torrie's travels


Skol, Vikings! September 30, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Torrie Schneider @ 3:08 am

I will post more later, but I’m at Heathrow waiting to board the plane and did not have wifi last night.

The game was incredible!!! Our seats were in the 13th row, but the first 10 were covered, so it was really row 3. Great seats. It helped that the Vikes won, of course, but the atmosphere was pretty incredible, too. Lots and lots of locals. And they are huge NFL fans. We saw just about every NFL jersey being sported. The people were great and we sat next to 4 other women from MN who had traveled for the game.

After the game we met 2 guys and walked and talked with them. And then got split up in the massive crowd heading toward the tube. Whoops. Thankfully the guys were nicest, kindest people and helped us out (separately). Of course, I continued my streak of failing to get contact info of a cute local boy I meet on my international trips. And I specifically meant to bring my business cards for that specific purpose. Oh well. Kyle from Newcastle, thank you!!! Found Jaime back at the hotel and all was well.

Again, I will post more later. When I’m stateside! See you soon!!


Losing Steam… September 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Torrie Schneider @ 3:57 pm

Here we were, on our next to last sightseeing day and we definitely felt it!  We got up and got out the door in order to take the train an hour to Windsor Castle.  We had the London Pass for this trip, which has saved us a lot of money (I can’t wait to add up the total savings!), just in unlimited public transportation alone.  On our trip out to Hampton Court the other day, we learned that we did not need to purchase an additional train ticket, but that our Travelcard was sufficient.  So we got on the train this morning (missed the one we aimed for by less than one minute…it was literally still in the station but would not allow us to open the door) and, as per my usual, I slept most of the way…until Jaime nudged me awake because they were checking fares and apparently our Travelcard was NOT sufficient for this journey.  Yes, we rode without proper fare, but thankfully she just let us pay and moved on.  I didn’t get arrested!

The beauty of the London Pass is that it allows you entry into almost all attractions (I think we have only had to pay for the Eye) AND allows you to skip the lines at a few of them.  Windsor Castle was a skip-the-line attraction, so when we saw the long lines, we strode up to the gentleman in charge and tried to go through.  No such luck.  Apparently there was a non-London Pass line and a London Pass line.  So we still had to wait in line.  I was not impressed.  Once we were able to get into the building to show our pass, we saw there was another line.  And people were taking forever at the cash registers.  Once we got to the registers, it only took us 2.2, so I don’t know what in the hell those other people were doing.  Then we had to get in yet ANOTHER line for security.  It was all just too much and we did not appreciate having to wait in three lines in order to get in.

Once we were in, it was very beautiful and we could tell why it is the Queen’s favorite castle and her “weekend” home.  (She only “works” Tuesday-Thursday at Buckingham these days.)  The grounds were pretty, but nothing compared to Hampton Court.  I was especially excited for the St. George’s Chapel, as that is where Henry VIII is buried, along with his favorite wife, Jane Seymour.  I spent some time at his tomb and, because photos were not allowed, I bought a postcard of his memorial.

We then viewed the State Apartments, which are still used when the Queen sees visitors there, and Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, which is a dollhouse replica of an aristocratic house, built between 1921-1924.  It was a beautiful doll house, if you could call it that!  The detail was phenomenal.  After some shopping, we got McDonald’s for the train ride back and headed out!  Again, I slept the whole way.

Once back in London, we made our way to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, only to find out that you needed a ticket.  My travel guides were quite unclear on this topic, as it appeared that you could go in without charge and only needed a ticket if you wanted the guided tour.  That is not the case.  You could only get in with a guided tour ticket and, of course, they were sold out.  And only open on Saturdays.  Awesome.  This is a huge disappoint for me, as I was very much looking forward to this.  I guess I will have to come back some day.

So we moved on to the Churchill War Rooms, which were fascinating and I wish my father was here to see them.  This was Churchill’s bunker during WWII, where all of Britain’s moves were decided upon, where their (coded) messages were sent and received overseas, where Churchill called the President, etc.  Everything in the map room, which was the main room, is as it was when they up and left and locked the rooms in 1945 after the war.  It was very interesting to see the war from Britain’s standpoint, especially with all the damage the Nazi’s did to them.  I saw a stat that 450,000 homes in Britain were destroyed by bombs and over 4 million were damaged.  That is crazy.

