Our family trip to Europe.
Currently traveling
  • Rockwall, TX

    May 24 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 20 °C

    Well, here we go again off on another ADVENTURE, this time to Europe! Just a quick 4,906 miles from home with only two backpacks for our family of five.

    School is coming to a close and we are almost done packing everything up to move out. We spent a wonderful year back home with people we love and met some new ones too. The big girls and I had an unforgettable year at school. I was able to work at my dream school with so many amazing people. Demi was over the moon about school. She loved it all and never wanted to miss a day. She fell more in love with math this year and was voted most likely to become a Math Genius - obviously. Adalynn began this year with a heavy heart, unsure of herself and missing family time, but she has grown to see she can do the big, hard things. She grew so much in reading and loves being able to read chapter books. Mabel, you are a full grown person with all the things to say and the best dance moves! Seth and Mabel had lots of fun with family and friends close by. Seth was able to squeeze in a finance degree amongst all the busyness of being home.

    So many things going through my head. What?! We only have one night in a hotel booked?? Where will we wash clothes, can I buy Lucky jeans there, will Mabel want to be carried all the time, how will our relationships be impacted, medical insurance, how to work with my curls while on the go, and which country has the best chocolate?? All the questions silly and serious... BUT we are excited and feel overwhelmingly blessed to be able to take such a grand adventure together right now.

    Here we go across the "pond" to make some memories together, grow as a family and discover more of this great big world.

    Girls thoughts:
    Demi - Really wants to see the Eiffel tower and wants to still be able to do chores to make money.

    Addy - Trying to fathom how we will communicate will all these people and does not want to sound silly to them.

    Mabel - Ready to ride planes and trains.

    We leave in one week!! More updates then.
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    Traveler

    The perfect time to go! so excited for all of you! I'll be PRAYING!!!

    5/25/22Reply
    Traveler

    Praying for a fun and memorable trip of a lifetime, today and every day!

    5/26/22Reply
    Traveler

    Have fun! We'll miss you! Praying you have all the safe travels.

    5/31/22Reply
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  • Day1

    DFW

    May 31 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    We are flying to London as our starting point for our EU adventure. I'm not a good flyer to say the least and I'm leaving so many people in Texas, so emotions are running high for me. Everyone else seems ready to rock. This is the girl's first real flight they will remember. They are pumped! Each girl got to choose dinner from a different spot in the airport. They chose really healthy options if you can imagine... Gummy worms, burgers, sub sandwiches and beer. Oh wait, the beer was for me.

    We only have two bags but they are huge and heavy. This might turn into a good weightloss program. We will let you know.

    We are flying in with only one night booked to chill then hitting the ground running. It will be as much as a surprise to us as it will be to you guys to find out where we are going.

    It is summer and everyone wants to travel, in addition to the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Celebration. We may head out to see the other sights of the UK and come back to London after the Queen does her thing. We are not a fan of crowds.
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    Traveler

    She is SO pretty!

    6/3/22Reply
    Traveler

    Tell Addy and the girls that I'm loving them from afar!

    6/3/22Reply
    Traveler

    Thrench Thries!

    6/3/22Reply
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  • Day3

    London

    June 2 in England ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    We have now traveled 7,800km.

    I think we avoided jetlag mostly because we flew overnight. Surprisingly, what was just helpful for combating my nerves on the plane was juggling kids and a beer. Demi stayed up all night until we landed and waited for the plane to taxi, of course. Adalynn stayed up until 4:30am Texas time, while Old Lady Mabel fell asleep at 11:30pm. The flight was thankfully very smooth! Once we landed, kids began to melt - big surprise. Adalynn was crying and said "I just don't know why I crying or what is the matter." We made it to our hotel and just chilled. Mabel fell asleep finding Waldo.

    Already, we have encountered cultural differences that are fun. Such as, specific trash bins for all the things, so I tried to throw my food trash into a hand sanitizer station and looked like a goober. The toilets flushes differently, lack of public restrooms (but really clean ones when you find them), great tap water access for drinking, elevators are called lifts, someone told us to get on the 490 and I tried to get on the 419 (they anunciate much more than us) and farms right by the airport. I almost forgot.... Demi broke out in a face to hips itchy rash, so we had to hunt down some Benadryl. That was on our list while in London as well. Poor kid! She is doing much better now.

