Peacocks, Rainbows and Our Next Ride

Paris Days 11-12

After the craziness that was Les Halles disaster I decided we would keep the day simple.  We would shop at our local street market (thanks for finding it Mike) on Rue Poncelet, for our dinner fixings, have lunch at the apartment with the kiddies, and then head to the little park that was 20 minute walk for an afternoon play.

We hit the Rue Poncelet market early and my eyes were bigger than my stomach – the food was so fresh, looked amazing and the atmosphere of walking around was honestly just the best. The kids enjoyed themselves looking at all the food. Brodie wanted the strawberries, and the cherry tomatoes. Now I’m not sure what it is about Europe and tomatoes, but they taste soooooo much better on European soil!  We made our way back to the apartment with everything we needed for dinner (and then some), and made lunch.

The weather was mixed, so after lunch we packed up the stroller (rain cover and all), and made our way to pick up a treat of Pierre Hermes Chocolate Macaroons, and make our way to the kids park. The macaroons didn’t make it as far as the park!

There always seems to be some type of apartment or road construction with every turn you take in Paris. I decided to take a detour to the park which had Brodie quite concerned that we wouldn’t find our way.  I love walking the side streets in Paris…. all the buildings are so AMAZING, with crazy beautiful detail, with gorgeous huge windows with shutters – I love it!

We finally turned the corner to the park where Brodie made fast friends with a boy about his age, with Syd tagging along in stride for stride.  When we first thought of doing this big trip, I pictured myself sitting at the park enjoying my time with the kiddies, meeting new people, and trying to have a conversation with the little french I know. Well, sadly, this was not the case. Each park bench had one woman sitting on it watching the kids play. No adults wanted to talk with each other. This is so different from what I am used to in Vancouver, where I pretty much chit chat with the moms/dads that are at the park  with their kids. I love watching kids hang together and play……. even with a language barrier, they find a way, and its awesome to see.

The kiddies had an amazing couple of hours of tag, spiderman climbing, and tons of sliding, with their new ‘friends’. The rain clouds rolled in, so the kids hopped in the stroller, the rain cover was engaged, and we made the trek back to our apartment.

Friday was our last ‘full day’ in Paris……. (nooooooooo!) So another trip to Jardine d’Acclimatation for the day was planned, and then we were going to go and meet Mike at the SAP office, and head out for dinner.

The weather didn’t look as great as the previous trip, so we decided to pack our jackets and go ‘stroller-less’ for the day, since we didn’t want a repeat of a rush hour train ride with a stroller. We hopped on the metro, but once again, we got turned around at street level.  I don’t think the trains are the hard part of the Metro….. its figuring out where you`re going to pop up once you hit street level and knowing your way from there. That definitely seems to be the hard part.

We did find our way with Brodie asking “Mom do you know where you’re going?”  “maybe we should go this way”, “maybe its over there”.  We took the little train into the park, and immediately hopped on the Enchanted River Ride. Syd was not so impressed, since I think she was a bit scared of the mist, but she got over it once the ride was over and she was looking in all the distortion mirrors. Now, the best ride of all was the horse racing ride. We only got to go on it once since the rain started to fall when we were in line for our second ride, but it was a super cool ride – the kids loved it, and Syd loved that she was chasing Brodie.

The rain in Paris is different than in Vancouver. Since there are no mountains for the clouds to get stuck on and socked in, it generally passes pretty quickly. So when it started to rain, the three of us parked under a tree to let it pass and stay dry. After about 5 minutes the sun was peaking out between the clouds and we were on the hunt for peacocks, rainbows, and our next ride. Brodie wanted to hit the trampolines, so away we went to that part of the park. An interesting thing I am noticing about Paris (and maybe France), is that there are TRAMPOLINES in almost every park we have been in, with kids bouncing away.  There was a lineup, so Brodie decided his last ride would be the horse race ride, if it was back up and running since the rain, or the river ride. With the black clouds building, we ended up back on the river ride, which in turn made us miss the little train out of the park and back to the metro. Now we were running late getting to Mikes office, and the start to our last evening in Paris.

