Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kensington and Smith go to Europe

Our little family just headed off for our first official BIG adventure...we traveled to Europe! Andrew, Kensington, Smith, Lovie, Papa Jay and I all headed across the pond for big fun. We all flew 10 hours to London, then my mom and dad headed on to Vienna, Austria, while my family of four flew to Amsterdam, Holland (the Netherlands). We had so much fun! This was definitely the first of many, many trips to Europe as a family. All together, my kids visited Holland, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Germany. Not too shabby for two kids under two.

On the day we were leaving, I went in the family room to find this...
The little squirt was hiding in her daddy's suit case.

All of our luggage at DFW Airport. It takes a lot of luggage for an 11 day vacation.

Off we go! I had just given Kensington her new Snow White and Ariel dolls. If you look closely, you'll see them in almost every single picture I took on this trip. These two dolls went everywhere with us.

Sweet Smith asleep on the plane.

Click here to see Day Two.

K & S go to Europe: Day 2 Anne Frank's house

We arrived in London on day 2. We parted ways with my mom and dad and waited for our flight to Amsterdam. Here we are having an English breakfast at the airport.

I thought it was funny that when we first arrived inside the London terminal, Kensington spotted a Starbucks. She said "Starbucks, Starbucks, I so happy". I guess my girl was glad to see something familiar after being stuck in a plane for 10 hours.

We arrived in Amsterdam and checked into the beautiful Marriott Hotel. It was right next to a massive park and across from one of Amsterdam's famous canals.

As soon as we arrived, we headed out. First stop, Anne Frank's house. This was one of my absolute favorite parts of our trip. Being inside the secret hideaway where Anne Frank and another family lived for over two years is really captivating. It's moments like these that set travelers a part from other people. You can read about Anne Frank, watch the movie, study the diary...but until you actually climb the narrow stairs to the secret room where 10 people hid from the Nazis...until you touch the bookcase that hid the entry...you really don't understand or appreciate the story. We waited in line for 45 minutes but it was totally worth it. Cameras (and strollers) weren't allowed inside, so I don't have any inside pictures. Our kids were such troopers during our tour. At this point, they still hadn't slept in almost two days (other than the plane ride).

Look at the line to get inside.

Our first dinner in Amsterdam...pizza!

Bless his sweet heart...he was so tired!

Click here to see Day 3.

K & S go to Europe: Day 3 Amsterdam

Day 3 started off with some jet lag :)

At some point during the night, she took her pj pants off and decided to cuddle with them.

Off we go on our adventure

It rained the first 45 minutes we were out but that didn't stop us.

We stopped so Kensington, Snow White and Ariel could play in the fountain

Kensington is really into making silly faces for Smith. He laughs and laughs at his goofy big sister.

Whenever I travel abroad, I like to buy original paintings for our house. This is me with the artist of my painting from Amsterdam.

More silly faces

The Dutch are the first to admit that their cuisine isn't the best...however, they have mastered the art of waffles and pancakes. If you know me, you know I love breakfast food and dessert. Here, we ate the best of both worlds...waffle sundaes! Oh my gosh...they were so yummy! Thank you Dutch people!!!

Click here to see Day 4.

K & S go to Europe: Day 4 The Red Light District

Do you see how happy we look???? It's because we're at Amsterdam's famous Pancake Bakery!! Oh my gosh...highlight of my life! This place had over 50 types of pancakes. They were huge and they were wonderful!

This entire menu is dedicated to pancakes. They have combinations like bacon and cheese pancakes...lots of unique kinds.

This was on the child's menu and look how huge it is! It's Kensington's strawberry pancake.

Andrew had the ice cream and fudge pancake...yum!!!!!

After pancakes, we headed to the park by our hotel to play.

Kensington giving Smith kisses :)

Dinner at a pub

What a big day!

Silly, silly girl.

We did go to Amsterdam's famous red light district after dinner on this night. It was...interesting. I really wish I would have taken pictures. Every book we read and person we met said we had to visit the streets of prostitutes because it is part of Amsterdam's culture. It is something I will never forget.

Click here to see Day 5.

K & S go to Europe: Day 5 Vienna

Well, on day 5 we left Amsterdam to meet up with my parents in Vienna, Austria. Here we are in the Amsterdam airport.

Smith is such a trouble maker :)

On this flight, we bought Kensington her own seat. She LOVED having a seat between Mommy and Daddy.

Yay! We met up with Lovie and Papa Jay in Vienna!! We stayed at the WONDERFUL Hilton Vienna Hotel. Since we had two babies, they gave us an extra big corner room with windows over looking the park on two sides. (My mom pointed out several times that our room was twice as big as theirs :)). Kensington was SO happy to see my parents. On the hotel shuttle from the airport, she announced to everyone that she was going to see Lovie.

Out shopping in Vienna.

We bought cupcakes while we shopped...my dad said that these cupcakes were the best European experience he's ever had. They were stinkin' good!

The main shopping/dining area of Vienna surrounds this beautiful cathedral.

My crew

A future Red Sox fan for sure!

Let me explain: the first time I went to Germany was 10 years ago. I had little expectation for the food. There is one German restaurant in the DFW area that claims to be authentic and up until that day, it was my only reference in German cuisine. But let me tell you, German food is BY FAR my favorite international food. Andrew always thought that was strange (shouldn't Italian food be my favorite? Or what about French? Or British? Or South American?). Nope, German/Austrian food takes top honors. Fast forward to this day...my first schnitzel on our trip...and now Andrew understands. German/Austrian food ROCKS! Hello?! He now 100 percent agrees that it's the best cuisine in the world. This is a picture of my first of many, many schnitzels we had on this trip.

Though I had been to Austria before, this was my first time in Vienna. I have to say, Vienna might be my favorite of the European cities. It was so clean, the people were so friendly, the shopping was abundant, the history was everywhere and of course, the schnitzel. This was my first of many, many visits to come in Vienna.

Click here to see Day 6.

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