Traveler’s Log

Heading westward in southern France towards the end of our incredible European adventure has me thinking upon a few things.  Our travels have taken us 13,000 kilometers and we have stayed in 17 different places, including, apartments, villas, homes and hotel rooms. By the time our trip ends, in Lisbon, Portugal, we will have stayed in 24 places and have traveled close to 20,000 kilometers (12,000 miles).   My kind husband is becoming quite tired of loading and unloading the car (34 times so far and this does not count our trip in California before we left for Europe along with packing up our whole house into storage).  Sometimes we are parked close to where we are staying and it is easy, but other times we have hauled our bags down the side of a mountain, through busy city streets, and up several long flights of stairs.  I have to say that this packing and unpacking is the worst part, even though, at times, we are ready to try our next location, it can get pretty tiresome.  We have all become professional packers though, and I really am proud of how little the girls complain as they resign themselves to the task at hand.

trip so far

With staying in so many different places we have had to get use to lots of different kitchens and lots of different beds.  I do appreciate nice cooking utensils and appliances, it really makes a difference.  We have learned a lot of what works and what doesn’t for vacation rentals…

We will have gone to the supermarket in 10 different countries.  The most unusual market so far has to be in Prague.  We have had to really rely at times on the pretty pictures on the packaging in order to have the slightest idea of what might be inside.

One of the most useful tools we have used is the translation app on my iPad  this has come in handy when having to read cooking instructions in Czech…  Also, a very handy app, has been the conversion app on our iPhone.   Whether being used for temperature (cooking or weather) distances, weights or currency, it has been very helpful. We have used the Euro, the British Pound (GBP), the Czech Koruna (CZK), and the Swiss Franc (CHF).  Hopefully helping our girls to build good math skills in the meantime.

The most memorable gift from our travels, along with all the incredible places we have seen, the time we have spent together as a family, and the food, has to be the wonderful people we have met.  We have met lovely people all over Europe.  It really has helped to make our experience so special.  With the language barrier being very tough as times, these connections with people have helped us so much to enjoy and understand the places that we have been.  It gives me such faith in humanity…there are good people everywhere!

Well, I must sign off as we have to go and pack…

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Oh Dear Prague

I have to be honest and say Prague was not my favorite city.  I did not connect to it like I was hoping.  We were really looking forward to seeing this city that we had heard so many great things about, so we were quite disappointed and had one of the toughest weeks of our journey so far.  It is inevitable that this would happen and so we persevered and kept on.  I think a lot of lessons were learned this week.  Maybe it was just the timing that was off, as it was cold and grey outside or possibly our experiences with not so friendly locals, filthy streets and smoke-filled restaurants and cafes or maybe just even the apartment we rented which was dirty, missing essential items and had mostly chipped and broken dishes.  I think it was a combination of it all that just left us with an unfavorable impression.  I will not let this one time experience completely dismay me from ever returning though, as I imagine another experience might be totally different.  Although, I am not sure I would recommend Prague for families, as it is not the most kid-friendly town with it’s Las Vegas touches, in the casinos and “girls” and there is just not a lot for kids to do there.

The Old Town is wonderful architecturally but the tacky tourist shops are one too many.  It is the architecture of the city though, that was my absolute favorite part and makes me want to return under different circumstances.  The city was virtually untouched during the World Wars and so it’s architectural history spans 1,100 years.   You can see Romanesque churches, along with Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neo-Classical and Art Nouveau designed buildings.  There are also many buildings that were built during the communist rule (Functionalism) which is such a contrast to the other architectural styles, it is very interesting.  The city is truly a museum of architectural history.

There are wonderful places to hear classical music, affordable nice restaurants and really really affordable beer.  Incredibly the beer was always the cheapest item on our bill, my daughters’ hot chocolates were more expensive!

I do hope that I can return and give Prague another try one day, preferably without kids and on a warm sunny day where the Vltava River might glisten in the sun with the Charles Bridge in the background, ahhhh!  That I would like!