Getting off the Metro at our regular stop, the rain started. Big, huge, massive rain drops that started slowly. We made our way to a tree which had about 6 people under it to stay dry and wait out the rain, before continuing on our way.  After about a minute the rain really started to come down. Rain like I haven’t seen in ALONG time! The skies opened and it was dumping buckets of rain. We waited another couple of minutes but by this time Syd was shivering, and we were all starting to get really wet. There was RIVERS of water flowing down the street, and it was raining even harder. I could barely hear Brodie talking over the sound the rain was making. We decided to make a run for it to the apartment. We were gonna get soaked but it was better than shivering under a tree that was no longer keeping us dry. The kiddies seemed scared at first till we started running and laughing through the rain, racing from building to building. We were soaked and people were looking at us like we were crazy….. it was awesome!  We got to the apartment, every inch of us drenched, the kids hopped in a warm shower and we awaited Mike to come home.

Our last night in Paris was not what it should have been. Syd should of had a nap (mistake #1) and we ended up at a restaurant out of our neighborhood (mistake #2).

Syd had a meltdown of EPIC proportions, so we ended up back at the apartment after a rushed meal that wasn’t great. Uuuuggghhhh! I felt bad for Brodie since it was his last night in Paris too, so I sent Mike and Brodie out, while I hung with the crabby little Miss. Brodie ended up taking Mike on his own little tour of the Arc de Triomphe. That was sweet.

It wasn’t really how our last night in Paris was suppose to be, but it looks like we may have a ‘do over’ since we have to return the rental car to our old ‘hood.  This time Syd is gonna have an EPIC nap before we go!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Our market on  Rue Poncelet

Our new Favorite!

M1 Metro line – La Defense

Little train to the park

Enchanted River

the covered mist

funny mirrors

One of the many peacocks walking around the park

 

Awesome horse race ride

 

Giddy up!

Crazy Paris rain storm

Hiding under a tree near our metro stop

The Family in the window

Our fabulous apartment

Our front step

 

….. and we were in PARIS!

Paris Days 8-10

With week one and the majority of sights to be seen – seen, week 2 in Paris was about just living day to day in our “regular life“ routine.  There was no real plan of things we had to do or see.

On the Monday we decided to head to the oldest Zoo in Paris at the Jardine des Plantes.  Both Brodie and Sydney have been infatuated with Zoos’ ever since Heidelberg and I thought it would be a great outing for the 3 of us. We made our way to the stop on the metro, but got a bit turned around once we surfaced, however we finally made our way. It was pretty hot and humid that day so Syd fell asleep in the stroller, while Brodie and I toured around looking at all the animals, and since the zoo had Orangutans, Brodie was especially happy!  We made our way to the reptile area of the zoo, Syd woke up and was excited to see the turtles and the crocodiles. When it was time to continue on our way, we made our way to the metro for only 2 stops since the person I asked for walking directions gave me a real funny look and said it was much too far to walk to  Île Saint-Louis and Berthillon Ice cream.

Sooooo …… Berthillon ice cream was closed by the time we got there, however….. all the shops on the Island sell their ice cream, so the kiddies were none the wiser, all while eating their cones of delicious Berthillon ice cream! Syd had her usual daily meltdown over nothing, in the most unusual place, and this one was on the Ponte Marie as we were leaving the island bound for the metro…. sigh!

Tuesday we decided to hop the Metro to Jardin d`Acclamition.  It is a kids amusement park that has been open since October 1860……. craziness, right…. anyway the kids and I had a blast! There are all these different play areas. some with just crazy swings, some with just an entire rope fort, and rope bridges (Brodie got his first rope burn when another little boy “bounced” him off the rope bridge).  Our favourite part of the park was the Enchanted River ride – it is a man made river and big wooden boats, that take you along the cutest little route, with stone crocadiles and alligators. Syd was scared of the “covered mist”, but it sure felt great in the heat! There was also the most awesome horse racing ride with carousel sized horses that went bouncing along a railing. So. Much. Fun. Seriously!