After the War Rooms we were going to go to the London Eye, but it was starting to sprinkle (though that’s all it did…I don’t think I will jinx tomorrow by saying we have not really had any rain this entire trip!) and we were both exhausted, so we decided to head back to the hotel (we also contemplated seeing St. Paul’s Cathedral instead of going to Mass tomorrow, but it was closed).  We rested briefly before going back out to Green Park (1/2 block from our hotel) because local artists had set up their art for sale.  We then made a candy run to Tesco (family members, you can look forward to some European candy very soon!) and then to a local Italian place for dinner.  We have since been trying to finagle our luggage and carry on’s to fit all of our souvenirs!  We change hotels tomorrow (we had to stay one night in a different hotel in order to get our game ticket), so we are trying to figure this all out tonight.  Somehow I’m sure we will manage.

I can’t believe we only have one day left!  We are going to rent bikes and ride through Hyde Park, see Kensington Palace, and ride the London Eye before changing hotels, eating lunch, and making our way to Wembley for some tailgating before the big game!!  It’s been a great trip, but I am definitely ready to be home!


A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That September 27, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Torrie Schneider @ 4:59 pm

Today was a mash up of different things.  We got to sleep a little bit later again, today; which, after getting up so early yesterday (I realized when I woke up yesterday morning, my brother was still awake the previous day in Seattle…weird!), was welcome!  We are quickly becoming regulars at Pret-A-Manger, a chain here in London, for breakfast.  Then we walked through Green Park on our way to Buckingham again.  Before we left the hotel, I sent my friend Kirk a message because I knew he was flying in this morning for the game.  Well, as we approached Buckingham I heard my name.  There he was!  So strange.  We just happened to run into one another!

Jaime and I made it up close at the gates for the Changing of the Guard, which we were very excited about.  Until we realized what that meant.  It meant standing there for 2 hours (we arrived at about 10am and the changing starts between 11:15-11:30 and ends a little after noon) and eventually being crushed.  Seriously, it was like hand-to-hand combat in there.  I literally grabbed a woman’s arm who was trying shove in front of us (and who had pulled my hair) and pushed it back.  Along with the comment, “If you wanted to be in front, you should’ve gotten here at 10am like the rest of us.”  We had another pushy-mcpusherton behind us and Jaime and I kept pushing backwards because she was practically climbing on us.  Thankfully another woman next to us yelled at that one.  Honestly, if these people were going to feel me up like this, the least they could do is buy me dinner first.

After the changing (which also happened to be set mostly to Michael Jackson songs…so weird!), we made our way to Harrod’s for high tea.  It was a splurge, to the tune of $47, but hey, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, right?!?!  I had tasty tea (Afternoon Special); two scones with strawberry and raspberry jam; finger sandwiches (four different kinds: Ham and piccalilli, Goat’s cheese with red onion marmalade, Coronation chicken with toasted almonds, and Scottish smoked salmon and cream cheese…but only one of which I ate…the salmon one ), and three tea fancies (sticky toffee pudding, a strawberry jam shortcake, and summer berry pudding.  The scones were delish!  I didn’t really like anything else, but I tried it all (except the ham sandwich, for obvious reasons).

I have been fighting a cold all week, but thought I had kicked it on Wednesday.  It came back with a vengeance yesterday, in the form of a horribly sore throat, so I got more cold meds at Boots last night.  My throat was better than yesterday, but after tea I was not feeling well.  We made our way to Trafalgar Square, which was quite interesting.  The lions are enormous!  And there were lots of interesting people there, that’s for sure!  We walked around the corner to the National Portrait Gallery and I got to see some Tudor Portraits, which were great!  But the main reason I wanted to go there was to see Kate’s first official portrait. I couldn’t find it anywhere…only to learn that it was now on loan in Bath.  Where I was yesterday.  Grrr.

