Monday, October 26, 2009

England: London and Sherifhales

Last week was Kevin's mid Fall break. Yes, the schools get a mid fall break, 2 weeks at Christmas, a Crocus break, May break and then a couple of days off for the Queen's birthday...ok back to the Fall break...

We hadn't yet been to England, well at least for more then 24 hours. A couple of months ago Kevin contacted his cousin (Gaye) who lives outside Birmingham in a little village called Sherifhales. Her farm was beautiful, quiet and relaxing. We spent the weekend there and it was almost a shame to leave for London. I could have stayed all week.


We visited the Ironbridge gorge, where we saw the first iron bridge. Kevin's uncle Hayden has a memorial bench in the museum here.



We also visited the Ludlow castle and Bascobel house.


I am still amazed by the fact that everywhere you turn on this continent you are standing on history. Centuries of history.

Monday we headed to London, by train. Isaak slept for the entire 2.5 hour ride.

Monday afternoon we met Paul & Alex for lunch and then spent the rest of the day with them. We first met Paul & Alex in Argentiere, when we were hiking from Chamonix to Zermatt. We have stayed in touch. It was a wondeful day. We wouldn't have been able to see all that we did if they hadn't been leading us along. We walked through the Westminister Abbey, Big Ben, 10 Downing Street, the Horse Guards, National Gallery, tea (with clotted cream! Delicious!), Harrods, Buckingham Palace, St. James Park, drinks and dinner. All in one afternoon. We weren't that productive for the rest of the trip.

Buckingham Palace

Westminister Abbey.

Ok, I could post a lot more pics but won't. Click the "England" link on the left to see them all.

Tuesday we picked up the an English breakfast, Tower of London, Niketown & Oxford Circus (there is a reason it is called a circus), London Eye and drinks with Gaye's daughter.

Wednesday we played lazy and then caught our train back to Birimingham to then fly home. We almost missed our flight due to a train rerouting. Once at the gate I had to shove my green wheelie carry on in to one of the "your bag must fit in this to carry on". I was a little worried that it wouldn't fit. I had measured it before the Italy trip but this was going to be the first time I tried to shove it in a "cage". Luckily it fit and we were able to get on the bus and wait for everyone else.

We thought we were home free once at the Amsterdam airport. I had purchased our train tickets before we left on Friday so we headed straight for what we thought was our train. The board said it was our was not our train. We discovered this when 5 minutes into the trip we were not at our train station but rather 10 minutes away from the Central station.

$$$$$$$ Holy Crap.

I just read a friends blog and discovered just how great we had it with our insurance and healthcare in The Netherlands.

My entire pregnancy and Isaak's birth cost us a whopping 120 euros, The only healthcare item we had to pay out of pocket was our birth class. It was a private class that was not covered by our insurance. Everything else, the midwives, the 3 ultrasounds, the lab tests, the hospital delivery, stitches (don't get me started on this one), 4 post birth (in home) midwife checkups, 8 days of in home maternity assistant care, Isaak's heel prick and hearing test. Nada. Nothing.

Oh, and the cab ride to & fro.

My sister-in-law is either in the process of, or about to give birth to my nephew. Her pregnancy has not been easy or free of complications. I don't even want to know what the total bill will be.

For a non-medical issue, childbirth is damned expensive.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Switzerland oh sweet Switzerland.

Last weekend we had plans to meet our friends Melissa & Andy in Switzerland. We flew in to Geneva and then drove to Interlaken. Melissa & Andy flew in to Zurich and then arrived in Interlaken by train. We ended up only seeing them for about 24 hours, but it was worth it!

I really love the Alps. I miss being able to see moutains almost every day. Lately we have been watching the National Parks' series on PBS. It has really made us miss the US.

Isaak was a good little traveler. He really only had one meltdown and that was on the plane home. We were asking for it. His naps had only been 45min long all weekend and his nights were shorter then normal (8 - 6:30). The flight home left at 8 and Isaak had been awake since 4:30. He screamed for 15 min once we were on the plane and the fell sound asleep and slept the whole way home. He took a couple of days to get caught up on his sleep. The first nap on Monday was 3 hours long.




I love the sound of these bells. I haven't been able to convince Dad to put them on his cows yet.



My boys.

This is the Switzlerand I remember.