There was also a small train that went through the park and dropped off close to the metro station. The kids and I loved this. We spent longer in the park than I thought we would, so we hit rush hour on the M1 line back to our stop at the Charles de Galle -Etoille. It was crazy busy, we even waited for 2 trains just to see if it was going to get any “less busy”.  On the third train I decided we just needed to squish our way in…… 2 kids, myself and a folded up double Maclaren stroller.  I had 2 guys that were so awesome helping hold the stroller while I held on to Syd, Brodie, and the pole so I didn’t go flying.! It was super stressful but we made it to our stop.

The weather was mixed on the Wednesday, the kids were tired so I thought it would be good to walk to the Disney store on the Champs de Elysees, and then it would be onwards to Les Halles park which I read was THE MOST AMAZING PARK for kids. The store had the greatest Spiderman display, and it was on Brodies must go and see list, since he saw it from Les Cars Rouge the week before.  We got to the store and it was Spiderman from top to bottom – Brodie was in heaven! “Can I get this….. no…… how about this…… no, no maybe this”. Brodie settled on a set of Spiderman PJ’s and has worn them just about everyday since!

Both kids were tired so I decided I would walk to Les Halles park and let them snooze in the stroller. I knew it would be a long walk and was prepared for it since they both needed sleep.  It really WAS a long walk…… at one point I thought I must have missed the Rue de Louvre. I finally found my way to Les Halles, after an hour and a half, of pushing a double stroller, with 2 kids asleep, and mostly on cobblestones, in the 25+ degree weather – just to find out the park was under a major renovation, and had been since 2010. I now had 2 well rested kiddies that wanted to run and play, and no park to do it in!

All was not lost for me this day…. upon finding Les Halles was closed I found a cafe for an afternoon coffee with the kiddies that was right across the street from the only store I wanted to shop in in Paris……… E. Dehillerin.  A cook shop that 12 years earlier I bought my first and only copper pot.  It is the oldest cook shop in Paris, and it was on my list to add more copper pots to my collection.  We made our way to the store, and I knew the pots I wanted to buy, so that part was pretty easy…… getting our purchases paid for, (wow…… a whole lot of paperwork) and “wrapped” on the “wooden table”, well that was a whole other process.  Now I probably would have loved this whole process if I didn’t have 2 kids that just slept and needed to run!  It was a painful 25 minutes, trying to keep the kids interested (and under control) while we finished the purchase of the pots!

We left the store with the intent of getting on the metro, and going to a little park that was near our apartment. The Les Halles metro station is CRAZY (once you finally make your way through the underground mall). We were going to hop on our regular M1 line but with the experience of  rush hour the day before, fresh in my mind, I decided we would take the RER line. The RER line is only  2 stops to our Charles de Gaulle – Etoile stop, and is less crowded. All was going well…… the train arrived, tons of room, and was super fast being it was only 2 stops. We were making some good time – well that is until we needed to exit! We were doing fine…. following all the Sortie signs, when all the signs just stopped, and there were more pay stations that we needed tickets for. The other problems was having to get the stroller through, all while keeping the kids together and in control.  All that precious time we made up on the train, we lost trying to get out of the station and back to street level.

After all that I was finally at the end…. it was almost 5, the little park that the kids now wanted to go to was another 20 minute walk, and I just didn’t have it in me after trying to get out of the station. The kids were disappointed, but didn’t put up much of a fight, and home we went.

This was probably my only real “off day” in Paris, but looking back on the day, Brodie got to see his Spiderman display and he picked up some pretty awesome PJ’s that he loves.  I bought two new copper pots that I love and cant wait to cook in……. and we were in PARIS! Life is good!

 

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

I would never tire of seeing this every morning!

