Writing… Damn…. Its Just so Much Fun!

365 days ago the Bain Clan was boarding a plane for a 7 week extended tour of Europe.

Today, while I sit in our Yaletown condo reminiscing about the time we spent away, I can honestly say that I LOVE our life living in Vancouver… 33 floors high in the sky, over looking the North Shore Mountains, English Bay and beyond. WOW! Seriously… what is NOT to LOVE!  But a huge part of me is still in Europe.  The amazing time we spent there as a family last summer is burned into my soul (Ha…. now how is that for dramatic….  I wonder where the Little MIss gets her drama from?!?)  I honestly wish we were heading to the airpot with our bags packed ready for another 7 weeks on the roads of Europe. Guess the planning for Summer 2014 will have to do for now!

I started this blog with the intention of just keeping friends and family up to date on our daily adventures while we were in Europe. Its funny how when you do something for one reason…… it can transform itself into something so much more than you ever thought it would.  Doing this simple little blog for our family and friends has done so much more for me than I ever thought it would.

The name for the blog…..Daily Dose of Europe, came to me during an afternoon run on the Vancouver seawall.  I had been thinking about the trip and all the questions I had been getting from various family members and friends on how they were going to stay in touch with us while we were away. “How will we know where you are?  What you are up to?” “Seven weeks is a long time… can you take pictures and send them to us?” Ect. ect. ect……  I had been thinking about doing a blog for a bit of time.  When the name came to me that day, I literally got home from my run, and, all wet from the rain, and sweaty from my run, I  went on the computer to see if the domain name was available.  I was super thrilled that it was. So FUN!

It was at this point, after I secured the domain that I thought….. “well I guess I had better learn a bit about WordPress BEFORE we go away as they will be no time figuring it out while we are in Europe”.  It was also about at the same time that I had decided to do weekly themed dinners with the family leading up to the trip.  It was perfect. I could learn about WordPress AND have my kids eat new foods! FUN!

After a couple of entries into the whole blogging world, I went for lunch with Ms V.  The blogger behind  www.anythingandnothing.com, and someone I had known since high-school. We went for a quick lunch to catch up on life.  During the conversation the whole blog thing came up and I was talking about how I didn’t really realize how much time it took to blog….. yada, yada, yada, (hey is that even a word?) and that I would probably just end up posting pictures daily from the trip while we were away.  Her response was that since I named the blog “DAILY DOSE” of Europe…. well I had damn well better do a daily post…. Hahahaha ….. I was definitely questioning my domain name choice!  😉

I managed to keep with my goal of cooking weekly themed dinners for the family, and blogging about them so I could learn WordPress.  The one thing I wasn’t really expecting to come out of this whole blogging thing, was that I was actually really enjoying the whole writing process. For some reason this was funny to me.

Now…… I was completely terrified the first time I hit the publish button on the blog.  Seriously…. I think I paced back and forth, all while looking at the computer and that damn publish button…..you have no idea how crazy this was for me! I first thought that I wouldn’t let anyone that  I knew, know that I was writing the blog.  I quickly realized how silly that was.  If you are writing a blog the WHOLE point is to have people (as many as possible) read your BLOG (share with your friends people!)  😉  As terrified as I was to have people who actually knew me, read my thoughts on random things….. I connected the publish button in WordPress to my Facebook and Twitter accounts and hit PUBLISH!  The first time I hit that button I secretly cringed, and broke out in a sweat…. I am happy to say that, that crazy feeling has long subsided.

An awesome feature about WordPress is that they track the stats of your blog. It was something I wasn’t really that interested in until I saw that people were actually reading MY LITTLE BLOG!  I love that I can see in what countries people have looked at my blog. I can also see what Google search terms have brought people to my blog.  Let me tell you some of the search terms are so funny!  I LOVE it… and makes me smile.

