1
Brisbane

Ready to go.

2
Brisbane Airport

We are waiting to get on the plane and we saw the plane that we were going on.

Elsie 👍

3
Incheon

Overtired in Incheon 인천

4
Incheon

After dinner, we went for a little walk and found a HUGE wall with changing light on it. We all miss you so much!❤️💕🥰😍by Elsie 👍🏻

5
Incheon

This morning we had a great buffet breakfast and wandered around our hotel precinct, discovering some interesting buildings and spaces. Morning tea consisted of fun Korean snack food. It’s nearly time to go to the airport.

6
Isleworth

We got in to London and had a good sleep at Hilary and Ron’s. Although the plane trip was long, it went well and everyone got some sleep. It was exciting coming in to Heathrow and catching a black cab to 29 Wood Lane, Isleworth - our home with Hilary and Ron for the next few days.

Good trying, Alex!

England!

7
Kew

We had a huge day today. After waking really early we enjoyed our breakfast of Weetabix and walked down to London Road. Here we saw a squirrel on a fence and caught a double decker bus to Kew Bridge.

Kew view

We walked to Kew gardens and had a wonderful time there enjoying the different kinds of trees, plants, gardens, structures and artwork, as well as a bit of fauna: birds and insects. Alex got stung by a nettle.

A gorgeous summer’s day amongst the flowers

The herbalist’s garden

Kew Palace

Learning about King George III and Charlotte’s 15 children. Alex was in role for much of the day after this.

Playing King and Queen.

Inside Kew Palace. The exposed wall was super-interesting - apparently not to Elsie though, who is looking at the gardens.

Feet amongst the daisies

Treetop walk

Japanese hideaway

After all this, we caught a bus back to Brentford and went to the Museum of Water and Steam which the kids found very engaging, despite their tiredness, headaches etc. - amazing!

Pumping water

The water tower

Hydro engineering.

After dinner and baths, we have all fallen into bed and hopefully will sleep a little later tomorrow because it is hard keeping quiet for three hours and 4am isn’t a great time to go for a walk round the neighbourhood.

8
London

Another massive day in London!

We walked along the South Bank and over Westminster Bridge from which we could see the enormous scale of the Big Ben restoration.

⬆️ 🎵Waterloo

⬆️ London Eye

⬆️ Houses of Parliament being made over

⬆️ Thames at Westminster

A walk along Whitehall took us to Trafalgar Square and The Strand. Rainbow flags were everywhere as it is Pride tomorrow, set to be the biggest ever with over a million people expected.

⬆️ Alex napped through this bit

⬆️ Whitehall

⬆️ ‘Horse-ome’

⬆️ Household Cavalry women

⬆️ Approaching Nelson’s Column.

After a little lunch, we walked even more to Leicester Square where we visited the amazing LEGO store.

⬆️ Yes! This LEGO version was better than the real Big Ben!

⬆️ LEGO tube

We journeyed on the boys’ first Underground trip back to Westminster to visit Westminster Abbey.

⬆️ Real tube: Northern Line

⬆️ A moment’s rest

After a couple of hours there, we travelled south to Clapham Common to catch up with cousin Holly and share an enormous pizza. It was well after bedtime by the time we got home.

⬆️ Waiting for Holly, with LEGO and Wimbledon

⬆️ Playing in the sun at 7:30pm

⬆️ Pizza feast

⬆️ ❤️

9
Tower of London

Today we started off at the Tower of London where everyone enjoyed the medieval palace rooms, ravens, old towers, Crown Jewels, armour, animal sculptures and ice cream.

From here, we walked to Tower Bridge and did a tour that included a walk along the glass floor of the top walkway! The view was fantastic.

After this, we played on the grass at Potters Fields Park for a bit and had a Pimms while watching the bridge lift for a paddle steamer before heading home.

Today was London Pride and we’ve seen countless nods to it in flags, logos and decorations everywhere. We wanted to go and check it out but, with three kids and a pram it would have been more challenging than fun so we skipped it, much to our disappointment. There was a great atmosphere and lots of happy rainbow-bedecked people all around, however.

