Wednesday, May 27, 2015

European travels

When we originally arranged our travel home from Burundi we allotted a 3 day layover in Paris.  When we decided to leave a little early, our 3 day layover turned into a week layover.  Our good friend at Serge was on the phone with the travel agent and gave us our options for flights home.  Surprisingly, the cheapest option (from Tanzania) was through Dubai and then to Zurich.  We were able to keep our return Brussels to Seattle flights.

Our trip started with a short flight (3 hours) from Kigoma to Dar Es Salaam.  We then had a 7 hour layover in the Dar Es Salaam airport, we boarded our next plane at 11pm and flew overnight to Dubai, landing at 6am. In Dubai we had a 10 hour layover, with some very tired kids. We headed out of the airport to the Dubai mall before most stores were even open and pumped our kids full of chocolate milk and chocolate muffins then, before the sugar high could wear off, we began the process of dragging our kids all over Dubai, showing them the Burj Khalif (tallest tower in the world), the Dubai Mall (because a trip to Dubai is just not a trip to Dubai without seeing at least 1 shopping mall), and the old market (souk).

From there we flew to Zurich.  When we found out we were going to Zurich we were very excited to get to see Switzerland.  But everyone we talked to said the same thing "well, that should be ... expensive".  Yes, Switzerland is very very expensive.  We had heard that our friend Alyssa had a good friend who lived in Zurich, so we e-mailed her just asking for ideas of "reasonably priced" places to stay and fun things to do.  We did not expect an invitation to stay with her and her family, but that is what we got.  And they were amazing.  They put us up in their home, they fed us, they showed us some of the most beautiful places around Zurich.  They guided us to their favorite hotel in the Swiss Alps for 1 night, then surprised us by showing up at that hotel the next morning, after transferring all our luggage (which we had left at their apartment) to a locker at the train station, just so that we could have an extra couple hours in the Alps.  It is impossible to put into words how beautiful Switzerland was, and how much more beautiful it was because of the kindness and hospitality of this family who we had never met before.

After Switzerland, we took the train to Paris, where we spent the last 3 days (as planned), and did all the things you are supposed to do in Paris (Eiffel tower, Notre Dame, Louvre, etc).  Touring Paris with a 6 year old also means you are touring the bathrooms of Paris, which were lovely.

So, this afternoon we took the train back to Brussels where we are scheduled to fly out tomorrow morning.  Back home.  Back to reality, as we know it.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai

The trains in Switzerland have playgrounds on them!


Swiss Alps

Bini's favorite place in Paris ... our hotel room. 

The Mona Lisa, surrounded by American tourists! 

Me with my tiny coffee, holding on to my tiny man bag.  Could I be more Parisean?

At the Palace of Versailles, I saw this statue behind Bini, and said, "hey Bini, that looks like us", to which he replied, "yeah, it DOES look like us ... but I don't have wings ... and you don't have a six pack"

Now THESE girls look Parisean

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