I know we could have opted for 24 hours from door to door. I know we could have looked at the travel as pure necessity, the only way to see our European friends and family. But why would we, if life is a journey in itself? We flew from Denver to London, took a train to Newcastle, slept in a hostel and then took a boat to The Netherlands. Except for the part of flying for eight hours with a 2-year-old, we enjoyed every minute of it.
Everyone was exhausted after the flight, and it was a good thing that we had our Ergo Baby and that the 4-year-old still fit in it. Dragging a sleeping toddler in her car seat through the airport, while carrying almost all our luggage for five people, suddenly got easier when we came across an available wheelchair in the empty airport. We had opted not to pay more for check-in luggage than absolutely necessary, so we had our hands full when leaving the plane.
While two kids mostly slept through porridge breakfast, we enjoyed having landed on European soil for the first time in three years. There is a feeling of excitement that comes with it that makes me feel alive. During the train ride I was the one who desperately needed a nap, while the kids made friends with very serious looking commuters.
We were so happy that we opted to bring our large Mountain Buggy instead of a small umbrella stroller. This way one child could be carried and one could relax in the stroller, while it also had 2 car seats strapped to it. The oldest was so brave and rolled her suitcase all the way across the city center while also carrying her school backpack. It looked like we were moving our entire house, but really, when three people drag luggage for five, this is just what it looks like.
Once we were at the hostel, there was no way we could get the kids out and about again. So we turned on British television and ordered in. So fancy!
Next day we went on to the boat. If it weren’t for the Dutch Marine Corps, this huge cruiser would have been mostly empty. There was a kid entertainment center with ball pit and Legos, and our kids were all surprised that they heard people around them speak Dutch. The captain allowed us to tour the bridge, and our little boy got to steer the ship. We opted out of expensive restaurant meals and had brought dinner and breakfast on board. Terribly jet-lagged, we ended up doing a picnic in the middle of the night in our cozy cabin, while reading stories and playing games.
Now, you need to know that our oldest is no morning person. I foresee a necessary morning coffee routine in her future, or something alike. However, never did I see her jump out of bed as swiftly as the morning we woke up on the ship. Her eyes opened, and as soon as she realized where she was she was up and about, looking out the window. We may be able to see Saint Nicholas’ boat after all, was her consideration, since he was on his way to The Netherlands at the time, just like we were.
At arrival, we received some help with our luggage. Pushing forth his cart, our helper urged everyone who was already waiting to move and let us pass, so we ended up at border control first in line. Slightly embarrassing but nice all the same. We were awaited by our family, and had a laugh at how it took two Dutch cars to transport us and our luggage. Does that say more about our luggage, or about Dutch cars?