aMsTeRdaM airport

We got rolling early this morning, but since I’m insomniac it didn’t really matter. I’m hoping to sleep soon, but feeling great. Budapest was a happening place all night long from what I could hear on the 7th floor of our hotel and I’ve never seen so many people at 5:00 am in my life. I think they were going home after the hard night of partying. We are in Amsterdam. I know there is a lot to see here, but that will be for another day. image

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Budapest

Yesterday we flew to Budapest. We weren’t supposed to go to Rome except for a layover. When Orbitz called me to tell me my flight was cancelled, I wasn’t too worried about it. Then the solutions were not workable. My trek was in peril which wasn’t the end of the world since I’d get a refund; but I’d invited friends to meet me in Budapest and now I wouldn’t be there….. What in the world can I do? After a few days, the situation got resolved with a rerouting to Rome. A “free” side trip to Rome sounds good, but the cost was high. The other solution price was higher or tell my friend I wouldn’t be there. I couldn’t not show up, but the solution was that I’d be there for half the time. Then I spent the rest of the month on pins and needles as the stakes were  high to not be a flake of a friend. When we finally met up after 6 years, I could relax and enjoy. Now I’m exhausted as we spent a marvelous time walking around Budapest. My kids deserve a medal. It was cold, but it could have been colder and it was dry. We walked and walked and walked. The sites last night were outstanding. The Christmas market was a really fun atmosphere. First time in Budapest and I can confirm that it is a place worth visiting.

Walking city

The first time I came to Rome I was 18. I bought a bunch of subway tickets and quickly discovered everything was super close together so I didn’t need them. I stayed in hostels and made friends with the other hostel dwellers. It was awesome!! I even met some extremely kind friends who accompanied me to the train station late at night so I’d be safe. It wasn’t a quick jaunt either. I think they were from Australia. As it was summer down under I met a few from there. #fun in January 1994 Many years later, I brought my parents here for their first and likely only trip to the eternal city. They are slowing down a lot these days. Everyone should see it at least once if they get the chance. This time, the hostel was exchanged for a luxury hotel earned from a promo with SPG and business travel. Traveling with kids is hard so luxuries along the way make it doable. A lovely day of discovering the city on foot and a dip in a pool made for a great non-traditional Thanksgiving.

Jet lag in style #Roma

I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow after hitting the first pizzeria and imagegetting a shower. Up at 2:30 a.m. = jet lag ! I could have taken many unattractive photos of what we look like under those conditions, but no! Arrived to a rainy city. The taxi driver was aggressive and got us to our destination alive by a miracle.

Native American Heritage Month

November is “Native American Heritage Month”. I grew up down the street from the local Paiute tribal property. I grew up to the sounds of pow wow songs on a summer night when they played drums ALL.NIGHT.LONG. I have danced in the guest portion of the pow wow. My hometown pow wow is always in June and now that we are back West; unfortunately, my children are still in school during the pow wow so we miss it every year. I love to hear the thumping drums and the wailing cries. I grew up with Paiutes and The Diné (Navajo). My ancestors were some of the first white folk in a land where natives were never wiped out: the great State of Utah. We grew up side by side and went to elementary school together. I understand most Americans have never met any actual full blooded native American, but they truly exist outside of folklore books. Native Americans are very diverse, but a lot of them live between 2 cultures and it isn’t easy to continue their traditions. I support any recognition they can get. YAY for Native American Heritage Month!

Are you taking the kids ? ? ?

Invariably, my husband and I are always asked this question. In our neck of the woods, it is not abnormal to go to Hawaii. In fact, we have been there twice; both times since we have been living in Oregon. Frankly, it is a lot cheaper to book a flight to Hawaii and guarantee ourselves some swim worthy weather than to drive 80 miles to the gorgeous Oregon coast and spend a lot of money on a nice place only for it to be too cold to go outside. Getting into the water here, um heck NO! Anyway, each time we go somewhere, we are asked: “are you taking the kids?”  IMHO, this is simultaneously some sort of status question and then they follow it up with some sort of….. “we would never take the kids.” I find it interesting that Hawaii only seems to be “acceptable” as some sort of romantic destination. I grew up going to Southern California quite regularly and since I really enjoyed the beach as a child, I see no reason why Hawaii is intended only for romance. If we cannot afford to take the kids, then we’ll have a great time wherever, but they’re coming along on our itinerary. If you want to visit Hawaii or anywhere else, watch for a flight sale and be ready to buy when the price is right for you. The price is only ever right for me when I get a deal.

First Aid on the go

I am not the most prepared mom. I never carried a diaper bag with all the essentials; more like the bare necessities in a regular looking travel type bag. It sufficed! A few years ago, we were in Mexico and my daughter fell and cut her leg pretty badly. I was freaking out that she’d catch something bad since it was on a city street. We found a pharmacy, cleaned her up, and hoped for the best. She is still with us and there was no MRSA as a souvenir or anything else. 2 days ago while I was supposed to be prepping my 1st aid travel kit, I read a blog post about it instead and so I’m doing it today.  I’m trying to be more prepared. Although we are trekking in civilization, it’s just easier with your own supplies and a game plan. Headaches are par for the course so it’s best to have a little forethought and English language medication to dispense to whomever.

I got this handy 1st aid container a few years ago. It's time to put it into the arsenal.

I got this handy 1st aid container a few years ago. It’s time to put it into the arsenal.