that left the hub and me with a whole lot of time to ourselves, and he suggested that we plan a getaway of our own with an eye on a european trip for our extended alone time. at first we looked at cruises - with the big cruise lines as well as the smaller yacht cruises. but the available cruises didn't quite line up with the dates we were working with, and so we decided to check out land-only options. the hub expressed some interest in the south of france and monaco, but as we started looking at hotels and things it turned out that our dates were during the monaco grand prix. prices were ridiculous, as you can imagine. and then after a lot of going back and forth and being a slightly overwhelmed at all of the options, we found ourselves booking a package that took off from LAX a few hours after dropping the bean off at the airport. we'd land in london, spending 3 nights there before taking the eurostar to paris for 4 nights and then hop onto another train to amsterdam for 4 more nights before heading back home. woohoo!
MIL came out a few days ahead of time to spend some time with us, and we had one last breakfast with everyone before our adventures began.
after getting the bean packed for her two-week trip, we took her and MIL to the airport and said our goodbyes.
i'm proud to report that i've finally reached the point of not bawling the whole way home after taking her to the airport to frolic in texas for grandma camp. although perhaps the anticipation and excitement of a trip of our own helped. i didn't cry at all! yay!
before we headed back home to finish packing, we made a detour down to brea to drop off my beloved sewing machine for her first tune-up and service appointment. i've had my machine for about two years now, and since i'd been quoted 3-4 weeks before i could pick her back up, i figured that this was the perfect time to take her in. at least this way i'd be gone for the majority of her absence. bye for now:
we headed back home, finished packing, closed up the house (which wouldn't be too neglected since the old lady, her special friend and stevie would hang out there in our absence), dropped off the car at the park 'n fly and relaxed on the shuttle to the terminal. we'd allowed plenty of time, and with TSA pre-check we knew we were golden,
and while we basically strolled right through security without skipping a beat, i was SO PISSED when i went to grab my carry-on from the belt and cracked the gel polish on one finger. so. mad.
but i was determined not to let it get me down. we had just enough time to grab some snacks before boarding the plane.
we were seated next to a really sweet girl who told us she was going into her senior year at USC majoring in neuroscience, on her way to london to study abroad for two months with her boyfriend, a fellow student. she was super friendly, poised, polite, helpful, and probably the most effortlessly and flawlessly beautiful human being i've ever met in real life. i really wanted to hate her, but she was just so damned sweet. hmph.
somehow the 9-hour flight went by and both the hub and i slept almost the whole way through (with the help of a little tylenol PM, heh). we bid our little friend goodbye and found ourselves in london at around 11:00 in the morning, fairly refreshed and ready to take on the day. pretty awesome, and we got through customs pretty quickly.
after picking up our suitcase, the hub got us hooked up with an uber driver who found us outside. it was funny to get into the car and see him sitting on the "wrong" side of the car.
home for the next three nights: the park grand london kensington hotel.
while the hub got us checked in, i helped myself to one of the mini eclairs on the welcome tray.
it was so early that our room wasn't ready for us yet, so we checked our bags and struck out on foot in search of food. as we headed out, i was amused to find that we were apparently in a neighborhood full of my people.
and this caught the hub's eye:
we went to the restaurant that was recommended by the hotel...the blackbird. he went with an espresso and some traditional fish & chips, while i opted for the steak pie. both were delicious.
as we continued walking aimlessly, just kind of wandering and checking things out, i was really amused to find this familiar sight:
and there are actual pay phones in these:
the victoria & albert museum:
and these little warnings at each crosswalk were really helpful.
we decided to go in here and look around.
inside was pretty much every high-end designer you can imagine. and we were both wowed by the jewelry...i mean, look at the size of these rocks!
the hub knew i wanted to stop here, and so we did. because duh.
afterwards, we wandered through the food halls downstairs. this place is amazing.
and then he found the wine cellar and the louis XIII tasting room.
oh, what a coincidence! look what else he found...the humidor and cigar lounge.
i was happy to leave him to it while i went out to wander the rest of harrod's on my own.
look at this gorgeous pink chanel bag that i drooled over for a few minutes:
i went outside to sit on a bench and do some peoplewatching, and managed to come upon simon cowell getting into his car after doing a little shopping. you can't see him, but he's in that car right there:
the hub and i met up back inside the store and then headed out to catch a cab back to the hotel.
and when we got there, our room was ready. we took the elevator up to the 5th floor and finally we were home sweet home. the room was so tiny, it reminded us of the cabin on the cruise we took together last year.
but who cares? LONDON BABY!