Since I started my blog on Feb 25, 2012 its been so great to see the site stats. Now….. I know that in the world of Blogging my stats don’t compare, but since I wasn’t really expecting that many… seeing it was pretty cool! I have had 2,629 views all time.  50 comments, and views from people all over this small world.  I had 1744 views in Canada, and 233 views in USA. France had 72 views, and Spain had 42 views. The list is long on countries, but so cool that people in Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Israel, Peru, Iceland, and United Arab Emirates have some how found their way to my little blog.

The search engine terms that directed people to my blog also make me smile. Sometimes it seems so random! Here are a few, with the number of times it was searched. Ha… yes Chef Fabrice Rossman, you were googled 3 times and it brought “who ever it was” to my blog. Anyway the google stats make me smile.

luz-saint-sauveur france in winter 5
dailydoseofeurope 5
barcelona gelato shop 4
mountain towns in france 4
carcassonne real chocolate 4
barcelona frank gehry 4
daily dose of europe 4
disneyland paris lollipop 4
schnitzel 3
carcassonne. 80’s love songs 3
hotel montmorency 3
fabrice rossman 3
barcelona building eyes 3
the little red tin 3
barcelona fish gehry 3
pierre hermes arc de triump 2
real chocolate carcassonne 2
paris metro+m1 2
chocolate olives carcassonne 2
tourmalet safety driving 2
mountain towns in europe 2
windsor meats 2
animated rainstorm 2
euro disney rides 2
kiddie tram 2
cafe mickey disneyland paris 2
lourdes pyrenees mountains 2
is it safe to drive to lourdes from barcelona through the mountains 2
awesome red doors 2
rue poncelet market 2
indoor dolphin show 2
top mountain town vehicles 2
funiculaire regulations of fencing 2
intent tomtom 2
chocolat veal carcassonne 2
we have been waiting for you the whole afternoon 2
tourmalet cheese 2
mickey mouse in europe 2
toll roads heading south in france
german football fan 1
disney store charles de gaulle 1
barcelona dolphin show 1
daily doise iod for children 1
daily dose of europe bain 1
my family travel blog 1
barcelona zoo luggage 1
pictures of kale chips 1
dailydoseofeurope.com 1
disneyland paris lineups 1
disney tickle 1
disney popcorn dumbo 1
sagrada familia 1
noodle panda paris 1
le tour de laundry 1
frank gehry daily life 1
we are the children – euro music from the 80’s 1
a daily dose of europe 1
who said i have been waiting for this my whole life 1
cave street carnival midi 1

So I didn’t make it do doing a “Daily Dose of Europe”…. *sigh*.  During our trip there were a lot of factors that contributed to this. One was that the days were busy and the nights we not what i imagined them to be.  There just wasn’t a ton of time from when the kiddies were asleep to when they would be waking up.  The internet was also not what I was accustomed to.  It was AMAZING when we had our apartment in Paris and had unlimited WiFi for all our devices all the time, but once we left there… well it was just ALOT harder to connect!

It was however, important to me to “finish” this blog.  I really wanted the kids to one day read back on all the fun and craziness that we had.

When we returned to Canada in August 2012, I did a post about “Le Tour de France (a month or so after it was over) and my good friend asked me when I would “FINISH” the blog.  My response was “before the kiddies start school in September”.  When he asked again in November I said it would be “before the end of the year (2012)”.  He quit asking…. however I could hear the question over and over again every time I did an update.  For me it is fitting that my last blog entry here is on the day we started our adventure, 365 days ago.  YES… I ended up half planning this, but only because it was a fitting end!

With the Bain Clan heading back to Europe in Summer 2014, there will be random postings here but probably not many till some time in 2014 as we build up to another grande adventure.

I have decided that I really like this whole writing process and plan to continue it on my newest blog Life and Laundry. I’m not 100% sure where that blog will go but you can bet it will focusing on my awesome family, Vancouver, and all the “daily” craziness we encounter!

http://www.lifeandlaundry.com

I hope to get that site up and running in the next couple of days…..  Check for me there

Writing… damn…. it’s just so much fun!

