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Category Archives: Living in Europe

I never mean for so much time to pass before and between posting, but summer swoops by so fast, even when it feels like you have no plans at all. Our summer started off with big adventures to Austria, and then to Belgium and Amsterdam! Since returning from our big adventures we’ve spent the last month just puttering around England. Saving our pennies, or pence as it were, for more big adventures down the road. So here I am, finally sharing some photos, probably too many photos, from our trip to Belgium and Amsterdam.

We opted to drive to Amsterdam, where Kyle had work for a week, rather than flying or taking the train and I’m so glad we did. I’m a big fan of any road trip, and especially one that traverses three fantastic European countries. We set off from the ferry docks in Dover, waved goodbye to the White Cliffs, and watched the green sea water turn to deep blue as we headed for Calais, France. After disembarking from the ferry, we drove north into Belgium, stopping along the coast and making it to our final stop just outside of Bruges around bedtime.

traveling with kids belgium bruges ghentPINtraveling with kids belgium bruges ghentPINKyle and I first visited Bruges several years ago when we backpacked around Europe and we couldn’t wait to return. It is an incredibly charming, if slightly over-crowded little city. Our first stop was getting the Belgian waffles for breakfast, which had the girls declaring that it was “the best day, ever” before 10am. We spent the day wandering around before ending the day with cups full of gelato which, if the waffles hadn’t done it, fixed it as the best day ever in their books. They still compare our days to that day, as in, “Well, it’s still not as good as the waffle and gelato day….”. Fair enough.

traveling with kids belgium bruges ghentPINtraveling with kids belgium bruges ghentPINtraveling with kids belgium bruges ghentPINPINWe spent the following day exploring Ghent, which came highly recommended by a few friends, and I’m so glad we did because we absolutely loved it. It was similar to Bruges with it’s charming canals, waffles, and gelato, but it was much quieter and possibly even more lovely. We wandered the streets, toured the castle, ate sandwiches and sipped beer. So, if you were to ask me rather than the kids, I might call that the best day ever.

traveling with kids belgium bruges ghentPINAfter a long, hot, wonderful day in Ghent we climbed into the car and drove north past Antwerp, past Amsterdam, and into the northern part of Holland. We stopped and slept at an AirBnB (well, technically we stopped at the one we had booked and it was truly awful and somehow we managed to get another one at 9:30pm close by – which was a miracle as we were in the middle of nowhere). In the morning we got up early, had breakfast with our host, and headed to explore Kolhorn – a quiet, little town on the water. It was Fathers’ Day so we stopped and had the most delicious apple pie that was really more like apple-almond cake before driving slowly down to Amsterdam.

traveling with kids amsterdam netherlandsPINtraveling with kids amsterdam netherlandsPINtraveling with kids amsterdam netherlandsPINWe spent a whole week in Amsterdam staying with a friend from childhood and her family. They graciously invited our little tribe into their gorgeous home in the middle of the city and we got busy exploring in the big heat wave that took over Europe that week. We walked and walked and walked all over Amsterdam; we ate and ate and ate all over Amsterdam. The cities sidewalks were in full bloom with hollyhocks and roses, the parks were teaming with people to observe, and the café tables were begging to be filled with cold beer, rosé, and fries. Kyle spent most of the week working, so the kids and I found our own rhythm which mostly went: breakfast, park to people watch and paint, lunch, getlato, park to people watch and paint, bed.

traveling with kids amsterdam netherlandsPINtraveling with kids amsterdam netherlandsPINtraveling with kids amsterdam netherlandsPINtraveling with kids amsterdam netherlandsPINtraveling with kids amsterdam netherlandsPINtraveling with kids amsterdam netherlandsPINtraveling with kids amsterdam netherlandsPINtraveling with kids amsterdam netherlandsPINtraveling with kids amsterdam netherlandsPINtraveling with kids amsterdam netherlandsPINtraveling with kids amsterdam netherlandsPINAfter a wonderful week in Amsterdam we decided, somewhat at the last minute, to spend another day, and a night, in Ghent before ferrying back home to England. We spent the day taking a canal tour, getting lost, having lunch, and exploring before driving to Dunkirk, where we spent a short night before catching the ferry back to England. This trip, full of picnics and sunshine and hours in the car with the windows down felt longer than it’s ten days.

traveling with kids belgium bruges ghentPINtraveling with kids belgium bruges ghentPINtraveling with kids belgium bruges ghentPINtraveling with kids belgium bruges ghentPINtraveling with kids belgium bruges ghentPINtraveling with kids belgium bruges ghentPINtraveling with kids belgium bruges ghentPINtraveling with kids belgium bruges ghentPINtraveling with kids belgium bruges ghentPINWe were happy to get home, and it’s felt so much like fall ever since; so all of summer 2017 for me will be forever wrapped up in that one European road trip.

