Sunday, December 02, 2012

Eastern Med Cruise as seen by a kid

We just returned from our family's first ever cruise, a 10-day sailing thru the Eastern Med.  I failed to realized that part of the 8 year old's homework during that time was to write at least 5 sentences about each of her days during the vacation.  So she did it all today:

What I Did On My Vacation 
by Devil Pup

Chapter 1  The Hotel
After we flew on airplane to Italy, the manger of the hotel picked us up by a van.  He drove us to the hotel.  The hotel was more like a ranch then a hotel.
There were cows and bulls everywhere.
The cows by the road would stampede down to oppiste side of the field when they saw you for ten seconds.  The [A family] came to the hotel with us. But some people like the [B family], and the [C family], who came on the trip, but didn't go to the same hotel.  We stayed at the hotel for two and half days, then we left.

Chapter 2 Life On the Ship
Once we got on the ship we signed into kids club.  Kids club is where you have fun when your parents aren't around.  After that we went to the Garden Cafe for lunch.  Once I went there when I was grumpy and the girl who worked there said, "Washie, Washie, Happy, Happy."  Washie, Washie, is what they call handwash.  Next we went to our room, it was so tiny!  We went to the pool too, not the hottubs inside or the sauna and the spa.  Also the Sports place and the fittness center.  There was also a medical center and a briging room.  In the briging room you could see what the captian and his crew were working on. Every night our steward would make animals our of towels, he made a rabbit, a elephant, a frog, peguin, mouse, monkey, crocdile, swan, and a duckky.  I saw the stardust theather.  The shows I saw were the sing off, 60's music, stars on strings, elements, and of course the one I played in the circus.  My act was the feather you had to balnce the feather on your hand, finger, top of your finger, and chin.  Mudusa Louge is where everybody went to dance after the show.
Also the Casino where people smoked and drank beer and play games, it's disgusting!

Chapter 3 Olmpia Greece
 When our ship landded we got on a bus.  We went to where they had the first olmpics.  We got to run in the stadium.  Then L got hurt.  She was bleeding.  But luckily she felt better soon.  Next we saw where the tourch was held.  I learned that olmpics are held all over the world but the tourch is always held in olmpia.  Also I learned the olmpics were held for the fake god Zues.  Then I learned only a free man could play in the olmpics.  After that I learned Greeks play naked because they liked to show thier bodies.

Chapter 4 Athens Greece
When we went to a mountain next to a city, some dogs followed us.  The tour guide said they were stray dogs and you might not want to toch them because they have fleas.  Next we went to the ruined city next to us.  We also saw the oldest theater in the world.  There was a really good view up there.

Chapter 5 Istanbul Turkey
In Istanbul we went to the Blue Mosque.  You hafe to take your shoes off because the people who pray there put there head on the floor.  Next we went to the Spice Bazar I got a mudusa eye.  The We went to Haggia Sophia.  After that we went to the Underground Palce.  There were huge fish there.  I got to go to two contentnets because Istanbul is in Asia and Europe.

Chapter 6 Pompeii and Naples
We saw a theater where the actors were slaves.  We saw a pregnet woman who died from the blast.  Then it started raining the ruined streets were flooding with water.  Then it started hailing hard but good thing I had my hood on.  We saw a woman who died with her lover in the blast.  I got to eat pizza where pizza was invented in the city of Naples.



Monday, September 17, 2012

The things we do for love...

 For some reason, my youngest is fascinated obsessed with Egypt.  At 7, she would tell anyone that would listen all about the ancient Egyptians embalming procedures.  Seriously.

Since we moved here a year ago, she has been begging me to paint her room.  This turned into wanting a mural of Eypt in her room.  Yeah, that wasn't going to happen. 

So my compromise was to paint her a faux mini mural.  It had to be flat enough to fit against her wall but also large enough to make her feel  she was getting a mural.  Thankfully, her room is tiny.
I used one of those tri-fold cardboard science fair boards and acrylic craft pain.  Voila.  She has her painting.
If I were going to do this again, I'd probably just go ahead and get the canvas board instead.  


