It was my Intent. Never fully trust a Tomtom, and its all about La Defense!

It was my intent to do a post a day.

When I originally thought of the name for the blog I really did picture myself giving a “daily dose” to family, friends, and anyone else that was interested, on all that the Bain Clan was up to in Europe.  I had visions of myself tucking the kiddies in bed, pouring a nice glass of wine, and chilling out on the computer recapping our daily adventure……. that obviously is not happening! So….. so much for the daily dose!

With that said, and after 5 days in Paris, the recap of our drive from Heidelberg to our hotel at La Defense in Paris will begin!

As we got in the car at Heidelberg to drive to Paris, Mike plugged our destination into the tomtom app on his iPhone, and with Darth Vaders voice directing us we were off to start our adventure in the City of Light. I did think it was strange that the drive back to Paris was going to take us almost 2 hours longer than it did to get to Heidelberg, so Mike reprogrammed the tomtom, told it we wanted to take toll roads and we were once again on our way.  After about an hour and not having taken a ticket to pay a toll I wasnt convinced that we were on the quickest road.  My suspision was confirmed while listening to the tomtoms’ directions we turned away from the only sign for Paris that I saw and we were headed to Luxembourg. After a quick stop in Luxembourg, and a couple more hours on the road, we eventually found a toll road, and, disobeying Darths warning we FINALLY took a toll ticket.

In Vancouver I registered online to run a 10km running race on June 24th, so as we were driving through Paris we decided to pick up my race pack….. located on the round about at the Bastille.  Darth directed us there perfectly so my faith was restored in the awesome navigation app on Mikes iPhone. We managed to find “parking” on the round about, I found my ID and had Mike forge my doctors certificate saying I was fit to run the race, and with fingers crossed that all would run smoothly, I was off to get my race package.  It all went well, (although I think they suspected the Doctors certificate was bogus), and I was back in the car with race package in hand in about 15 minutes. We were now off to the hotel at La Defense, in rush hour, in the middle of Paris. Over 6 hours in the car, with a couple of key stops and the kiddies were holding up quite well.  The traffic was crazy…… it was Saturday night, and everyone was out and about on the Avenue des Champs Elysees.

Driving under l’Arc de Triomphe, we actually made it to La Defense in good time and with out any navigation problems – that is until we were “actually in” La Defense!  To say that we drove in a circle for 90 minutes would not be an understatement, it may have even been longer. With Darth telling us to ‘turn left’ when either the road was blocked, or where there was no road, we just kept ending up on this crazy circle, that would either take us back to Paris, or one of the out lying areas.  There are no signs to any hotels….. ANYWHERE!  We finally saw a Pullman hotel, pulled in, and asked directions.  They told Mike that the hotel was ‘right up those stairs’, and gave us directions once again…. ‘its simple, just go back out to the circle, exit right and it cant be missed!’.

……. we still couldn’t find it, and after all those hours in the car, little Syd had, finally had it as well!  Tempers were short, and I could no longer see the humour in the craziness we were in. I was ready to throw Darth and the Tomtom out the window.  I had had enough of “you have reached your destiantion…. the Emperor awaits”.  We FINALLY found the Pullman hotel agian and decided to park the car and walk up the stairs to find our hotel.  It was a bit of a hike to get to the Hilton (it wasn’t just up those stairs), but once there, Mike had the bellman walk back to the car with him and had the bellman drive our car to the hotel. And just so you know how hard it is to find your way in La Defense….. the bellman got lost driving ‘our car’, to ‘his hotel’ as well!

I had my race on Sunday morning, 10am. I’m pretty sure Le Equipe 10km is the Paris version of the Vancouver Sun Run.  I got directions to the start line from the hotel. I was to take the RER A train to the Gare de Lyon stop which I was told was a shot walk to the Bastille.  On the train I saw another person with a race number and I am so glad I did!  Once I got off the train it was a maze of exits, that would take you to all different points on street level. I followed my “guide” in “stealth mode”. It was a good thing he was wearing a red race shirt or I would have lost him a number of times!