I decided to throw in the towel at that point and go take a nap.  I was just not feeling well and although some caffeine may have helped, I really felt like I need more sleep.  Jaime went shopping and I napped.  Then we met at Oxford Street and went to the British Museum.  I was excited to see the Rosetta Stone, but otherwise I could take it or leave it.  I had suggested cutting it out last night, as I knew we would be pressed for time.  But Jaime and I had a miscommunication.  I thought she didn’t really want to see the Portrait Gallery and wanted to see the British Museum and she thought I wanted the opposite.  So we spent more time in the British Museum than either of us wanted!  It was after 7:30 pm and I hadn’t eaten anything, so we decided to go and eat, which was when we learned of the miscommunication!  Doh!

After several attempts to find a pub that was serving food, we decided on Garfunkel’s.  We think it might be the London equivalent of TGI Friday’s or something, but I was hungry enough to eat just about anything you put in front of me.  Including Burger King that was across the street!

Tomorrow is going to be another busy day, so my goal is to get to bed and to sleep before midnight!


The Bard, the Baths, and the Boulders* September 26, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Torrie Schneider @ 4:54 pm

Today was our day trip out of London.  I was very excited for this trip, but it went down differently than I had thought/planned.  First, we did the trip backwards.  It was supposed to be Stonehenge, Bath, and Stratford-upon-Avon, but we went in reverse due to construction at Stonehenge (they are building a new visitor’s center, which will open next year).  But ok, I said to myself, not too bad to do the trip in reverse.  We were picked up at a hotel at 7:45 am and the trip was supposed to be back in London at 6:15 pm.  One of the first things Alan, our guide, said to us on the bus is that we will return at 8:00-8:30 pm.  Um, really?  Yes, really.

So we arrived in Stratford at about 10:30 am and immediately had scones (with strawberry jam and clotted cream…NOT a fan) and champagne as we watched Shakespeare actors present a couple famous scenes.  Then we went into the Shakespeare Treasure exhibit, which houses the “First Folio”.  This is the first edition of Shakespeare’s work ever put together (though it was missing two plays).  After the Treasures, we entered his birth home.  It was quite small, but we learned that they were actually upper middle class, so it was a quite fine house in 1564!  I’m a fan of the Bard, so it was neat to see where he came from.  Literally.

We only had an hour and a half there and were shuttled back onto the bus for the 2-hour drive through the Cotswolds to Bath.  I was very much looking forward to Bath and checking out the Roman Baths.  (I’m sure the Cotswolds was lovely, but I’m not gonna lie…I slept through much of it!)  We toured the ancient baths, which were fascinating.  It takes 10,000 years for the rain in the area to seep down and come back up through the limestone, but there are still 140,000 gallons of water that spout up every day.  Fascinating.  The Main Bath is still the original Roman Bath, with the original Roman plumbing.  So you aren’t even allowed to touch the water it is so dangerous (diseases and all).

At the end of the tour you come upon the Pump Room, where you can “take the waters”, as many Brits have done over the centuries.  I took the water and it made my throat feel better (I’ve been fighting a cold/sore throat all week), but it was just that the water was quite warm.  I had been craving a tea or something hot for my throat and the waters did the trick!  Haha!

After Bath, at which we only had an hour and a half, we moved on to Stonehenge.  Again, I slept.  I slept on each leg of the journey, yet I am still kind of exhausted.  Anyway, Stonehenge was very cool.  I know it’s just a bunch of rocks, but it is still so intriguing as to how it came to be and what it means.  And hey, it’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime things!  It was kind of funny because it was a gray day, much as it was the day I saw the Poulnabrone Dolmen in Ireland last year.  Another pre-historic rock monument!

Although it was gray and chilly today, it only drizzled on us a bit at Bath.  Otherwise, we have really lucked out when it comes to the weather.  And the forecast for the next three days is sun and no more than a 20% chance of rain.  Can my luck really hold out!?!?  I spent 11 days in Ireland last year and it basically rained one day.  And so far a week in Paris and London it hasn’t really rained either.  Fingers crossed!

* I know Stonehenge isn’t generally referred to as “boulders”, but once I had “bard” and “baths” I needed another B to complete my alliteration.  Obviously!


Palaces September 25, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Torrie Schneider @ 4:18 pm

Today was the day of palaces.  Two very different palaces, to be sure.  We started the day by sleeping a little later than we have so far on the trip, which was nice.  Then we got breakfast to go and walked through Green Park to Buckingham Palace.  The Queen is on holiday in Scotland, so they open 19 state rooms for public tours.  I thought it was a guide-led tour, as there were only a few time slots each day in which to book.  But that was not the case.  We were early for our “tour” and were ushered right in.  It was an audio-guide tour, which was fine, too.