Enjoy your (not so) Daily Dose

Xox

B.

PS Hope to see you all in the stats on the new blog!  🙂

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It’s Small World…. Love it!

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Stats…. So fun!

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This happens ALOT from our window on the 33rd floor…. *SIGH*

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Hello Vancouver….. Seawall around Stanley = AWESOME!

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View…… 33rd floor!

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3rd beach picnic…  *LOVE*

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Yes… even this is AWESOME 33 floors up. Gotta love Vancouver and the rain! *LOVE*

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Thank You Tourism La Rochelle… Thank You!

We woke up La Rochelle, to mixed weather.  It was partly cloudy with a cool breeze, which would be prefect weather to spend the day walking around La Rochelle.  We made our way down for the breakfast buffet.  One thing I love about staying in European hotels is that breakfast is usually included with the price of your room and it is usually delicious. What a great way to start the day. Fresh baked bread, yummy jams, deli meats, amazing cheeses, and who could possibly leave out the pain au chocolat. 😉

We packed the day packs with everything we would need for touring around the city and headed out. La Rochelle is a small town, with pretty little shops and tons of restaurants.  We spent a bit of time shopping, and a whole lot of time meandering around neat little courtyards and side streets.  We eventually made our way out of old town and walked around the marina.

The plan for the day was to do a walk about, grab lunch, and then tour the towers that were the entrance way to the marina.  We found a cute little restaurant on the marina and sat down to a shaded table next to a retired couple from USA.  We chatted to them about their trip and ours. It was funny that while we were travelling in a clockwise direction they were doing almost the exact opposite to us.  At the end of our lunch we said our          good-byes, but not before they told us how well-behaved our children were.  Mike and I thought this was so sweet, and on the whole our kids are well behaved, but we sure chuckled once we left the restaurant knowing all the crazy meltdowns and episodes that had transpired before that day!

It was getting on in the afternoon, the clouds had parted, and it was becoming hot and muggy. I knew we might be pushing it with the little Miss by heading to the towers for a look around, since this is what we were here for…  off we went!

We arrived at the museum to a small line up to pay for admission. This is generally not a problem, but since we were lined up in a “gift shop” to pay for admission, I knew that something was going to go down….. and it was probably going to be Sydney!  True to form, and the time of the day, that little gift shop caused us the biggest headache.  Sydney’s little world now revolved around some random trinket that she JUST HAD TO HAVE! Uuugghhhh…. here we go people.

We managed to get the tour started with hopes that she would forget about said random trinket that she just HAD to have, but alas we were wrong! It was a tantrum to end all tantrums.  It actually ended my tour of the tower when I just had to get her out of the tower so she wasnt disrupting EVERYBODY’S  tour.  I had the sweetest english couple come up to me and told me that their 18-year-old daughter was “just the same” 16 years ago…. and told me not to worry about what people thought… and that the little Miss was just fine!  They helped brighten a dark moment that day with out a doubt.

Mike and Brodie continued the tour while I took the little lady outside so she could calm down.  In order to get her outside I had to pass through the very gift shop that was ultimately the cause of this very meltdown…. uuggghhh!

Now, I totally get the whole marketing to tourists, and getting people to part with their money for things that they “think” they need…. but seriously to have to walk through it twice! Thank you tourism La Rochelle… thank you!

Sydney finally tuckered herself out with the tantrum, and fell asleep as I carried her.  Mike, Brodie, and I ended up watching a boat festival while the little Miss slept.  She was in better spirits when she woke, and seemed to perk up a bit more at the thought of getting a bowl of yummy ice cream at a cool, little ice cream shop. I was just super thrilled to sit down and have a yummy cup of coffee. EnRoute back to the hotel we decided to stop at the carousel for “just one ride”.  Seriously… had we not learned ANYTHING from the days episode?!?  We did get the “3 ticket” special, and she rode twice.

