Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Strasbourg, France part 2

Astrological Clock in Notre Dame
On Thursday the 23rd, we continued our visit of the town of Strasbourg.   Since I was still on my pursuit of finding the infamous cuckoo clock, I wanted to check out some of the squares we had not visited previously.  I had decided to go to the tourist office and ask about my clock.  I find it very funny when you ask someone a question and they don't know what the answer is, they respond as though you asked them if they have found the magical lost unicorn.  "The magical lost unicorn, phufff, you are crazy!!"  Well that was the response I had at the tourist office, no one knew what I was talking about.  I thought well these guys are young I will go ask the older guy who conducts the train tour.  Again, "The magical lost unicorn, crazy!"  So off we went on my foot pursuit of this clock, to no avail.  We did get to visit nearly every inch of the city on foot, but I never did find my clock.  On this day we did get to visit the inside of the Notre Dame Cathedral.  It is so beautiful.  Also inside we did get to watch the astrological clock (not the one I was looking for) and it was quite extraordinary. Joel said it was "out of this world".  Later in the evening we watched an outdoor light display on the outside of the cathedral that they have to celebrate the 1000th anniversary.  It was breathtaking.  They use a light display to illuminate different areas and depict the story of the construction of it, but it was interesting to notice different details of the building that was missed during the day.

Friday was a day I had been waiting for, for quite some time.  We drove to Legoland in Ulm, Germany. Now for those of you who know me, you know that I love Legos.  They are the coolest toy.  They are great for boys and girls and for any age.  One summer the kids and I spent it by rebuilding every set we own and we have tons of sets.  I use "we" because although the sets all belong to the kids I feel like they belong to me also.  Near the end of the process I decided to separate the blocks by color to facilitate the hunt for blocks.  We got some new bookcases and displayed each completed set on them.  Then the Lego movie came out and I apologized to the kids for being President Businessman, I just don't use kragle.  So as you might be able to tell this day was going to be a highlight for me.  Well, it did not disappoint.  First it started with my first drive on the Autobahn.  Crazy!  I did get the car up to 163km/hr.  Whoa.  Once we arrived and in we went.  Immediately they have displays everywhere.  The highlight for my day was going to be Mini land.  This is where they have several cities around the world recreated on a smaller scale all in Legos.  I decided to do this at the end of the day.  We all went on several rides together.  Then we needed to take turn because Eden was not able to go on some of them. The nice thing was that near the big kid rides were themed playgrounds to have something for the little ones.  So although Eden could not ride everything, she did have a ball.  I think her favorite was the water zone.   She ran around for over an hour in her swimsuit giggling and yelling "Mommmy, Daddy, look at me".  She had a great time.  The kids and Justin convinced me to ride a few roller coaster and flume rides.  I don't really like drops but I rode them anyway.  By the way, I still don't like drops.  Rachel, Caleb, Joel, and Danielle all enjoyed my screaming.  Rachel said that she thought a little girl was freaking out, but no, it was just her mom.  Once the rides closed we went to what I was waiting for.  It is truly amazing what they can recreate with Legos.  I've decided forget being a puzzle photographer, I want to be a Lego builder when I grow up.  Imagine spending your whole day constructing these amazing structures, too cool.  We got home very late and decided that since over the last 3 days we had walked 18.91miles we were going to take Saturday as a lazy day and just sit around and rest. We did take the kids to the park later in the evening once the sun was not overhead and the park was shady.

