Bournemouth is the cutest little seaside town in southern England. I was lucky enough to be placed on a client in Bournemouth for a week at the end of April. Looking to make the most of the trip, I made it a point to go for walks on the beach every evening after work.
The beach is one of the few in London that is a sand beach. There are places along the shore to eat and hang out, including an aquarium.
On a personal note, Bournemouth will always have a special place in my heart because it’s the place I first discovered the Hamilton soundtrack!
If you are thinking of visiting, a few items of note.
Bournemouth can be directly reached via London; a 2-2.5 hour train out of London Waterloo making it a great day or weekend get away!
Be sure to plot out where you’d like to go, as some spots are easier reached with a car.
Whoa-it’s the end of my secondment! I feel like I should say just yesterday it was my first week. But really it’s felt like the right amount of time for me. I could go on and on about my time in London, the pros and cons of British living, etc. But I think I’ll save all those thoughts to reflect on once I am back in the States! For now I’ll just leave it at this; London, I love you!
My parents are flying over at the end of this week and I am so so so SO beyond excited! We have an amazing holiday planned the next few weeks, but truth be told I’m just really looking forward to seeing them.
So I’ll be off the blog for a bit. See you when I’m back in Chicago!!
I really loved traveling to Paris (twice!) during my time in Europe. It felt so jetsetter to simply jump on the Eurostar and turn up in Paris for the weekend two hours later. The mystery and glamour of the French was captivating with every street and shop we visited. Paris is a place I used to write off as overrated; I’m so glad I returned and was able to revise my opinions!
Paris was an amazing weekend getaway back in January with my work friends Tracy and Jen. We joked after our Eurostar debacle which delayed us almost three hours getting to Paris that maybe we’d return in the spring. Well sure enough we managed to find a good ticket price and a free weekend, and were off again to lovely Paris!!
We learned from our time in January and planned our trip with an extra night. This made all the difference! On Friday afternoon we took the Eurostar from St. Pancreas and arrived in Paris around 6:30. It was still light outside and we were ready for a lovely weekend!
It was an easy 15 minute metro ride from Gare du Nord to our airbnb in Montmartre where we checked in and freshened up before going to dinner. We part walked and part taxied to our place, Robert et Louise. It was a complete deja vu meal and it was divine!
Escargot, a bit of vino and the best duck confit EVER.
Our fab find from January became a Paris tradition for us, one I hope we can return to somewhere in the future!
We woke up bright and early on Saturday morning to a gorgeous day in Paris. Continuing our throwback to our January trip we took the metro to Pont Marie for breakfast at Cafe St. Regis.
The cutest petit chien dined at the table across from us with his owners.
And we had the most fabulous grump of a waiter, who loved us but repeatedly called the till a whore and muttered other obscenities while scurrying about with the breakfast rush.
After breakfast we strolled past Notre Dame and began a day of shopping!!
After breakfast we walked west along the Seine, admiring Notre Dame and all the beautiful architecture. It was a bit rainy and grey but we were in Paris!!!
My lovely travel companions obliged a request of mine to visit the Musee d’Orsay. When I visited Paris in 2007 with my parents this was a stand out museum for all of us. The focus on impressionism and the breathtaking interior of this former train station make it a must in my book. The train station closed in 1939 when its platforms became too small for the new longer trains. It reopened in 1986 as a museum and is located in the sixth arrondissement of Paris.
Afterwards we walked along the Seine back towards our flat. This was a surprising favorite moment of mine from the trip. It was very enjoyable just to walk along the cobble stoned path and soak in the Parisian vibes.
We stopped in at Shakespeare and Company, a legendary English bookshop, and had a tasty lunch before grabbing our bags and heading back to Gare du Nord to catch our Eurostar to London.
I was pleasantly surprised just how much I loved Paris despite it being such a short trip. I enjoyed the city the first time I visited but a combination of a metro strike, the weather and being sick meant it was never a stand out spot for me. This time around I felt more connected to the culture and simply just loved it! So much so that I returned with Jen and Tracy earlier this month….but that’s a tale for another post!