10
The British Museum

There were a few items we all wanted to visit at the British Museum so today we went to visit the Egyptian and Mesopotamian antiquities, Easter Island stone head, some real mummies and some ancient jewellery. There were way too many people there and after an hour and a bit we needed to get out!

Then we walked through Bloomsbury past Holborn to Lincoln’s Inn Fields where we visited the extraordinary Sir John Soanes Museum, which we’d never visited before. This consists of three adjacent houses that were gutted and remodeled by the architect, Sir John Soanes, and then filled with his kooky and eclectic collection of antiquities to create rooms, each with particular themes or effects, all bathed in amazing light effects that he constructed with light wells and coloured glass.

After lunch in Lincoln’s Inn Fields - and some exciting squirrel-spotting - we had a bit of an unsuccessful afternoon as our street art walking tour client (Will) was a bit over it and the first stop was a building that had just been demolished so we pulled the pin on that and went home via a bus mistake and a roundabout tube and bus route due to a service suspension! Oh well, we got to see some bits of London we hadn’t planned on!

11
Westminster

A wonderful day!

We started at The Royal Mews behind Buckingham Palace. This is where the Queen’s horses and carriages are looked after. We enjoyed this and learned a lot: highlights were the Diamond Jubilee Coach, made in Australia and incorporating many historical materials and symbols, and the Gold State Coach.

Next we walked around to the front of Buckingham Palace and through St James’ Park - beautiful with flowers, swans and a squirrel - to see some guard manoeuvres on The Mall.

We went for a lovely walk past St James’ Palace and along Jermyn St to Piccadilly to buy some gourmet bread, jamon, cheese, chutney, pork pie and rocky road from Fortnum and Mason. We then took it all to Green Park for a beautiful picnic and play.

From Green Park, we took the Underground (Alex: ‘the PickleyDickley line’) to Covent Garden and to the London Transport Museum via Bow Street.

The Transport Museum was excellent - we all really enjoyed the interesting history of many aspects of London transport and the interactivity throughout the museum. The whole design of the place was great.

12
Hampton Court Palace

A day at Hampton Court Palace!

This incredible place was first constructed by Cardinal Wolsey in 1514-1525. Acquired by Henry VIII, it was extensively developed and was his home and that of another ten rulers after him. It incorporates Tudor, baroque and Georgian architecture and is set amongst extensive and varied gardens.

Highlights:

Alex - William III’s room decorated with swords, shields and guns

Will - the maze and magic garden

Elsie - the flower gardens

Ellen - the portraiture

Gruff - Henry VIII’s kitchens

We also saw some deer.

13
Windsor

Legoland was so much fun. We went on a few rides and saw lots of LEGO animals. - Elsie

It was very interesting when we went to the middle area with all the continents and landmarks made out of LEGO. - Will

We went to Legoland and we built some LEGO and we got some LEGO at the end. I liked the haunted house and the pirate ship. - Alex

14
South Kensington

Our last day in London was excellent.

First, we travelled to South Kensington past a Lamborghini shop and spent three hours at the Natural History Museum.

Highlights:

Alex - gems and minerals

Will - extinct animals

Elsie - taking photos, precious stones

After lunch on the grass, we headed to Little Venice (Browning’s Pool) where we caught a canal boat to Camden. We got to see lots of boats, water birds, the zoo and weeping willows along the way.

Then it was time for a BBQ at our friend Sam’s house in Shepherd’s Bush.

And a final nightcap with Hilary and Ron.

15
Edinburgh

Phew! A successful journey to Edinburgh on train and foot with a lot of luggage, car seats, pram and inflatable beds. The ride up here was scenic and the four-plus hours went quickly.

⬆️ Waiting at Euston

⬆️ Changing at Carlisle

Our Air BnB (130 Calton Road) is excellent and very close to lots of attractions and a mini supermarket so we’re set. It’s raining a bit so Edinburgh is much like I had always pictured it.