At La Menagerie at Jardine des Plantes

The kiddies FAVORITE at the zoo!

Second stop for the day.

Someone is enjoying their Berthillon Ice cream!

 

Jardin d`Acclamition

 

Awesome “hammock swing”

 

rides rides …… everywhere we go!

 

Rope Fort for ages 6+….. she must be advanced   😉

 

Spiderman has joined us on our adventure (before the rope burn)

 

Oh yeah….. advanced for sure!  😉

 

the kids parks totally rock in Paris!

 

Look…… its SPIDERMAN!

 

Hello FAVORITE store in Paris!

After the gong show in the underground!

 

 

Wow – I Actually Just Typed That

Paris days 4-7

So after over a month of hyping up the Egypitian artifacts at the Musse de Louve, I had to dissapoint my little man.  We woke up on Thusday SUPER excited to see all that the egyptian artifacts, but by the time we arrived at the museum the line was HUGE! I honestly didnt think it was worth a 2+hour wait for both kids, in 25 degree C (plus humidity),  just for what could actually be a big only 5 minutes of fun for the little man! I talked with Brodie, and he didnt seem to mind too much, so off to the fountain to float boats we went. I had heard that this was SO MUCH FUN for kids….. well maybe for all of 5 minutes. I totally understood when he said he wanted to return his “pushing the boat stick“. Upon returning the stick the guy said we could come back, free of charge, since we didnt use our full time. This was a really nice gesture on his part…….but the whole ‘boat in the fountain thing’… well……. it was REALLY  boring.  We ended up back at the amusement park with the Wheel of Paris off the Rue de Rivoli and had a great day, naps in the double stroller were involved, and we caught the metro (M1 La Defense) home.

On Friday morning I woke up to receive some sad news about my Oma…… but also to the event that the little lady was turning 3 in Paris. Seriously…… who is lucky enough to turn 3 in Paris! Mike says  ‘all the kids that live here’ (sometimes…… seriously…… he is just too damn logical). Syd REALLY wanted McDonalds for her birthday, so I thought a trip on the Metro to La Defense was in order.  The McDonalds in France is CRAZY.  Not only is it super busy but it is SUPER AWESOME…… Wow….. I cant actually believe I just typed those words. Chef friends…… go easy on me for this one…. remember I have two kids under the age of 6 with me!

Yes…. it was CRAZY busy, but, they had automated machines that you could ‘pre-order and pay for’ (which we did) and then hit a totally differnt line up to pick up your food. Now this is not where the awesomeness ends (still cant believe I am saying this), but they have a ‘salad bar’ which you can order from and build your own salad.  The McCafe, which I am sure equals most places on a quick coffee also offered pain au chocolate, macaroons, and other pastry sweets – seriously….. they looked great!  I ordered a McWrap that was lettuce tomatoes and goat cheese. When I opened the package I was seroiusly happy with what I saw….. the tortilla wasnt this pasty white crap they serve in Canada. There was some real substance, with the nice green leaf lettuce and tomato slices…… hahahahaha…… I  still cant believe I’m writing this about McDonalds – seriously ……. shoot me now!  The little lady turned 3 and was most happy with her birthday lunch……hahahahaha……as was I!

Syd has been so excited by the Eiffel Tower ever since I received a tiny photo magnet  in my stocking from Santa at Christmas. She would randomly talk about the tower and climbing it, going to the center, and to the top. Well we took her to the tower on Friday night to continue celebrating her 3rd birthday.  It was a beautiful warm night in Paris…. and it was a perfect night to climb the tower! We couldnt actually go all the way to the top since one of the elevators was broken and you needed to make a reservation months and months in advance just to get a ticket, so we walked up to the first and second levels, and admired all the views.  We ended up on one of the side streets near the tower for a  birthday celebration dinner and Syd was on cue with her nightly meltdown over absolutely nothing….. sigh!