The Palace is quite stunning.  It is definitely interesting seeing as though it is the Queen’s current residence and place of work.  It’s not your typical tourist attraction because while it is old and contains a lot of history, it’s also in current use.  So it was fun seeing places that the royals are in every day.  Especially the Throne Room, where this happened:

(I couldn’t find the full-length photo that wasn’t blurry!)

Because we are fresh on the heels of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, there were exhibitions of her Coronation in 1953.  There were videos, photos, and relics on display.  Most stunning was her dress and robe.  It was so intricate and beautiful.  She was very small at age 25, which two older British ladies next to me noted.  One of them said, “The day was very wet, do you remember?”  The other: “Yes, yes I remember.  My, her waist was small.”  “So was mine, 60 years ago!”  (laughing): “Me too, there wasn’t any junk food then!”  So cute!

While the Palace was gorgeous and lavish, it didn’t knock my socks off like other things have (Notre Dame, Westminster, etc.).  I don’t know if it’s the fact that it’s not “old” or what, but although I am so glad I had the opportunity to tour it, it wasn’t the highlight of my day.

Which is probably unsurprising to anyone who knows me or has been following my trip.  And that is because after Buckingham Palace we got on the train to Hampton Court Palace, which is about 30 minutes outside of London.  Hampton Court Palace was built by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey between 1515-1521.  You may know Wolsey as Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor, or closest advisor.  Henry never liked to be outdone, and because the palace was so remarkable, Wolsey had no choice but to gift it to the King (in a too-little-too-late gesture).  It became one of Henry’s favorites.  His one legitimate male heir was born here, only to have his wife, Jane Seymour die shortly thereafter.  Henry always considered Jane to be his true wife because she was the only one to bear him male issue.  Rumor has it that her heart is buried in the Chapel Royal.  Creepy, but cool.

Henry also remodeled and added on to the palace, initially with the help of Anne Boleyn.  One of the main dinner halls (ballrooms) that is on display still has Henry and Anne’s badge (the intertwining H and A).  Speculation has it that while all of Anne’s badges were removed after her beheading, this one was so small and out of the way, that they forgot it was there.  I was able to see it, which was very cool!

There were also little stations with the badges of each of his other wives, except Anne of Cleves.  At least I couldn’t find hers, which may or may not exist, considering they were married for under a year.  After we saw the dining hall, we heard a commotion in the next room.  It was Henry and Anne!  George Boleyn presented Henry and Anne and they reenacted Henry making Anne Marquesse of Pembroke…one of the titles Henry bestowed upon her during her long wait to become Queen.  We were all courtiers.  It was very fun!

The Gardens at Hampton Court are absolutely incredible.  I had heard that and was looking forward to seeing them, but nothing could prepare me for their grandeur.  They cover more than 60 acres and have multiple gardens within the grounds.  There was the Pond Garden, the Privy Garden, the Knot Garden, and the Rose Garden, to name a few.  The next was more spectacular than the first!  We kept being amazed every time we turned around, it seemed.  One of my favorite things was the Maze.  We made our way through the World’s Oldest Hedge Maze.  And in record time!  My travel book said it takes visitors, on average, 20 minutes to find the center.  I think we did it in under 10.  But hey, we always knew we were above-average!

The Palace is currently showing an exhibition on “The Secrets of the Bedchamber.”  It was a very interesting look into the old royal bedchambers and how business, politics, and personal matters were conducted.  Some of the beds were quite incredible to see, if a wee bit short for our tastes.  Everyone must have been very, very short back then!

I bought a couple little things in the gift shop to memorialize my trip to Henry’s Palace, but unfortunately, because we essentially closed the place down, my selection was limited.  Perhaps I will have a better selection at Windsor Castle, where he is buried.

We took it easy tonight, skipping the London Eye for now.  We didn’t arrive back in London until 7:00pm and it was cloudy.  So we chose to wait and go up in the Eye at a better time.  Plus, we were exhausted and needed some down time.  Tomorrow will be an early day as we journey outside of London!


