A Tale of Two Cities

Place du Général de Gaulle (the main square in Lille)

Place du Général de Gaulle (the main square in Lille)

When I was a young girl, I loved big cities. Compared to the small town I lived in on Vancouver Island, they seemed full of possibilities – so many things to see and do. And the city lights at night? Magic. For the most part, the cities I visited as a kid were in Canada or the US.

But there is something even more special about big European cities, and this past week we’ve soaked up the beauty and history of both London, England and Lille, France.

The Vieille Bourse (the old stock exchange), one of the must beautiful buildings in Lille

The Vieille Bourse (the old stock exchange), one of the must beautiful buildings in Lille

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Leicester square in London

Leicester square in London

Big Ben

Big Ben

We’ve experienced some price shock coming from Addis Ababa, but there are deals to be found (e.g. the “meal deals” at Tesco – sandwich, chips and a drink for 3£; yes, we had to eat outdoors, but the weather cooperated).

Of course we wouldn’t have been able to make England and France work on the remains of our travel budget without the kind hospitality of extended family. We’re currently staying with Karl’s cousin Laurent (and wife Laurence). None of us can figure out if Karl and Laurent are 3rd cousins – or cousins “removed” once or twice, but we do know we’re having a fabulous time. These folks are serious foodies and we’ve been eating (and drinking) up a storm. We also had a chance to take in some French cinema – complete with laser pointers, and have fallen in love with this city’s amazing history and architecture.

Laurent and Karl enjoying  oysters (and wine) in local  market

Laurent and Karl enjoying oysters (and wine) in local  Lille market

Cate in front of various types of mushrooms at the market in Lille

Cate in front of various types of mushrooms at the market in Lille

Enjoying some drinks at the La Capusle

Enjoying some drinks at the La Capusle

 

Enjoying a Raclette dinner with our host Laurent, Laurence and their daughter Maïlys

Enjoying a Raclette dinner with our host Laurent, Laurence and their daughter Maïlys

Cen's response to the chocolate fondue

Cen’s response to the chocolate fondue

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Tomorrow we take flight for the United States – North America here we come!

Side note: Cen has declared that he might move to London when he’s an adult. I’ve warned him that he’ll have to house his parents for extended visits every year.

Doing the Queen's wave In front of Buckingham Palace

Doing the Queen’s wave In front of Buckingham Palace

Answer to budget challenges in London - go homeless. Just kidding. We were creatively transporting our luggage from Kings Cross Tube Station to our hotel.

Answer to budget challenges in London – go homeless. Just kidding. We were creatively transporting our luggage from Kings Cross Tube Station to our hotel.

Budget shopping in Lille

Budget shopping in Lille

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We rented bikes one day in Lille

We rented bikes one day in Lille

Outside the British Museum

Outside the British Museum

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

La Grande Roue in Lille

La Grande Roue in Lille

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A view from the grande roule

Views of Lille from the Grande Roule

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St. Pancras Station in London

St. Pancras Station in London

"M&M Road" in London

“M&M Road” in London

The cobbled streets of Lille

The cobbled streets of Lille

The cobbled streets of Lille

The cobbled streets of Lille

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Trafalgar Square in London

Trafalgar Square in London

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Categories: England, France | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Cities

  1. Connor

    It must have been fun walking with the M&M. Cant wait to see you! 🙂

  2. Love the photos! You all look like you are having fun. Where are you off to next? One day we’ll take our little French speaker to explore Europe…could be very handy.

    • Gloria

      We are heading to Orlando for a little Disney and some luxury on a cruise

  3. jeannette

    Where are you off to now,looks like you have had a wonderful trek. Can”t wait till you are home and we can get together. Amber and Cory are missing the kids.

  4. Gloria

    Off to Orlando tomorrow for some theme park fun and then a short cruise, The kids are missing you as well. Our journey is almost over…

  5. Marguerite

    What a fantastic way to end the trip..Europe! Now homeward bound to North America at last. We miss you guys!

  6. laurent jorio

    Right now (4:54 pm) you must be thefab5intheplane…
    It was wonderful having you stay with us these last few days. I was very happy to see Karl again after so many years and Laurence, Maïlys and I really enjoyed meeting the whole family and spending some time with you.
    We’ll think of you every time we eat chocolate and cheese (i.e. three times a day) 🙂
    We’ll miss you all and hope you enjoy the rest of your trip.

    • Currently in Iceland awaiting our second flight. Thanks again for putting us up and showing us around Lille. I think we gained a few pounds eating all the delicious meals you made for us. It was great to catch up after so long and meet your family and have you might mine. Keeping the trend alive the kids have had chocolate and croissants already today but no cheese! (And I have had an Icelandic beer). When are you coming to Canada?

      • laurent jorio

        We’ll try… hopefully, next time we see each other again will be sooner than in 20 years (imagine: Meskerem will be 27 and Maïlys 37!)

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