It was great race weather, overcast with a breeze.  The rain started about 5km in, but I didn’t care as I was running on the streets of PARIS!  I think I finished in 1:03, which is no PB, but since I was stopping to take photos with my iPhone I’m pretty happy with the result!  Nothing beats running on the streets of Paris!

La Defense….. a beautiful, and Uber modern area of Paris.  The kids and I are heading there today….. by the METRO!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Paris here we come!

Race package pickup

The Bastille – race start

Entrance to the train/metro station at La Defense

On the RER A Line

The guy in red….. my unknowing “guide” to the race start. Thanks guy in red!

Not a bad place to start a race!

Start line street

Along the race route….. some random building……love it!

The result of so many racers!

Beauty at a street market

Our neighborhood for the 2 weeks in Paris

Hallway out of the building

4 rue l’Arc de Triomphe 75017 Paris

Love living in Paris!

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Germany – What’s Not to LOVE!

So I LOVE Germany!

I had never been there before this trip, and to say I fell in love with that country would not be an understatement.

Such beautiful countryside…. well what you could see anyway as you whizzed by at 150KM (or more) on the Auotbahns.  I was a bit nervous to drive in Germany, but our little Peugeot which had great “get up and go” was more than capable of holding her own with ALL the fancy beautiful cars in Germany.  NO ONE drives a beat up car in Germany….. I honestly mean NO ONE!  Everywhere you look its Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Bentley, Ferrari….. the list goes on!

I quickly got over my driving nerves, as everyone seems to know “their” speed limit and drives in the aproppriate lanes.  “My” speed limit was max 140km/hr…. Mikes was higher, so yes he got us there “faster”. It is crazy that you can be in you car driving at 160km/hr and be passed like you are standing still.  Some of those cars must have been doing close to 200km/hr.

The people in Germany were so nice. Everywhere we went we were greeted with smiles.  If they were holding doors for the kiddies and I (and the huge double stroller), helping to show us how to use an automated machine to pay for something, or helping to read a menu, the people we encountered on our day to day activities were always amazing.

The food was delish although we didnt eat German food everynight!  Brodie was pretty happy with his “hotdogs”, and both kiddies are pretty happy that they can get french fries. We had our last dinner in Heidelberg at a FANTASTIC Italian restaurant.

The Euro 2012 is on while we are vacationing here in Europe, and Germany is playing FANTASTIC!  Brodie and I have them pegged to win it all……

GO GERMANY GO!

Heidelberg….. a beautiful little town, that made a huge impression on me.

Germany – what’s not to love!

Enjoy you Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Looking across the Neckar River on our walk to “old town”

The family in one of Europe’s longest, outdoor, pedestrian shopping areas is in Heidelberg

My addiction…..  Mmmmmm….. so good!

Germany’s newest football fan #1

Germany’s newest football fan #2

Mikes speed…. crazy!

Brodies FAVOURITE German word!

Week one went FAST!

So the week in Heidelberg went super FAST!

It is such a beautiful town, and alot that it has to offer was all in walking distance from our hotel.  There were 2 visits to the Heidelberg Zoo, and 3 visits to the wonderful outdoor pool a block from the hotel.

Brodie and Syd are in LOVE with the ZOO….. so much so that we had to go twice just to see their favorite animal….. the Orangatans!  It really is a fabulous Zoo,(although I’m not the biggest fan of Zoos’) and over the 2 visits we managed to spend 9 hours there.  There are many animals, and exhibits to see, but the best part was the fantastic kids play area.  Both times we had lunch beside the lion exhibit, again, with an amazing kids “water park” play area.  The kids probably could have spent the entire day there.  I am sure the entire city of Heidelberg knows we were at the zoo, as the kiddies have been wearing their tiger masks non-stop since we bought them!