We ended our day at the hotels outdoor pool since it was so smoldering hot outside.  After about 5 minutes at the pool the wind picked up, the clouds rolled in and we were hit with a surprise rain storm that sent us running for our room.

It was a crazy way to end a great (but partially) crazy day!

Enjoy your (not so) Daily Dose

Xox

B.

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Starting out the day just like how they ended off the night before…. side by side! *love*

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Looking from our room into the courtyard… love French hotels they have so much character!

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Out and About in La Rochelle

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Pretty La Rochelle

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Mike and the little man

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Me and the monkeys in the heat of the day.

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Lunch stop

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Pretty marina and shops

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The little Miss sat on EVERY ONE of those posts.

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Finally at the end…..

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…. to reach THE bIggest ice cream cone….. EVER!

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La Rochelle Tower

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biggest anchor EVER!

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Inside the tower

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Mr. Man

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Firing arrows or practicing his “Usain Bolt” moves

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That is one steep staircase

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Oh France… how I love you so!

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View from the top of the tower

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View from the top of the tower

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View from the top of the tower

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Mr. Man

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much. needed. sleep!

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still sleeping

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more superhero sightings

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Spidey is watching you!

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Fun retro dessert shop

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Loving the retro ice cream pics with the springy legs!

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Hey… it’s a carousel!

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The little Miss….

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Now just one more ride!

The Day Started in Spain

It was time to say good-bye to San Sebastian, our beautiful sandy beach and warm water.  We were in our last week of our extended holiday, and making our way towards Paris for our flight out later that week.  Our second to last stop before Paris was a small coastal town … La Rochelle.

After packing up our room and fitting everything into the car, we spent the morning at the Barceló Coast (ice-cold) pool, swimming, and soaking up the sunshine before having lunch and making our way north towards La Rochelle.

Funny thing about San Sebastian is that it is literally 20 minutes from the border into France.  Had we not had to pay a toll, I just may have totally missed even entering France….. it was that quick!

Our drive took us north on the A63 through one of the most famous wine regions in THE ENTIRE WORLD …. BORDEAUX.  I seriously had to laugh.  Here we were…… 4 of us in a car driving past some of THE most fabulous vineyards and wine in the world, without even the slightest desire to stop! HA…… Mike and I were on a mission (and with 2 kids 5 and under… I guess it was reason enough NOT to stop) get to La Rochelle….. QUICKLY!  Sigh…… the vineyards and wine of Bordeaux will have to wait for another trip!

It was about a 5 hour drive to La Rochelle from San Sebastian, and driving on the toll roads…. well……. it’s never a cheap day on the toll roads of Europe! We arrived late afternoon and were directed precisely to our hotel by Darth Vader and our trusty Tom Tom app on MIkes phone.  The hotel was super cute and was everything you would expect in Europe….. an old non-descript stone building, that once you entered, blew you away with all its loveliness!  There was nowhere to park on the tiny road that lead us to our fabulous hotel so we were parked half on the sidewalk. Had we been on our first week of the trip we would have totally stressed over the situation of “where to park”…. but after 6 weeks we were starting to  feel like locals and pulled “kinda off the road and half on to the sidewalk”…. It just seemed like the normal thing to do.

What a fabulous room we had. Mike had been booking a lot of our accommodations off of Trip Advisor, and this one, like all the rest, (the exception being Lourdes) did not disappoint. We looked into the courtyard and had a tiny view of the old town.  After the long drive we decided to get cleaned up and head out to investigate the town and find a yummy place for dinner.

La Rochelle is a pretty little town.  Tons of restaurants and shops in the old town with beautiful cobblestone roads and walkways.  Leaving the “gates” of old town, there was a great little night market, with tons of artisans showing their goods. We did a little walk about while looking for a place to eat with the kiddies.  There were so many amazing options. Walking along the street surrounded by all these amazing restaurants it was hard knowing after we looked at the menus that there was really nothing that the kiddies would eat…. Uuuugghhhh….. so frustrating knowing that we were missing out on some AMAZING food.  We had almost lost hope on where to eat when Brodie spotted a sushi restaurant.

