Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Boughton House

I'm interrupting my posts about our trip to Scandinavia by sharing a little fun we've been having exploring the English countryside near our home. Barely a weekend goes by that we don't go somewhere new, including our trip to Boughton House. It's one of the things that make the more difficult aspects of expat living bareable.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Copenhagen Canal Boat Tour

We're a fifty/fifty kind of family. A little something for the kids to enjoy, a little something for the adults. Granted, it sometimes seems as though we spend much more time at the playground than we ever do at the pub, but we still aim for some type of balance. Especially on longer trips to places that we may never get to experience again. Our time in Copenhagen during our recent Scandinavia trip is a good example.

We had spent the previous day in mostly kid-focused pursuits. The children's wing of the Nationalmuseet. The Lego store. Then late afternoon playtime at the park and gelato (ok, the gelato was just as much for the parents as the kids).

The following morning, we arrived in the Nyhavn area along the harbor. It was so charming, the weather was beautiful and the boats were calling out to my husband and I. We really wanted to explore Copenhagen by taking a canal boat tour. Would the kids be able to handle an hour of sitting still? (Could we keep the water-loving Little Arrow from jumping overboard?) We stocked up on snacks and took a chance.

We started by letting them run off some steam around this big anchor. All the boat tour companies seem to start and end in this area.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Copenhagen with Kids: Itinerary and Advice

Before beginning our week-long trip to Scandinavia, our first three days in Copenhagen were the portion of the trip I was most looking forward to. And it did not disappoint. Frankly, I'm surprised this isn't a more popular city to include in the typical American's European travels (or Brits, for that matter). There was so much to see, it's easily walkable, and everyone speaks English. Win, win, win as far as combining ease of travel and loads of fun.

We basically had 2 full days, and 2 days where we spent some of our time arriving and departing. Ideally, one more day in the city would have been nice, but we were able to cover most of what I had hoped to see in our time there. You should know that we returned to our apartment each afternoon for naps. If your kids are a bit older and don't need that, you could cover more ground. (Although my husband and I were both thankful for the downtime, as we did a lot of walking.)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rosenborg Slot and Kongens Have

Next week, I'll be sharing all the details of our 3 days in Copenhagen during our recent trip to Scandinavia. If I had to pinpoint the kids' favorite activity of this segment of our trip, the answer would be visiting Rosenborg Slot and the surrounding park, Kongens Have.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Planning a Week in Scandinavia with Young Kids

I mentioned in my previous post that I spent a lot of time planning our week-long holiday in Scandinavia. While I read a lot of great blog posts about individual attractions in each location (see my Pinterest board about Scandinavia with Kids), I couldn't find much information on how to put it all together into one trip (particularly because we weren't interested in seeing the area via cruise ship, as many do). So I thought I'd share our itinerary, what I'd do differently and what I loved the most. Here are more detailed itineraries and info for Copenhagen and Oslo.

Our 1-Week Scandinavia Itinerary:

Day 1: Travel from London to Copenhagen, Denmark.

Days 2-4: Explore Copenhagen.

Day 5: Drive from Copenhagen to Gothenburg, Sweden, with a stop in Helsingborg, Sweden (via the bridge to Malmo in Sweden, not the car ferry in Helsingor, Denmark).

Day 6: Morning in Gothenburg, then drive from Gothenburg to Oslo, Norway.

Day 7-8: Explore Oslo.

Day 9: Travel from Oslo to London.

Nyhavn area of Copenhagen

Monday, August 5, 2013

Our Rental Experience

I spent hours upon hours planning our recent trip to Scandinavia. More time than I’ve ever spent planning a trip before, actually. For some reason, a lot of the logistics of this trip just didn’t fall into place as easy as one would think. More on that in a future post.

I usually start my trip planning by researching our lodging options (which, for our family, is almost always a rental property.) I was scouring some of the larger property rental websites and not finding much that looked suitable for us. Then, as I was perusing a guidebook I checked out from the library, it listed as a good option for properties for the Copenhagen portion of our trip.

Bingo. I found several apartments that were perfect for us. All at prices that were reasonable, very much in line with what I was seeing on other websites. And often cheaper than a hotel stay.

Our home away from home in Copenhagen.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

How To Spend an Impromptu Day in York

I learned two very valuable lessons during an unexpected extreme change in weather during our camping trip to the North Yorkshire coast a few weeks ago.

1) Never trust the weather forecast, especially in England.

For a week leading up to our trip, we were assured of 80 degree days, sunny skies, and not a rain drop in sight. I got to work researching beachside restaurants, outdoor adventures, and fully embraced a weekend of wonderful weather. I never considered what we'd do if this forecast didn't play out as expected. (I know, I know, I can hear the laughter of every British person who ever reads this... Such a naive American expat I am!)

2) Embrace the lack of plans.

Here is where my husband excels and I struggle. When we woke up to temperatures in the low 50s and fog clinging to everything, I was frustrated and wanted to throw in the towel on the weekend. I said we should pack up our campsite and start the drive home. My husband reluctantly agreed.

But once we were on the road, he suggested we stop in York. Lots of people have suggested we plan a long weekend here, which we had (and still have) every intention of doing. But since we were passing right through, why not spend a few hours walking around, he thought. Such a smart guy.

And what a time we had, in just our brief time there. Keep in mind we didn't know a bit about the city before arriving (and still know very little!) Here's a taste of what we experienced.