Saturday, June 28, 2014

Eggs in a Blender

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

   The kids seemed happy to be have a little time in their own space and dumped a bunch of toys on the floor. We all took showers and rested for a little while. Then we decide to venture into town to find a place to eat. We were unable to get any recommendations at the hotel as the lady at the front desk did not speak any English.

   We stopped at a tourist information office a couple of blocks from the hotel and asked for a restaurant recommendation. They marked a few in the guide book and we set out to find them. We found one and were excited to get inside, sit down and enjoy a meal. Unfortunately, we were told that they serve dinner only after 7 PM (we still had more than an hour to go until 7).
   We continued walking through town while Hannah whined that she was starving. We saw a grocery store and decided to buy food for dinner and breakfast. The hotel offered breakfast for 6.50 Euros but it did not include any eggs or meat that Stevie could have.

   On the walk back to the hotel we saw an open pizza restaurant and decided to give it a try. The waitress did not speak any English but I still had a note on the piece of paper saying “my son cannot have gluten or dairy” in French. She pointed us to eggs on the menu. It was decided that Stevie would have eggs and bacon for dinner. We did our best impression of making scrambled eggs in an effort to get scrambled eggs for Stevie. We ordered American pizza for the rest of us.
   Our food arrived very quickly. Stevie’s eggs arrived sunny side up. We tried to explain again that he would like them scrambled. The waitress said “Ah, mix!” She took Stevie’s plate and a moment later we heard a blender. Our fears that Stevie was having eggs and bacon puree were confirmed when the waitress reappeared with his plate. It looked like a pile of regurgitated eggs and bacon. It tasted the way it looked - NASTY! (The ham on the plate is one we bought in the grocery store, it did not come with the meal.)

The kids seemed happy to be have a little time in their own space and dumped a bunch of toys on the floor. We all took showers and rested for a little while. Then we decide to venture into town to find a place to eat. We were unable to get any recommendations at the hotel as the lady at the front desk did not speak any English.
We stopped at a tourist information office a couple of blocks from the hotel and asked for a restaurant recommendation. They marked a few in the guide book and we set out to find them. We found one and were excited to get inside, sit down and enjoy a meal. Unfortunately, we were told that they serve dinner only after 7 PM (we still had more than an hour to go until 7).
We continued walking through town while Hannah whined that she was starving. We saw a grocery store and decided to buy food for dinner and breakfast. The hotel offered breakfast for 6.50 Euros but it did not include any eggs or meat that Stevie could have.
   On the walk back to the hotel we saw an open pizza restaurant and decided to give it a try. The waitress did not speak any English but I still had a note on the piece of paper saying “my son cannot have gluten or dairy” in French. She pointed us to eggs on the menu. It was decided that Stevie would have eggs and bacon for dinner. We did our best impression of making scrambled eggs in an effort to get scrambled eggs for Stevie. We ordered American pizza for the rest of us.
 
   Our food arrived very quickly. Stevie’s eggs arrived sunny side up. We tried to explain again that he would like them scrambled. The waitress said “Ah, mix!” She took Stevie’s plate and a moment later we heard a blender. Our fears that Stevie was having eggs and bacon puree were confirmed when the waitress reappeared with his plate. It looked like a pile of regurgitated eggs and bacon. It tasted the way it looked - NASTY!
 
Our pizza looked different than any kind of pizza we have had before (it had ground beef, fries and some type of a creamy, mushroomy sauce). But it tasted good. The kids ate French fries and peanut butter we bought at the grocery store.
 
   After dinner we walked back to the hotel (less than 2 blocks away) and crashed for the night.

Paris to Cherbourg


Tuesday, May 27, 2014
   We were excited to arrive in Paris and get off the train. We had about a 25 minute delay but it was not a problem as we allowed plenty of time to transfer from Paris l’Est to Paris Saint Lazare train station.