If you know the Bain Family…. you know that we are addicted to sushi… kids included! Seriously… we go for Sushi every Friday (or Saturday) since the kiddies were born.  Sushi was not really something we had come across during our adventure, so with Brodie begging to go there for dinner, we went and got ourselves a table.

The restaurant (I think it was called Koi) was a funny one.  From the moment we arrived not one person looked happy or smiled.  Mike and I assumed it was because we had 2 kids with us, but as time passed on it was clear that the waitresses just were not happy people…… they were treating every table the same…. no smiles and just plain crabby!  I don’t really remember the sushi and if it was good or not, but I do remember being quite happy that the kids weren’t eating pizza or pasta! Since this trip I have noted that the kiddies will do well eating in Italy or Japan!

After our sushi experience we decided to do a walk about and look at the towns military towers that were so pretty all lit up.  Afterwards we headed over to investigate the night market that was happening just outside of old town.  As we were walking through the tree covered night market we heard a crazy squeaking sound.  It turns out that the trees covering the market were filled with bats just “hanging out”, and Brodie thought this was über cool.  After our bat experience we decided to hit an ice cream shop for a “before bedtime treat” and made our way back to the hotel for a good nights sleep.

It had been a long day of driving and the kiddies were holding up rather well given that the day started in Spain!

So much to do….. so much to see!

Enjoy your (not so) Daily Dose

Xox

B.

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Loved this hotel!

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Why must little Miss  always sleep perpendicular to me….. that girl does laps in her sleep!

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hanging poolside… topless of course!

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This pool was ICE COLD!

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Hello France (and toll booth)… we are coming!

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Bordeaux

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Bordeaux

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HAY… in Bordeaux

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Sunflowers…. in Bordeaux

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More Sunflowers…. in Bordeaux

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Shocking… another toll booth!

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Our Hotel…. SO AWESOME!

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Would totally stay here again… so great!

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NOT Super happy… its been a long day!

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La Rochelle…. Old Town

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Koi…. Interesting little Sushi Restaurant!

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Wanted to take home Kois’ Bar statue… she was so cool!

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Restaurant row at dusk… Old Town

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La Rochelle Tower

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Clowning around just outside “Old Town”

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After a long day…. chilling together!  *Love*

Sunshine and Sand

San Sebastian – Day 2

Well the predicted weather for our beach day was spot on!  Bright blue sun filled skies, and not a cloud to be found.  We packed up our beach bag with everything we would need for a full day of sun, sand, and surf.  We walked down to the beach with the usual stop at the little park near the hotel before continuing on our way to the beach.  The brief pit stop at the park and surrounded by trees we seemed to be unaware of just how hot and muggy it was becoming.  By the time we arrived at the beach it was smouldering hot.

It took us a bit of time to finally decide on a spot to park our stuff for the day.  The first spot was at the end of the beach, opposite to “Old Town”, where all the cabana and tents were. It was VERY crowded at this end of the beach and with the tide coming in…. well the water wasn’t quite as clean as it was the day before on our walk.  We made our way further down the beach, to a tiny cove, but again with the tide coming in we knew our little beach was short-lived.  We finally came to a spot where we had a bit of shade from the blistering sunshine, near the cement wall of the boardwalk. Given the heat sensitivity of both Brodie and Mike, it was the perfect location where we could frolic in the waves, play in the sand, and then hop into the shade for a break from all the beautiful sunshine.

A funny little thing about me is that  I don’t love sand. Well……honestly it is mostly Vancouver sand I’m not the biggest fan of.  I LOVE everything about Vancouver EXCEPT for the sand on our beaches. I love the sand on the North Shore of Oahu, all the sand we encountered in Australia, and now I can add the sand of San Sebastian to the list.  Wow.  The sand on La Concha was quite simply divine. I can almost still feel the silky grains of  golden sand right now.