Ninjago Ride
Eden on a Canoe Ride

Caroline by Mini Land
Lego Man pulling Eden
Rachel and Caleb in Lego Boat

Equisheim France
Sunday we headed to the Vosges Mountains.  We took the Crest Road over portions of the mountains and got to see some stunning views.  We decided to visit  Eguisheim, titled the most beautiful village in France.  We parked the car and walked around.  We had not eaten lunch and it was almost 3, so we decided to get some at a local restaurant.  We were turned away at a few and then I was cursed out for asking if they served lunch at one.  She said of course they do, I explained that we had been turned down at several before which was why I was asking and then she proceeded to yell "well that is them this is us".  Needless to say, as hungry as we were we did not eat there and got some ice cream instead to tie us over until we could get a dinner back in Strasbourg.  Eguisheim was very beautiful and the homes are so quaint and lovely.  Since we were in the Rhine wine country Justin and I tasted a few types at a local winery.  We left with a bottle of Riesling and plan on drinking it tonight.  Once back we went and had a lovely dinner at Le Gruber and was served by a very pleasant waitress.

On the steps of a cathedral in Sainte-Marie-Aux-Mines

Yesterday we did another day trip, this time out to the Nurburgring in Germany.  This was a highlight for all the boys, big and small.  The track has 2 parts a 5km Grand Prix track and a 21km toll road "track" (the Nordschleife). Apparently for 27euros you can drive your own car on it, unless of course you have a red license plate, which we do.  The younger boys wanted to drive on the track.  Justin had researched alternative options but unfortunately, none of them worked out since the boys were too young.  Instead, we watched a test day for the up coming 6 hours of Nurburgring.  Luckily, they handed out ear plugs.  Boy that was loud.  It was pretty incredible to watch the cars whiz by.  One even caught fire as it was coming into the pits.  But the best part for me was the smile on each of the boys faces, big and small, as we walked out to the stands to see the race cars.  Once done with that we let Caleb, Joel and Danielle race some go karts.  I think Justin and I might have some future race car drivers on our hands.  After that we drove to a parking spot where we were able to watch the "regular" street cars race on the 21km track.  Once I set my eyes on them I was internally jumping for joy that my Coppin men could not drive on this track.  What we saw were mainly novices but some experts that were flying by at various insanely high speeds trying desperately to apply the brakes before they took a hairpin turn.  I am pretty sure there were some new tires and brakes required for a few of these cars. The session ended at 7pm so we hit the road to get back to Strasbourg.

Near the track as a car speeds by
Kids that look like Shrek with the green ear plugs


Nurburgring Gift Shop

Go-Karts at Nurburgring

Near one of the 73 turns of the Nordschleife track at Nurburgring

This morning Justin and I took Rachel to the train station to put her on a train to Paris for her return flight home.  I, as Eden said cried "like a baby".  So here is a shout out to all of my fellow Colorado mommies, please give her a good mommy hug when you see her since I will not be able to do it myself for a few months.

We leave Strasbourg tomorrow.  Next stop Nendaz, Switzerland!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Strasbourg, France Part 1

Strasbourg Canal
Notre Dame of Strasbourg at Night

We arrived in Strasbourg on Monday, the 20th at about 8pm and it was still 95 degrees out.  The nice lady checking us into the apartment told me that they had just started with a heat wave and it was going to last several days.  Well she was right.  It lasted about 4 days and we soon realized that air conditioning is wonderful. But unfortunately the apartment we rented did not have a/c, and it was a third floor walk up, which in Europe means 4th floor.  Luckily, the nice lady left us 4 fans that we used non stop.  Since the windows had been closed all day and the apartment was about 10 degrees hotter then outside we dropped off our bags and took the kids for a bit to eat. We got a few pizzas and a tarte flambee (like a thin pizza with a cream based sauce, yum) a couple of rounds of Edelweiss beer at a cute little cafĂ©  After dinner we walked over to the Cathedral.  What an amazing sight!  It is the tallest Cathedral in France and is celebrating its 1000th anniversary.  It is really incredible to realize that this church has been here for 1000 years.  I wondered how many people had walked through its doors or just stood outside as I was just taking it in.  On our way back to the apartment the kids noticed a beautiful carousel in the Place Gutenberg.  Since it was past 11pm, we promised the kids we would come back to ride it another day.

