It is now Friday evening. I kid you not, all we’d done in Spain for the first 3 days was sleep, eat, and wade in a pool. This evening we visited a local pub for pizza and tapas- the tapas, which was one dish of curry and chickpeas, and another of pork stew, both with bread, was very tasty indeed. The pizzas, however, were a soggy, mushy disappointment which gave me almost immediate tummy aches. I didn’t send anything back, however, due to fear they’d spit something nasty in the next attempt and/or give us bad vibes. I don’t dare show my rudey-tudes in foreign land unless absolutely necessary. I didn’t tip instead, though I would’ve, had I anything other than two loonies in my wallet. Man, I’m so tough.
Our Gibraltar trip, which I mentioned in the previous post, was amazing, and yesterday, Thursday, we visited a beautiful place called Tangier, Morocco.
As of 9:00 am Saturday morning (3:00 am EST) we are in Malaga, Spain. Our last day in Paris was the usual: tiring but beautiful, with visits to the Notre Dame, the Galeries Lafayettes (mainly for a coffee atop the 7th floor panoramic terrace, as shopping is tres cher) and Au Printemps department stores, and the Sacre Coeur, ending the day off with Dani running around Les Jardins Tuileries and riding the carrousel.
Wellll let me say that our transition from the Beauvais airport to the Port Maillot Metro station was not a difficult one – Mommy walks really fast so we beat the lines to get the bus tickets and were on the next available bus before those lines got ridiculously long. THEN came the stress I’ll call the Paris Metro Stroller Haul. It’s not that difficult to get around the subway system, rather just like Rome, accessibility is another issue. There are faster and more efficient elevators, but they’re not on every floor in every station (at least not the ones we’ve been in). Thus, we again began the juggling act of Dani, backpacks, carry-ons, stroller, and the like up and down many flights of stairs. This time with less sleep than ever. One of the exits was strange, because you had to insert your luggage and stroller through a hole in the bottom left of the partition before going through the small turnstile yourself. This took some strategic planning but we managed somehow without having to stuff Dani or our own butts through the hole 🙂
After tons of sweat and passing through many a urine-stank-soaked elevator, we arrived at our hotel 1.5 hours early, so we went to a Chinese restaurant across the street for lunch and to kill some time. That was a big mistake. Snobbiest waiters ever, who had these “get out of my way” looks about them when Dani got up to walk around. They seemed annoyed that we weren’t speaking French, and took forever to deliver our ultra-chintzed, child-sized portions that ended up costing 20 Euros, or $28 HARD-EARNED CANADIAN DOLLARS! For LUNCH! Man, I’d have a shitload of fried tentacles, chicken’s feet, scramp rolls, tripe, siu mai, etc. etc. back home (Tremendous or Perfect, take your pic. HOLLA!) for that much. Now, I never, ever, get homesick. But one thing I’ve been missing here (okay, two) are Timmy’s and FOOD. GOSH all we ate in Rome was pizza and all we’ve been eating here is sandwiches and crepes. We’d like to branch out into the smaller neighbourhoods and experience more of the local tastes, but when working with a child’s schedule and temperament, we’re lucky to sit and grab a bite at all! That goes for shopping as well. We barely bought a thing in Rome and we haven’t hit the department stores or any of the shops on the Champs Elysees (not like I’m able to fork out hundreds of Euros as it is).
I start to miss Rome when I see how SOME (not ALL) people look irritated when they see Dani running around. Others think it is cute and will smile and wave at her, but that’s rarer than the former. Also, it seems like no one waits in line, rather just rushes in and out of whatever lineup, doorway, subway train, etc. like it’s every man for himself. In Rome, your children are LOVED. Most people of all ages stop and smile and chat to your child, and there isn’t one time that a seat wasn’t offered on the subway because we were pushing a stroller or carrying her. I have yet to see that here, although most of our servers and the shop keepers have been very nice. Perhaps we’re just picking up the vibes of irritated locals during busy tourist season 🙂
On day 1, after we finally checked into the hotel, we took a nice long nap, were out the door by 10:00 pm, and hit the city. We visited the Louvre, Palais Royale, and even the local carnival for some crepes and churros. Photo ops along the way were inevitable. The next day we slept in, made it in time for our Seine city bus tour (as you can guess, we got lost, LOL – prepare for PLENTY of getting lost whenever you’re in a foreign land), went to the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower, to Leon de Bruxelles for some dinner on the Champs Elysees, and then back to the Seine for our evening cruise. We had booked this tour (which includes the bus tour/Eiffel Tower visit/Seine River cruise) through Viator. Our Disneyland (which is where we went today) tickets were booked through the same supplier. Let me exercise some caution. When you order online, you’ll be emailed a voucher with a barcode. Do NOT mistake this for your ticket. We were lucky to find out in time that you need to go to Information and exchange the vouchers for actual tickets before you can join the excursion. I’ve seen some people turned away and have to re-enter really long lines for this reason. Also, don’t mistake your printed RECEIPT for a voucher, either. Mommy had a dum-dum moment and for that, we had to return to our hotel after already getting to Disneyland. Dani had a nice nap in between this fun little setback and the lines had disappeared when we got back, so it all worked out in the end. Heh. Heh.
I’ll stop blabbering away now. Tomorrow we will spend our last day in the red light district (woo-hoo!), visiting the Sacre Coeur- my favourite, and what I find to be the most beautiful place in Paris- and the department stores Galeries Lafayettes and Printemps for some shopping, if we can get there in time. All in all, Paris is beautiful as always. We’ll be very sad to leave tomorrow night.
Pics are below.
Au revoir for now.
When in Rome… be prepared to be tired and stressed out when travelling with small children!!
I am SO PROUD to announce that our check-in at Pearson was swift and almost hassle-free.
I’ll compare that to our Florida trip last year, quite the nightmare on the contrary. Dani was only 11 months at the time, and though she couldn’t yet walk or run around, she was quite cray cray in the Customs lineup. I guess it’s more irritating to deal with US boarding, because we had to struggle with our cart of luggage pushing Dani all the while, and at security we had to remove our shoes. This year, flying internationally, we didn’t have to go through Customs and we were whisked to the wheelchair/stroller accessible line, not having to remove our shoes like before.
Back to Dani in the Customs lineup – about halfway through the jam-packed queue, she started screaming and crying hysterically because we couldn’t carry her like she wanted. You can imagine all the stares and comments we got from nearby patrons until, literally 2 rows away from the front, they parted the way and let us ahead. Gee, thanks for noticing… eventually!
Back to today – we were at the kiosk to print our baggage tags as we’d checked in before leaving home in order to proceed to the bag drop (limited lineup) but, lucky me, no tags printed out and I was told to stand in line with the rest of the less-prepared mofos (LONG lineup). Dani was already starting to fuss shortly after entering, but after devouring one Kinder Egg (we have a limited supply of 5, for extreme freakout instances only) and a pack of Mum Mums (sadly, she finished them all and didn’t share with Mommy), she fell asleep. We successfully lifted her out and back into the stroller to pass security without any hitches, and she even stayed asleep for a while after. The heavens were shining on us today!
That was around 3:00 pm. It is now 5:30, and Mommy and Daddy have already inhaled a double-patty-jalapeno-mushroom cheeseburger avec frites with some of Mommy’s favourite gummy candies, and she has just woken up. Sitting in Daddy’s lap eating a hot dog (eating = stuffing large pieces into her cheeks and somehow chewing and swallowing), she is happy as a clam.
Just 2.25 hours til takeoff 🙂