Fun Food in Germany

We were in Hannover, Germany very briefly, but there were still some fun food finds. Also see a Postcard from Rich, if you want a look at what we think was called “currywurst.” Apparently it was sausages covered in a curry sauce and piles of deep fried onion flakes, though, again, we’re not entirely sure. As you can probably gather, our German is non-existent. Continue reading “Fun Food in Germany”

A Little Time in Lille, France

Before we landed in the UK, and for some time thereafter, we had no real idea what the itinerary of our European road trip was going to look like. All that we had was a pickup date for our car in Paris and the appropriate Eurostar booking.  At some point, I think it was at dinner with friends in Soho, I hatched a plan to visit my Swedish friend for Midsommar celebrations (more on that glorious day another time). In fact, I became quite obsessed with the idea.  I think I became overwhelmed with the same things many travellers lust after: 1. Contact with old friends and, 2. that illusive “authentic experience of a different culture.” Despite this, I tried to remain rational and reasonable. Rich did some calculating (as he is prone to do, sometimes to the extreme), and it was revealed that it was possible for us to reach Sweden in time for Midsommar. I contacted my Swedish friend to be sure of appropriate etiquette and availabilities.  Replies were positive. Rational thinking and reasoning were cast aside.  And then IT. WAS. ON.

Preparations and planning began for an epic road trip. An extreme journey that took us from Paris, France to Vaxjo, Sweden in not enough time.  Along the way we stopped in the Northern French city of Lille.  And we had ourselves a lovely time. Here’s the report on Lille.

There is probably nothing extraordinary to report about Lille, except the fact that we made it there. You see, it was our first day with the car. Rich had never driven ‘on the other side of the road’ and Paris is a pretty intense introduction. We had also never interacted with a GPS system and arrived to peak hour traffic in Lille. It may have taken three loops of Lille’s business district, but the car was parked and the new hotel was better than expected.

Lille is not a touristy city where you can view iconic landmarks your friends have already seen.  There are interesting old buildings, nice parks and hardly an English-speaking person. We loved it. We wandered through town admiring what it had to offer, but the real adventures were had at the local modern shopping mall. Interesting food finds, practising our very minimal French and just generally seeing how the citizens of Lille went about their daily lives was fascinating.  Once, a shop assistant was so surprised to discover Rich was from Australia she called her friends over and presented her extraordinary find.  From what he could gather she had met people from many countries, but he was her first Australian.

After we rested up for a couple of days in Lille it was time to hit the road again.  More than five hundred kilometers and three countries later we were in Hannover, Germany.

I’ve created a few slideshows below that cover the main sites of Lille we saw. If you want to know more about Lille a good place to start is the Lille tourism website.

Click on an image to view a larger version and enter the slideshow.

Slideshow 1 of 3: Around Porte de Paris

Slideshow 2 of 3: Around the Palais des Beaux-Arts of Lille

Slideshow 3 of 3: Around the Citadel


Images from The South Bank, London

While we were hanging around in England we experienced some beautiful weather.  Bet many of you haven’t heard that before!  One of those lovely sunny days was spent in London.  I don’t have much to write about London at this stage, because we didn’t really do a comprehensive visit.  I will say I was impressed at how clean it was.  The tube stations, the streets and people.  So much of it was very clean for such a big city.  Admittedly we didn’t see all parts of London, we only spent a few days here and there.  I also found the English people very friendly and so polite! Here is a few images from The South Bank. It’s has an interesting vibe that combines touristy and hipster.  Check it out.

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Our Margaret River Family Trip for Throwback Thursday

It happened a while ago, but I thought people would still find it interesting, so here’s my contribution to Throwback Thursday: a brief rundown of our trip to ‘Margs.’

While in Western Australia we took a 3-hour road trip from Perth to Margaret River to spend some family time in the sunshine and great outdoors.  The photo mosaic reflects pretty accurately how we spent our time, that is, mostly in caves.  They were beautiful viewing and an excellent escape from the heat. I underestimated how many steps there were for one of the caves and was embarrassingly a bit puffed after the climb. The children seemed to be fine though, which only made it more embarrassing.

