Saturday was supposed to be a relaxing day, as it was the day before the wedding. It was also the day that my friend Danielle arrived. I was so excited when she came. We got dressed and headed into town with the other bridesmaids.
After heading back to the hotel, we decided to meet up with the other wedding guests to visit the private beach and pool at Taino for a huge day-before-the-wedding-pow-wow. We stayed in the pool until the last water taxi was set to leave and played Man Hunt, Hide-and-Seek and a whole bunch of other pool games. We also had girls talk in the hot tub where we addressed, relationships, friendships and everything in between.
When we got on our ”yacht” back to the hotel, the captain took us on a tour of the island where we danced to 90s classics, 112 “Only You” and TLC “Baby-Baby-Baby.” It was so much fun to be surrounded by great people. We got ready for dinner shortly after, in which I fell asleep at the table. I was so deprived of sleep. We then went to the bars and got back to the hotel around 3am. I was finally able to catch what was left of my beauty rest.
Taking trains between countries was easier than I thought. In all honesty, it was a breeze. As a point of comparison, I would compare it to taking a bus from New York to Virginia, only the scenery is much more gratifying.
Eurostar from London to Paris was fast. It actually got us into Paris 20 minutes earlier than expected. I literally fell in and out of sleep and before I knew it, we were there. The train ride was about 2-hours long. The annoying part was finding a place to put my bags. I ended up putting it in a storage shelf in the back of the car which was risky because I couldn’t keep watch of my bag, but there was nothing else I could do.
Trenitalia’s14-hour train ride from Paris to Venice, was cheap and fun. We ate before we got on the train but I should’ve brought a snack with me because I got hungry along the way. The train cart we were in had 6 bunks and we shared it with an Italian couple from Milan. They were really kind people. They chose the top bunks and we chose the bottom four. We played games and snacked on cookies and wine. Shadesha and I stayed up and told scary ghost stories with our flashlights. We just made the best of the long ride. We passed through Switzerland and Milan but it was night time so we couldn’t see much. It was still exciting nonetheless. The train car was so cold. I was freezing. Trenitalia did provide blankets and pillows but I questioned how clean they were. Besides, the freezing temperatures I would totally take an overnight train like this again. It was so much fun.
Trenitalia from Venice to Rome was a 6-hour duration and it went by quite fast as well. Again the scenery in Europe is to die for, and I could not complain about the beauty of the Italian cities we passed through including Florence and Tuscany. The wineries, colorful houses, and mountainous regions were a beautiful sight to see.
I am all for trains when traveling through Europe. Not only do they tend to be cheaper than other intercontinental transportation options but it’s also fun. Train systems in Europe are way better than what we have in the States. I would recommend train routes for those who are traveling throughout Europe in a heartbeat.
Get train tickets early!
Unlike flexible prices of flights (Where Tuesday could be $503 and Wednesday could be $490), train ticket prices are not as flexible, which is a good thing. As the departure date gets closer the prices increase.
Set up alerts for prospective train routes you are seeking. I did this for trains from Venice to Rome and we ended up paying 13 Euro for our train ticket. Amazing prices.
WiFi was the equivalent to the air we need to survive during our trip. The second we left customs at Heathrow and realized we could get 30-mins of free WiFi, we stayed in the airport to tell everyone #WEMADEIT. When the time was up, I suggested that we take the Tube instead of the Heathrow Express because it was much cheaper. We got on the blue line tube until we reached our stop at Lambeth North (switching from the blue to the brown line). In total, it was about an hour’s ride from Heathrow. Once we got out of the train station and realized we were in London, it was the most amazing feeling ever. The high was indescribable, that is until we reached the hotel and they wouldn’t let us check-in for another 40-minutes. So with our “loads” of luggage as the brits would say we explored the neighborhood.
We discovered a cute London neighborhood with horses and cobble stone streets. We headed directly to the consignment store which seemed like it was straight out of that movie “The Sweetest Thing” with Cameron Diaz. I was in awe of London’s simplistic elegance. The people were polite and just stared at us with curiosity as to where we just traveled from. One man who resembled Grandpa from The Parent Trap movie, came up to us and carried on the most charming conversation with myself and Taurie. He talked about working in the hotel industry for years and how unprofessional our hotel was for not allowing us to check-in upon arrival. He continued to talk to us as we just marveled over his accent. He was the quintessential old British man with a hearing aid and tweed suit…It was love at first sight.
When we finally got to the hotel, we did a quick change and headed back out to explore Westminster. We followed the road to the London Eye and was captivated by its enormity, It was beautiful and everything I’d ever imagined. We waited on the line for about 15-minutes and spent 20GBP to get on the spectacle. It was awesome to see the whole city from such high peaks. I’m happy I got to do it, but it was definitely a one-time thing.
After the London Eye, we went to meet Desh’s sister for the first time. It was also Desh’s first time meeting her too. Her sister ended up being super cool and took us on an amazing tour of London. We traveled to Piccadilly Circus, the Theatre District, Soho, the Red Light District, and China Town. We ate authentic Chinese food and enjoyed bubble tea as a beverage. I had a blast. We called it a night early, as you could imagine, the jet lag was kicking in.
Once we got to the hotel we wanted to explore London some more, so we walked around the area passing the Imperial War Museum and a bunch of other attractions until we miraculously found a WiFi booth. My mom is either a psychic or has perfect timing because she happened to Facetime me at that very moment. I shared with her the key points of my day and showed her the double-decker buses that passed by. I was so excited to be in London. I wish I could’ve stayed forever.