We stayed at the beach ALL DAY LONG, playing in the waves, and digging in the sand.  There really was no better way to spend a sun filled day on the Basque coastline.

Enjoy your (not so) Daily Dose

Xox

B.

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Shaded area on the beautiful sand of La Concha Beach

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Not really into the sand quite yet.

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Digging a big hole…absolutely nothing better!

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Seeing if will survive the incoming tide.

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Little Syd….. unsure on waves and making a run for it.

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Quickly being washed away.

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Finally happy to be in the water

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Family….. Love!

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Finding some shade from the sunshine

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Mid day snacks on the beach

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Digging

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digging

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and even more digging

Keep Calm….. and Blog On

Soooooo…. to say its been awhile since I have blogged would seriously be an understatement.  What can I say……life just got busy.  Halloween, birthdays, Christmas, New Years, more birthdays. Then throw in an “almost broken” hard drive that I just didn’t want to deal with…… well you get the picture!  I have decided its finally time to finish our trip blog (after all, some people have been wondering how the flight home went with the little Miss).

So here goes…..

Keep calm

Now lets see just where DID I leave off…..

Day 2: Hop on Hop off bus tour.

It was another HOT cloudless day in Barcelona. We had our usual breakfast at the hotel, and then made our way to our bus stop for day 2 of our bus tour. I made sure that our hats were packed because I was determined to see Barcelona from the TOP of the open air bus.  With our hats (and full sunscreen) on, Barcelona did not disappoint. What amazing buildings! So beautiful with their “movement”, colours, and unique style.  My initial thought was  that we were going to do the full loop on this tour since we didn’t do it the day before, but those thoughts quickly evaporated as we came upon La Pedrera.  I decided in an instant, that it was worthwhile the kiddies got off the bus and saw this building up close and personal.

La Pedrera is just a stunning piece of architecture.  I know that to some people it is more than this, but since this is not something I have ever studied I will take it for what it is…. and that is a beautifully crafted building.  We got off our bus and made our way to the line to buy tickets.  The kiddies were less than thrilled to be waiting in line, so I promised them that there would be a gelato at the end of the “tour”.  As one waits in line, people come up and continually try and “sell” you things.  This one lady who worked at La Pedrera, thought she would inform me of my “tour” choices once in the building….. Ummmmm…. I’m with two kids under age 5.  There will be no 3 hour commentary tour, no 2 hour commentary tour, let alone a 1 hour commentary tour.  We are heading to the roof, with a tiny walk around and then down to the cafe for gelato…. but hey…. thanks for asking!

The walk up to the roof was great.  Brodie and I had a little game going and Syd followed in step for step (except when she wanted to be carried…. really little lady…. its like 100+ degrees).  We finally made it to the roof and we were not disappointed. The views of the city were great (we even saw the landmark Sagrada Familia that we were at the day before).  Brodie really liked the “stone soldiers” at the top, and Syd was just happy to hang with her brother.  We had some great photo ops, and then decided to make our way down for gelato and a much needed coffee.

On the way down they take you through the apartment that Gaudi once lived in.  This was super interesting until Syd saw a wooden rocking horse…. well all HELL broke loose. All she wanted to do was cross the “keep out rope”, and RIDE THAT HORSE from 1892 or when ever it was from! It felt like FOREVER trying to find our way out with a screaming Syd in my arms until a very nice lady told me I could take the lift down!  We made our way to ground level on the lift, but one now needs to walk through the GIFT SHOP to get out of the building…. of course!  I managed to get the kiddies through the gift shop with a small purchase of a “Gaudi 5 sided marker”, and into the cafe in record time.

The cafe was in the La Pedrera building so it was probably one of the most stunning cafes I have ever been to.  We were seated and ordered 2 chocolate gelato and an uber yummy coffee.  I remember thinking while we were sitting in that beautiful cafe, just how fortunate we were to be experiencing this amazing city around us and all it had to offer…… Sydney melt downs and all!

