Friday, September 16, 2016

America the Beautiful

The trip home.


It's such an interesting word.  It can mean so many different things.  But it always has one thing in common.  Familiar.  And after 5 weeks of the unknown, familiar is about the most glorious thing you can imagine.

Prague is awesome for one more really important reason: getting to the international airport using public transportation is SUPER easy and cheap.  I love Prague.

The trip home.  Well of course there had to be drama with the stroller and car seat.  There had to be.  We flew from Prague to Copenhagen, Denmark with a lay over to LAX.  I knew there was going to be drama with the car seat and stroller I just knew it.  Jason thought I was crazy, the poor couple with 3 kids from LA thought I was crazy but I just felt it.  So from the start I asked every single person I could where our car seat and stroller would be when we landed in Copenhagen.  Would it be at the gate?  Would it go to baggage claim?  Would it be taken directly to our connecting flight?  Everyone looked at me silly.... or like I was crazy.  Of course it would just be taken to the connecting flight.  I laughed.  When we landed in Copenhagen once again I asked multiple people to be sure.  And yes they all looked at me like I was crazy.  "Of course it will be taken directly to your connecting flight." "That would be stupid to send it to baggage claim if your final destination isn't Copenhagen." I. Know.

After I was reassured by every worker in the Copenhagen airport,  I figured I should relax and enjoy this sleek, modern, and beautiful airport that looked like an IKEA.  Oh and I should mention insanely clean.  Like I had no problem letting Brad roll around on the sparkling clean tile at the gate.  OH if all the world could be Scandinavian....... well besides the prices and socialism of course.
Once I could relax I figured we should explore.  I was happy to find this replica. 

And of course it wouldn't be Denmark without some Danishes..... even if they were from the 7-11 in the airport.

And the Norwegian uniforms.... so so classy.

I don't know the solution to flying from Europe back to the States.  It seems no matter what you follow the sun and it's awful.  Jason nor I slept a wink of the flight.  OH and...... we didn't purchase the onflight meals.  Bad bad mistake. You see when we were booking our flights I was SO SICK of spending money I thought we could just bring a bunch of food with us.  By the time we got to Europe I knew that was a terrible idea.  But I thought they would give us complimentary meals and we had just not upgraded our when we were on the plan and realized we weren't getting meals I figured we could just purchase them on the plane.  Nope.  We could purchase "snacks" but not a meal.  So we both got a "snack" that was super expensive, tiny, and we were still starved. I know that was a winded explanation... but it is very important to document because we were so hungry the entire flight.  We went over 24 hours without a real meal... But luckily our baby was once again the best baby in the entire world.

Yes..... obviously I got bored.... but seriously best baby ever.

When we finally landed in LAX we were starving beyond belief.  We were exhausted beyond belief.  And Aunt Raine warned us going through customs in LAX would take over an hour.  I thought that couldn't be true.  And then we got to customs.  First off, we went straight from Europe to Asia in one short flight.  Everyone was Asian.  Somehow we missed America.  And of course we still didn't have our stroller so we had to carry Brad through everything plus the backpack and the parachute.

It was at this point that I started to get really nervous.  You see, it costs a ridiculous amount of money to change your name on your passport, like possibly the same as getting a new one!  So..... as far as my passport was concerned on this entire trip, I was Kristin Parson.  All my plane tickets were book as Kristin Parson and it hadn't been a problem.  (I felt okay doing it because when I got Brad's passport it asked for my maiden name so in Brad's passport it says his mom is Kristin Parson.  And really that was my own concern, as long as they knew Brad was mine)  But still..... as we stood in this line I started to sweat.  What if they wouldn't let me back in America.  Customs as of recently is kinda nuts.  Like you have to walk up to a computer take a picture of yourself  and print it out and hand it to security.  Even Brad had to get his picture taken.... and of course the poor baby was asleep so we had to wake him up.  Anyway, I was afraid when they scanned my passport somehow there would be a problem with my name...

First wonderful thing: there wasn't a shorter "line" for families but there was a security lady that walked around and pulled families out of the customs line and took them directly to the front.  So we skipped at least 45 minutes worth of the line.  Second wonderful thing: the security guy was super nice, joked with us and sent us on our way.  No questioning about why Braithwaite wasn't on my passport.