16
Edinburgh Old Town

We had to get our rain jackets out this morning as we walked to the National Museum of Scotland but by the time we came out the sun was shining and it did so for the rest of the day.

Inside the museum we looked at their amazing and very well designed collection of animals, looked through the fashion and style collection and the technology exhibits before focusing on the history of Scotland.

⬆️ Robert Fergusson

⬆️ Dolly

Then we joined the tourists in Greyfriars and Grassmarket, where the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival was commencing and there were food markets.

⬆️ Grave of Tom Riddell, inspiration to JKRowling.

After lunch we climbed up to the Royal Mile where we spent the afternoon exploring this along with the castle.

⬆️ Inspecting a snail

After a tiring day we walked home to our flat for dinner, baths and bed.

17
Edinburgh

Today we caught the bus from Holyrood House to the Royal Yacht Britannia, which was the Queen's ship for holidays and official travel. There were lots of levels and it was furnished very nicely. On the yacht, there was a corgi hunt where you tried to spot corgis on the ship and count them. When you came off the boat you wrote down how many corgis you saw on a little piece of paper and put it in a box to get a badge and try to win a prize.

Then we went to the Water of Leith to see a nice, calming, lovely creek. We saw lots of dogs going for walks and had fun going down to the water's edge and having a leaf race. While we were walking along I found a cowrie shell.

After that we walked up a huge hill and saw a ginormous bridge.

We walked to a nice playground and had a go on the Bungy jumping things. Alex got some facepaint and a balloon sword but it sadly popped straight away. While Alex was getting that done, I got some henna on my hand of a flower. We walked out of the playground and saw a big parade for Edinburgh Carnival.

We walked back to the Royal Mile and saw some rabbits in the grass then went to an illusion centre called 'Camera Obscura' that was super-fun. Alex and I got a badge.

After this, we went to a pub for dinner and came home quite late.

By Elsie

18
St Andrews

There was new excitement to start the day when Gruff picked up our hire car. We have called it Zip/Zoom.

The centre console looks like a ladybug. (Will)

The car has lights inside. (Alex)

Our first stop along the coast was Cramond where we had a look at the causeway and village.

We then crossed the Firth of Forth over the huge Queensferry Crossing Bridge and then headed East along the coast and through pretty villages. First we had a look at St Andrews where we went for a walk on the beach and, even though it was cold and windy, 4 of us swam!

Finally, we visited the picturesque fishing village of Anstruther where we wandered and had an ice cream.

As you can see, we had a beautiful day outside and the weather was outstanding.

19
Stirling

First we did a great hike up to Arthur’s Seat. This took us up a steep, grassy slope past a Loch with swans on it. It took a little while to climb to the top of the mountain and when we eventually got there our legs were aching but it was worth it for the magnificent view.

We then drove to Falkirk, west of Edinburgh. The first attraction we visited there was the giant equine sculpture ‘The Kelpies’. Kelpies are shape-shifting water spirits from Scottish mythology. Most lochs have a Kelpie story to go with them. They most often take the shape of horses. We had morning tea and a walk here as well as a play on the playground in ‘The Helix’, the park where the Kelpies live.

From here, it wasn’t far to the Falkirk Wheel which is an incredible piece of engineering that raises and lowers canal boats 35 feet to continue their journey. Will and Alex had fun in the paddleboats and we watched the wheel and the lock operating.

After driving a little further north we arrived in Stirling. Gruff and the kids participated in a ‘Battle of Bannockburn’ experience while Ellen visited the castle, then we swapped and Elsie and Gruff toured the castle while Ellen and the boys visited Stirling Old Jail.

20
Aviemore

Time to leave Edinburgh! But first, we took a walk up Calton Hill, just behind our flat. We went past St Andrew’s House, headquarters of the Scottish Government, and saw quite a few monuments at the top, as well as a fabulous view of the Old Town to finish off our stay.

After dropping off our keys, we hit the road and stopped for lunch in Perth, spending some time walking and playing around the River Tay.

