Here is the conversation I’ve been dreading. I’ve played it out a million times in my head and now the time has come to start an open dialog about it. Here goes nothing.
Me: We’re back!
You: What? From where?
Me: Opps. I guess I’ve been a little MIA. We went to Europe.
You: No! Don’t you start in with the cute family travel photos. I’m upset. I’m hurt. Why would you keep this trip from me. I haven’t heard a peep about it on your dusty, stagnant old blog.
Me: I swear, it wasn’t on purpose –
You: You never even finished telling me about Panama! As a matter of fact, you barely even started telling me about Panama!
Me: I know, it’s just –
You: No. I don’t want your excuses. Blah, blah, blah, you have twins, you’re busy. Your blog is all about empty promises of super cool blog posts to come. I just don’t know if I can take it anymore.
Me: I’m sorry.
Me: Do you want to hear about our trip?
Me: There’s photos of cute babies.
You: Humph. I guess.
Okay. Now that all that awkwardness is behind us, here’s the scoop. Andy had a work trip to Vienna for five weeks. It was the first trip since the girls were born and we were eager (and a little nervous) to see how it would go. It went just fine. We survived some bad colds and fevers, I painted the kitchen, I put the condo on the market and we welcomed some new teeth. So many new teeth. And then came time to buy the tickets. That’s where some problems arose.
The problem with this trip was that when push came to shove and it was finally time to buy the tickets, everything seemed all wrong. Plane routes weren’t lining up, long train rides seemed unrealistic with toddlers, prices in that area were skyrocketing because of Oktoberfest and then trains were being completely shut down because of the refugee situation. So we scrapped Austria and Slovenia and opted to extend Andy’s layover in Amsterdam and start our trip from there.
“Easy peasy,” I thought. There is a fantastic direct flight from PDX to Amsterdam that I’ve done loads of times and add to that a few quick train rides to a couple places in Belgium and Luxembourg and we’ve got ourselves a trip that practically plans itself.
But again, things went screwy. A few short days before we were intending to leave we finally got the go ahead to buy plane tickets. Then Andy lost his internet. Then ticket prices skyrocketed and the trip started spiraling out of budgetary control and I had to ask myself that tough question: At what point do we just scrap the whole thing?
The answer is, of course, we don’t. Instead, armed with too much caffeine and every online travel hack I’ve learned over the years, I set out to untangle the whole, expensive mess. After a few hours of figuring and re-figuring I finally had my finished product:
- Two adult plane tickets (for my mom and I) and two infant lap tickets at a much more reasonable price – achieved by pushing the trip back by two days.
- A trip that was shorter by two days thus allowing for less money to be spent on lodging and food.
- Airbnb reservations for three locations (Mechelen, Dinant and Haarlem).
- A rail pass that would save us both money and hassle (the Benelux pass covers Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg).
- Two nights booked for Andy at a Botel (a boat hotel) in Amsterdam which would allow him time to rest up after his job ended and finish his online continuing education courses.
Then I emailed Andy the whole, messy change of plans and hoped he’d get internet in time to know what was going on. After that I got some sleep, met with the realtor to give her the keys so we could show the condo while we were out of town, packed, cleaned one final time and then boarded that plane.
You: I hate to interrupt. But where are the cute photos of kids and the stories about your adventures. So far you seem to just be talking about what happened before you left.
Me: Oh yeah, I guess I’m getting there. I have lots of posts to come about all the great stuff we did and all the wonderful things we saw.
You: I’ve heard that before.
Me: I know, I know. But this time I’m serious. It’s not like we have anything coming up that will keep me from my blog.
You: You’ve implied that you sold your condo. Does that mean you’re planning a move? That sounds time-consuming.
Me: Umm. Yeah. But I swear, I’ve got so much great stuff to share!
You: Hmm… I guess I’ll stay tuned. Why don’t you at least share a few tidbits from your trip. Something to keep me interested.
Me: Sheesh. No pressure right?
Me: Okay then… here are a few tidbits from our trip.
First, did you know toddlers really, really, really don’t get time zones? Also, 7 PM (aka bedtime) in Portland is exactly 4 AM in Belgium. We were those people on the receiving end of disapproving looks with babies out and about at midnight.
You: What else you got?
Me: Well, we went on the shortest and steepest cable car in Europe.
You: I’m listening.
Me: It was in this adorable French-speaking town in Belgium called Dinant. We took the cable car up to the citadel above the town. The view was incredible.
You: That’s pretty cool. I’d like to hear more about that!
Me: Well, you’ll just have to stayed tuned.
You: Okay. How about just one more tidbit? Maybe something kind of wacky.
Me: Hmm… Oh here’s something. We learned that Americans and Ranch are synonymous.
You: Wait. What?
Me: No joke. Check it out.
You: Lol. Okay, you’ve convinced me… I’m back on board with your blog.
Me: Yay! I won’t let you down! I’ll leave you with just one more cute photo of babies traveling.
You: I’m glad we’re speaking again.
Me: Me too. You’re my favorite.
You: Let’s not go crazy here… there are a lot of travel blogs out there.
Me: Fair enough. 🙂