Sooo…I guess you think my trip must have been cancelled since I haven’t done a post since I had spoken about our overseas adventure. I promised that I would write and share all my family’s adventures throughout England, France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, and Greece. I promised I would share photos, and stories, and anecdotes about this entire journey. Yet here I am already two weeks into our trip and almost in our third country – Spain – with not one hint of sharing this amazing journey. That is until now.
There are a few reasons I have been slacking off sharing this with you all until now, and although one reason could very well be that there has been little time – at least in Paris – that there hasn’t been at least a pastry, a baguette, some chocolate, or some wine gracing one of the hands I use to type with, or I’ve been climbing up and down the five billion stairs both England and Paris seem to have to prevent their decadent, rich foods from making them all obese diabetics.
So I think I should catch you all up on the story so far. We flew out of the Sunshine Coast (Australia) on Monday September 1st to Melbourne, where we were meant to all fly to London via Abu Dhabi, notice the word ‘meant’ thrown in there. This was Little Miss 8 Mackenzie’s first ever flight anywhere and although we planned well with chewing gum, water, the usual mechanisms to help ears – we began descending whilst Macca began screaming and crying. Nobody could console my poor little munchkin – not even the experienced flight attendants could do anything for her – and although we thought it would pass, we were quickly told by the airport doctor that Mackenzie did not have clearance to fly and was being grounded for a minimum of three days. When we realised that Lauren and I would have to go ahead (because I was already a nervous wreck about getting in the plane – so building up again for three days would have been the end of me), my heart ended up in my throat and all I could do was cry at the terminal saying goodbye to my husband and my baby as Miss Teen Rebel Lauren and I boarded the plane.
I didn’t think my claustrophobia was quite that bad until we get seated for a long haul (14hr) flight and realise that our domestic seats where roomier. We flew Etihad and although I felt trapped with swollen legs the entire time having to excuse myself to walk the aisles and stretch when the feeling became unbearable, the service was impeccable and they kept us sedated with lovely meals and snacks frequently, with on demand television and movies, and a flight tracker (so you know your plane is going where its meant to I guess). Lauren and I changed planes at Abu Dhabi and boy was it a culture shock with so many different cultures in the one place and things being done so differently, it was a little daunting. The one thing we thought was awesome (being the clean freaks we are), was that the toilets were constantly staffed and being cleaned after every use! AFTER EVERY USE! The flight from Abu Dhabi however was just exceptional seeing us get seats that were near the exit and no one in front of us so leg room – hello! On top of that they buggered up my lunch order so I ended up with eggs and spinach made especially by the first class chef….mmmmmm.
My sister in law Emma (aka – my new best friend as dubbed by my tosser brother cranky we wouldn’t be coming to see his sorry butt – okay rant over), picked us up at Heathrow and even though we had only been skyping and messaging between us for the past 10+ years, it was like we had known each other forever. Although sad the rest of us were not there, we had a great time having dinner with friends out (oh my they don’t know what a lemon lime and bitters is!), and having a beautiful day in London. I did manage to drive in England and I now know how people drive in Europe – the idea is ‘pretend there is no one else on the roads, and drive where ever and however the hell you like’ – CONGRATULATIONS…YOU ARE NOW A EUROPEAN DRIVER!!! Yes, I too have learnt how to be a crazy European driver!
It was great with hubby arriving with our baby girl, and we went straight to Harry Potter Studios. Oh wow that place is amazing with all the original stage sets and some of the actual set designers there when we went. The kids all had a go at wand lessons and we all went on the Hogwarts Train. Yes we all got our very own wand with the Aunties buying the nieces and nephew their own wand of choice. During our time in England we managed to see the beautiful Stonehenge, Dover Castle complete with the creepily cold underground tunnels and LOTS OF STAIRS in the castle, Changing of The Guards, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Florence Nightingale Museum, Westminster Abbey, and…..DISNEY SHOP ON OXFORD STREET – busy busy shopping district and definitely a place Lauren wanted to spend days at. We experienced the very noisy and fast paced underground, and got to travel in both a black London Cab and a red double decker bus. The most rewarding thing about England though was the time we got with my beautiful sister in law and my nieces and nephew (unfortunately I missed meeting my other sister in law and nephew but that will be for next time when we are there longer). I got to do the Aunty thing and spoil them, annoy them, read them a book, take them to school, take a million photos, and be super super distressed when we had to say goodbye last week when we boarded the Eurostar to head to Paris for a week. But that is for another post….
What was your experience of England?