Not only did we jam-pack each day, we made countless memories that will last forever.
Our last day as a group in London, we started our day at The London Eye. We decided at the beginning of this trip that we would save the Ferris wheel experience for the last day to oversee all that we did experience and cherish the memories made across the horizon. While the famous Ferris wheel trip could seem a bit “touristy,” once we were up there, it was totally worth it! The views were incredible to see Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace in the distance, Big Ben and more.
We scurried to Camden Market, with vendors everywhere and some samples. The first stand that drew us in was this overhang with oranges hanging down and serving fresh-squeezed juice — delicious! Lunch was calling our name, and we landed at The Diner Down Street, with so many options. I ended up with a chicken salad bowl, and it was refreshing to regroup and continue on for the day.
A few days prior, when we were at the little coffee shop and the owner taught us proper English tea, he also gave us the best advice on what to do with our last day in London. He instructed us to spend our last afternoon/evening having a picnic at the top of Primrose Hill, where you can see the city of London as the sun sets. We did exactly that, going in and out of little convenience stores and shops to gather a dinner meal for the 10 of us. What felt like hiking to the top, it truly was quite the hill. The view was stunning! This was the perfect time for our group to reflect on the trip we had together — complete strangers to having all of these wonderful memories and experiences together. I say “complete strangers” because, while we went to the same university, we all had different backgrounds, majors, clubs, organizations and preferences. Who knows if before this trip we all would have crossed paths, but I am so glad we did.
The next morning they all got on the train and headed for Heathrow Airport while I hopped on a different train to Manchester for the weekend for a two-hour ride north to meet with some old friends we made on a different vacation in Mexico more than seven years prior. This was my chance to truly see how locals live in England. Natalie and Mark were amazing hosts and truly brought me in as family during my stay. She picked me up from the train station and drove us to their house. Mind you, this is now my first experience in an English car, so I was totally blown away and fascinated sitting in the passenger seat on the left side.
Their home was quite beautiful, perfect for their family size. I met more of the family at a fabulous dinner out. The next day we hopped up and headed out to the train station to go on an adventure north, to York, England. It was so wonderful to make our way around another city and see the culture and experience with two locals. Lunch was delicious at a local Italian restaurant that had impeccable service a short walk from York station. Walking through the famous York Shambles, where the balconies of neighbors nearly touch overhead. I got the chance to see the York Minster, breathtakingly beautiful and full of architecture. We stopped through Betty’s Cafe Tea Rooms for a wonderful afternoon tea, then took a stroll through the Museum Gardens and St. Mary’s Abbey in the beautiful open air. York was so beautiful, and I don’t know I would have ever thought to make my way there otherwise.
On my last night in Manchester, we went out in the city for a lovely dinner and drinks. It was such a fun evening catching up with each of them and sharing stories.
The next morning, Natalie drove me around their town a bit and helped me pack all my things for my final leg home back to Kansas. I’ve never been good at goodbyes, and this one was not easy. I felt like family in such a short amount of time. It was such a wonderful experience.
— Lexi Holstin, account executive
ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: Climbing along the coast, I was trying to snap pictures of the cool-blue Puerto Vallarta waters outside my car window (I know, it never works) when we started winding along stone walls draped in jungle-like foliage. Annoyed my view was blocked, I looked around to see where we were just as we were parking at Hotel Mousai — I audibly gasped. The all-glass, chic and incredibly grand entrance was so well-secluded, it somehow snuck up on me.
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Finding a beachfront Punta Cana all-inclusive resort for all ages can be daunting when you want to take home great memories with loved ones but also experience a sophisticated escape. Now, you can have both thanks to a new resort: Finest Punta Cana.
Looking for a romantic getaway? At Couples Resorts in Jamaica, travelers can earn up to $500 in instant cash credits when booking a stay of five nights or more with the Couples Comeback offer. The offer is valid at all properties for bookings through Sept. 30. Travel by Aug. 31 for $500 in cash credits and Sept. 1–Dec. 24 for $400 in cash credits. Guests who provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result will receive a $100 resort credit. Book online.