The next leg brought us up into the mountains and to beautiful Aviemore, where we will spend the next three nights In a cosy cabin. This place is a snow resort town during the winter and a haven for lovers of hikes, lakes and wildlife in the summer. It’s cold!

21
Aviemore

A highlight on our itinerary arrived today when we visited the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre. With a guide, we had a group hill walk to mingle with and hand feed some reindeer in sun-Arctic tundra landscape. Everybody loved it and Will even found a frog, all amongst the most stunning scenery.

We had lunch by Loch Morlich and a quick play on the beach.

Then we visited the Highland Folk Museum. This extensive outdoor museum contains reconstructed buildings showing different eras of highland life from the 1700s up to the 1930s and encompasses domestic, farm and commercial/workshop premises, equipment and demonstrations. There were also animals to pat and a playground.

22
RZSS Highland Wildlife Park

A slightly slower pace today. We had time this morning for the kids to play board games and ‘camping’ before setting out on our adventure.

Although we will be visiting Whipsnade Zoo in two weeks’ time, we decided to also take a look at the Highland Wildlife Park today due to the different range of animals there. We saw many species specialised to very cold climates that we had never seen before, including wolves, bison, wolverine, snow leopard, Scottish wildcats, arctic foxes, wolverine, lynx and snow macaques, all within the gorgeous mountain setting of this area.

There was also a great playground with a flying fox!

We even had time for a DVD and a play before bed.

23
Rosemarkie

We had to leave beautiful Aviemore today and visited some lovely and intriguing places before heading for Spean Bridge for our next three nights’ accommodation.

Morning tea was had at Inverness where we explored the Ness Islands in the river where woods are criss-crossed by walking tracks. This beautiful, leafy space was relaxing and fun to explore and we enjoyed saying hello to many dogs on their walks.

From here we journeyed further north still to a peninsula called Black Isle. Chanonry Point is a beach where dolphins and seals can be spotted at times. We didn’t see any but there was an amazing range of different smooth stones on the beach which kept us busy for ages.

Just up the road near Rosemarkie, we spent time in a woodland called Fairy Glen where a very muddy trail led us to a gorgeous waterfall where we found a tree embedded with coins which thrilled and fascinated the kids as they said they had found the tooth fairy’s lair. Our gumboots got a very good workout.

We also dropped in to a small museum called Groam House to see some Pictish stones and contemporary design based on this tradition. There was a harp to try out.

The big drive south from here to Spean Bridge was broken up by an obligatory stop to check Loch Ness.

We have settled in well to our house in Spean Bridge.

24
Mallaig

We spent our day on the highly anticipated Jacobite Train ride today. Touted as one of the world’s standout railway journeys, it didn’t disappoint with its route passing impressive scenery including Ben Nevis, deep freshwater and seawater lochs, picturesque cottages nestled into the hills, waterfalls, canals (including Neptune’s Staircase) and the absolutely stunning and exhilarating Glenfinnan Viaduct (as seen on the Hogwarts Express - indeed the whole experience had a strong Harry Potter flavour, evinced by the confectionery we sampled).

Our destination, Mallaig, is a working fishing port and tourist centre. It was a bit anti-climactic but we had a walk by the harbour where Elsie, Ellen and Will saw a seal. We visited a couple of shops, walked up the hill for some sweeping views and got snacks for the way home.

We enjoyed the journey home just as much and introduced the kids to the game ‘I went to the shops and I bought...’.

We shared dinner in our log cabin home, had a fire and watched ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’.

25
Loch Leven

Today it poured rain all day until 6pm so we had a different kind of day. We gave it a go and looked around the ruins of 13th C Old Inverlochy Castle and watched the Jacobite train go past...

but we decided to ditch our plans of taking the cable car up a mountain and a boat ride on the loch. Instead, we went to a play centre and played games.

After a bit of much-needed down time at home, we went out for dinner at the Lochleven Seafood Café which came highly recommended by our Airbnb host. We happily devoured a platter of local mussels, lobster, crab, langoustines, oysters, scallops and pippis and drank local beer as the weather cleared over the mountains and loch outside.