    The next day we ended up taking the tube into London also referred to as "Lindin" by our two blondies. Turns out lots of things were closed for the celebration, so seeing the city was our best bet. We went knowing we had half melted children and lots of crowds, so we would just get a taste of London.

    As we stood on the London Bridge seeing the sights, planes and jets flew overhead in formation with streams of red, white and blue in honor of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. What a privilege to be on this adventure at this time! So MANY people, but so memorable. We managed to see the London Bridge, Big Ben, The Eye of London and a cathedral that was just beautiful. We meandered through the market and ate a Cornish meat pie with fresh strawberries.

    My favorite was sitting along the streets of London while eating at The Fish and Chips Shack. Tiny cobblestone streets, English taxis, and tasty battered fish just made the evening.

    The next day we are ready to head out with our two backpacks into the countryside, but first hit Houndlow's Little Urban Farm.
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    Traveler

    Oh the photos are so wonderful!!

    6/3/22Reply
    Traveler

    Love it! ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

    6/3/22Reply
    Traveler

    just WOW!

    6/3/22Reply
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  • Day5

    Arundel Castle

    June 4 in England ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    I'm still adjusting to time change, but feel pretty good. Other quirking things I'm learning that are different: light switches go down instead of up to turn on, sometimes you need the room key in a key slot to power on the room, and many places offer no AC.

    We left the London area with giggly, excited girls as they ran up the stairs to the top of a double decker bus. We were on our way into the countryside away from the hustle and bustle. First, we walked. Then we rode the double decker and last we took the train the rest of the way. As we rode the train out of town, I couldn't help but sing Mary Poppins songs in my head. We passed many homes with tiny, round chimneys. I imagined the scene from the movie with everyone dancing on the rooftops with the chimney sweeps.

    Then we entered the countryside and I believe this is the most beautiful place I have seen in Earth this far in my life. A patchwork of green laid across rolling hills with newly sheered sheep, lambs too many to count (my favorite - the smut-faced ones), historic cottages and the Arundel Castle in the distance. The gray clouds that have covered our days in England just intensify the shades of green.

    We had a delicious dinner after a long day of travel at BeefEater and are so far impressed with English food. And of course lamb chops were one of our dishes. After a good night's rest, we had a full English breakfast, which included black pudding - Google it if you dare, I won't dare - before walking to Arundel Castle.

    Arundel Castle was stunning! This is one of the best preserved castles from the middle ages.
    We climbed hundreds of stairs exploring the castle, peeked in the bedrooms, and then had our breath taken away by the gardens surrounding the castle grounds. I want to LIVE in that garden. You need to go for yourself!

    During the festival, we watched falcons show off their intelligence and speed, knights dual, archers defeating knights, and our kids took the battlefield. On our walk home we grabbed a bite of English chocolate. It tastes like chocolate. Yummy as always, but nothing defining or distinct. I will keep you posted on chocolate from each country.

    One of my goals is to taste chocolate in every country. One of Demi's goals is to climb atree in every country. Check and check!

    Such a lovely, slow paced day...... Oh ya, since many things the "commoners" use were closed for the celebration, we washed laundry in our bathtub. Be jealous! Seth had an assembly line going and make it fun. Teamwork!
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    Traveler

    I googled black pudding: Henry viii loved it. Isaac Newton did not.

    6/5/22Reply
    Traveler

    Mom’s fun was taking photos of all the different “styles” of toilets in her travels to England, Ireland, and Wales. I loved all the different styles of chimneys.

    6/6/22Reply
    Traveler

    "Washing Laundry" could be a book title!

    6/5/22Reply
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  • Day8

    Westende, Belgium

    June 7 in Belgium ⋅ 🌧 15 °C

    Our high speed train out of England came with a three hour delay in London, which made it a bit less speedy. We took the opportunity to pop around the city and tried more of the local cuisine. The kids showed great patience! We had a full day of travel that totaled nine hours.

