If you asked both myself and Dan what our thoughts were on moving to London – I think we’d both have pretty much the same answer – we love it. But we both also wish for one thing, to move our friends and family over here with us! We’ve been so fortunate to have family come visit us over here, and are continually excited for more visitors. Lucky for me, last week 4 of my best girlfriends, Kelli, Sara, Nicole and Kristie, made the trip across the pond for a visit. These girls are some of my closest friends, and we used to see each other at least once a week…and it’s been excruciatingly hard to not see them for the last 6 months. The weeks/days leading up to their visit, I found myself walking around London with a huge grin on my face in excitement for their arrival. It was a whirlwind week – and we made memories that we will all share for a lifetime. Here’s a little recap of our adventure together:
These girls took quite the route to get over to me. Starting in Detroit, they flew to Chicago, then Chicago to New York, changed airports in New York then journeyed to London. But around noon on Saturday, the group of four joined me in my new town! I was so excited to show them the British way, so I took them to a traditional Afternoon Tea at the Wellington Lounge at the Intercontinental. This place is really cool – because it used to be the old home of the Queen before she moved into Buckingham. The tea was amazing, and the sandwiches and sweets are divine. It was the perfect way to kick off a girl’s week in London!
After tea, we walked through Hyde Park, stopping at Kensington Palace to say hello to Princess Kate and Prince William. It was a beautiful, sunny day in London!
I really thought the girls were going to kill me when I told them what we had planned for our 2nd day! I registered everyone (including Dan) for a 10k run through central London, with proceeds benefiting cancer research. Even though it was cold, rainy, and windy and 3 of the 5 of us had never ran that distance before, it ended up being so much fun! We all finished and had a great time doing it together. Dan was super speedy and ended up finishing 60th out of 15,000 participants!!! The route was awesome, and it was a great way for the girls to see parts of the city. After the run, we grabbed a pub lunch and relaxed for the afternoon.
That evening, we were in for a treat. I was able to snag a booking at one of London’s newest and hottest restaurants – Sexy Fish. Tons of celebrities and socialites are flocking to this place, and it’s really hard to get in. The meal was AMAZING! And it was so fun to dress up and go out with my girls!
Unfortunately, I had to work today, so I sent the girls off on their own to do some London sightseeing. They did the London Eye, lunch at Gordon’s Wine bar and shopped at Harrods. That evening, the met up with Dan for dinner at Dishoom (I still had to workL).
Again, I had to work, so the girls were on their own. Today, they hopped on a Big Bus tour and rode around the city. They stopped at Madame Toussaint’s wax museum, and did some shopping around Regent’s Street.
Off on an adventure! We woke up super early and hopped on a flight to Germany. After a delayed train, 100 mile long lines, going to the wrong gate and being driven across the tarmac, switching gates 5 times, we actually made our flight and landed in Cologne mid-day. We then took a train to Koblenz. The train ride was beautiful, as most of the journey was along the Rhine River. As we were all exhausted and stressed from the morning, we decided it’d be fun to do a spa day. Shockingly, I was able to make us a booking (in German), at a Thai Spa down the street from our hotel. What an experience – it was amazing and so relaxing.
After freshening up at our hotel, we headed into the Old Town area of Koblenz for dinner. Our dinner was traditional German fare. We feasted and enjoyed all of it! We capped the night off with some local brews at another local bar.
The reason for our journey to the small town of Koblenz is really cool. Nicole’s family is from here, and no one has travelled back since her Great-Grandparents. It was fun watching Nicole’s face light up in this town as her German heritage shown through. Although it was a rainy morning, we wanted to experience the main attraction in Koblenz – the Detusche Eck! This is a beautiful corner where the Mosel and the Rhine meet. Nicole carried her grandparent’s wedding photo with her, and “brought them” to this special place. It was such a beautiful moment – I’m so thankful to have been able to experience this with her.
After another traditional German lunch, we wandered through the town square where a little “carnival” was going on then we got back on the train to the airport and headed off to Milan!
We arrived in Milan in the evening. I had rented a posh-apartment for us in the design district. This apartment was perfect for the 5 of us. So beautiful and on this adorable little Italian side street. We quickly changed and got dressed up for dinner. I had found a place on Yelp that I wanted to try – and I’m SO thankful for Yelp! This meal was perfection. We were treated as if we were in a family’s home! We all agreed that this was one of the best Italian meals we’ve experienced.
Shopping! We all were very much looking forward to this day. Our apartment was just a short walk to the shopping district, and the weather was a beautiful 55 degrees and sunny. We walked over to the Galleria, which is one of the world’s oldest shopping malls. Our jaws dropped as we entered, as it was one of the most beautiful building’s we’d ever seen. And being a group of real estate/architects – it was so much fun admiring the beauty. We thought it was a great idea to start off our day with breakfast – and why not breakfast at the Gucci café? 🙂
At the centre of the Galleria, there is a mosaic art of bull, which is said that if you spin your heel on the ball three times, it will bring you good luck. We enjoyed watching many people spinning for good luck, and of course took part in the action! Best wishes for 2016!
Outside of the Galleria is a beautiful cathedral, Duomo di Milano. It was stunning! Full of white marble and covered in gorgeous sculptures. The shining sun made the building even more beautiful – and it felt so good to stand in its warmth.
Koblenz, Germany + Milan, Italy
The afternoon was filled with shopping, espresso, pizza and cannoli’s. It was a perfect day in Milan. Late that night, we got back on a plane and flew back to London.
We all knew this day was coming, but it came way too fast. We had more we had to fit in, and didn’t want our time together to end. We did some more shopping on High Street Kensington and then headed to an art gallery in Chelsea to see a Marilyn Monroe exhibit.
It was so hard to say goodbye. I used to see these girls all the time and know all of the intricacies of their lives. It’s been hard for me not seeing them all the time, but it was so beautiful being able to pick up exactly where we had left off in August. We’re already planning our next reunion when Dan and I will be back in Michigan in June. Love you girls! Thank you for adventuring over to see our new London life!
~Birds of a Feather