1. After landing at London's Heathrow Airport in a happily drowsy state, my mom and I proudly navigated the tube system lugging our suitcases through crowded train cars, tunnels and stairs. We dropped off our luggage at the hotel, and we crossed the street to visit the famous Pret A Manger (a popular lunch spot). Not familiar with the traffic signage and flow, my mom walked into traffic :/ and was hit by a car. We ended up in an emergency room half an hour later. UGH. My mom fractured her vertebrae, which is still healing to this day. While in the hospital room, my mom cracked a joke (NO PUN INTENDED) about how our hospital room was more spacious than our dumpy hotel room. LOL. Gotta love my mom's sense of humor! More to come! Thankfully, mom made it through the trip (with the help of painkillers). BUT DAMN, it really affected her spirits. In the weeks leading up to the trip, I couldn't shake off this ominous feeling.
2. London is a beautiful multicultural melting pot with all walks of life. This is something I miss from my old international city of Las Vegas. People don't stare at you or look at you like, "you're not from here."
3. In Paris, I'll never forget the night mom and I saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time. We were on a massive green lawn snapping selfies with the iron lattice tower lit up at dusk.
4. The Palace of Versailles was a remarkable spectacle. There's something about French renaissance architecture and design. I could have spent days there.
5. I'll never forget the kind French man in the convenience store, who didn't speak English, but he was so genuinely excited for us being in Paris. He tried to speak with what minimal English he knew. "First time? Paris? You like?" He probably didn't understand what we were saying, but he smiled back and nodded.
6. That one moment when my mom told the bakery owner that he looked familiar because he looked like a very handsome movie star. It made his day. This is just outside the French bakery.
7. These amazing Paris window sills.
8. Visiting Amelie Poulain's place of employment. My. Favorite. Movie.
8. In the Paris subways, we were followed by a few randos likely trying to steal our cameras. Thankfully, we ran into another crowd and made it to our subway stop safely. We couldn't help but take these photos. No explanation needed.
9. We ate at an authentic Italian restaurant that didn't have menus. Only one chalkboard with dishes in Italian. Feeling homesick for convenience, my mom said, "I wish we could just have Olive Garden." My brother, Karen and I, were dead. Dying of laughter. "Lady! Lady!"
10. In Brussels, mom and I ordered coffees and Belgian waffles in Grand Place (as you do in Belgium). Mom's review: "These waffles don't taste any different from the ones at Costco." I almost spit out my drink.
11. In Copenhagen, I had these grandiose dreams of riding a bike to the mermaid statue early in the morning just like in the movie, "Copenhagen." I even signed up for an online account to use the bikeshare service. Turns out, the bikes were electric, and you'd go from 0 to 10 miles in two feet. My first reaction was to hit the breaks which sent my bike flying, and me falling to the side. Thankfully, I caught myself. EPIC FAIL. This is the famous intersection where it happened.
Morning Ebb And Flow from jim slade on Vimeo.
12. We took a walking tour around Copenhagen, and I got to enjoy a Carlsberg on the street. All while learning all about the city's history and the mad archbishop. Photo by Greg Kiefer.
13. Callie and I thought that ginger shots would help us avoid getting sick. Within seconds of our first sip, we were gagging and ran elsewhere for water.
14. After hanging out with Ally and Hamish in Malmo, we barely caught a train back to Copenhagen and took seats near a group of modelesque Swedes in their 20s ready to hit the town. I had this dreaded feeling that they'd pick on us, and they surely did. As we passed the Oresund bridge, the 5 Swedish guys started impersonating American, Southern, French, and German accents for us. Then one said, "Straight out of Compton!" Nonstop giggles.
15. In Stockholm, this was our beautiful morning commute from our hotel (apartment) to the office every morning.
16. Catching up with my old friend Rakesh from New Zealand now living in London. He took us out to the fun spots in Shoreditch.
17. Sketch London.
18. The insanity of the two Primarks I've visited.
19. Pret a Manger with Callie. :)
20. Duck and Waffle views and a catch up with Rey.
I thought this trip would help me get Europe out of my system, but it didn't. Nothing can cure that. Thankfully, there's been more travel. More to come!