    We were on our way to the coast of Belgium. As we raced UNDER the English Channel through the train tunnel, I felt a little nervous as I realized English would no longer be the primary language from here on out. The three primary languages in Belgium are Dutch, French, and German. This feels a bit intimidating for sure!

    We are further north than Maine, which means we have super long daylight hours and cooler weather than Texas by far. The sun doesn't go down until after 10pm and rises before 6am. We have been layering clothes since we packed for a mild summer. I will be glad when we things heat up.

    Here we have tried to establish a rhythm to our days. This spot has a nice view of green spaces and unique, historic houses. We have been cooking in our apartment, drinking coffee on our balcony, working out, playing outdoors, hitting the local markets, buying fresh baked bread, starting summer school, and playground hopping. The girls have been excited about this place because they sleep in a triple bunk bed. The toilet here flushes like a tsunami, so watch out! On average, I walk around 12,000 steps a day. People ride bikes everywhere here rain or shine, cold or warm. Oh! And we found a laundromat nearby. Woo hoo!

    We celebrated Seth's birthday by visiting the local butcher for his choice of steak. He and Mabel cooked them to perfection. He prefers his birthday cake to be steak flavored.

    We have discovered at least four playgrounds nearby and explored the beach. Demi and Seth surprised me with a lovely Belgium chocolate that was dark with the perfect amount of sweet. Yummy! We also realized you need half euro coins handy if you need to use a public restrooms while you are out. I had considered going behind a tree, but luckily Seth was able to exchange our bills for some coins.

    The beach here is lovely with some pier like formations covered in moss with rocks at the end. Demi feels they are shaped into mermaid tails. Mabel dug so deep into the sand that she found water. She was amazed at herself.

    Today, we will venture out for fresh bread, groceries and maybe more chocolate! Hoping to not be scolded in Dutch again today. Ha ha!
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    Traveler

    Those facial expressions!

    6/8/22Reply
    Traveler

    This is serious!

    6/8/22Reply
    Traveler

    Great picture of Addy!

    6/8/22Reply
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  • Day10

    Astriplein Beach

    June 9 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    This was my first day to attempt navigating us on an excursion. Nobody died! That is a win! I lean heavily on Seth for this in life, but it is fun to learn. We took a tram to a nearby town and my only mistake was having us exit one stop early. On the bright side, we got our step count up. ;)

    I have never had so much trouble keeping up with the days of the week or time. I'm switching my brain over to military time so it takes me a second to process. This makes planning things a little funny, because I really have think about which day it is.

    We ventured to Astridplein Beach to watch shrimp fishermen on horseback. We waited almost a week to see this, only to be shown up by a hermit crab that they caught just before the horses arrived. However, the crab escaped and the horses were interesting for the girls again. Ha ha!

    As we waited on the fishermen, the two big girls and Seth played in the cold, wet sand. Meanwhile, Mabel and I relaxed on the warm, dry sand. If you know me, this Canada like climate is quite chilly for me. Seth is thoroughly enjoying being away from the Texas heat.

    Several enormous Clydesdale horses arrived on the beach. They moved into the ocean seemingly unphased by the power of the waves or the chill. They pulled large nets behind to catch shrimp for local restaurants. After fishing, he shared about his catch with all the children in Dutch - this language makes the people always sound serious. The girls held tiny flounder and giggled as they were chased by multiple crabs. The nearby seagulls had been patiently waiting for the humans to clear out and as we did they quickly devoured the scraps.

    On our way home, we popped in for a quick bite, which of course included the famous local frietjes with mayonnaise sauce (best fries I have ever had). We grabbed some ginger snaps from a bakery and I navigated us home with three sleepy girls.
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    Traveler

    ...so much fun to read. So much!

    6/10/22Reply
    Traveler

    Demi looks European! LOL!

    6/10/22Reply
    Traveler

    Is that Addy's "top of head?"

    6/10/22Reply
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  • Day12

    Bruges, Belgium

    June 11 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Off to find Belgium waffles in Bruges! Or Brugge? As I researched, I was confused on which city to visit or if they were the same place or not. Even navigating was tricky, because the train listed both names. Come to find out it goes by two names depending on which country you come from. The Dutch and German call it Brugge, while the French and English call it Bruges.

