Month: May 2015

Run for the Train to Bruges!

I am completely shocked to report that we made it on the 11:00am train from Paris to Brussels, with a connection on to Brugge. We had the classic almost-didn’t-make-it run to the train station today.  We caught the cab in time, but didn’t predict the amount of traffic.  I mean, this was complete with anxious

Paris: Eiffel Tower

Three AM local time in California, my phone alarm went off.  I turned over in bed, bleary-eyed fumbling to shut off the noise, and with the same lack of coordination pulled my laptop onto the bed, booting it up.  From the depth of darkness beside me, Scotty rolled his face away from the glare, not

Paris: Unscheduled

We enjoy being together as a family.  We have fun together.  I like being with my kids, as unlikely as that may seem according to popular TV.  However, I recognize that continuing to enjoy being together requires a certain amount of upkeep and maintenance.  So, in recognition of this, a solemn promise was made to

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Versailles: Picnic, Biking, & Food Market with Kids

During our time in Paris, I made sure to book the best tour of Versailles with kids I could find.  For our family, that was not a cattle-herded shuffle through the palace and back home – that was a Fat Tire Bike Tour of Versailles.  After all, kids and teens are much happier biking the

Paris: Wego Walking Tour

Saturday, our first full day in Paris, and we had a walking tour with Wego Walking Tours.  From what I read, they are unique because there is no charge for the tour.  As long as you show up.  If you don’t show, they do have your credit card information and will charge 20 euro.  But

Arriving in Paris

We arrived in Paris, and Scott was excited to finally have his fear of the gypsies validated, as a guy offered us a cab, took my bag and walked away.  Obviously we stayed up with him, Scott and I shooting each other looks, wondering where this was going.  He started putting our bags in his

Leaving London

So, it is time to leave London.  We woke up this morning, Scott brought me my coffee (from one of the 4 Starbucks within a 2 block radius) and we started packing up.  We got everything ready to go, and then went for one last walk to Trafalgar Square.  We decided to stop at Pret

The Tube

Ok, I must stop and say a few words about how awesome the Tube system is here.  Seriously.  I am in love with it and have no idea why, in the states, we can’t make practical progress on this.  There is nowhere that we have wanted to go, that we can’t just walk a few

Hampton Court Palace

In 1494, Giles Daubeney, later Lord Chamberlain, leased and modernized the medieval manor of Hampton Court.  So, 113 years before the founding of Jamestown, Hampton Court Manor was being modernized.  That’s so hard for this American girl to really process. Then in 1515, 500 years ago, having leased the property the year before, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey

Strolling Westminster

On Wednesday, after the Changing of the Horse Guard, we took a purposeful walk.  I wanted to see Big Ben from Westminster Bridge.  The iconic view. It was a little crazy, and was the first time here that I thought – this is the perfect place to be pick-pocketed.  I even paused at one point

London Family History

Today, we went in search of a piece of my family history.  The story goes like this… During WWII, my grandfather, Garland Earl, was stationed in London.  When I told that to our Fat Tyre Bike Tour guide, he immediately asked if he was part of the something-or-other corps.  I had never heard of whatever

The Queen’s Life Guard: Horse Guards in London

Updated May 2022: The Queen’s Life Guard Changing of the Horse Guards in London, and other ceremonies daily. All you need to know to go!

Harry Potter Studio Tour

Ok, I admit it, I had real doubts about whether this would be worth taking a whole day out of our time in London.  In fact, several times I took it off our itinerary to make room for other things.  I mean, a whole day??  Especially when we have seen the Wizarding World of Harry

The Tower of London

Visiting the Tower of London has been at the top of my list of things to see since we first talked about this trip.  There is so much history tied up in the buildings.  Famous and infamous residents from the time of William the Conqueror, up through Henry the VIII, to a prisoner during the

London: Fat Tyre Bike Tour

Sunday, our first full day here, I specifically planned to do the Royal London Fat Tyre Bike Tour.  They had been recommended by a friend from her trip to Paris, and are really highly rated on the travel sites, so I thought it was worth a shot.  Then, I also read how it was good

The Coal Hole

After our crypt lunch, we went back to the room to rest for a while.  We didn’t want to really fall asleep, but get enough rest that we could stay up until bedtime.  Then we ran errands for the apartment necessities, and decided to walk Strand in search of somewhere interesting to have dinner. We

London: Cafe in the Crypt

We arrived in London, and after taking the picture-perfect gated lift to our flat (ok, I took it with our bags, that’s all that fit!) settled in to our London ‘home’.    I’ll do an apartment post later – those photos are still on Scott’s laptop, and I can only transfer the photos one at

Dulles to London, and scary birds in between!

Well, this is what we are taking.  These bags, and the four of us headed off on our European Tour.  I’m not even going to attempt the math, but many hours later we arrived at London Heathrow around noon London time.  We were tired to the point of a bit punchy and confused, but we

Travel with Kids: Expectations

I’ve been thinking a lot about managing my expectations over the past few days.  Mostly because I’m so very excited about this trip, and in some ways I have really HIGH hopes for how awesome it’s going to be.  I LOVE travel.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  Hubby and I are already booking a trip for June