26
Glasgow

Clear weather returns! After packing up again and vacating our log cabin, we started the day with a very exciting mountain gondola ride and walk up to Sgurr Finnisg-aig. Clouds swirled around us as we walked to the viewpoint but cleared away within minutes to reveal a magnificent view of the world below and Ben Nevis above.

After a quick lunch, we started out for Glasgow via arrestingly beautiful Glen Coe and Bridge of Orchy.

We are in our Glasgow apartment now which is fascinating as it is in a traditional West End Tenement with an amazing shared garden area.

(Slug)

27
Glasgow

With only one day in Glasgow, we had to be very selective about what we did today but we got a good overview of the city by travelling around in red open-top sightseeing buses which was pretty exciting. We caught one from Kelvingrove Art museum, just a few minutes from our apartment, and it took us through the educational and cultural precincts, past George Square, the Cathedral and Necropolis, the old Merchant City, the Barras and down to Glasgow Green...

...where we hopped off to visit The People’s Palace. This was opened in 1898 as a place for the public to enjoy open air, reading rooms, gallery and museum and it is now a museum of Glasgow social history that I would highly recommend.

After lunch, we boarded the next bus and travelled through City Centre, getting a taste of the Central shopping district which is full of ornate Georgian stone buildings as well as a mixture of Victorian and modern styles in places. We alighted on Argyle Street to see Argyle Arcade and take a stroll up busy Buchanan Street where various performers were busking.

Now that’s a window full of diamonds.

Our next bus took us further West along the Clyde where we saw some new additions to the Glasgow cityscape: the Clyde Arc bridge, Norman Foster’s concert hall (the armadillo), SSC, Science Centre and, our next destination, the Riverside Museum. Designed by Zaha Hadid, this houses Glasgow’s collection of historical transport vehicles but also lots of other objects and a couple of really cool streetscapes from different eras with shops you could go into and experience (e.g. bootmaker, early photographer’s studio). It was really well set up and we all enjoyed it.

After an ice cream and a wander along the river, it was time to go home so we caught the bus right through Kelvingrove Park and through Glasgow University back to where we started the tour.

And home. Here is the close of our tenement house.

28
Preston

We set out for a big drive today down the M6, stopping at Gretna and Tebay for snacks and stretching. We were happy to arrive at Gill’s and to see Dougie waiting for us on his chair at the front door.

We explored Gill’s amazing garden and then caught up while the kids played and Prez was soon home from work..

Pete and Sandi came over to visit and we enjoyed a range of delicious curries that Gill had prepared for us and had a good laugh

29
Blackpool

First we drove to Accrington as we were due to meet Angie at Bam’s bungalow at 10:30. We were a bit early so we went and saw Accrington town hall and the market hall before heading to Whitewell Road. It was sad to see the bungalow in the process of being packed up but wonderful to go there one more time and let Alex and Will see it. We enjoyed seeing the treasures and photos there. We had a cup of tea and a good catch up with Angie there.

After lunch at ASDA we headed to Springhill Care Home to visit Bam. She was happy to see us all and she asked the children to sign their names in her diary. Alex told her that she should sign her name too. :) We will visit again on Sunday.

We then went to the seaside because there is rain forecast for the weekend and we thought it would be good to go while we can. The sea at Lytham St Anne’s was so far away we could hardly see it but the kids enjoyed running down to try and reach it anyway. After a while, this was judged to be futile so a mammoth bridge-building project was embarked upon. Gill and Prez joined us and we had fish and chips for tea followed by a drive along Blackpool Promenade to show the children this spectacle of an institution.

30
Abbey Hey

There was rain forecast for today but we went ahead with our plans for a cousin play at Daisy Nook Country Park in Manchester. Gill and Dougie came with us to meet Angie, Jay, Lena and Ollie and Remi. Suzie and Minnie came after Minnie’s gymnastics class.

Angie brought nets and buckets so we were all set for some scooping.

We saw lots of bird life and a variety of plants - avoided the nettles this time.

The kids all got along very well.

We took our picnic hone to Angie’s where we somehow found room for everyone to eat!