On Tuesday we set out to visit Strasbourg itself.  Our place is well situated and was very easy to walk to anywhere in the city.  First we set out to the Ponts Couvert (covered bridges),  They are no longer covered, the wood structure is no longer there but the bridge and towers still stand.  Once we crossed the bridge we arrived in Petit France, a small area in old Strasbourg which has many of the original buildings still standing.  The houses have a German influence and are very quaint with flower filled boxes at each window.  We continued our walk to visit Place Kleber, see I was on the hunt for a special cuckoo clock that I had seen here with my mother some 24 years ago.  No clock in sight but a pretty square nonetheless.  We headed over to a restaurant, L'Ancienne Douane, to get a choucroute garnie (sauerkraut with different pork sausages and hams) a traditional dish served in this region.  It was scrumptious.  I had been waiting to get this for quite a while and it was better then I remembered.  It was also so nice to be sitting in the shade with another Edelweiss on the canal watching the boats go by.  By the way, it was also 95 degrees that day.  We were all pretty sweaty but so was everyone else.  At times I did feel like I was actually melting.  Once we got back to the apartment I had each of the kids take a cold shower before they went to sleep.  It helped tremendously. 

Altes Schloss
On Wednesday we headed to Baden-Baden, Germany.  I had never been to Germany before so I was very excited for this day trip.  Once there we walked around the town and got a some "hot dogs" for lunch.  Since it was also extremely hot in Baden-Baden, we decided to head up to Merkur Mountain to get a view of the city below.  Much to the children's delight we rode the funicular up the 1,214 foot elevation difference.  We were all amazed by the steep grade, in some places it was between 23% and 54%.  Once at the top the view was stunning.  The Black Forest below was gorgeous.  And as a side note it was significantly cooler at the top of Merkur Mountain.  We let the kids play at the playground and we all went to the top of the observation tower.  Joel raced the elevator I rode with the girls.  He beat us running up the 145 stairs, he also beat us running down.  We got a snack of ice cream for the kids and beer for the adults.  I was quite happy to sit at the restaurant and take in the picturesque view around me.  I decided I want to be one of those people who take the photos for puzzles.  They are always the nicest pictures and really how hard can it be to take a picture of a stunning place.  Even my amateur pictures look great when you take a picture of such natural beauty.  We decided to walk down the mountain.  Listen, after a 0.5liter beer anything sounds doable.  We all left very loudly and buoyantly down the trail.  Once halfway down it got significantly quieter and hotter.  Looking around you understand how they came up with the name Black forest.  The vegetation is so thick and dark.  By now Justin and I were taking turn carrying Eden.  She is not light.  Once we got back to the car we headed towards Altes Schloss (a castle in ruins).  It was pretty amazing walking around the ruins.  We were able to climb up the tower and again get a stunning view of the city and Black Forest below and of Merkur Mountain.  We took lots of pictures and I took some of the castle itself.  Again I thought  super cool puzzle pic.  We headed back down the mountain, in the car and started to look for the former Canadian air force base where Norma and Bob met for the first time.  It was pretty neat to see where they met and started their romance.  If it wasn't for this place they would have never met and Jonathan and Justin would not be. We drove home on a smaller road and got to enjoy the countryside.  We were all so tired, we had walked 14,999 steps, 7.37 miles sometimes carrying a fluffy 2 year old.  We were beat, but I did wish I had taken 1 more step.

By the way, I kept seeing signs for Ausfahrt pointing in a direction, I thought it was a town name that you could somehow reach from anywhere, but it turned out it is the German word for exit.  More cold showers and off to bed.

