We started planning our trip a year ago. Yes, you read that right. A year ago. We talked, narrowed our list down, finally decided on our cities and then began our research on each city and what we wanted to do and see as well. Truthfully, I wanted to see much more of Europe. But we only had two weeks. I had planned for the trip to overlap with the kids’ spring break. This was best as it meant Kenny only had to work around the kids’ school schedule for one week. In the end it worked out wonderfully for him and I’d highly recommend this to any other parents who plan on taking a trip during your kids’ school year. A LOT of planning, I mean LOTS including pre-cooking and freezing meals, but it was definitely all worth it. (Don’t want to re-do that anytime soon, though)
I’m going to tell you right now (before I get into our trip details) that research, research, research definitely paid off for us. But you must remember that no matter how much you plan, do be prepared for the unexpected. Oh yeah, you’ll hear about that soon enough. Use the travel forums, they’re your friends. My favorites were definitely TripAdvisor and Fodor’s. TripAdvisor even has an app for your iPhone. That was very useful to use on our trip. In addition, I downloaded the mTrip app for Paris and Daisy & Mother got the Rome one. They have several cities and I am going to tell you they proved extremely helpful in these cities. When you want to see a lot in a short amount of time, use them. Plus me and my iPhone are BFFs so any apps that make my life easier, I’m all over them.
Alright, so the beginning. We left for the Hahn airport pretty early that first travel day. We woke up at 2am to leave the house at 4am to catch that 6 something am flight. Oh my goodness, that right there was a FUN experience. Yeah, that was sarcasm there. First off, I LOVE European security because you don’t have to take your stupid shoes off. Okay…some might. But not the airports we flew out of (it was random along with other more thorough checks). So checking in at the ticket counter and initially going through security, I guess we weren’t really paying attention to time because by the time we got through security and went to our gate they were already boarding. And we were at the butt end of the line. Ugh! I hate being on time to anything. I’m always early. Except now.
Oh yeah, and you know we’re totally blaming Mother. Daisy and I flew through security. I have a system. As I’m inching up to the front of the line, I take off all my extras and take my little baggie of liquids out. I got it all out before I even hit the bins. As I’m walking toward the little conveyer belt I’m placing the stuff in my little bin and walking toward security at the same time. I purposely don’t wear any clothes that could set off the metal detector. Swoosh, I’m waved through and plucking my stuff back up and putting it on at the same time as I walk away from security. Yeah, that’s me and MOST other people who travel. Not Mother, though. You’d think with all the flying she does (several times a month this lady) that she would be just as quick. Oh how I wish I had video of her sashaying through security, wearing every piece of jewelry she owns, boots with metal belt buckles and hair clips…yes HAIRCLIPS that were setting off the metal detector. Okay, alright. We can deal with that. But then she had to get redressed and to quote Daisy here…she did it as though she was trying on shoes at Macy’s. She slowly puts her boots back on, smooths out her outfit, poses and appears to be checking herself out in the glass door positioned a few feet in front of her. Aye, Mother.
Okay, so we finally get through security and then show up at our gate and stand at the end of the long line. That totally sucked not only because it’s choose your own seating on Ryan Air (I detest that sort of seating) but we had also spent the extra cash on priority seating so we could board early and avoid the hassle of looking for seats. It wasn’t expensive, priority seating, but that is SO not the point. So lucky us boarded the plane and had to take random seats with random strangers on the flight to Barcelona. The plus side of riding next to a stranger in a foreign country? You don’t have to make small talk, LOL. Loved it. I HATE small talk. So yay for no small talk.
I know this sounds like a bitch fest, but really it’s not. It sounds way more frantic and UNfun than it actually was. We were headed on our dream trip. What the hell did we have to complain about?! We were actually in great spirits and just going with the flow. Oh yeah, and having a little fun making fun of Mother sure helped. Poor Mother.
**Edited to add: Found this picture of me “sashaying” around our hotel room in Rome. I can only imagine I was replaying Mother going through security. .