The last time I ventured through Europe was back in 2009.
We were attending a wedding in Avignon, France, and I had left all the planning to Derek. After about 24 hours of traveling, we arrived literally minutes before the wedding began, ditching our luggage in some corner of the Catholic church where the ceremony was taking place. We had changed from comfy travel clothes into wedding attire at the train station. And it was a near miracle we found the place; Derek had forgotten the name of the church.
Fast forward four years.
We’re going to Europe again for a wedding, this time in London. And though Derek is planning most of the trip, I’m confident he’s learned from the last one. He booked the flights well ahead of time — we’re getting there most than a week before the actual wedding — and he’s confirmed all the train rides and hotels already.
So far, so good.
It’s weird to leave the planning to others. Not that I’m a control freak — hardly! — but I’m so used to traveling by myself or being the one in the group to arrange everything.
When I was younger, I would be the one making airplane and hotel reservations, booking activities and printing out the itinerary for the entire trip, complete with confirmation codes, hotel information and emergency contacts. Anal, maybe. But being organized is very handy.
Now, though, I don’t seem to plan as much or as intently. For example, the only thing I’m sure about on this two-week trip to Europe — I’m also spending another week in Japan, but more on that later — is a side trip to Amsterdam to visit my far-flung friend, Allison Kim, and her two dogs, Moki and Darwin.
But even then, I haven’t planned a thing, save for a visit to a local cheese farm. And even that I haven’t booked yet.
Scary when you think that I’m leaving for Europe tomorrow morning.
We’ll be spending time in London and Paris, too, two cities I’ve already been to. I’ve seen the British Museum, Big Ben, Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the Tower Bridge, the Crown Jewels, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Jardin des Tuileries, Napoleon’s grave, and the Arc de Triomphe. We saw a professional soccer game, ate crepes on the Champs-Élysées, walked along the Seine River, and sampled the fish and chips in a London pub.
This time around, I just want to hang out and eat, maybe read a book or bike along a river.
It’s hard to plan a trip of doing nothing!
So if you have suggestions of places to visit and things to do I haven’t already done, post ’em here. It would be nice to have some direction!
Follow my #CatTravels adventures in Europe and Japan on Twitter @thedailydish and on Instagram @catherinetoth.
Eat, drink, and be merry! there are so many things to see and do in Amsterdam, London, and Paris you could fill three Frommer’s books 🙂 The Amsterdam Museum would be high on the list if I made it. This time of year in London I’d go down to Hyde Park and observe London’s finest criers at Speaker’s Corner. Some are rather amusing and the crowds get into heated debate on occasion. Great fun to watch. Paris, Notre Dame, Musee d’Orsay, river tour. Of course a river tour in all of these would be cool.
Have a great trip!
Sounds awesome! My daughters are going to Italy next week with their cousins. I envy them…they grad college, are settled in their careers and now travel at least twice a year.
Have a great time Cat!
Both awesome cities to visit and just relax in. We go to London about once a year and Paris I’ve been to 4 times. If you can swing a visit out to Wimbledon for an afternoon, that’s worth the price of the Tube fare. I’d also suggest going to the London zoo. It’s relatively small and you need to either take a tube+bus or a cab ride there, but it’s quaint and a good place to spend a few hours. Have fun and enjoy all the tea & croissants. 😀
CAT: As a fuudie, check out the Latin Quarter section of Paris and explore. Have you gone to Montmarte? or Notre Dame?
Hey Cat: … has it been that long??? … I remember the blog about your first soccer game … wow, time flies!!! …
… have a safe trip!!! …
Another trip? Have a GREAT time! Looking forward to reading about your adventure.
A Writer’s Paris by Ph.D. Eric Maisel
I used the above along with some suggestions from a housemate who grew up in Paris for that leg of a trip to Europe.
David Lebovitz has an app if you’re looking for a guide to bakeries and chocolate shops in the city.
Hey! Cat – Just shared your blog with my partner. I’m the “anal planner” lol down to packing for the both of us. Haven’t been to Europe for a while, since being discharge from the AF. Love Spain and France and outdoor markets and great eats.
Have a great trip you and Derek. Please be safe. Plan ahead with EuroRail/EuroTrain get tickets in advance.
