Today we woke early and packed our things ready to start our 3 day journey home. From Gare Du Nord (the international Eurostar Train Station in Paris) we had a two hour journey to England. We then had a 10 hour wait in England before a 14 hour flight to Singapore. After arriving in Singapore it is a further 3 hour wait before an 8 hour flight back to Australia. Essentially we were leaving Paris Monday morning (local time) and would not be arrive home to Brisbane till Wednesday morning (local time). I am currently writing this during our stop over in Singapore and I’m feeling all kinds of disorientated and weird. Not to mention extremely bummed that our adventure is over.
Monday was actually a pretty good day. I had booked (months in advance) a tour of Buckingham Palace to kill time in between the train from Paris and the flight to Singapore. Buckingham Palace only opens up for about a month each year and they only release a limited amount of tickets. It is all very controlled and there are so many staff directing people and making sure there was a nice flow – not at all like the disaster at Versailles. The only issue I had with the whole Buckingham expedition had to do with tickets. Simply printing your pre-purchased tickets out and presenting them at the gate did not suffice. We were required to queue for 45 minutes to exchange our printed off pages for actual tickets. This 45 minutes was spent with me standing in a queue, happily playing candy crush while Ben frantically texted me about my whereabouts and when-abouts towards the head of the queue due to Isabelle’s tiny bladder causing him all kinds of grief.
This was one occasion where I was extremely pleased that Isabelle has a tiny bladder as when we entered Buckingham Palace we were told that there were no toilets – with the exception of small children and the elderly. Kylah and I (who were also busting by this stage) both volunteered to accompany Isabelle to the loo and we were taken to a special roped off part of the palace where we were able to do our business in the Queens private lavatories. I have never enjoyed wee-ing so much!!
Buckingham Palace really surprised me. The outside isn’t much to look at but inside is absolutely incredible. There are paintings, gold trimmings, statues and tapestries – all so beautiful and tasteful without the elaborate and seedy opulent vibe that Versailles gave off. We were told which rooms served which functions and were able to learn facts about the royal family that absolutely fascinated me. For example, when the Queen holds a state dinner, it takes TWO whole days to just set the table. Everything is laid out so precisely that they use a ruler to measure the distance between the knives and forks.
We saw the rooms where Kate & Wills posed for their official wedding photo and the rooms in which the photos of the Queen with her great grandchildren were taken. All the rooms and every piece of art had a fascinating story behind it, which our audio guide told us all about.
Rohan, whose nickname this trip has become “Big Disaster” (this is said with an Italian accent as it was the nickname given to him by our Italian Airbnb host after watching Rohan fall out of a tree) was like a bull in a china shop. It took all of Ben’s attention to detail (of which there is an incredible amount) to stop him from breaking things. At one point he fell into a glass fence that was supposed to be protecting some ancient piece of pottery. The glass shook and there were horrified gasps. But luckily no damage was done. The kids and Ben all seemed to love the tour.
It made me seriously jealous though. I wish I knew as much about my history as the Royal family knows about theirs. All those stories, artefacts, castles and millennia of blue blood. In comparison I am from a line of convicts sent to Australia to rid Great Britain of its poorer and inferior class.
I wish I could write more about our last day and flight home but I am currently finishing this off a whole month after we arrived home. I think I blocked most of the journey home and the ensuing week of jet lag because I can’t remember a thing.
The stash of Ferrero Espresso to Go’s that I bought home disappeared quite quickly. I have spent a good proportion of this month trying to work out how to order them from Italy. At the moment I am expecting a shipment of 150 of them to arrive hopefully in the near future. The Choc-Ovo bars that I bought home did not last long either. I had purchased heaps of them as presents for people but as I was so jet lagged I did not socialise for a while and ended up eating the choc-ovo bars during the brief periods when I woke up.
I seriously slept for THREE days straight. I would wake up, go to the toilet, have an Ovo bar (it is a health food by the way) and then go straight back to sleep. I think I was just so depressed to be back to my normal life and completely overwhelmed with all the jobs that had to be done that every time I woke up I would think – “nope. Not ready yet to deal with the world” and consequently go straight back to sleep.
My European Adventure seems like a lifetime ago. Ben keeps telling me I need to edit my blog (a lot of it was written whilst we were driving or in the dark while everyone was sleeping) and it is full of shameful and disgraceful grammatical errors. But whenever I decide to go back through the blog and edit I end up teary and wishing I was still on holidays. Even though I didn’t get to do most of the things I wanted to do (antique shopping, churches, museums, visiting Sir Joseph Banks resting place etc), the fact that I shared this amazing experience with my husband + 4 killjoys and STILL had a brilliant time makes me absolutely desperate to return.
There were plenty of countries that were not graced with our presence so we will return – hopefully sooner rather than later (and not during peak tourist season).
Thanks for reading!!
P.S. Buckingham Palace did not allow you to take photo’s inside and while I was not opposed to taking the odd sneaky selfie, I was constantly accompanied by the worlds most dedicated rule follower (Kylah) who thwarted all my attempts. So you’ll have to make do with some unimpressive pictures of flowers in the queens gardens.
P.S. I am about to start on my next blog!!! GET EXCITED!!!!