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Our Paris trip

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

"There I was... There. I. Was..."

Stretch likes to tell the girls ridiculous, fantastical stories that have come to be known in our home as "There I Was" stories because that's how they all start:  "There I was.  There I was.  There.  I.  Was..."   Last summer, for some unknown reason, many of the stories featured go-go boots and a long white silk scarf.  As a result, Devil Pup has been asking for go-go boots since last summer.  (Yes.  I blame her father.)

Recently, Devil Pup acquired a pair of red, low-calf zippered patent leather boots.  She has worn them almost non-stop since getting them.

The girls are also encouraged to tell their own "There I Was" stories.  Today, Stretch asked Devil Pup to tell one.  It was quite short and a bit lacking in plot.  But we thought it was hysterical.  It went something like this:

There I was.  
I was wearing red go-go boots.  
And I was looking sassy.  
The end.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Our last full day in Paris...

The next morning found us at the same bakery as the previous morning getting breakfast to go before making our way to Invalides and the Musee d’Armee.  Stretch was made very happy between the military history and the HUGE amount of artillery on display!  We were awed by the intricate armor and weaponry.  The attention to detail was incredible.

After getting our fill of military history, we made our way to the opposite end of the complex of Invalides to the Eglise du Dome, where Napolean’s tomb is located.  Big Sis wondered why such a small statured person had such a large tomb.

Across the street, we found Musee Rodin where the girls posed with The Thinker and we wandered the gardens enjoying more of the scupture’s works.  I had intended for us to follow this with Musee du Moyen Age so we could see the tombstone of Nicholas Flamel and the 6 Lady and Unicorn tapestries.  However, the general consensus was that we should move on to the river cruise with Bateaux Parisiens, an hour-long boat tour that began at the foot of the Eiffel Tower , passed under a number of bridges including Pont Alexandre III and Pont Neuf, floating past the Ile de Cite before returning.

It had been a rainy, gloomy day until that point, so after disembarking from the boat, we thought we’d check the line at Tour Eiffel since we were so close.  Once there, Stretch, Big Sis and Devil Pup decided to take the stairs up the Tower.  I decided to stay behind and people watch.  They ended up climbing all the way to the 2nd stage!  Clearly, they all enjoyed it as they returned to the ground happy and excited.

By then, we were all getting hungry and decided to try to find a family friendly chain restaurant just off the Avenue du Champs Elysees called hippopotamus.  The first location was no longer there but we accidentally found another location.  It was wonderful!  And the kids’ meals came with enormous ice cream desserts.

After dinner, we strolled up the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe.  After taking note of the arches, plaques on the ground and the eternal flame at the grave of the unknown soldier (from the First World War), we climbed circular stairs to enjoy the view from the terrace on top.  The lights of the streets radiating from the Arc de Triomphe were pretty but the piece de resistance had to be the Tour Eiffel lit up at night.  Just when we thought we were enjoying a spectacular view, the Tower’s lighting changed and it began to sparkle!




 What a perfect last night in the City of Light!

The Louvre, Notre Dame, Musee D'Orsay, and Musee Grevin ... Oh, my!



The next day, we wanted to get to the Louvre just before opening.  We didn't quite make it, but were still early enough that the crowd in front of the Mona Lisa wasn't too bad.  Our strategy for this stop was to hit the highlights.  After all, there is just no way to see all of it in one day, especially with kids in tow.  Big Sis was able to see her Greek Antiquities and Devil Pup saw her Egyptian Antiquities, or at least some of them. 



After an hour or so, the girls were done with the museum.  It was time for a snack and our next stop.  We caught the Cars Rouge (a double decker hop-on, hop-off bus tour that is included in the Paris Pass) and went to the Cathedrale du Notre Dame on Ile de Cite.  The line to get into the cathedral was ridiculous.  And the main reason we were there was to go up the towers so we got in line for Tours du Notre Dame.  It was a long line.  And it was cold.  We ate lunch in that line.  Stretch found a vendor across the street and brought us hot dogs in baguettes with cheese. 
Eventually, we made it inside and started climbing the first tower.  Gargoyles and chimera on a gray day – perfect!  We also found ourselves inside the wooden bell tower after passing through a small door that the girls said looked like a Hobbit door.