Looking forward to your blogs, while in Europe.
Charing Cross Road …. old book stores and tea shops.
Borough Market on Saturdays (Kappacasein for raclettes, Monmouth for coffee)
St John Bakery on Saturday mornings for their delicious custard doughnuts
My favorite patisseries:
Sadaharu Aoki https://www.sadaharuaoki.com for Japanese-inspired pastries
Hugo & Victor https://www.hugovictor.com
L’Eclair de Genie https://www.leclairdegenie.com/
Pierre Herme https://www.pierreherme.com
La Patisserie des Reves http://www.lapatisseriedesreves.com/
Pain du Sucre http://www.patisseriepaindesucre.com/
Carl Marletti http://www.carlmarletti.com/
My favorite chocolatier:
Patrick Roger https://www.patrickroger.com
My favorite boulangerie:
Eric Kayser https://www.erickayser.com
My favorite neighborhood:
My favorite street food
L’As du Fallafel https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187147-d718129-Reviews-L_As_du_Fallafel-Paris_Ile_de_France.html
My favorite Paris website:
OMG I’m going to die! These are awesome!
Oops some of the links didn’t work…here they are again…I hope they work!
Thanks for the links! 🙂
A few of my favorites:
Pancake Bakery, Rijksmuseum (some of Johannes Vermeer’s best works are there), Red Light District Walking Tour or just walk around on your own – the tour guide tho tells you
what most people really want to know 😉
Gerard Mulon macaron and chocolate factory tour with SAMPLES!
Pierre Herme for macarons, several locations
Some locals say macarons at Arnaud Larher are THE best. My family likes Pierre Herme.
Day trip to Giverny to see Monet’s garden, THE bridge, and water lilies
Walking/shopping in Saint Germain and Saint Sulpice, 6th arrondissement
La Maison du Chocolat – branch store in the Louvre. Besides the decadent chocolates, their
Hot chocolate was delicious. A little less rich than Angelina.
On the steps of the Sacre Coueur, Iya Traore, does dazzling tricks with a soccer ball. Fun to
watch! Usually there from 3:30 PM, unless he has a private show.
VERY helpful app for getting from Pt A to B on Metro. App by mxapps called Paris
Metro tells you which trains to catch, transfer, etc. App has “mx” at top left corner.
Have fun and be safe!
Woot! Thanks for all of these suggestions!
Have a blast time & Hi to D. C U when U get back for that 1 day.
Safe travels. ALoha
Sure will! Thanks for sending me those photos of the Duke’s OceanFest. Loved seeing everyone!
indonesian rice table in amsterdam. Nice & spicy.
The Rijksmuseum just reopened. Must see the Rembrandt Night Watch.
Canal boat ride to get a feel of city in amsterdam.
If you like classical music, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam is one of the best halls in the world to hear it.
Too bad it’s not tulip season or you could have gone to the spring tulip show.
Thanks for this! I don’t know if I have time to do a canal boat ride, but we’re definitely heading to the Indonesian rice table!
Have a safe and enjoyable trip! Looking forward to your next adventure! No possibility of Typhoon or hurricane.
I’ve seen several people have already recommended Borough Market, which is obviously a must. Get the duck sandwich (it’s across the street from Monmouth Coffee) and the Sangria combo. Leave space for some dessert (I recommend the almond croissants) and the flat white at Monmouth Coffee – to die for!
Also you can head further south and try Brixton Market, they have some awesome options but I definitely recommend Casa Morita for the best Mexican experience in London.
As for pubs, try the Ye Old Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street, it’s one of the oldest pubs in the city and worth looking at. For other fun places to drink, I also recommend the Tattershall Castle on the Embankment (it’s a boat and super fun) and Propstore on the South Bank. They’re all unique fun places I love going to.
And last but not least, walk over to Hampstead Heath, the view of London from the top is one of the best in town.
Have an awesome time in London!!
I’m hoping to hit Borough Market when I get back to London. Sounds like a must-see, must-do!
Cat – You may want to check your dates. You were last in Europe 2010. The reason I remember is that you went not too long after we came back, and we went in Sept 2010.
You’re right! I lost a year somewhere! Ack! I think I work too hard. Lol