The outdoor swimming pool was also amazing.  It was the cleanest and well kept pool I have ever been in, with the cutest food stand.  The kids pool was super fun with little slides, water hoses, and a water pump and bucket.  It also had the best  assortment of kids teeter totters, “spin bowls” and springy horses in the grassy area.

The “Old Town” was within walking distance and on our last day I took the kiddies shopping…… a little bit for them…. a little bit for me!

Heidelberg is one of the oldest university town in Europe. It is an quaint little city, and EVERYONE rides a bike!

So glad that SAP has their head office so close to this awesome city, and that we could include a week there on our 7 week trip!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Lunch by the Lion Viewing and “waterpark”

All the following images are from my “run” through Heidelberg

We’ve Arrived

So getting to Europe with 2 kiddies was harder than I initially thought it was going to be.

Brodie and Sydney were great on the first flight from Vancouver to Montreal.  Sydney had a bit of trouble on the descent into Montreal but was fine once we landed.  We had a 3 hour layover which we thought would be great for the kiddies to run off some steam, eat, and get ready for the last flight from Montreal to Paris.

The little Miss had other ideas….. there was an incident as we were heading to the gate. It had to do with her not getting to put a stick of gum in Brodies backpack that sent her into a 45 minute meltdown.  I actually thought we were going to have to grab a room at the airport and catch the next flight out.  Brodie turned out to be the hero of the moment accomplishing what Mike and I could not do and help his little sister calm down and stop crying and bring her out of “it”. He is our new “secret weapon” against meltdowns!

The kiddies both fell asleep shortly after take off, and with fingers crossed I was hoping it was for the duration of the flight until we landed in Paris.  That dream came to an abrupt end when Syd woke up after an hour, and then procceded to wake her brother.  The rest of the flight was without incident until the descent into Paris…… Oh my……

Little Syd had the craziest of meltdowns EVER.  I doubt there has ever been a worse incident in the history of flight!  Lets just say that we are glad it is over, and that we have now decided to adopted a new parenting strategy with the little lady. If in 7 weeks we tell you that we wont be getting on the airplane, and that we are taking up residence this side of the pond, its because we just dont EVER want to go through that again…. EVER!  I also plan into buying some children’s Gravol while we are here…..just incase we need to get on another flight It might just put her to sleep for the part of the flight!

Once we landed, passed through customs, picked up all our luggage, “found” the car seats, we were off to get the car rental.  The car is awesome….I havent driven a standard in along time, and I forgot how much I LOVE driving standard.  Once we got the car packed and installed the car seats we were off on our 5 hour journey to Heidelberg.  Mike installed the Tomtom app on his phone and installed Darth Vader`s voice to direct us to our destination – Brodie LOVES it and laughs every time he gives us directions. The kiddies slept the whole way and Mike and I switched every so often so we could each catch a bit of sleep.

Driving in Europe brings back so many amazing memories from our last adventure here 12 years ago on our honeymoon….. I LOVE Europe….. it is such a special place!

We are settling to our 3rd night in Heidelberg and both kiddies are asleep.  Mike and I are drinking wine with Mike reading his e-book, all while I write this. The kiddies are adjusting to the jet lag and should be back to normal in a day or two.

Heidelberg is such a beautiful little town. The weather is great, and summer has arrived for us….. and we actually had to put on sunscreen.  Funny that we had to take 2 flights in order to find summer. Hopefully the weather will hold out as there is much for the kiddies and I to do outside.  Glad we are here till Satruday, so much to see, do, and shop…. not to mention Germany plays in the Quarter finals on Friday… the crowds will be out… as will we!  Go Germany Go!

Enjoy you Daily Dose

Xox

B.

The Start of meltdown #1

Go Germany Go!

Hello Heidelberg

 Afternoon break

Starwars follows Brodie EVERYWHERE!

Awesome 5 hours at the Zoo

My 2 tigers!

So happy to be in Heidelberg!