On Saturday we made our way to Versailles by Metro and RER train.  Me, now being the new“expert“ on navigating the metro and trains, picked our route.  Just when you think you have something down, and you totally understand how it works, you realize that you really are just a visitor to the city and you dont quite know all the ins and outs of the metro system! Well my mistake cost us about 40 EXTRA travel minutes (damn)…. and when they speciffically paint yellow feet  on the pavement saying `shorter trains this way`….. follow those yellow feet… your train is most likely gonna be a `shorter train` and then you wont get caught in the doors are you are lifting the stroller on board (ouch)!

Versailles was so, so busy, but was  breath taking to see in person… unbelieveable actually! I managed to get caught up in another line that I DIDN’T need to be in….. sigh, but thank goodness it was only about 35 min, but unfourtunatlly more time was lost! We finally found our way to the gardens and walked around the whole afternoon admiring the fountains, statues, taking in all the beauty.  We caught a late afternoon snack in the sunshine, before blindly jumping on a train we hoped we were bound for Paris! Our guess paid off and we made it back to our little home in the big city!

The weekend was going to be Mikes only weekend off in Paris with the kiddies so we headed to Trocadero Fountains (euro 2012 fansite – so no fountains for us) for the view of the Eiffel tower. The aquarium is right in the same park so we decided to go as Brodie was super excited to see the sharks swimming around. After the aquarium, Syd finally got her ride on the Carousel of Paris. It is the double decker carousel near the base of the Fountains-Fansite and an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower.  The carousel was so beautiful and every detail was amazing.

We ended our day riding the Batobus floating along the Seine. It is a hop on hop off boat tour along the Seine that stops near 8 major city attractions. We hopped off at the Notre Dame Cathedral for a late afternoon snack, before hopping back on, and finishing our ride past some of the most amazing and iconic architecture and monuments in the world.

It was just another day in Paris…… sigh. I LOVE PARIS!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Outside the Musee de Louve

Happy BIrthday Little Lady

Our favorite metro line….. the M1

The Grand Arch – La Defense

At the Golden Arch for lunch – La Defense

Automated Order lines

Look who is turning 3

The Metor ride `home`

 

 

The Birthday princess walking down `her` tower

Birthday girl with her `macaroon `birthday cake!

 

Train to Versailles

our shorter train

 

 

 

 

 

A nice spot for an afternoon snack

Syd is LOVING her Pomme Frittes

The end of a busy weekend

 

 

Turn Left at the Noodle Panda

Days 1-3 in Paris

On June 24th we left La Defense, drove through the rain, and found our little side street off the Av. Mac-Mahon, in the 17th adr. in Paris.  It is about 3 blocks from the Arc de Triomphe, and the entrance to the Metro.  Our official address in Paris is 04, rue de l’Arc de Triomphe. It is the cutest little apartment on an awesome little street with great shopping and little cafes all around us.  We are so close to everything we need…… and almost everything we need is at the Monoprix.  The Monoprix is a small version of a Superstore, and you can find groceries, wine, clothing, and everything else in between. It has taken me a little bit to get used to shopping everyday for groceries.  Our fridge is so small that we make a trip to the Monoprix almost every morning….. it has become part of our daily ‘Parisien’ routine.

Waking up in our new ‘home’ was amazing. It was my first full day in Paris, with just the kiddies as Mike was off to work.  I decided to keep it low key so I could ease myself into Paris.  First thing – we HAD to hit the Monoprix. Since everything is closed on Sunday (thanks Valeria for the heads up on the crazy shopping hours – though I still wasn’t prepared), we had nothing….. no food, no clothes soap, and NO WINE! Once we got back to our home, and I made the kiddies lunch, we headed out to walk the Av. des Champs Elysees in  search of the ‘Wheel of Paris” .  Both kiddies fell asleep in the stroller and I stopped at a Cafe for some much needed caffeine.  We ended up at an amusement park off the Rue de Rivoli, beside the Jardin des Tuileries.  It was here that I heard someone call out my name.  It’s weird to hear your name called out when you least expect it…… and to say I least expected it in Paris is an understatement!  The person calling out was one of my old chefs from Vancouver…… Mr. Claudio P. It was fitting that it was Claudio, because I ALWAYS seem to run into him in the most unexpected places and times….. Paris so far takes the cake on unexpected places!  The kiddies and I had a great day riding rides and the Wheel of Paris topped the day off!