    What a beautiful city! Windmills, boating on the canal with swans, playing at the park, strolling the cobblestone streets, drinking local beer (often cheaper than water or soda around here) and eating waffles were just some of the things on our agenda for the day.

    We wondered towards the city center taking in the architecture, history and the constant smell of waffles & chocolate that swirled around us. We sat in the Market Square people watching as horse hooves clopped across the cobblestone. Addy and I love that sound!

    Dozens of chocolate specialty shops surrounded us as we explored the town, so of course we tried some. Well, everyone except for Adalynn of course. She could not relate to this city's love of chocolate. They even have a museum called the Belgium Chocolate Story here! My favorite chocolate in Belgium has been the bar Demi gave me earlier this week, but the caramel filled truffle today was very good too.

    We tried two waffles today. The first from House of Waffles while on the go. It was dense with something caramelized on it's surface that made it heavenly. We added whipped cream and strawberries on top for the girls. We let Addy pick the toppings since she did not have any treats because she loathes chocolate. This waffle was rich and full of flavor. Delicious! Later in the day, we tried our second one as we dined in at Lizzie's Wafels. They brought out little containers for the girls pre-wafel that had animal crackers and candy that resembled circus peanuts. Seth ordered pancakes and waffles for us all to share. Both were ginormous and almost too much for the five of us to finish. Both were delicious, but the first waffle of the day wins for me. The pancakes came with a brown sugar crumble powder. The pancakes were crepe like but with a bit more fluff. Sooo yummy!!! I would definitely order those again!

    Next, we hopped on a boat to see Bruges by water on the Zeebrugge (aka Boudewijn) canal. We rode under the lowest and oldest bridges of Bruges. Swans and cygnets stood on the banks nearby and few ventured into the water. These birds are protected here. According to the boat captain, if you kill one of them, you get five years in prison. That is serious! The boat ride was informative and relaxing. Many of the buildings here are original, as they were lucky enough to avoid the bombings during the World Wars.

    We enjoyed the sunny, breezy 18 degree (trying to teach my brain to convert to Celsius) weather as spent most of our day outdoors. We played at the park, ran over bridges and climbed stairs to see a windmill.

    After this full day, we were all tuckered out and ready for one more chill day in Belgium before we are off to see another country.
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    Traveler

    what a wonderful wake up! It makes one want waffles, for sure! The three and four languages making for place-spelling confusion is crazy! Loving chocolate is almost pervasive, and Belgium has a reputation as some of the best! Addy's getting special considerations is a measure of the empathy and compassion in your family that amazes me. Windmills! Canals! Is Zee a word for canal? Google will know! All so wonderful!

    6/12/22Reply
    Traveler

    Delightful!

    6/12/22Reply
    Traveler

    Amazing and beautiful couple

    6/12/22Reply
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  • Day14

    Erlangen, Germany

    June 13 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Well, we arrived in Germany. It only took us one tram, five trains (I lost count really), one bus and 20 minutes of walking. We started at 07:45 and arrived at approximately 15:00. We were beyond tired as we took our last steps for the day! Note to self - travel shorter distances with three littles in tow. They really did great! The last train was the toughest as we loaded on, but found no seats. I was carrying a large backpack and Mabel, roughly 60lbs, I think. We had been trading off holding her, but at that point Seth was navigating us. Luckily, upon arrival we were greeted by Pablo, his friend's dog, which quickly perked our girls right up.

    We arrived into the Erlangen area in Germany just as the poppies came into full bloom for the season. This is their sign that summer is here. This also means warmer weather for me! We may have a couple days above 90 degrees.

    While in the Erlangen area, we spent time with old friends of Seth's. His friend was a big part of Seth's inspiration to go on this European adventure and part of his interest in learning German this past year. If you did not know, along with completing his Master's in Finance, he also began studying German quite intensely. Seth visited this friend last after our youth mission trip to Spain 21 years ago. This couple has been so kind to invite us into their lovely home and show us around Bavaria. They even lined up bikes for us all, so we can see the town like a local. This is a big biking community. His home is so funky and artsy with four levels surrounded by a flower and vegetable garden. He remodeled most of it himself and built his own furniture - lots of talent here.

