Last week I was SUPER lucky to have one of my friends come visit us in London. Courtney and I went to university together and met each other on the women’s hockey team. We instantly became friends and she’s been by my side ever since. She even stood up next to me on our wedding day as one of my bridesmaids. Just before we moved to London, she started dating her boyfriend, Dan. As we were leaving, I never had the chance to meet him – so when they arrived in London it was our first chance to meet. And it was hard to believe by the end of the week we had just met – we loved Dan – I mean it doesn’t hurt that his name is also Dan ;)! The four of us had such a wonderful time together.
They arrived Saturday morning and without skipping a beat, we took off for a quick tour of some of the London sights. We started with a walk through Hyde Park to see Kensington Palace. After a quick pub lunch nearby, we made our way up to Notting Hill to stroll through Portobello Market. It’s so easy to forget about these incredible streets and markets when we’re busy living our fast paced London life, so it’s extra special to go back and visit these places with friends and see the excitement on their faces when seeing it for the first time.
That evening we met up with the Ives and Phelps for a night of darts. Flight Club is easily one of our favourite group hang out spots. The atmosphere is so much fun! After a few hours of hitting the bullseye, we made our way over to a speakeasy for some cocktails and live music. Again, I just love having our US friends in town to visit. Dan and I love London so much, and it’s so amazing to show our friends the city we’ve made our home.
Sunday was a full day of sightseeing. We started with brunch at Dishoom before making our way across the city.
On Monday, Dan and I had to go to work for the week while Courtney and Dan made their way over to Paris then Munich. Courtney’s brother and family live in the Munich area so they were able to spend some quality family time!
Friday night we all met back up in Venice! We had the cutest Airbnb! It had a fab terrace where we enjoyed many, many pizza’s and vino! We were so lucky to have stumbled upon an uhh-mazing pizza shop just near our apartment on the first night. We ended up visiting them every day (I think maybe even twice in one day?).
All day Saturday was spent sight seeing. We quickly checked off all of the main tourist sites in the area. These areas were SO busy with people, so we wanted to make sure we saw them and then were able to spend the rest of our time enjoying the quieter spots of Venice.
Saturday evening was probably the best part of our trip. Our apartment’s concierge service connected us with a local boat owner/guide (Marco) for a sunset cruise around the islands and canals. Marco was incredible! The five of us quickly became friends as we cruised around enjoying local prosecco and snacks. The gondola’s on the main canals in Venice are SO expensive and touristy. Again, it was nice being able to enjoy the quieter side of Venice and he even took us out to Burano which is one of the most colourful islands in the area! The three hours with Marco flew by, and we all struggled to say goodbye and not book him again for the next evening! I would HIGHLY recommend going with Boat Skipper Marco if you’re planning a visit to Venice in the future!
Sunday was spent meandering around and enjoying all of the hidden gems Venice has to offer. All of the bridges, canals, boats, cute buildings make it so easy to just walk for hours. And not to mention all of the homemade pasta shops and gelaterias! I also can’t believe I’ve made it this far without mentioning Bellini’s! Venice is the home to the Bellini! Prosecco and fresh peach juice – how can you go wrong? We made many pit stops along the way to enjoy fresh Bellini’s and spritz’ throughout the weekend!
We flew back to London early Monday morning for one last day of exploring and spending time together. After a bike ride through the city, we ended up at Louis Vuitton where Courtney and I decided to celebrate our friendship with matching handbags 🙂 We had so much fun picking them out then flaunting them around the streets.
On our last evening together, we went to one of our favourite food markets, Mercato Metropolitano, for dinner before capping our trip off with drinks at the top of the Shard. We had such a great time with Courtney and Dan! The hardest thing about living abroad is not being close to friends and family. And it’s even harder to say goodbye after such a special week together. But…we’re already trying to plan our next trip together!