To say that Brodie has been an amazing trooper during our sight seeing adventure would be an understatement. On our second day in the neighbourhood we decided to go and see the Arc de Triomphe. We walked all around the bottom, watched the cars drive by, and admired the burial site of the unknown soldier.  Syd was especially interested by the fire that was burning there, and didn’t want to leave the site.  We then bought our tickets to the top and when we went to walk up the 284 stairs to the top, we were offered to take the elevator. Brodie said “no thank you, I want to walk up”….. and with that we were off. Syd got the best end of the deal as I carried her until the last 10 steps, when she said she wanted to walk.  Both kids loved the views….. Syd was most interested in the Eiffel tower view, and Brodie was super interested in the La Defence view, and I was just so happy to be in that exact moment, soaking it all up with my kiddies…..mini Syd meltdown on the top of the Arc and all!

On our third day we decided to buy a 2 day pass on the sight seeing buses ‘Les Cars Rouge’.  The first day was great. We got off at the Palais de Chaillot and the Jardins du Trocadero, to admire the Eiffel Tower and have a quick snack on the lawn under a tree.  We then hopped back on our ‘le cars rouge’ and got off at the stop for the Notre Dame Cathedral.  It was hot, humid and the kiddies were tired.  The lineup to get into the cathedral moved very quickly. We lit a candle for my Oma, walked around and admired the stained glass windows. Syd needed a bathroom break, I needed a coffee and Brodie proclaimed he was hungry, so we left the cathedral, and found a great little pizza place for lunch.  Once we were recharged it was time to hit the cathedral, climb some stairs, and go visit the gargoyles atop the Notre Dame.  I walked around the side and couldnt see a line up for the top. There was a sign that you needed a ticket past that point but couldnt find out where that was.  I asked the guy letting people up the stairs of the proceedure and he informed me it was about an hour wait to get a ticket then about another 45 minutes after that. I said “Oh….. OK”  and while carrying Syd, I looked at Brodie and was going to tell him that we were gonna have to come back another day, when the guy asked if it was just the 3 of us. I said yes and he opened the rope and told us to have a good climb!  It was the nicest thing EVER….. I could have hugged him! He saved us 2 hours in line, and I didn’t have to disappoint Brodie.

The top of the Notre Dame gives some great views of Paris.  Both kiddies loved the gargoyles. Syds favourite was the elephant, when you looked down the centre along the  back side of the Cathedral.  At the very top, it was Brodies turn for a mini meltdown.  All those stairs finally took its toll on the little man, and I wasn’t sure we would ever make our way down.  I am happy to say we eventually did and it didn’t take as long as I thought it would.  After a full day we finally made our way back to the Arc de Triomphe and Av. Mac-Mahon.

On our first day walking down Av. Mac-Mahon from the Metro, I got a bit confused on where we were to turn to get to our street. When we came upon the Noodle Panda I remembered that that was were we were to turn, and proclaimed “oh yeah….. we turn left at the Noodle Panda”. This has now become our catch phrase every day as we head ‘home’ from the Metro. Both kiddes, usually laughing say “there’s the Noodle Panda – turn left”.

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Love our ‘Home’ for 2 weeks.

our awesome red door – love the door handle!

Hallway leading to the street

 

Wheel of Paris

View from the Wheel of Paris

 

view from the Wheel of Paris

Batman car at the amusement park

In the neighborhood at l’Arc de Triomphe

The Princess and her tower (dental floss and all)

I have felt like this on more than one occasion so far in Paris

La Defense and the Grande Arch in the distance

Hopped ‘off’ Les Cars Rouge. Photo compliments of Brodie!

