streamed Netflix until you arrived in Prague. Best arrival ever!
Prague is chock-full of historical landmarks, and I only had two days there; in an attempt to see it all, I signed up for a walking tour. I failed to realize it was a six hour hour walking tour, from 11am until 5pm. This included a cruise along the river and a late lunch in an original medieval restaurant. In retrospect, 6 hours is way too long to hold my attention. Luckily, the next day in Prague I had time to enjoy the city at my own pace. There are a few highlights I gathered from my trip that are definitely must sees and dos!
1. Charles Bridge (at night)
This bridge is lovely during the day, but it’s a true star at night. Lights from the town and passing boats illuminate the arches of the bridge, creating a truly lovely view.