Monday, June 23, 2014

Bordeaux by Bus: The Visiotour

There are so many reasons I love traveling with my kids. I could probably list one each day and never run out. But by far the best reason is the quality time you spend together. Away from all the distractions of "real life."

I had just such a moment on our recent trip to Bordeaux aboard the Visiotour. This is a 70-minute tour around the city, aboard an open top, double decker bus. We did something we rarely do as a family on vacation... we split up, and Big Arrow and I went on the bus tour, while my husband and Little Arrow took naps back at the hotel.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Morning at Chartrons Market in Bordeaux

Our morning at the Sunday market in the Chartrons area along the Garonne River in Bordeaux was the stuff dreams are made of. Full of special moments that I want to remember down to the smallest details. What's more amazing than a true French market?

But it didn't start out that way. Big Arrow whined and complained the entire walk and tram ride to the market. Little Arrow refused to sit in his stroller or hold on to anything on the tram. I was beginning to think the morning was going to be a disaster and involve juggling two grumpy kids.

And then, as we departed the tram at the Chartrons stop, I spotted a playground. Instantly, moods did a 180 and the vision in my mind for how the day might transpire began to materialize. Instead of scowls, there were smiles all around.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Moments in France: Waiting for the Rain in Bordeaux

We thought it might rain for our entire two-day visit to Bordeaux. That's what the forecast was predicting, that's what the sky was suggesting. But other than a brief, light shower on our walk to the tram stop near our hotel our second day there, it never actually did. We're so thankful, as we spent the bulk of our time outdoors. (Although I love the shiny look of the streets in this photo, not to mention the green dino rain coat.) You can read all about our time in Bordeaux and Biarritz at Ciao Bambino.

This wraps up my Moments in France postcard series. (See my previous posts here and here.) You can expect a few more thorough posts about our time there here and at Ciao Bambino over the next few weeks, including reviews of where we stayed.

This post is a part of Friday Postcards at Walking on Travels.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Moments in France: Beach Bumming in Biarritz

This post continues my series of snapshots of my favorite moments from our recent trip to the Aquitaine region of southwest France. (See my first post from Bordeaux here.)

All day long we dangled the promise of a late afternoon trip to the beach in Biarritz over Big Arrow's head. We spent a busy morning sightseeing around the city, which involved a lot of walking on his part. (Not his favorite activity.) He had fun at the various stops we made, but must have asked us at least a dozen times when he could finally go to the beach. If you have young children, you know these were not polite questions, but more the slow burn of the dreaded whiney voice.

So after naps, off we went. And barely had our feet hit the sand when he dropped to the ground and said, "Mom, let's sunbathe."

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Worry-Free Day in Ghent, Belgium with Kids

Are you sitting down? I'm going to make two big confessions in this post.

CONFESSION #1: Despite how often we travel, I still get a little nervous before each trip, and sometimes each morning if we're heading out on a day trip somewhere.

I tend to be a bit of a worrier anyway. Will the weather be awful? Will the kids meltdown? Will we sleep ok? What if our rental isn't very nice? Car problems, flight delays, etc. There's no shortage of things that make me a bit apprehensive about traveling with kids. But it never stops us, thankfully.

We woke up on our third morning in Belgium, planning to spend the day in nearby Ghent. And like usual, I was worried. Concerned the kids were already getting burned out on sightseeing (have spent the entire previous day walking around Bruges). That there wouldn't be much to entertain them. And that it would feel too similar to Bruges, and thus seem like a waste of time.

And as is always the case, I went ahead anyway and we had such a great day there.

Ghent is much different than Bruges. It is larger and moves at a faster pace. Less tourist-centric (although there are still plenty). It has more of an urban feel, yet it is still decidedly historic and charming. After leaving the train station there, we spent our first hour just wandering around and letting the kids burn off some energy. (They will chase pigeons the world over, it appears.)