The kids were all awesome.

Angie took me, Gruff, Elsie and Minnie for a walk to see her wonderful allotment.

Then we came home to Gill’s. We were very lucky to see Andy for dinner there as he stopped in on his way back to Cornwall after having worked at The Open golf tournament in Northern Ireland for the last three weeks.

31
Accrington

After tying up some loose ends at the bungalow, we had a great pub lunch with Pete and Sandi at the Brickworks.

We then went to Springhill to visit Bam again. She was more sprightly today and enjoyed talking to the children about her ‘Dogs of the World’ playing cards, which was lovely.

We then did a mini-tour of the family sites including Great Harwood and the Old Vicarage.

We made nachos for dinner then Gill and Prez kindly babysat - Dougie slept over -while Gruff and I went out for a few beers in Preston at The Black Horse and the Speakeasy, behind the Ferret.

32
Manchester

Elsie writes:

Today we went to the Museum of Science and Industry In Manchester with our cousins (Jay and Oliver, Suzie, Lee, Leon, Remi, Minnie, Dougie) and Gill and Angie.

⬇️This is a photo of Rocket, the first steam engine ever, which ran right here.

Here are some other photos from the museum.

⬇️

Here is Alex with “The Baby” one of the first computers in the world!

Here we are waiting for the “sun” show to start⬇️

After that we went to have lunch🥪

Dougie loved spending time with Elsie ❤️

Making bracelets that do something special...

After our day in Manchester we returned to Preston and had tea with Kim and Dougie.

Kim taught us some new hoop tricks.

It was a beautiful day.

33
Dilton Marsh

We said goodbye to Gill and Prez and had a play in their camper van.

And then drove a long way to Dilton Marsh.

When we looked around the garden, Will spotted a hedgehog.

Then we walked to the park for a play. It rained on the way but was clear after that.

And on the way home we even got to feed and pat some friendly horses.

34
National Trust - Kingston Lacy House

Another beautiful day today. We decided to re/visit Kingston Lacy. We started with a fantastic walk around the gardens. Seeing them in summer was wonderful and brought back many special memories.

We visited Barbara and Howard’s very special trees.

And took in all kinds of details.

There were lots of nooks and wide open spaces for playing.

A new feature was the restored Kitchen Gardens including a maize maze.

And gorgeous original glasshouses full of flourishing fruits and vegetables, as well as flowers.

After a visit to the interior of the house, during which Alex spotted numerous paintings from each room catalogue, the kids did a long woodland walk with Gruff while Ellen and Barbara shared afternoon tea.

We were very happy to have spent our day at KL. It was fun and special to be back at ‘Barbara’s House.’

35
Ely

The kids were amazed by the Westbury White Horse this morning.

And it was another day of stunning weather. Unfortunately Will had sore tonsils and a fever but picked up after some paracetamol.

We took in the magnificent views from the ridge and hill fort and then said our goodbyes to Barbara.

After a long and quite taxing drive we arrived at Sam and Gill’s in Ely with time to relax, play and draw.

Will had deteriorated, so he got to go on an adventure to the walk-in clinic at the hospital and was prescribed antibiotics. He slept for most of the afternoon and evening.

Joe and Ally came over for a curry and brought little Lola with them. Dog and kids alike were happy playmates.

We had a great time and Will was very good at taking his quite repulsive medicine.

36
Ely Cathedral

Though still not quite back to normal, Will was quite a lot better this morning (yay penicillin) and we were all able to walk into Ely to explore its incredible cathedral. Sam and Gill will be moving to Norwich in September so we were really pleased to have this last chance to see such a wonder.

We shared a beautiful lunch together, finished off the Christmas crackers 😁 and then Will played with the ectoplasm alien he bought at the Ely Cathedral shop!!

We then enjoyed a little walk down by the river and a play at a cool playground.

Alex had another run-in with nettles and Sam was very handy with the Dock leaf remedy this time.

Then both boys finally had a visit to the barber’s and it was time for a delightful afternoon tea at ‘The Old Fire Engine House’.