A Foot Shorter at the Top September 24, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Torrie Schneider @ 6:05 pm

What. A. Day.  I feel like I have been saying that a lot!  For those of you who know, I am a HUGE Tudorphile.  Love everything about the Tudors, especially Henry VIII.  This may or may not have something to do with the fact that my boyfriend, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, portrayed him wonderfully in the Showtime series.  (I always have to remember that the REAL Henry was nowhere near as handsome as JRM.  Even when they tried to make JRM the old, fat Henry, he was still so cute!) 

But I digress, we began the day with some Starbucks…and it’s just not the same as at home.  I have yet to have the correct spice level in my chai (either here or in Paris).  We then made our way to the Tower of London.  We had 30 minutes to kill before the next Yeoman Warder (aka Beefeater) tour began, so we made a beeline for the Crown Jewels.  They are quite spectacular.  Of course, you cannot take pictures, but I adore Queen Elizabeth’s crown.  It has pearl earrings dangling from the top that once belonged to Elizabeth I (Tudor reference!). 

After the Crown Jewels, we started the hour-long Beefeater tour.  Our Beefeater was Jimmy and he was marvelous.  Absolutely marvelous.  Apparently, in order to become a Yeoman Warder, one must have 22 years of service in the military and have essentially an impeccable record.  But he was so animated and just a thoroughly engaging tour guide, I thought there had to have been auditions.  I think we just lucked out!  He gave us great information about the Tower’s history.  As he put it, 900 years in one hour.  A lot of it I already knew, what with my obsession with the Tudors and Henry VIII’s obsession with torture and executions, but it was interesting to hear stuff that I didn’t know before.  The history is just magnificent to think about.  I was so excited to see the Traitor’s Gate.  To think of all the people who entered the Tower through this gate and never left. 

After the tour, we explored on our own.  It was a lot of fun and we got to see so much.  It took almost two hours and we started by going around the outer wall and moving inward.  There were even representations of the torture devices, i.e. the Rack, the Scavenger’s Daughter, and Manacles, to name a few.  I can’t believe that human beings did that to one another.  I realize they were “traitors” and all, but as Jimmy said, the Rack makes a short person a tall person.  And in the process, dislocates every single joint in your body.  So unimaginable.

It was fascinating to see the Tower Green, where the private executions occurred (Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, Jane Boleyn (i.e. Lady Rochford and Catherine Howard’s lady-in-waiting), etc.).  We walked over to Tower Hill, where the public executions occurred, but it appeared to be under construction.  Further research has led me to believe that we were actually on the Tower Hill without really realizing it!  Whoops.

After the Tower, we went on a Thames boat tour.  It was 30 minutes to Westminster and it was a great time.  The commentary was fabulous and we got to see all the sights and buildings from the river.  We got off at Westminster and toured the Abbey.  It was incredible.  We could not take photos (again), so we each bought a 6p book about it.  There was so much to take in.  It was impossible to see it all.  We both loved seeing where Kate and Wills got married!  But the predominant theme of the Abbey is burials.  They are everywhere.  And they just stick them in any which way. 

I got a bit emotional at times.  I hadn’t expected that.  But seeing Mary I and Elizabeth I’s burials did me in.  I know she was Bloody Mary and all, but I can’t help but love her.  She remained resolute in her faith in the face of banishment and the removal of her titles by her father once he fell into his affair with Anne Boleyn.  She had to live through the pillaging of the monasteries and the executions of Catholics (most significantly Sir, now Saint, Thomas More, the patron saint of lawyers) during the formation of the Church of England.  So it’s really not surprising that she went on to become Bloody Mary and do the same to the Protestants once she ascended the throne.  But at the same time, Elizabeth was true to her roots and her mother’s beliefs.  And, as a converted Protestant, I obviously have to think the Reformation was a good thing.  When I read this inscription at their burial site (Elizabeth is buried directly on top of Mary), I lost it: “Near the tomb of Mary and Elizabeth remember before God all those who divided at the reformation by different convictions laid down their lives for Christ and conscience sake.”