The Margaret River region is most famous for it’s surf and wine. And for good reason, they’re amazing in this part of the world.  Just remember, like I wrote about in my post about Perth, visit the beaches earlier in the day because later in the day can be too windy. Many of the larger wineries have restaurants attached and large manicured gardens surrounding.  This can be great when touring around with children, have a feed and a good runaround.

There is an information centre in the Margaret River township that is very helpful and their website is similarly useful.  There are many options for accommodation, from budget to luxury.  With many activities suitable to families including farm experiences like fruit picking, mazes to run through and free tastings at the chocolate factory and the dairy company.  It’s a very popular destination, so it pays to book in advance and expect ‘tourist prices’ at the attractions.

We really enjoyed being out of a city environment and we were also lucky with the weather.  It reminded me how refreshing it can be to experience proper wide open space and fresh air.  Hopefully my vow to do it more is going to come true on our current trip around Europe.

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Visiting Kings Park and its Botanical Garden

It’s difficult to write about Kings Park without sounding like a brochure: Magnificent views, extraordinary plants, amazing gardens, fantastic playgrounds.  It’s all true. Instead I’ve collected a few photos from our visit for you to peruse. This is only some of what we saw.  The park also has it’s own, very thorough, website here, that I definitely recommend taking a look at.  If you are staying in Perth a while, then you could probably make several visits there.  I think it would be hard to take it all in over one visit and also tiring if you have children in tow.  The are several large and impressive playgrounds spread through the park and a special Naturescape area was developed to give children the chance to be ‘in touch with nature,’ just as previous generations fondly remember doing.  Unfortunately on our visit we didn’t have time to check out the Naturescape area, but anyone I have spoken to that has visited has told me how wonderful it is.  It’s high on the list for our next visit.

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*This post originally appeared on my other blog that is currently on hiatus. Most posts from that blog have been transferred to this blog, except a few, like this one, that didn’t far so well in their travels.  I decided to fix this one because it was one of my favourites.  The rest are still a work in progress.

Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix with Kids

Last weekend we attended the Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix as a family.  I’ll be honest, I was not entirely sold on the idea when my husband suggested it, but in the end IT WAS AWESOME!!! OK, so maybe not every single minute of the hours we were there, but definitely enough of those moments to make the outing worthwhile.  There are few things I would have done differently, which you’ll see in the tips at the end, but overall IT WAS AWESOME!!! Continue reading “Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix with Kids”

2 kids + carry on only = madness? My tips for traveling with carry on luggage only Part 1

This is our current line up of bags waiting to be tested on our next trip.
This is our current line up of bags waiting to be tested on our next trip.

Not so long ago we took a two week holiday to the tropics taking carry on luggage only.  Mainly because I am obsessed with the concept, but also because of the obvious benefits.  At the time our children were 3 and 5 years old.  Here are five tips if you’d like to do the same. Like so much in life, preparation is key.  I’m yet to score a perfect ten in my packing, but these tips are how I plan on getting closer. Continue reading “2 kids + carry on only = madness? My tips for traveling with carry on luggage only Part 1”

How behaving like an elephant while dressing cute can make airports with kids easier: Three tips on getting through the airport with young children.

Cute outfits+everyone matching+walking like the elephants=triple point score!
Cute outfits+everyone matching+walking like the elephants=triple point score!

After starting my mini travel series I have discovered all kinds of great blogs about traveling with children.  There is one post that I have particularly enjoyed called “Five Ways to Usher Small Children Through an Airport Without Losing or Killing Anyone.”

In it Bronwyn mentions how handy the trunki can be (I’ve reviewed it here) and gives a humourous and thorough analysis of the pros and cons of a stroller/pram. Really, she covers the entire rigmarole of getting through an airport with young children.  It’s worth a read if you’re having anxiety attacks getting your head around the whole thing to help work you through the issues.

I’ve been inspired to add my own tips on how we handle the situation. These are mainly geared towards travelling with kids who can walk easily (3+ years old) and when you have a partner in tow. Continue reading “How behaving like an elephant while dressing cute can make airports with kids easier: Three tips on getting through the airport with young children.”