Will going downhill again here...

Great weather, great company, gorgeous surrounds. Will going okay if he keeps his paracetamol up.

37
Maulden

We left Sam and Gill’s this morning and headed to Mike and Siân’s. We got there around 10 as we had a big day at Whipsnade Zoo planned.

As well as seeing lots of cool animals, we rode on a train, had a great picnic and enjoyed each other’s company.

After the zoo, Mike and Siân treated us to a lovely pub meal and we sat and watched the kids play on the grass afterwards.

Goodnight!

38
Paris

Mike gave the kids some very cool stamps and coins this morning that will be a wonderful souvenir of our time in England.

Mike also generously helped us drop off the hire car and he came with us to St Pancras to help with our bags... and child entertainment!

Time to catch the Eurostar! Bye, England!

Our apartment is great and this is our view from the lounge room at 106 Boulevard St Germain.

We’re looking forward to wandering and exploring tomorrow.

Will lost a tooth (here he is with Notre Dame de Paris out the kitchen window).

and Ellen used her French to organise a home doctor visit and collect some prescriptions for HER tonsillitis.

39
Paris

Just around the corner from our apartment is Place St Michel so we checked that out this morning and enjoyed croissants and chocolats chauds at a café for morning tea.

We then crossed the Pont St Michel and visited Sainte Chapelle.

After that we wandered along the Seine for a look at Notre Dame de Paris.

and l’Hotel-Dieu.

We experienced the street WC.

And then, after some lunch at Châtelet, \240walked all the way to the Louvre

and Place de la Concorde

where we caught the Metro to Trocadéro to see the most anticipated sight of all...

we enjoyed a rest on the grass, a carousel ride and a cooling splash in the fountain.

It was a long, tiring day and we were all glad to get home, have scrambled eggs for tea and go to bed.

40
Paris

After overdoing it under the circumstances and feeling pretty unwell last night and this morning, Ellen was up for more exploration by late morning and took the kids on a walk through some back streets of the arrondisement to find some hidden gems recommended by the Airbnb hosts. We enjoyed this trip to the boulangerie and patisserie very much.

Macarons: a special treat after lunch.

Later in the afternoon, we travelled across Paris to Abbesses in Montmartre and climbed up to Sacré Coeur.

We timed this to hear the Benedictine Sisters singing vespers which was beautiful. We also made the most of the wonderful view.

We took the funicular down the hill,

casually happened upon the place where the Jesuits were founded (I think that is what this means) and had dinner at a local restaurant.

We returned home quite late which meant the kids got to see the 9:30 fairy floss sunset!

41
Paris

Feeling much better today but still made a relaxed start. We thought we’d try to get to the Eiffel Tower around opening time to minimise waiting but here we are at 11am enjoying crêpes on the way. Pretty special.

Hence, we probably spent two hours or so queuing but, despite the heat and crowds and frustration, everyone was pretty good most of the time. Elsie was insightful: ‘it was hard to enjoy it, but I did enjoy it.’ Gruff more decisive: ‘I’m never going up there again!’ Anyway, it provided the opportunity for lingering appreciation of the truly impressive and beautiful structure from every angle.

And of course, the view was magnificent. We could see all the places we’d been, including our house.

Woohoo! Looking a little strained?

Really cool to see was the Barramundi Scales artwork of Walmanjikulum woman, Lena Nyadbi on the roof of the Musée du Quai Branly (museum of Indigenous art). I’d seen a documentary about this a while ago - the Dreaming story is about how the Barramundi ancestor shed his scales at this site in the East Kimberley which is now the biggest diamond mine in the world.

Gruff and Alex were over it by the time we got home - about 4:00 - but I took Elsie and Will five minutes down the road to Les Jardins du Luxembourg.

On the way we passed by the chapel side of La Sorbonne. Will was lucky enough to put his hand in a bird poo right next to the fountain so it could wash straight off.