From Justin:  Driving in Germany for the first time was an interesting experience.  Of course I've heard about the autobahn and wondered what it would be like.  What I didn't realize is that most of the roads are an "autobahn" and don't have a speed limit.   The first highway I got on was packed with trucks and had a center barrier and not much of a shoulder.  It had some hills and curves.  The trucks are limited to go 90 km/hour.   A road like this in France had a speed limit of 110 km/hr or sometimes 130 km/hr.   I wondered what the speed limit was on this road as it didn't show up on the GPS as it did in France.  Soon thereafter my doors were blown off by an Audi whizzing by me in the left lane.   I soon concluded that there was no speed limit.   I was cruising around 150 km/hr and still getting routinely passed.  It is a bit disconcerting to be passing trucks going slow on your right and having cars come up behind you so fast.   I was worried that a truck would switch lanes and I might not be able to get to the leftmost of the 3 lanes due to the really fast cars.    I did get into the fast lane once and got up to 162 km/hr (101 mph) and still had to get over to get passed.    A Porsche 911 passed me once at this speed like I was standing still.  I don't know what the fatality rate is on the German highways but I shutter to imagine what an accident at these speeds would look like.  At any rate it was a bit fun driving fast but more nerve-wracking than I had expected.

Eden's Favorite Store in Strasbourg
Park in Baden-Baden Germany

Riding in the Funicular up Merkur Mountain
At the top of Merkur Mountain

View of the Black Forest

The 5 kiddos indicating their birth order on blocks numbered accordingly

Hiking in the Black Forest

The Castle reached to the sky

Boys finding unique areas in the castle

Outside the Canadian Air Force base in Baden Baden where Justin's parents met

The streets were aptly named for a Canadian base

Carousel in Strasbourg 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Amsterdam and surrounding

Danielle has some big shoes to fill
We drove about an hour north to visit Amsterdam.   We took the advice of several travel websites to park outside of the city center and then use public transit.   This worked out well.  The park and ride location we chose was at the stadium for the 1928 Summer Olympics.  The stadium was quite small by comparison to the ones that have been built for recent Olympics.   Most colleges would have a football stadium much larger that this stadium so it was an interesting reflection on how much more money is being invested in the Olympics now. 
Once we arrived in city center via tram we walked to the Anne Frank house.   It was amazing how many people were in line to go inside.  The line stretched over 3 blocks.  We decided to skip the line which would have taken many hours of waiting and just read the historical information posted outside.  Amsterdam is famous for it's canals and we found an outfit that would rent us a small aluminum boat to explore the canals on our own.  This was really cool and enjoyed by all.  
Caleb guiding us through the canals of Amsterdam
The kids all had their turn at being captain.    Not surprisingly, Amsterdam was packed with tourists.   I think that there were a lot here for drugs and/or the red light district that the town has a reputation for given the number of people we ran across that were high or acting lewdly.   This definitely provided a different experience that isn't well suited to a family and in reality not very representative of the Netherlands. 

The next day we went to Kinderdijk which was an area that still had many Dutch windmills that were built in the 1700s and still operational today.   I was impressed with how fast they turned with just moderate winds.  I know how much engineering work can go into the airfoil design of the blades on modern wind turbines.  I was impressed how well these worked from being designed 300 years ago without many of the design and construction advantages available today.   We saw one resident turn on his mill by climbing up one of the blades (a lattice of wood) and pull across a canvas cover to make the sail of this blade.

Kinderdijk Windmill

Putting the sails up.  3 of the 4 are up on this one

Old and New Wind Technology

 He did that 4 times (one for each blade) and then the brake released and the mill was put into action. Some of the windmills here were used to turn an Archimedes screw to pump water up the dike.   I built an Archimedes screw with Joel for a school project and it was neat to see a real one in action.   After some aimless exploring we ended up in a small town named Nieuw Lekkerland.  We had lunch at a small restaurant there and talked to the owner for over an hour.  She was very friendly and helpful in having us explore some of the typical foods for the region (lots of different processed meats that were deep fried.   Doesn't necessarily sound good on paper, but it was good).   The lunch experience was an unexpected pleasant surprise as we learned much and had a great time conversing with restaurant owner.

On our last full day in the Netherlands, we went to the town of Leiden.   Leiden was a relatively small town but it had many canals.  Many of the restaurants had seating on barges that were docked on the canal.  It was a very vibrant town with many shops and places to socialize with friends.