Throwback to Paris! At the end of January I took a very quick trip to Paris with two of my coworkers Tracy and Jen. We met at St. Pancreas and were off on the Eurostar!
Unfortunately we encountered a delay en route; the train in front of us had a mechanical issue and we were stopped for almost three hours.
We had a lot to chat about and the time went by somewhat quickly, but we arrived in Paris at 6pm and missed the shopping we had planned to do Saturday afternoon. Eurostar were stars about the delay, refunding us our ticket price for the journey to Paris and letting us push back our return to London the following day for a bit more time.
We dropped off our bags at our airbnb near Notre Dame and walked through the Marais area to a restaurant recommended by Tracy’s friend: Chez Robert et Louise.
This was absolutely amazing! Tucked away on a quiet little street this quaint restaurant just oozes French. The tables are squeezed together and there is a area downstairs as well, however I highly recommend booking the window table.
I had to get escargot and it did not disappoint! Garlicky and buttery, yum yum.
Then our main courses arrived and oh my gosh. This duck. Shut the front door, this is absolutely on the list of the best meals I have ever had. Duck confit that just melts in your mouth, with scrumptious green beans and roasted potatoes.
We lingered over a round of coffees, saying for the first few times of many over the weekend how amazing our meal was.
After dinner we fancied a bit of a walk to digest from our spectacular dinner. We walked through Marais and up to Montmartre to see the Moulin Rouge!
This has been something to see on my bucket list for years upon years….pretty much since the film Moulin Rouge.
Close by (up many, many steps) is the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris….otherwise referred to as Sacre Coeur. It’s at the summit of Montmartre and provides breathtaking views of the city. It was late when we visited and there was the most wonderful hush over the area; it really was a moment during our trip that I will cherish.
When in Paris you get crepes. We stopped at a cafe close by Sacre Couer. Over live music (we of course requested Edith Piaf) we enjoyed our treats. Banana and nutella for me; no brainer choice!
We took the Metro home and tucked in for a very short night sleep!
On Sunday morning we happened upon a cafe close by our abode called Cafe Saint-Regis. It was a complete impulse stop in search for breakfast and turned out to be absolutely wonderful!
Cappuccino, fresh orange juice and a pain au chocolat.
Toast, assorted jams and butter, and an egg with soldiers.
Another restaurant, another table by the window! This was a perfect start to the day before we headed out to explore!
*(Ok that’s not quite true but it sure felt like it).
Currently on is ‘Curtain Up’, a focus exhibition on theatre on Broadway and in the West End. And it’s spectacular!
The exhibit spotlights costumes, props and other fab pieces from iconic stage productions. There are original signed scripts, tech rehearsal notes, and a case of the different styles of Tony and Olivier Awards. It also offers fascinating comparisons between New York and London theatre. Some of my favorites:
Row I is not used in theatres to avoid confusion with the number 1.
Broadway theatres call the first level ‘orchestra’ while in the West End it’s the ‘stalls’.
NYC = intermission, London = interval
In the West End little pots of ice cream are for sale during the interval. This is the best and Broadway needs to follow suit!
The first number of pieces are from The Phantom of the Opera including the magnificent Red Death costume from the start of act two.
Also on display are the original costume sketches by Maria Bjornson.
I loved checking off which NYC theatres I have been to (and staring intently at the floor).
It also inspired me to (try) to make a list of my 10 favorite shows! This was tough. My top three stand, for now at least, with the rest in no particular order:
The Phantom of the Opera
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
With How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying in a really close race to edge in somewhere.
Costumes from The Lion King
One display case I was very intrigued by showed the US and London budgets for the original productions of Evita.
One of the breathtaking costumes of Helen Mirren from The Queen.
The exhibit was over too soon and I may or may not have gone through again the next time I visited the V&A….
‘Curtain Up’ is on through August 2016 and is a must see for any theatre fan!!