We ended up taking the hop on hop off bus line in the full loop. It was great to see the shopping districts and then make our way back to the hotel.  We got cooled off and chilled out on the “club floor” of the hotel, getting snacks and drinks before meeting up with Mike for a  picnic on the beach.

When we first reserved our hotels for the trip, I remember thinking that the kiddies and I would be at the beach in Barcelona EVERY DAY.  It was so close to the hotel…. I seriously was picturing beach AWESOMENESS.  Other than our first day walk around, we hadn’t been to the beach prior to this evening.  It was fun to bring dinner down with us, but for some reason I just wasn’t having the experience I was hoping for……. my expectations were high, and I guess were just not met.  The beach was busy and it just wasn’t what I had pictured Barcelona beaches to be.  The kiddies did have a TON of fun in the waves.  While Syd was totally apprehensive at first about getting in the water, she finally stripped off all her clothes (of course) and frolicked around with Mike and Brodie.  Brodie was having SO much fun jumping in and trying to ride the waves. I was pretty happy watching all of it unfold with my Nikon in hand, all from the safety of a dry towel, warm sand. We had a lovely evening being together on the beach but that was our one and only time spent on the Barcelona beaches.

It really was a great day…. Barcelona, Beaches, and My Family……seriously…. NOTHING BETTER!

Enjoy your (not so) Daily Dose.

Xox

B.

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Waiting for the tour bus

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Larger than life Usain Bolt

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All the beautiful buildings from our top of the bus view.

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Brodie called this the “Eye Ball” building…. we are watching you!

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Fun, but “hot” bus seats

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La Pedrera

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La Perdrera

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The walk up to the roof top…. Brodie was just a tad bit hot from all the Barcelona sunshine!

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Roof Top Beauty

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Looking towards  Sagrada Familia

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Stairway fun

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Our beautiful cafe/gelato stop

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Ceiling detail in cafe

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Mmmmmm……. Gelato (and amazing coffee), makes everything better!

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Stunning building near our hotel in the Diagonal Mar

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So lovely….. all the white against the blue sky.

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Picnic on the beach

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Syd was having NONE of it……

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Brodie was all in!

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Off comes the clothes

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Now she is loving the waves!

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My Princess…..

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…. with lashes that go on forever!

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Wave riding all evening

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Fun

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Looking down the Barcelona beach towards the W hotel

Hello……It Began in 1882!

We woke up in Barcelona on the Monday morning to what looked to be a smog filled sky.  Turns out the winds had shifted and were blowing the smoke from the fires around Girona into town.

We made our way to the busiest breakfast buffet EVER and began our day.  The plan was to head out on the street tram and head to the Barcelona Zoo – the last stop on the tram line.  The day was predicted to hot and muggy, so being in the shade, under trees, in the zoo, seemed to be a good option for the kiddies and I. Not to mention that the kiddies have been so SUPER excited by zoos in Europe, and all the animals that call them home.

The Barcelona zoo is MASSIVE.  So much so, that the brochure gives you routes for half the zoo one day the other half the next.  This freaked me out a bit not knowing what I was getting my self into since we were only doing the one day! However once we entered and made our route, I knew we would see all that we wanted to see and it wouldn’t take us 2 days!

Syd slept through a big part of the zoo in the stroller which gave Brodie and I some time to look at and chat about the animals we were seeing.  His highlights were of course the Orangutans, but he was also super excited to be seeing Owls, and learning about Bats.  The only big cat we saw on this day was the Cheetah, and much to Brodie’s dismay was just laying in the shade under a tree.