Leiden Canal
Overall, I really liked the Netherlands.  It had very pretty countryside and the people were very friendly and helpful.  All the canals through some of the cities was really neat.  One of my favorite parts of the Netherlands was just how bike friendly they have made their cities.  I always heard about many people riding their bikes here but didn't realize how much they have put into the road and path infrastructure.    There are roads and then usually totally separate roads (usually in red) for the bikes.  You don't need to ride your bike right next to the cars which makes it much safer.   It really made me want to get a bike and ride.

We loaded up the Renault to drive to Strasbourg France.   I spent a few hours the previous night packing the car in order to eek out just a bit more room for everyone to sit.  It ended working out OK and we were just a little bit less of a circus clown car act.   We made it back into France through Belgium and a brief pit stop in Luxembourg where we got donuts (Dunkin Donuts no less)

**  On a side note... the pictures aren't very big when they show up in-line with the text, but if you click on any of them you can view them full screen.

Amsterdam Canal from our boat

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Let's jam in Rotterdam

Cube House
Well , first let me explain the title.  For nearly the entire four and a half hour car ride to Rotterdam, Eden proceeded to sing "I'm gonna jam in the Rotterdam" and "Are we in Rotterdam".  We are in Rotterdam and she still asks "Are we in Rotterdam?" Now she says that she will jam in her jammies in Rotterdam.  Man I love variety.  So our journey to Rotterdam was a little tricky.  We were supposed to get our car, the Renault Grand Scenic, at about 9am.  We did a short term lease which is a great way to go when needing a car for more than a few days.  (Thanks to Caroline's brother Stephan for the tip!)  Justin got to the car pickup location and no car.  The car was still on a truck and they did not know where the truck was.  Meanwhile the kids and I had to check out from our apartment at 10am. Luckily, we had a very gracious host and she let us leave our bags in the apartment while the cleaning lady worked, until Justin came to pick us up.  I took the kids to a nearby cafe to hook up to the wifi and have an espresso and chocolate croissants.  Justin and I were able to communicate and they decided to get a taxi to pick up the kids and I with the luggage.  The only catch was that Renault needed to approve the cost beforehand.  Well about two hours later they got the approval and 20 minutes later the taxi showed up.

The Renault Grand Scenic - Our wheels for the next 3 months
Once the kids and I arrived at the car place we found Justin and as luck would have it the truck had arrived and Justin had the car.  Well, let me tell you not all car trunks are created equally.  I am very spoiled at the roominess of my minivan.  Because all though the Scenic is grand it is not huge.  About 20 minutes later we got the car loaded and the kids crammed in and off we went.  About 4 hours behind schedule.  But then we thought schedule who needs a schedule.  Since we needed to move the driver seat up a bit to fit a duffel bag behind it, I was required to drive because I am shorter than Justin.  We entered in the address to the integrated GPS and off we went, but first we needed to get out of Paris. Wow! Traffic is crazy and we soon realized that I needed to drive rather aggressively. Soon the kids started chatting "Be aggressive, be, be aggressive".   We soon got out of Paris and were on our way to jam in the Rotterdam.  The drive was uneventful and we found our apartment rather easily.  

