I had such high hopes of "blogging my way through Europe"............uhhhhhhhhhhh I think deep down I knew that wouldn't happen but since this is our first time really traveling overseas with our kids I wanted to document it mainly for myself to look back on and enjoy!
It's been a whirlwind 4 weeks yikes. I now have lots of survival tips for traveling all over several countries with kids! The rental car has been a HUGE blessing. Amidst all the constant change and chaos the car has always been the same for the kids and I really think given them a sense of some stability (I hope). The 53 hours of driving so far has been a challenge though :) Our kids aren't those "love their car seats types" so we knew we would give more treats and more technology than we ever want to......and we were right! I brought a "FUN BAG" full of new books and toys and have slowly given them stuff along the way trying to keep things new and exciting.
With the type of trip we were needing to do (traveling to see lots of different missionaries and scouting new locations) we have barely stayed in one place for more than a few days. This for SURE has been the hardest. We are learning so much :) You know when you take your kids for an overnight trip somewhere and it's SO MUCH work even for one night. The packing up, unpacking then packing up again then unpacking at home. That's how it has felt these past 3 weeks especially! But we have gotten into such a good system haha. Like a well oiled machine we can be in or out of an apartment very quickly haha!
Starting at the beginning, I can't BELIEVE how well our kids did on the flight! I can only pray the way home will be as good after all this traveling!!! They both watched movies, ate dinner and "went to bed" for at least 5 hours of the total 10! Don't judge me I did give them melatonin.
Although I wasn't prepared for the fact that there would be no blankets or pillows provided! Have you EVER been on an international flight like that? I haven't! We paid 10 bucks for 2 blankets which worked. When we arrived in Olso, Norway we had a 9 hour layover so even though the kids bodies thought it was 2 am we tried to make it "daytime"!
Then of course another hopper flight and couple hour drive and we were finally to ceske budejovice in the Czech Republic. Had such an amazing time with our missionaries there! How beautiful are all those rooftops!
From there we traveled to Austria to visit our good friend! She had such a charming town!
She's helping us map our way from there to Germany!
(Our first pastry stop in Germany. Why yes that is croissant stuffed in my cheek :)
Our trek through Germany was a beautiful way to get to Paris where we had a meeting. We even got stopped to have our car searched and saw immigrants sitting all around the rest stops. Super cool to witness history happening.
What a wonderful thing to have a meeting in Paris! Although this wonderful city is COMPLETELY different going with kids haha! I repeat, do NOT go with kids just wait and go alone with your spouse someday lol. It really is such a beautiful place but it's also a big city and hard to get to places with a stroller, jackets, backpack, etc every time you go out. Thankfully our kids adore the metro. I personally hate it -- yes please shove me into a hot stuffed underground dark moving train where you can't see out.
When this door opens and we are standing there with all our stuff it's like REALLY! Where are we supposed to go in there! MMMMmmmmm all the smells.
Juliana's happy place :) The metro!
Something we continually are learning especially with so many meetings and so much driving is to take every advantage of "fun" things we could find for them to do! I kid you not these children have had ice cream every day.
And when in doubt just feed them more crepes.
Juliana's diet has been nearly impossible here :( I can't read or understand any ingredients and she can only have chicken and french fries for so many meals. UGH. And we are terrible people and continue to go into patisseries even though she can't have anything. We can't help it, they are so good.
I have no shame in telling you we usually get at least 4. It's unlike any kind of pastry you'll have in the U.S. Their flour is entirely different. ahhhhhhh!
I try to make myself feel better by the fact that we are walking so many miles a day. That counts right? This is how William's naptime often looks since we have to be a meeting or visit someone in the afternoon! What a trooper!
We are learning so much along the way. No matter how much you prepare or have traveled before, traveling with children is a whollllllllle new story. Add that to being incredibly tired, not understanding the language, getting lost a lot hehe, not finding food, it can get ugly. Last night we walked for over an hour trying to find a restaurant that would serve us food since it was only 8 pm and that's too early for dinner. Our kids had ice cream again. yep. God has given us this opportunity to not only scout places for new missionaries and to encourage our existing ones but I think to work in our lives as well as always. Europe is beautiful and an experience but we are also so tired and it's hard to see your kids struggle with the constant change. They vary between doing so well and also big messes. Every day is different. William has had a hard time poor guy screams when we begin to pack for the next place (especially since we've only been in the current place a few days) so we are praying that God's grace will cover him and us and thank God he won't remember any of this. We have seen him provide for us in even the smallest ways. Finding playgrounds at the perfect times, supermarkets when we can't find dinner. and so much more. We are now in Spain! We have a wonderful time of a break for the next few days and then we complete our next 2 weeks with our missionaries here we are really excited :)