Then it was back on the Cars Rouge to make our way to Musee d’Orsay.  Although renovations were underway and areas were closed, we were still able to see a number of works including those of  Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh, a favorite of Devil Pup’s. 
After that we reboarded the Cars Rouge.  We passed La Place du Concorde and the Egyptian Obelisk.  Then we passed the Opera and disembarked to make our way to Musee Grevin, a wax museum.  The girls had a great time posing with wax figures such as Jackie Chan, Naomi Campbell, Elvis Presley, Spiderman and Frankenstein’s Monster.

After dinner at an Irish pub nearby, it was back to our hotel.  We all slept well that night!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bonjour, Paris!

For this trip, I purchased BahnCards when I bought our train tickets.  They paid for themselves in the first trip!  It was less expensive to buy the cards and get the 25% discount on the tickets than to simply buy the tickets without the discount.  I wish I'd known to do this for our earlier Berlin trip!

After a 4-hour ride on the TGV, we arrived at Paris' Gare L'Est in the early afternoon.  We bought day passes for the Metro and made our way to our hotel, Hotel Residence Foch.  After dropping our bags in our room, we set out to find lunch and the Hard Rock Cafe to pick up our 2-day Paris Passes.  Lunch was bought at a street-side stand on the Avenue la Grande Armee which was lined on one side with white tents occupied by antique and art vendors.  We ate while walking toward the Arc de Triomphe.

After taking a few pictures, we descended into the Metro and made our way to the Hard Rock (Metro line 9, exit at Grands Boulevards).  The hardest part of picking up the passes was getting thru the crowd of tourists in the store.  Nearby were covered alleys with interesting little shops.  One had a pink beret that had Devil Pup written all over it.  Since she'd been asking for one, she got the first souvenir of the trip.

After a bit of wandering in a drizzle, we wandered and saw the Eiffel Tower, L'Ecole Militaire and went back toward the hotel, looking for a place to eat dinner.  We ended up in a brasserie where we enjoyed our first dinner in the City of Lights.  When our meals arrived, Devil Pup, exclaimed, "Bon Appetit!"  After finishing hers, Devil Pup leaned back in her chair, rubbed her tummy and announced, "That was quite a meal...  A good meal, I tell you."  She'd had a hamburger (no bun) and rice.

Berlin After Action: Exploring Part 2









Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Berlin After Action: Exploring Part 1

North and South Korea
Belgium
 When we checked into the pension, the owner had mentioned something about bears and that it was fun for the kids to keep an eye out for them.  I wasn't really paying attention, but then we started walking around and found them.  Wow!  The kids loved them!  It was fun to see how each was decorated to represent a different country.  Big Sis wanted to find Greece and Devil Pup had to find Egypt.  For more info on the Buddy Bears, click here.
 We saw a number of street performers, but Big Sis was quite taken with this troupe of breakdancers (I was more taken with their advanced age -- one looked older than me and I'm sure that's way too old to be breakdancing or doing tricks on skateboards -- brittle bones and all that, y'know).  Of course, I found the way they ended the show to be the best part:  ABBA's "Money, Money, Money" blaring as they held out caps for their audience to place money.

After our first night's dinner of sushi (YUM! and the girls liked it, too), we wandered around a bit and ended up going down a sidestreet we later decided wasn't quite in the right direction.  However, if we hadn't gone down that street, we might never have seen this.  And what is it?  Well, it seems to be a restaurant suspended by a crane:  Dinner in the Sky!  Neither of the girls thought this was a good idea.
DP:  "What if you fall?" 
me:  "There are probably seatbelts."
BS:  "What if the crane breaks?"
me:  "Hopefully, that wouldn't happen."


Our first night in Berlin, we really didn't have time to do any of the tourist sites so we spent the evening wandering the main thoroughfare near our hotel-pension.  It was fun and relaxing, despite getting rained on at the end.  Oh, well, that was a good excuse to get back to our room and get everyone showered up and ready to really see Berlin the next day!