But then came the disaster........ remember we had be traveling for a solid 20 hours with no sleep...... no meal..... and we got to the baggage claim.  We got our suitcase, we got our stroller......... but no car seat.  Yep.  Lost.


Oh and I got an email from the rental car company we were using that they had over booked and we didn't have a car.  So I was frantically trying to find a car to rent that wasn't a bizillion dollars.  Sp we spent an extra hour trying to find out car seat then reporting our car seat as lost.  Meanwhile I am trying to book a new rental car.  Still no food.  Still no sleep.

Finally we made it out of the circus of an airport called LAX.

Finally we made it to the super shady with terrible reviews rental car place.

And of course they didn't have a car seat we could rent.  And of course our rental car had a huge dent in it that they didn't "know" about.  Shady......... terrible reviews.......... but the rental car agent was SUPER nice and told us to not fill the car up with gas because of the problems.  So we got a free tank of gas for our 30 hours in LA!

Still hadn't eaten or slept.

It was now 6 PM on a Friday in LA and we had 30 miles to travel across the valley........

And we drove to Target and bought the first car seat we could find and ate a delicious sandwich in the Target......

and finally after 2 hours of traffic..... so traveling for over 30 hours...... we made it to Raine's house.

The familiarity of the Sunshine Room has never felt so good.


What a wonderful place to be.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Second Day in Prague

My one request to Jason for our second day in Prague was a good family picture with the Prague Castle in the background... probably should have waited until the sun wasn't beating down, but oh well.

Of course there were a fabulous band playing on the bridge.
Jason's request was that he wanted to do a tour.  We found an awesome "free" tour.  (You just tip the guy after if you want to.  It was an awesome tour!  Our guide was from Burley, Idaho.
We went to Old Town Square and saw the very over rated astronomical clock.

After the tour we wanted to do something memorable.... So we walked by a Thai Message business..... and clearly having fish eat the dead skin off your feet in Prague is the only logical thing to do.

And then we needed to take some more pictures....

The view from the other bridge was my favorite.
I mean really.... does it get any more picturesque than this?
Then we went back to Old Town Square when golden hour hit and we got some of my favorite pictures of the whole trip.

Like this one....
And this one....

We ended the night by going back to the bridge to watch the sunset.

Prague......we love you. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

First Day in Prague - The Castle

Since our apartment was literally at the steps to the castle we figured that is where we should start our visit to this DARLING city.   The view of the city from the Castle.

It was a cool breezy drizzly morning.  It was so perfect for sight seeing.  We loved the contrast of the orange tile roofs with the turquoise bronze roofs.  Loved it.

The gothic style of the cathedral was so fun and different from the Italian Renaissance architecture.

We decided rather than touring inside the Cathedral we wanted to climb the bell tower to see the views.

Charles Bridge, one of the most iconic locations in Prague with Old Town Square behind it.  (You can see by the amount of tourists on the bridge, clearly we aren't the only people who are in love with Prague.)

After we went to walk around the castle in the gardens.  It was super cool with trails like this.  

And lastly.... the view of the Castle from the other side of the bridge.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Welcome to Prague! Our apartment

Let's be real here, by the time we were getting on the plane to head to Prague I had been on this trip for 35 days, 8 countries, at least 7 packing and unpacking of suit cases, I was exhausted, Jason was exhausted, we were done.  As we were driving to Bergamo to get on the plane to Prague I said, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if this plane just accidentally headed for the States instead of Czech Republic????"  I had no idea what to expect in Prague.  And I kept telling myself over and over again, even if we just sit in the apartment and do absolutely nothing that's okay.  Of course, you can already guess where this is headed.  Prague was AWESOME.  But luckily so was our apartment!  It was very small and at first it was pretty deceiving.  We walked in and saw a "bathroom" with just a toilet and a sink.  We were really confused about where the shower was.....

until we went in the bedroom and looked in the closet!

 How crazy is that?

Then I was worried because we really needed to wash clothes and the add on Airbnb said there  was a washing machine and we couldn't find it.... until we found the fridge! 

Then I had a suspicion we'd find the washer.  How crazy was that!  I absolutely loved how efficient it was.

(Obviously more room would have been better but it was great for us for 3 days!)  The apartment was in the PERFECT location.  It was 200 feet from the metro station and at the steps of the Prague Castle.  We loved out time in this darling apartment.