The Hook of Holland
Today we decided to visit Rotterdam center.  We walked around the city center and the city itself. People again are very kind and helpful.  We saw Grote of Sint Laurensker (a church), Markthal (an indoor food market within a very interestingly shaped building) old Harbor, and the Cube House. We had a wonderful time and very much enjoyed the delicious food we got for lunch at Markthal.  There were so many food vendors it was difficult to choose.  We ended up buying a few different types of salad, some meatballs, paella and fruit salad.  Each one was delicious, my favorite might have been the crab salad but let me tell you the meatballs were a very, very close second.  Once we finished our main dish we each chose different desserts, well, because honestly the choices were endless.  Danielle and Eden got a frozen yogurt.  Joel got an ice cream cone, Rachel and I got a waffle and Caleb got some chocolates.  Don't worry Justin and I shared my waffle.  Once we got back to the car we decided to take a drive out to the Hook of Holland.  The Hook of Holland is the southwestern corner of the Netherlands proper.  The drive there was so nice.  We saw cute houses along a canal with gardens full of flowers.  We parked our car and walked along the pier to the very tip of the Hook.  The walk was 4 miles round trip and it was so pleasant the entire way.  The view was fantastic.  on one side of the pier is the beach and the other side is the port.  There were swans all along the way on the port side.  I was quite surprised to see them.  The kids had a great time with a couple of ladybugs they caught and named.  

When we got back to the apartment we walked about 2 blocks to the supermarket and got some things for dinner.  I love the convenience of having the supermarket so close that you can walk. 

 Another thing that Justin and the boys find interesting is the trash bin across the street from our apartment.  The bin itself is pretty small but this morning we saw them empty it and realized that it was mostly underground.  They hooked the bin to a large crane attached to a garbage truck and pulled it out of the ground and emptied it into a large trash truck.  So the bin is actually about 10 feet deep by 5 feet wide. Once emptied it was placed back into the ground.  The boys thought that it was pretty cool the garbage  man doing this all with a remote control.  

Personally, I love Rotterdam.  I find the city easygoing and feel very comfortable here.  The architecture is pretty, the people are nice and the city itself is beautiful.  By the way, the tap water is supposed to be the best in the world, and so far it is quite good.

Shipping Channel on Hook of Holland

Caleb trying out the "Squirrel" at the free kids festival in downtown Rotterdam

Eden and Danielle bouncing

Au revior Paris

Les Invalides
I love Paris.  We all did.  The food was absolutely delicious.  Not just at the cafes and restaurants but also anything we picked up at each market.  The bread, pastries, cakes and tarts were all so good.  We found a little Boulangerie right around the corner from where we were staying and all of us loved picking up fresh bread or croissants for breakfast.  The owner of the shop soon recognized us since we frequented her shop at least once a day.
Eiffel Tower at Night
The neighborhood we stayed in, in the 19th arrondissment was perfect.  It was a quick 5 minute walk to the metro and the shops and restaurants were easy to get to and very reasonably priced.  We found this great little sandwich shop that we got sandwiches, drinks and crepes for less then $30, now for a family of 7 that is a bargain. The crepes everywhere we went were fantastic, but probably my favorite was the ones Rachel and I got on our second to last night there.  I decided to take Rachel to see the Eiffel Tower at night.  We picked up a couple of sugar and Grand Marnier crepes and watched the tower twinkle it's lights on the hour.   We also found that most people were very friendly.  We preferred frequenting the smaller specialty shops then the larger supermarket.  The people that worked in the supermarkets just seemed annoyed that you were shopping there. Everyone we encountered in the specialty shops were pleasant and helpful.  Justin and I got lots of comments about our FIVE children. They were all surprised at the amount of children we had.  We even had a metro musician stop playing to count them all and then got an "ohh la la" from him.  I think we were a bit of a novelty in Paris.
One of the things that we noticed was that it did seem like Paris has gotten much more crowded in recent years.  We were all a little surprised that when you visited Notre Dame and Sacre Couer Cathedrals you were funneled through on a carpeted path around the perimeter of the church.  People are no longer allowed to visit the center of the church where the pews are located.  I can totally understand, because I wouldn't want some crazy tourist poking me in the head with his selfie stick while I was trying to pray.  The amount of selfie sticks are ridiculous.  I was a little offended at the lack of respect that people had in the churches.  And if low and behold you don't have a selfie stick you can buy one from one of the hundreds of street vendors standing outside selling them for 2 Euros a piece.  We even got a guy who attached his GoPro to a selfie stick and recorded our entire boat trip on the Seine, all 65 minutes of it.  I wonder how many times he will pull that out and watch it. Never. But he did annoy the people around him as they tried to get a photo without his GoPro in it and then he would suddenly move it back into their frame. Yes, every time.


