Skip this post if you don't want an earful of gushy happiness. You've been warned!
Europe this time around has been a total blast. It was great last time, for sure. Many great experiences. This year however, has blown last year out of the water. Less stress, more relaxation, less of the feeling that we need to see everything this time because we won't be back for a while.
We changed a lot this time around, and below are some of the ways:
1. No motorhome this time. That was fun- but a lot of driving. I feel like a lot of days were wasted in transit.
2. No suitcases. We packed much lighter than last year, which is really saying something. On the other hand- I am pretty homeless looking. I have holes in my shirts and I don't know how Tyler stays so clean and put together looking, but the rest of us? Hobos. Anyway, this allows a lot more freedom while traveling.
3. More playgrounds. It might sound weird to go to Europe and visit playgrounds, but to us it isn't. Parks and playgrounds make the kids happy, allow them to interact with locals, and get energy out so we can do museums and other "quiet" stuff too. I wish you could have seen the playground we went to today. It was so cool, and never ever would exist in the US because of the fear of lawsuits.
4. More days off. Ok this one was just luck I guess. We managed to book more sessions in less places, so there were less running around like crazy chickens type days.
5. Kids who read. This year both kids can read (Izzy has done well and we love to see her improve) so there are more quiet moments of awesome. We also love to read aloud and have accidentally spend a few hours lost reading aloud in parks recently.
I suppose those are the major changes we made which I am very happy with. For past 2 nights and the next 5 nights, Tyler and I are separated because of some crazy travel stunt we pulled- and we miss him.
Last comment. Tonight the kids and I left our friend's house in Paris and headed to a hotel for our last night here. I had a backpacking pack on, my camera bag, a kid-sized backpack, and the kids carried a teeny backpack each. We had a fun, long, tiring day and I looked like a wreck, but our hearts were happy. On the metro, a few seats away, I noticed a group of ladies staring at us, very interested. A few minutes later, they are still staring and whispering to each other. I felt pretty self concious, thinking things like, "Did I shower today?" or "Do I really look homeless? Are we a sad sight?" The metro made a stop and the ladies walked toward us to get off. As they walked out the door one of the women leaned close to me and said:
"Hi, Blue Lilies."
Here are lots of iphone pictures from our time in Paris.