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This year, the opportunity to embark on a journey to two of Europe's most popular destinations, England and France, presented itself. My husband was deployed and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to join him on the other side of the world for a short time before he returned home.

These two nations are steeped in history, culture, and natural beauty, offering an incredible mix of experiences. Join me as I recount the highlights of our unforgettable adventure, which took us through London, Salisbury, Bath, Bournemouth, and Paris.

Bearing in mind this wasn't a photography trip, I couldn't load up with equipment and make this the focus of my journey, I had to pack light! I took my Sony A7RIII and purchased a 24-105mm f/4 lens, a great general work-horse, which would have to do the job for the whole trip.

London: A City of Contrasts

The iconic landmarks:

Our journey began in the heart of England, in the bustling metropolis of London. Here, we were immediately immersed in the city's rich history and modern vibrancy. From the historic Tower of London to the sleek Shard skyscraper, London's architectural diversity amazed me.

As a first-time visitor to the Northern Hemisphere, it was incredible to see these landmarks in-person. I'd only previously seen them on television and movies! They were right there in front of me and I was overwhelmed drinking it all in.

Exploring the area:

We saw London (only scratching the surface) by using one of the hop-on, hop-off bus services, the Underground and on foot. Around every corner was something else amazing that I "needed" to photograph, not the least of which was this squirrel who was showing off to earn peanuts in Hyde Park.

Not to be missed:

When in London, iconic Battersea Power Station should be on your "do not miss" list. This colossal brick structure, with its towering chimneys, is a testament to the city's industrial heritage. The power station, originally built in the 1930s, played a vital role in providing electricity to London for decades. Today, it has transformed into an architectural masterpiece, undergoing redevelopment into a vibrant mixed-use space. This has included converting one of the smokestacks into a large, glass elevator which, at the top, provides stunning 360 degree views of the city! It is a must-see destination for architecture enthusiasts, history buffs and photographers alike!

Other visits of note were to the Tower of London, St Pauls Cathedral, Trafalgar Square and the quirky neighbourhoods of SOHO and Carnaby.

Bath, Stonehenge, Salisbury and Bournemouth:

Flying visits to as many places as possible in a short time meant that it was challenging to fit it all in and still appreciate what we were seeing!

One of the places that I wanted to see was awe-inspiring and enigmatic Stonehenge. Nestled in the Salisbury Plain, this prehistoric monument has mystified historians, archaeologists, and travelers for centuries. The massive stone circles, with their enormous standing stones arranged in a unique formation, seem to whisper secrets of the past. Walking amidst the ancient monoliths from 2500 BC at sunrise, I felt profoundly small in the history of the world. Pay the extra to visit at sunset or sunrise with a small group. It's well worth it.

A night in historic Salisbury and 2 nights in beautiful Bath both netted more jaw dropping sites and thousands of years of historic events (including seeing the Magna Carta and Roman Baths) to marvel at and reflect on.

Next stop was a relaxing night at Bournemouth to rest and spend a day in the sun, feeling like we didn't have a care in the world.

Paris: the city of love

Well, I loved it! From the moment we arrived in the city, after taking the Eurostar from London, I was desperate to lay eyes on the stunning Eiffel Tower. We walked and walked as I was ever convinced that the next corner we rounded would be the one where I was see her. Sadly, it wasn't to be that evening. We were up early the next morning to get another hop-on, hop-off bus tour. I'll never forget the moment the bus passed in front of the Troccoderro and there she was. It took my breath away.

Our trip of a lifetime, journey through London, Salisbury, Bath, Bournemouth, and Paris was a whirlwind of culture, history, and unforgettable memories. From the iconic landmarks of London to the serene beauty of the Bournemouth coast and the romance of Paris, this trip was a testament to the beauty of Europe. I am extremely thankful that we were able to explore these incredible destinations and savor the unique experiences they offer. We returned home with a heart full of cherished memories, a memory card full of images and a strong desire to continue exploring the world!

What was the last trip you went on? What were your favorite moments and locations? Share your experiences in the comments below; I'd love to hear your travel stories!

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Carolyn Lawrence
Carolyn Lawrence
Nov 26, 2023

Oh How your beautifully written travel log renewed amazing memories. I was lucky enough to have a whole month in Paris a few years back. On top of the double decker bus at the Trocadero viewing that whole scene, The statues , the tiles, down the stairs, across the fountains…there she stood…oh my how I had dreamed of that moment. Goosebumps and tears. What else could a girl do? Two other places I loved there are Sainte Chapelle built by Louis IX in 1214, it has the most stunning glass, seeing Venus de Milo in the Louvre another long time fave, Medici Fountain that was built for Marie de Medici in the 17th century in the Luxembourg Gardens. The …

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