Three weeks ago I took a trip to London. It was great for so many reasons. I went with three other ladies. We left on Friday afternoon and arrived in Luton which is one hour north of London, spent the night there and headed into London early on Saturday morning. The place we stayed in was inexpensive and the room/bathroom was the size of a big walk in closet. It was tiny. When we got to London the first thing we did was go into a Starbucks and get coffee. I never thought that I would be so happy to be inside of a Starbucks. I never went there when I lived in America but it was one of the best things on the trip. It reminded me so much of home. We took a bus tour around the city. Where you can get on and off at certain points. So the first stop was Buckingham Palace. I stared at the windows trying to get a glance at the royal family but I couldn’t see anyone. Their loss. Then we went around to the Westminster Abby, a huge cathedral. I kind of wanted to go inside, but it cost about 30 dollars and the line was pretty long so we didn’t. We also saw Big Ben and the parliament. It was pretty cold in London, but it didn’t rain or snow which was great. Next we took a boat ride down the ride and the tour guide talked about the buildings we pasted. I saw where Shakespeare did his plays and what pub he went to frequently. We saw the Tower of London, something else I wish inside of but again it was really expensive so I didn’t. Hopefully this wasn’t my last time in London. Then we went to lunch at Subway. It was by far the best chicken bacon sandwich I have ever had. I wish we had gone to one of the parks and just walked around. They don’t have anything like that here in Casablanca. Then we saw the musical Wicked. It was phenomenal. We met up with two other girls from GWA at Wicked. We were planning on hanging out the whole day but they had troubles getting into London and we left ten minutes before they showed up. At the end of the night we had to go back to Luton. Linda and Hillary booked the tickets back at 2100, but they thought it was 11:00 not 9:00, so we missed our bus back. The bus company leaves every hour but the driver wouldn’t let us on the bus even though there were 30 open seats. He said we needed to find a computer, book another ticket, and print out the receipt. He was leaving in 15 minutes so we had to hurry. We ran down to the Best Western hotel, the man was kind enough to let us use the computers and print out the ticket. We made it back just in time. If we missed it we would have had to for another hour. Sunday morning we woke up and went shopping at the mall, another personal highlight of the trip. I believe malls have a smell of cardboard boxes and plastic wrap of all the shipments of clothes they get. Well, apparently this smell is worldwide. It was also great to see all Christmas decorations everywhere we went.
This was my first trip since moving to Morocco. I defiantly had culture shock. I understood what everyone was saying around me. I listened to people’s conversation just because I could. I didn’t get second glances from men. There wasn’t any trash lining the streets. No pot holes on the sidewalk. People were kind and friendly. I felt like I fit in.
The following week Chandel and I went to Paris. We stayed with a family friend of hers, a pastor, his wife, and their four boys. They live in a small three bedroom apartment in Viroflay which is about 20 minutes from the center of Paris. They are trying to save money so every night they heat up water and put it into hot water bottles. She even gave me one. One time right before Simon, who is 6, went to bed he came into the kitchen in his undies, waiting for the water to heat up. It was so cute. We took a tour bus here too and went to all the major sites, Eiffel tower, Louvre, Notre Dame, some opera house (I was really cold at this point and didn’t really care) and then the Arc de Triomphe. We also went to a part of town that had Christmas lights in the trees and venders on the side. I bought this hot drink because I was cold; I think it was a combination of wine and cranberry juice. The worst thing I have ever tasted.
The next day we went to Versailles Palace where King Louis XIV lived. It was amazing. We didn’t go inside but we walked around the gardens in the back. I couldn’t believe how beautiful everything was. I would love to go back sometime in the summer when there is flowers in the gardens. As far as I could see there were gardens and nicely cut grass and ponds. I’m not sure how many acres it is but I bet it is a lot.
Both of my trips were great and I'm so thankful that I got the opportunity to do them. Now I’m just counting down the days before I can go on my next trip. HOME! Sometimes it is hard to fall asleep at night because I start thinking of all the things I want to do or the people I want to see.
Please pray for safe travels!
Love you all.