We stopped for lunch which turned out to be a bit of a gong show…. it took way to long for what it was.  It however turned out to be a nice reprieve from the bombardment of animal questions that was being thrown at me from the little man.  After we left our rest stop, we saw the line up for the dolphin show.  It took some convincing, but the kiddies decided that they wanted to wait in line for he show.  It was about a 45 minute wait, but as the show began Brodie turned to me and proclaimed “This is the best show…. EVER”.  Both kiddies were enthralled by the 2 dolphins being put through their routine.  The whole show was done in Spanish so while we couldn’t understand  a thing that was being said, but with all the jumps, and the splashes…. well the kiddies were throughly entertained and LOVED it!

After our full day at the Zoo we decided to head back to the hotel and hit the outdoor pool.  It was here that Brodie made fast friends with Ryan…… a boy on vacation from his life in Geneva.  The pool at the hotel was funny that there was no shallow end……it was the same depth end to end.  There was a really shallow kiddies pool, but everyone wanted to be in the deep pool given that is was warmer than the shallow kiddie pool (weird).  After about 2 hours of endless diving with Ryan, and seeing who could hold their breath the longest, it was time to call it a day and get cleaned up for dinner.  Brodie and Ryan made plans for a “pool meet-up” for the following day.

Tuesday in Barcelona saw us purchase a 2 day pass, and hop “on”, the Aqua coloured “hop on hop off” busses for a tour around town.  Our destination was Mount Tibidabo, to take in the views of the city and the amusement park at the top.  It was a hot and sunny day, and with no clouds in sight, I forgot the most important thing in the hotel room….. the kids hats! Uuugghhhhh….. no hats meant that with my über sensitive boy, who still had his heat rash,  we were sitting in the lower, covered (but air-conditioned) part of the bus.  We missed seeing a lot of the amazing architecture that first day, but we did hop “off” the bus at the astonishingly beautiful Sagrada Familia.

The Sagrada Familia is one of Barcelona’s most famous Antoni Gaudi architectural landmarks.  With that being said…. most famous or not….. I knew that the kiddies would never make it through a walk through of the building so we ended up just walking around it, taking a bazillion pictures and, commenting on just how beautiful it truly is.  Not to mention just how long it is taking to build….Hello…… it began in 1882!

Now sometimes hopping “off” the “hop on hop off” busses isn’t the best idea….. we lined up for about 35 minutes waiting to get back “on” a bus to take us to the Mount Tibidabo stop. It was at this stop that we would then hop on the Tramvia Blau tram, which would  take us to the Peu de Funicular, which would then take us to the top of Mount Tibidabo. Yes…….. it was a crazy day of transit!

The kids were having a blast, but were happy to finally get to the top of the mountain.  The views of Barcelona were absolutely stunning!  We honestly could see forever!  The amusement park was closed, but there was a carousel ride that was operating and a place to buy coffee and have a snack!  We would have stayed longer had the amusement park been open, but the kids were happy to ride in circles on the carousel overlooking Barcelona, and that was good enough for me!  We eventually made our way back to the bottom of the tram line and decided that we would take the metro back to the hotel.  The metro was pretty easy to navigate without any major problems until we got back to our stop…… now to decide which exit to take.  Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe… Yeah, we picked the wrong exit….. placing us farther from the hotel than needed… oh well, next time we would know!

It had been a long day to get back where we started from, so it was time to just chill.  Brodie was anxious to get to the pool and connected with Ryan…. they did have a plan for a  “pool meet up” after all.

Cooling off in the pool, after taking in a lot of amazing Barcelona sites was the best way to end our busy day! Oh my……thank goodness for our awesome pool!

Enjoy Your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Barcelona Zoo

Crusin’ at the Barcelona Zoo

looking a little thin… No?

Dolphin Show

Zebras!

Elephants!

Sagrada Familia

We didn’t buy the book!

We have arrived!

Super heroes follow us EVERYWHERE!

Crazy!

Our Hop on Hop off bus tour

My Little Man

Tramvia Blau Tram

Peu de Funicular

Our AMAZING view… Hello Barcelona!

Hey look …… it’s a carousel!

The top of Barcelona

Roof top pool and bar

Our fabulous sunset to end a fabulous day

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!