After the Abbey we were able to get some rest before dinner.  Just sitting around the hotel for about an hour was lovely with all the sightseeing we’ve been doing.  We then set off in search of fish and chips.  I was craving just simple, typical fish and chips.  Unfortunately, we’re in kind of a fancy neighborhood, so our concierge directed us to a gastropub.  Um, no thanks, got any takeaway?  But we successfully located a pub with fish and chips!  It was wonderful, but I know I will be having it again!  And I even tried a new cider: Aspell.  An English cider.  It was good!

We then set out for the other side of the river and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater.  We had tickets to Macbeth and it was wonderful!!  It is an open air theater (though we had a roof over our heads…just the people in the “Yard” would get wet if it rained!) done in the original Shakespearean-style.  It was so good!  It helps that Macbeth is one of my favorites.  I played it twice in high school (in classes, not actually for an audience!).  In 9th grade Theater class my two BFFs and I were the three witches, so I was particularly looking forward to seeing how they did “Double, double, toil, and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”  It was really neat because although it is a bare-bones set, they had smoke coming out of the floorboards in front of them.  The actors were great and Lady Macbeth stole the show!  My senior year of high school I took Shakespeare and as we read Macbeth each day (on the stage in the auditorium), I kept having to be Lady Macbeth.  Finally, one day, I demanded that I be allowed to play Macbeth.  I got my way.  But Lady Macbeth is a great character!  “Out, damned spot, out I say!”

What a day, mostly filled with Tudor history.  And Jaime got me a present: a Henry VIII Christmas ornament for my new non-matching tree I will be getting this year!  So fun!!  Until tomorrow…(which will also involve Tudor sight-seeing!)


Au revoir, Paris September 23, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Torrie Schneider @ 12:00 pm

Well, it’s been real, Paris, but I am ready to move on to a place where I speak the language! I am writing this on the Eurostar train on the way to London. This morning we had a sit-down breakfast in the neighborhood. I just had crepes again because I had definitely not eaten enough pastries. I decided to make up for lost time today! After breakfast I got another chocolate pastry but it was overcooked and not very good. So I tossed it as we made our way to Montmartre.

We exited the metro in Montmartre at the deepest metro stop in Paris. We had to climb the longest spiral staircase I have ever see to get out. But it was pretty, with art adorning the walls. The art was painted in the early 1900’s and is still there. From there we began our walking tour of Montmartre, but unfortunately with all of the little side roads, we veered off course.

Before we veered off course, though, we stopped in another patisserie so I could get a chocolate croissant! This intersection had other cute shops and we learned later is the object of many artists and paintings. We then quickly realized we were off course, but Sacre Couer was in sight, so we gave up the guide book tour and just made our way to the basilica.

The steps of the basilica are well-known as the best panoramic view of Paris. And they’re not kidding! It was breathtaking. Paris is much more sprawled than either of us had realized. And it is definitely a very unique looking city.

We went into the basilica, which was gorgeous. Unfortunately photography was not allowed (and I may or may not have instructed rule-breakers to stop taking photos…hey, if everyone else isn’t getting photos then neither should they!) Although a newer church, the artwork was incredible. I also saw that this is the “Ano de foi” in France. Or the year of faith. I had seen it at mass at Notre Dame yesterday, too.

After touring the basilica we made our way through more of Montmartre. We came upon an artists’ square where painters had beautiful paintings on display. This is where we found many depictions of that intersection I mentioned, including depictions of the restaurant we ate at last night in view of the Arc de Triomphe.

There were many little shops along these tiny lanes and I stopped for a chocolate eclair. See what I mean about making up for lost time?!?! It was delicious! We went into a biscuitrie and I bought macaroons and chocolate. Only to later leave the bag (with a painting in it) at a metro stop. I am quite upset about that right now.

The next stop on the tour was the Moulin Rouge! We were able to navigate our way there and we passed a beautiful cemeterie on the way. It was interesting to see how they bury their families in Paris. (See photos later.) After checking out the Moulin Rouge, we had a little time to kill so we stopped at Corcoran’s Irish pub for a Magner’s! The first one of the trip! It was tasty!

We then went to our hotel, collected our bags, and headed for the train station. This is when I lost those souvenirs. I am SO bummed about that. We made it to Gare du Nord and went through both French and English customs and immigration and boarded our train for London. I took a short nap and am anxiously awaiting the Channel Tunnel!