Hopped ‘on’ Les Cars Rouge for a quick drive by.

Remember to turn left at the Noodle Panda

My Oma

Today was Sydney’s 3rd birthday but it turned out to be a day of mixed emotions for me. I found out when I woke up that my Oma had passed away.

My Oma took a bad fall about a month ago and just couldn’t recover.  She was in palltative care for the past 9 days so even though I knew the end was near, it really didnt make the news any easier.

While I was out and about with the kids today I thought alot about my Oma and all that she meant to me. Here are a few memories that stand out for me.

~ Walking through Leif Erickson park when I was about 4, she had THE LARGEST GRASSHOPPER on her pants.  I freaked – she laughed!

~ She grew the most amazing garden at her house on Ave O in Saskatoon.  It was HUGE and AWESOME!

~ She  grew the most amazing Peonies all around her house.

~ She was the greatest baker.  She had a sweet tooth. Her peanut butter cookies were THE BEST!

~ she loved to freak me out as a kid by wiggling her false teeth.

~ She was an amazing knitter, though it took me FOREVER to realize this. She was my inspiration to learn and she helped fix many of my mistakes.

~ She loved Hawaii….. everything about it!

These are just a few quick memories of a woman that I loved very much. A strong woman that came to Canada as a war bride from Rotterdam, and made a life for her family in Canada.

Today I bought a bunch of Pink Peonies….. they remind me of my Oma. In the store Sydney brought me a bunch of pink Gerber Daisies and said “for my Oma”.  Looks like we have a new tradition of mixing pink peonies and pink gerber daisies together to celebrate, and remember two strong and independant women. Two women that I love so very much!

Happy Birthday Sydney…. I will miss you Oma.

Xox

B.

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!

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!

So…… I can’t sleep!

OK…. so I can’t sleep!

So upto now I have been pretty methodical in my approach to getting ready for our trip.  You know……getting things in order, not really thinking too much about the days or number of hours till we leave, and how long we will be gone for (…..yikes 50 days) ect, ect, ect. I was doing pretty well until tonight.  Tonight that is, until while getting ready for bed, and brushing our teeth, Mike turns to me and says with a great big grin “38 hours…. no…. it’s less than 32 hours till we leave!”  “Make sure you get some good sleep…. its gonna be a crazy long day with the kids….. 5 hours to Montreal.  3 hour layover. 5 hours to Paris. 5 hour drive to Heidelberg”.

Ok I knew all of this but…….

Wait …. WHAT…. OMG…. REALLY!

Yes its gonna be one crazy travel day for the Bain family!

With that said, I think I was doing pretty well, since I had today planned for my packing day for Brodie and I.  The suitcases were brought out of storage almost a week ago, and they were ready to be filled.

I placed all that I thought Brodie would need for about a weeks worth of clothing (all types of weather conditions were thought of) on his bed, and did the exact same thing for my clothing.  Now on a friends advice, I left it there so I could come back to and see if it could be pared down…… Hahahaha …. not a chance could it be pared down (but thanks for the advice Ray)!  I actually added things! Uuuuggghhhh!

As of tonight, I would say that Brodie and I are at about 90% packed and ready to go.  Mike says not to worry…. and that “this is the most prepared we have EVER been for a trip!”.  So that brings me to not being able to sleep…. my mind is racing on things I may be forgetting, and things I wanted to get done before we left and now have a slim (now read NO) chance of getting done!

I’m not sure how, this trip, that we have been talking seriously about since September, is now less that 32 hours away!  I actually wish we were already on the plane because I then could stop thinking about everything I “need” for this trip!

Come on Friday 9:00am……. I just need to get on that plane….. If not just so I can finally relax, sleep, and forget about everything I “need” for this trip!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Ha…. not all this is coming with us… we just needed options!

All set and ready to go… on this end anyway!