   I wrote down two different ways to get to the Saint Lazare station and I am glad I did. While we saw the metro line 4 listed on signs, we did not see the direction we needed to go. Therefore we chose to take metro line number 7 for 5 stop and change to line number 3 at the Opera station. From there, Saint Lazare was only 2 stops away.
   We found a place to buy the metro (subway) tickets but then struggled to get through the turn stiles with luggage and a stroller. It was clearly impossible. There was a gate behind the turn stile that opened only once you went through the turn stile. There was no way to slide a suitcase under the turn stile. Steve went through the turn stile first and we were trying to get the suitcases over to him when a French speaking gentleman came by and showed us a gate for people with strollers and luggage. It was locked and he called someone. We had no idea what they were saying but it sounded like they were arguing. We got the impression they did not want to come unlock the gate. But a man showed up to unlock it and let us through. Once they unlocked the gate, the man who called for help just said good bye, we thanked him and he walked away.

   We took the escalator down but further down we had to walk down regular stairs. Someone stopped and helped me carry the stroller. At first we were apprehensive about this since our experience with the gypsies in Rome but no, this guy was just simply being nice.

   Our train arrived and we had hard time getting everyone on fast enough. A couple of people helped hold the door open while we got on. It was surprising to get this much help in a large city. We certainly have not experienced nice, friendly people like this in Rome or Prague (rather otherwise).
   We made our transfer and arrived at Saint Lazare station about an hour before our departure. The only sit down place to eat we could find was again Burger King. So we had another hamburger lunch. It was conveniently located right across from the platforms and we found a plug so that Stevie could play his game for a little while.


   Our train was announced about 20 minutes before the departure time. We got on and found our seats. This time the train was opened and we had 4 seats facing each other. We also had power plugs so the kids could watch a movie and play on the ipad.
   We enjoyed the view of the French country side and arrived in Cherbourg at 3:25 PM as scheduled. Our hotel was supposed to be right across the street from the train station and it was. The room was basic, but clean and comfortable. Compared to the last night on the train, it looked like heaven.

The Night Train

Monday, May 26, 2014

   It took our train 6 hours to get to Munich. We missed not having a power plug because Hannah cold not play her movie on the computer to stay entertained. But despite the lack of electronic entertainment, the ride went well and we arrived in Munich on time at 7:15 PM.

   Our next train was not scheduled until 10:50 PM. We found an Asian place to eat and then made our way upstairs to a waiting room. We bought some fruit and drinks to take on the train with us. We spent at least $10 going to the bathroom. It was really nice and clean. However, as it was late in the evening, bunch of unsavory characters were milling about the train station.
   Eventually, our train arrived and the platform was announced. It was a tad confusing as the signs showed our train number and destination as Paris l’Est but it also showed another train number going to Amsterdam. We found our car number and our cabin. We paid a little extra to have a 4 person cabin but the way it was set up was that there was one bunk on the bottom, the middle bunk was lifted up and we used it as a shelf for some of our stuff and then there were two bunks on the top. The top bunks were smaller than the bottom bunks and they were definitely too high for the kids to sleep up there. We decided that Steve would sleep on the bottom bunk, the kids would share the other bottom bunk and I would sleep on the top. We used the other top bunk to hold our large suitcases.

 
   The kids were very tired and cranky but soon fell asleep. They were the only ones to get any sleep on the train. A few hours later, Hannah woke up, I climbed down to get her back to sleep but I did not feel like climbing all the way back (it was a tad scary). So I just grabbed my blanket and pillow and settled on the floor. It was just as hard as the bunk except I did not have to worry about falling down.
   Steve had hard time sleeping too and since there were no power plugs, he was not able to use his CPAP.

   When the conductor came to check the tickets, we confirmed that we were on the right train. Apparently only the first three cars were going to Amsterdam and at some point our train split into two.

Last three days in the Czech Republic


Saturday, May 24, 2014
   We spent the day getting ready for our departure. We went to Oaza to buy some groceries for the trip and the babi paid for the kids to ride the horses in Oaza one last time. We started packing our suitcases.



Sunday, May 25, 2014

   Steve and I got up early and started getting more things ready. I cooked pasta sauce and got the salad ready for lunch. Vlada and Blanka were coming to visit in the afternoon one last time. By the time they got there, we were pretty much packed and could visit without stress. In the evening, we washed the last batch of laundry hoping it would be dry by the morning.




Monday, May 26, 2014
   We gathered up the last few things in the morning and were just waiting for Pepa to come pick us up at 10:30 AM. He arrived early and we had plenty of time to install car seats and put the luggage in the van. We left Kladno at 11 AM while babi waved good bye from her balcony.