The palais and gardens were beautiful and there were many people relaxing and enjoying the late afternoon there. Elsie and Will very much enjoyed playing with their ‘Sweden’ hired model sailboat ( they called it ’Sweedie’) while I sat back on a park chair and ate my long-overdue lunch: flan de patissier. Bliss!

We took a different route home so we could pass by the Odéon that our home Métro stop is named after.

We stopped by monoprix and had all the kids’ favourite - nachos - for tea. Reasonable bedtime in preparation for a big day tomorrow!!!

42
Disneyland Paris

Elsie: My favourite thing about Disneyland was a ride that was to do with Star Wars that me and Daddy went on where we went upside down, and on a ninety degree angle and it was pitch black and went SO fast!!!!!

Hi it’s Will. My favourite ride was the rocket ship ride. It was so much fun. I got to steer my rocket up and down. 😸🚀⛴

Alex: I liked the haunted house and the rocket ship ride and I also liked seeing Mickey Mouse and the Dragon and also seeing the castle and going in the candy castle and all of the things we saw today.

🚦🚥🗿🗽🗽🗽🗽🗼🏰🧲🗡⚔️⚙️🔩⛏💣🧨🧱⚙️🛡🧨🔪⚰️🚬🛡⚔️🗡⚱️🚭📵🙅🏼‍♀️🚭📵🍭🍭🍼🍪🍯🥜🌰🍪🍩🥤🍵☕️🍼🥛🥄🍾🍹🍸🍸🥢🥡🥣🍽🍴🍴🎱🥏🏉🏐🎾🥎⚾️🏈🏀⚽️🎣🏹🥅🥅🏏🥊🥋🎽🛹🛷🎣🏹⛳️🥅🏏🥅🏅

43
Paris

A rainy day!

After a typical French breakfast, we walked to the Centre Georges Pompidou this morning while it was still fine.

I’ve never had more than an academic interest in its design before but it really is awesome.

We visited the Galerie des Enfants which had a Stone Age theme in keeping with one of the exhibitions on at the moment. We made pasta jewellery

and shelters from ‘skins’.

There was also some interesting digitally-enhanced percussion play (photo to come).

Then we made our way up the spectacular tube escalators to the Gallery floors.

Admiring views on the way.

Inside, we did a brief walkthrough and aimed for some appreciation of various movements. Above is my favourite: Matisse’s ’Interieur, bocal de poissons rouges’.

There was some interest in Kandinsky and various commentary regarding Picasso’s efforts.

But the below was more popular, perhaps.

We missed the 1965-current gallery because multiple children were about to die of starvation.

We had lunch in an American family burger restaurant

and there was a storm with thunder and lightning so once it settled down a bit we got to walk to and through the Marais in the rain.

But it soon cleared and we dried everything out on a playground break.

After a trip to Place des Vosges, we met up with Gruff’s cousin Damien and headed to the catacombs but the line was way too long so we went home for dinner: pizza from the restaurant on the corner.

We had a great catch up

With this as a bonus.

And some night walks were taken in turn.

44
Paris

More photos to come

Elsie and I walked up Bd Saint-Germain to the marché de Maubert Mutualité to buy our morning bread and croissants today.

After breakfast we caught the Metro to the Arc de Triomphe which we admired from many angles and perspectives.

It was windy at the top but worth it for the best view in Paris.

We went home for lunch today as someone had to get in to fix the hot water. We could eat up our supplies with the morning’s fresh bread. Then we headed out to the Palais Garnier - the old Paris Opéra building - which was magnificently opulent.

We enjoyed our last sunset.

And a night walk while Damien stayed in with the sleeping kids.

A treat for our last morning: breakfast at Café de Flore!

And a good little walk home.

Gruff took the kids to the Catacombes but the line was even too long at opening time so they skipped it. Meanwhile, Ellen went to Mass at Saint Séverin.

There was a lot of packing to be done but we had a nice late check-out of 3pm and were at the airport with no rush for our our 9pm flight. Here we are on the monorail to Charles de Gaulle Terminal 2 Section L.

Everyone had a good sleep on the first 9.5 hour leg and we are now in the Kids Zone at Incheon.