Tuesday the 20th February, the sound of our alarm rings. Today was the day we had been waiting for – finally our first vacation in 2018. It was also the very first time that I was meeting my UK family.
I decided to pack the night before because well considering I have literally traveled halfway across the world already, I figured why rush especially on the day we are supposed to fly out. I think we somehow overpacked for our three-day stay but it’s always good to have options – especially for us females and if the weather decides to be unfriendly. Before we flew out we decided to do some last minute errands one which included my other half visiting the barbershop before we departed and to grab a few snacks for the train ride to the airport.
It was about 3:15pm as we headed to the train station in Morge, Switzerland and had to catch the IR Express to Geneva Airport about a 25-minute trip. The excitement was definitely building more so nerves for me because as some of you may know I AM NOT A GOOD FLYER! Nonetheless, there was no turning back – I just had to get over it. We arrived at Geneva airport, put our bag through and headed towards the gate. The excitement had definitely kicked in by the time the cabin crew locked the door and we prepared for take off. Just a side note, does anybody else like to keep their boarding passes for memories or am I the only one? The flight was approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes which was perfect for me because although I have flown so many times I can’t quite seem to shake this horrible phobia of mine. Sadly, we had a very windy landing and I looked like a complete goose screaming – but we made it! We had arrived safely in London, Gatwick Airport at approximately 7:20pm.
We began exiting the plane and we noticed that every person that had passed us was walking extremely fast and we couldn’t quite understand why on earth they were in a rush. With zero knowledge of Gatwick airport, we soon found out why – the immigration line took FOREVER! At the time they had 3 officers working but somehow two needed to leave to verify information of travelers and their passports – so we were left with 1 officer. So you can only imagine how long we were standing there, it was unbelievable! Nonetheless, we got through and grabbed our bag and headed towards the train station. This is where my bestfriend tried his very first sausage roll and it was love at first sight. We departed the airport quite late and arrived at Clapham Junction to meet my cousin for the very first time. Our evening just got even better once we found out that Five Guys was in London and get this they deliver too! So we concluded the night with a family burger night and an amazing nights rest ready for a day filled full of adventure.
It was the perfect wake up call Wednesday morning because my adorable 1-year-old cousin came running into the lounge room, and although we had never met it was just so cool to be woken up by such a bundle of joy! Our morning couldn’t have gotten any better. The sun was shining, it was a tad bit cold but today was the day we explored London. We started off with a nice breakfast with my cousins, had a nice shower and headed for the boat which ran along the River. It finally hit us both as we sat there in awe to think we were in London. We had never seen anything so beautiful. The best way we could describe London is a mix of old vintage and a bit of modern. The architecture design on some of these building was outstanding! We proceeded to town and our first stop, of course, should always be last but we found a little souvenir store where we purchased a few goods to take home. We then took a bit of hike to the Buckingham Palace where we were able to witness the changing of the guards – how awesome is that! They were dressed in a grey tunics and black bearskin hats worn in the winter/spring months of the year. I could not believe I was actually at the Buckingham Palace!
After a wander around Buckingham Palace and the nearest famous Parks, we stopped at the nearest cafe to have a nice hot drink to warm up. I wasn’t prepared for it to be this cold! In addition, we picked the pace up just a little bit and headed to Winston Churchill where we saw House of Parliament. I can remember so clearly the terrorist attack that took place at the House of Parliament because I was in Australia at the time – crazy right?! To even think I was standing outside the gate just blew my mind. For the longest, I had been so scared to visit London because of that reason but honestly, I am so happy I was able to overcome that fear. Just opposite the House of Parliament, we found a cute telephone booth! I was told to take a typical tourist picture where you lift your knee up and state “London is calling.” It was quite enjoyable, to say the least. After my personal photographer finished with the million and one pictures we headed towards the London Eye located on the South Bank of the River. It is an amazing Ferris Wheel that I was too scared of going on – it was definitely way too high for me! But if its something you fancy go right ahead, I heard its beautiful at night with the city lit up. FYI – Purchase your tickets in advance, it gets pretty busy.
After glancing at the London Eye we proceeded to meet my Pop’s brother and wife. For those who know this beautiful story, my Pop and his Brother were reunited just a few years ago after being separated when they were younger. I am actually the first in my family to have met my UK family which I am truly honored to do. So we finally connected and it honestly almost made me cry. He looked just like my Pop, the little jokes he added to the conversation was basically the same – I couldn’t believe it! I was truly blessed to have met such amazing people in just the short space of time we had together. So let’s not continue the violins but we headed to an amazing food place called Giraffe where we had some pretty delicious lunch. I ordered quite a basic chicken and potato dish and my better half order a beautiful curry. The fun had just begun! We were able to quickly finish our food and then we headed to our 3:30pm reservation at the Walkie-Talkie Sky Garden. It was very much like the Eureka Sky Deck in Melbourne, Australia where you go up to the tallest part of the building. The Sky Garden happened to be only 38+ stories that overlooked London. We were able to see the London Bridge, the Cheese Grater and a number of different monumental buildings.
While it had seemed we had been gone literally for a few hours it actually felt like a couple of days. We had seen so much in such little time thanks to our personal tour guide my cousin but it had just been such an amazing experience. The night was still young but the weather decided to get a little bit colder and I could feel myself shivering at this point. So it was time to stop and grab a nice hot chai latte before we headed back to my cousin’s apartment. The night was still young but we were all so very tired – we decided to take the boat back which was so beautiful. The city was fully lit up and the boat wasn’t too packed either. We arrived back at the apartment where we had a beautiful homecooked salmon, vegetable, and rice meal and enjoyed the evening with family. Our flight was scheduled midday Thursday so we were able to enjoy a great breakfast at the airport and make our way back to Switzerland safe and sound.
Although our trip was only for 3 days it was just the right timing for everybody. I was able to meet my family for the very first time, experience London with my bestfriend and most importantly add another stamp to my passport. Here’s a little bit of advice for those deciding to head to London. If you are considering on staying for more than a week make sure to purchase an Oyster Card for Public Transport. It mimics something very similar to a Myki card in Australia and it is totally worth your buck! Also be sure to book any type of tourist place that involves tickets in advance such as; The Sky Garden, The London Eye etc, the lines can get pretty busy and you don’t want to be standing out in the cold. And the most important thing, be sure to bring a portable charger with you – so you have the maximum battery on your phone or camera device!
So the next question is where to next? Well, I am so pleased to share that we have decided to visit Paris for our next vacation destination. I really hope you enjoyed this post. Please leave a comment and if you have any questions regarding our trip please don’t hesitate to ask.