The other thing that was a little nerve racking was the thought of getting robbed.  I was aware of the risk but I was surprised at how many metro workers and police officers warned us about pick pockets.  Everywhere we went we would get a warning, especially in the high tourist areas.  I over heard a couple of thieves on the Metro discussing in French how to take a tourists SLR camera slung over her shoulder.  We also saw someone try and snatch a bag from a blind man.  So my advice is to get a deep purse or bag, put your valuable at the very bottom and put a sweater or scarf over it. Despite the selfie sticks and the pick pockets we had a fabulous time.  The food was great, the sites were beautiful and the majority of the people were kind.  Paris was great!

Eden having a snack waiting for the next Metro train

Institute de France

Notre Dame from the Seine

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Eden, the first class ticket

Outside the Louvre
We have learned over the last few days that traveling with a young child has its difficulties but also has some major benefits.  Yesterday we decided to visit the Louvre museum and once we arrived at the courtyard we noticed a line of about several hundred people to purchase entrance tickets.  As I started to approach the line I was stopped by a museum attendant.  I was thinking that she was going to tell me no strollers, but no, much to my surprise she pointed me to the "priority line".  What!! There was absolutely no one in the line.  She said that our entire family could go through it since I HAD a stroller.  We headed over still unsure if we would get in, and low and behold we walked right through to a special "priority elevator".  We were in.  This cut off about and hour and a half of waiting in the hot Parisian sun.  I turned to the kids and told them that they should be extra nice to Eden today since she got them out of the sun and in the museum in under 2 minutes. We spent the day visiting the Louvre and got to see the Mona Lisa, The Winged Victory, Napoleon III apartments, Venus de Milo, the Dying Slave by Michelangelo, and much, much more.  Afterwards, we headed towards Notre Dame Cathedral with a stop for lunch beforehand.

Today we headed towards Montmartre.  Our metro ticktes allowed us to ride the funicular instead of climbing the hundreds of stairs.  Once at the top we went inside the Sacre Couer Basilica.  Towards the end of the visit, Eden said the she "needed to go so bad."  We all know what that means, number 2 and now.  I decided to ask a church attendant where the nearest restroom was.  He explained to me where is was (not very nearby), and then asked me who needed to go.  I pointed to Eden and said "La petite, (the little one)."  He told me to follow him.  We went back into the Basilica and behind a rope with the word "private" written across it.  He lead myself, Eden and Danielle down a long corridor to a private restroom.   He told us to come back this way once done.  We all proceeded to use the facilities, in Europe if you have the chance go, because you never no when the chance will come again.  Once again, Eden saved us a huge amount of time hunting for a restroom.  I felt like Charlie in the chocolate factory with a golden ticket, just my golden ticket is Eden.  Time and again while traveling people have bent over backwards to let her use the restroom, get her something to eat for free at midnight and allowed us to bypass lines.  I have learned that if you have a small child with you shop/restaurant owners will let you use the restroom for free.  Usually you need to purchase something, so I had actually made a restroom budget, but not with our little golden ticket.  Also, everyone ohhs and ahhs over her, much to her delight.  She has learned that if she says bonjour, au revoir, or merci people gush over her even more.  We always knew that she was a charmer, but it has really come out in spades while traveling. 

After leaving the Basilica we walked around Montmartre and visited the art district.  Rachel and I bought a few pencil drawings of the city and we all had une glace (ice cream) and crepes as a snack. Now back at the apartment we are all relaxing while our little golden ticket naps.  

Our first class ticket enjoying the cool vent.

Cours Marly

Notre Dame Cathedral

Moulin Rouge
5 Little Monkeys
Potty at the Sacre Coeur Basilica

Potty at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Who knew!