   Pepa dropped us off at the parking lot in front of the train station. We said our good byes, thanked him for his help and off we went. We were early and decided to have lunch at Burger King while we waited. Burger King also had free wifi so the boys could play Clash of the Clans while we waited.

   We talked to a young couple from Brooklyn who were sitting next to us in the restaurant. 

   Our train was at the platform about 30 minutes early and we made our way there. We reserved seats but we could not find out car number. We found an open compartment/cabin and settled in. The train conductor told us that the car we reserved was not there today but they did reserve seats for us in another. Since we were already seated, we told him we would stay where we were and he freed up the seats in the other car.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Princess Hannah turns 4



Friday, May 23, 2014

   Hannah turns 4 today! She is so proud to be a big, four year old girl. We have not done anything special as we already had a birthday party for both kids. But we congratulated her on her birthday.

   We took the bus to Kaufland to pick up a photo book for Petr and Jarka. We made a small book from our visit as a thank you for taking care of us while we visited. We also stopped at the bank to exchange money for Euros and ate at McDonald’s (mostly so that the kids could play on their playground).

   We walked back to babi’s and shortly after we got home, it started to rain. The rain cooled the temperatures down which was really nice.

   Mrs. Drahosova, Renata, Pepa and Zaneta came to visit in the evening. We enjoyed some snacks and good company.



Visiting Blanka



Thursday, May 22, 2014

   We made plans to visit with Blanka in the afternoon. However, Blanka got a call at 1:30 PM that her finger surgery was scheduled for next week (she has been waiting for months) and that she had to go to the doctor’s office immediately to pick up paperwork to start her pre-op appointments. We went to the playground by ourselves and stayed there until Blanka got there around 3:30 PM.









   When Blanka got there, we went back to her apartment and she had some chicken ready for us. The kids were hungry and much happier once they ate. We stayed until about 7 PM and then took a bus back to babi’s. It is really neat to see how the kids are happy to come back to babi’s apartment – it is their temporary home.


   While at Blanka’s we watched the world championship hockey quarterfinals game between the USA and the Czech Republic. It seemed like a clear win for the Czech Republic until the few minutes prior to the end when the US scored 2 goals in less than 2 minutes. Steve jokes that he is possibly the only American who is watching the championship (not to mention watching the game live) but practically the whole Czech Republic  is watching the Czech team.
 


   Before we left, we got to see Denisa and her husband Pavel for a few minutes. Even Steve got to see that Pavel is not an imaginary person (due to his work schedule, we have not had a chance to see him at all).

Big travel plans



Wednesday, May 21

   We decided to go to a little playground in the woods behind babi’s building. It was truly small and the kids played for about 5 minutes. After that we went for a walk down the trail.



   Before we left to go to the playground, I was wondering if there were ferries going directly to Ireland (our original plan was to go from Caen to Portsmouth in England). I found ferries going from Cherbourg which is about an hour and a half by train from Caen. We discussed changing our plan to go straight to Ireland while the kids played and decided to make a few changes. 

Here is our final itinerary:
Monday, May 26
        train from Prague to Munich, Germany – the train leaves at 1:15 PM and arrives in Munich at 9:15 PM
        train from Munich, Germany to Paris, France – leaves at 10:50 PM and arrives in Paris at 9:25 AM the next morning
Tuesday, May 27
        transfer from Paris East train station by subway to Paris Saint Lazare train station
        train from Paris to Cherbourg – train leaves at 12:08 PM and arrives in Cherbourg at 15:20 PM
        we reserved a hotel for 1 night in Cherbourg directly across from the train station and about 1/3 mile from the ferry port
Wednesday, May 28
-          rent a car from the ferry port and make our own private D-day tour of the beaches and the memorial
-          leave by ferry at 6 PM to go to Rosslare, Ireland – the ferry arrives in Rosslare at 11:30 AM the next day
Thursday, May 29
-          arrive in Rosslare, Ireland at 11:30 AM and take a taxi to bed and breakfast we have booked for 1 night

After that we plan to spend several days touring southern Ireland and then take a ferry to Wales (the ferries leave from the same port in Rosslare).