Photo Dump · Travel

Europe Trip, Part 1: London


1 mile treadmill walk at an incline. Arms and abs workout.

My hip has been feeling weird the past couple of days. Since yesterday was a cross-training day, I decided to keep the walking to a minimum, allowing rest.


Yesterday I had to download a bunch of photos off of my iPhone, on to my computer, and then on to my external hard-drive. I kept getting an angry message from iCloud basically saying if my phone were to explode, any recent photos would not survive because I have too much stuff on my iPhone for them to back it up.

It IS necessary to have a few hundred pictures of my pets ON my phone
It IS necessary to have a few hundred pictures of my pets ON my phone. BTW she did this herself.

I was looking through my photos and I thought it would be fun to share some from my recent trip to Europe! Kyle and I took a month-long backpacking trip through Europe earlier this year (I have the best boss ever). I’ll share some of our experiences and any tips I have for travelers/backpackers (in multiple posts).

Testing out my backpack at REI
Testing out my Osprey backpack at REI

TIP: Know what kind of luggage you want/need to bring. We knew we would be staying in hostels, thus larger pieces of luggage would not be feasible. A lot of hostels have lockers that are large enough to store backpacks (like mine), but not large enough for normal suitcases. If you can, test these out in stores. Since I’m smaller, most backpacking packs were too big for me (did not fit properly). Will you need a backpack with wheels? Do you need a detachable day-pack?

Also, bring a locker-type lock with you (I prefer the combination locks vs locks that require a key- one more thing to lose). A lot of places charge for those locks- why pay extra if you have one already?

Our belongings for a month
Our belongings for a month

Yes, we are adorable and have matching packs.

Kyle and I left from SFO on Dec 31st and arrive in London on Jan 1st, early in the AM (6 AMish) London time.

TIP: If you can, force yourself to adapt to your new time zone. Because we arrived so early, this was easier. We dropped our luggage off at our hostel (it was too early to check-in), grabbed our day-packs, and left to explore the city. We didn’t take any naps once we arrived and we went to bed around 9 PM so we could get plenty of sleep.

Poor Kyle
Poor Kyle

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this, but Kyle is almost 6’3″. So he doesn’t just look tall because he is standing next to shorty me, he is tall. But yes, that was his bed.

TIP: Save all receipts, confirmation emails, etc. After our first night there, for some reason this hostel thought we had checked out. We came back and our beds were given to other people. They were really nice about it and admitted it was their mistake, but if they hadn’t been as kind, those receipts would have been necessary.

Unfortunately, because we arrived on Jan 1st, a lot of places were closed on our first day there. It was still really cool to walk around and just explore everything though.

Big Ben and the London Eye

The weather was surprisingly nice. Cold (but not freezing), and it drizzled a couple of times, but only for maybe 20-30 min.

We ran into a parade. The Brits really went all out to welcome us to their country 😉

Cute old men
Adorable old men

Speaking of old men, it was my Grandpa’s birthday while we were gone. So every country that we went to (up until his big day), I stood in front of a land mark and wished him a happy birthday in that country’s national language (Kyle videotaped). I then stitched those videos together and emailed it to him on his birthday. Here is where I sent the one from London. And no, I did not speak with a British accent. I embarrass myself just fine without that.

The Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge

I loved Tower Bridge. Beautiful during the day and at night. No offense to London Bridge is falling down, but you are kind of aesthetically boring compared to Tower Bridge.

I have way more photos than this, but I don’t want you to want to poke your eyes out.

We only stayed in most of the cities for 3 days, so obviously there was a lot we wish we could have seen. We really wanted to see Stonehenge, the Olympic Stadium, go inside the Tower of London, Wimbledon, etc.

I loved London and would definitely go back (to the UK) if I had the chance. It was a great way to ease ourselves into the trip because everyone spoke English. Everyone we interacted with was friendly, which can honestly make or break a trip.


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