    We have enjoyed many meats and Adalynn helped his wife cook a traditional German meal of potatoes, white asparagus and ham. We went to purchase the white asparagus the day before from a quaint, neighborhood farm. Mabel is very carnivorous and prefers the small cured sausages. Demi enjoyed beef tartare with cracked salt and pepper on pita bread. Addy really enjoyed the prosciutto the best. I prefer to stick with fresh vegetable from his garden and any chocolate.

    Here the kids have truly had a blast! They luckily had some toys on hand that were an extra surprise of fun for the girls. This couple is just so wonderful! Lots of fun and memorable conversations!

    Then we ventured on bikes into Erlangen for the best pizza of my life with this magical (just an exceptional parmesan) cheese and arugula made by an Italian family. Oh my! No words can describe it well enough!
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    Traveler

    Is that Duncan? No, Pablo 😊

    6/16/22Reply
    Blanck Adventures

    That is not Duncan. That is Pablo.

    6/16/22Reply
    Traveler

    Yes, Crazy comment...

    6/17/22Reply
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  • Day18

    Kleingesee, Germany

    June 17 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    We loaded up like kids from the 80s (if you catch my drift), used our hand crank window downy thingies and left for the countryside. Let me tell you... "The hills are alive with the sound of music" and the car was full of giggly girls.

    The winding roads led us through small cottage towns, farmland, past breweries, into forests, and up hills to our destination called Pension am Kirschgarten. His friends (now our friends) put us up in this beautiful B&B for the weekend of my birthday, along with baking me a special chocolate cake! Seth and I were the same age for only 11 days. I am back to being older.

    Our room with a great balcony overlooked a cherry tree farm, small church and the forest. *Bonus- They also had a kids play room, geese wondering nearby, climbing wall room and shaded playground in the woods. We had lots of quiet time because the kids were so engrossed in playing. What a gem!

    The next morning (sun still rising at the 04:00 hour) a soft breeze rustled the trees and birds chirped as the smell of coffee and freshly baked pastries, crept into our open balcony door. Breakfast was wonderful and the coffee was great too. She offered so many beautiful pastries, lovely fresh fruit with granola, handwritten specials on the board (pancakes!!!), small savory dishes (for example, mushroom stuffed with eggs and veggies) and even cappuccino. This place is an escape from the hustle and bustle where you rarely even hear a car. Although there are lots of hikes, caves, breweries and some coasters in the area, we decided to chill and enjoy the country.

    If you ever find yourself in the Fränkische Schweiz region, you should most definitely stay at this B&B.
    https://pension-am-kirschgarten.de/

    P.S. - Addy, the non chocolate eater, actually ate some chocolate cake and approved - unbelievable!
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    Traveler

    ❤️

    6/20/22Reply
    Traveler

    Beautiful, inside and out.

    6/20/22Reply
    Blanck Adventures

    awe. thanks

    6/20/22Reply
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  • Day22

    Nuremberg Zoo

    June 21 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Lions and tigers and bears, OH MY! Nuremberg's Tiergarten (zoo) had the largest variety of animals I have seen in all my many zoo visits. Not only were there lots to see, but the weather was so perfect that the animals were out and active. We came the closest to a monkey we have ever been, saw dolphins perform and enjoyed the lush green, shaded walk to see each animal. The tiger was out roaring and looking us in the eyes it seemed. The baboons busily groomed each other, while the babies pulled each other by the tails and "argued" with one another.

    This zoo had a red panda, DeMille's favorite animal that God made. They also had Mabel's favorite, the snowleopard. Adalynn loved the baby bunnies, baby horses, and baby seals the most. All the babies! While at the children's petting zoo visiting babies, Mabel tried to feed a tiny baby bunny and got bit. Poor girl! She talked about that bunny and held her tiny finger carefully separated from the others for the rest of the day.

    The girls played on this enormous playground and were worn out at the end. We love a good zoo day!
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    Traveler

    the look on her face!

    6/26/22Reply
    Traveler

    very cute!

    6/26/22Reply
    Traveler

    Amazing to be in a photo together!

    6/26/22Reply
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