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We spent a week in Austria at the end of May, and now as we are packing up for a week in Belgium and the Netherlands, I thought I’d share a few photos from our trip to Salzburg. Our close friends from Oregon were camped out in Salzburg for over a month so it gave us the perfect excuse to hop on a short flight to visit them. It was wonderful to see “old” friends.

Kyle and I spent a few days in Salzburg in our early twenties, but I hardly remembered just how magical a city it is. It was a wonderful place to be with the kids. It’s a small enough city that you can cover it easily by foot and there were great park tucked all over the city… plus having kids gave me an excuse to belt out tunes from The Sound of Music all over town.

SALZBURG AUSTRIA TRAVELING WITH KIDSPINTRAVELING SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINSALZBURG AUSTRIA TRAVELING WITH KIDSPINTRAVELING SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINWe spent one big morning taking the cable car up to Untersberg and then hiking the last bit to the top of the mountaintop for a seriously spectacular panoramic view. The kids were all a bit grumpy by the time we made it to the top, but some gummy bear bribery helped. I didn’t take too many photos at the top since we were busy making sure no tiny people tried to ski down from the top.

TRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINWhile we were in Austria, Lulu turned four! We loaded up for her birthday day and took the train to Hallstatt. To get to Hallstatt from Salzburg involved taking a train to a boat to get across the lake to the beautiful little town of Hallstatt. It’s picturesque from the boat, but once you’re in the (adorable) little town you can barely move as their are so many tourists! Kyle and I both hate being in crowds like that, so we made our way out to the edge of town, called a cab, and escaped around the bend to Obertraun. Obertraun was quiet as can be, we had a whole cafe to ourselves with a view of a park. The girls played on the playground and came back for bites of birthday cake now and then. It was a long, lovely day.

TRAVELING WITH KIDS HALLSTATT AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS Obertraun AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS Obertraun AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS Obertraun AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS Obertraun AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS Obertraun AUSTRIAPINWe had a few more days to explore Salzburg, including a visit to the Hohensalzburg Castle, and a couple visits to the Augustiner Bräu (brewery), and a few key Sound of Music tourism spots along the way. A week was the perfect amount of time for our trip, although I wouldn’t have argued about staying another week there.

TRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPINTRAVELING WITH KIDS SALZBURG AUSTRIAPIN

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We have four pages filled with places we’d like to see in England alone. There is so much to do and so much to see. We are countryside people, and our adventures tend to take us further out away from London and into the lush green countryside. It’s so picturesque that I can hardly stop myself from gasping and grabbing for my camera; the soft rolling hills, the bleating sheep and lambs that speckle them, the yellow flowers that cover vast areas of farmland creating a bright ochre blanket that spans for miles. We always take backroads and find that adding ten minutes to our drive frequently results in magical views and “pull the car over!” moments.

Mostly we’ve been traveling close by where we are living in Berkshire. We spent one Saturday exploring Tisbury and Shaftesbury, including a wonderful countryside walk (my favorite thing about England), and an incredibly lunch at The Beckford Arms. Country walks on public footpaths take you through fields of sheep, into bright green woods, and across little bridges. Every place we go, I don’t want to leave. I find myself looking wistfully in the review mirror as we drive away, longing to go back.

trip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINtrip to tisbury shaftesbury englandPINThe following weekend, after our trip to Tisbury and Shaftesbury, we loaded up for another day trip to the Cotswolds. This time we knew to call ahead to book a table at a popular pub called The Fox at Oddington, and we headed straight there to eat before we explored Upper and Lower Slaughter. The two small villages are connected by a walking path that was perfect for the kids.

THE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPINTHE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPINTHE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPINTHE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPINTHE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPINTHE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPINTHE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPINTHE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPINTHE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPINTHE COTSWOLDS TRAVELING ENGLANDPIN

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Springtime in the English countryside has been absolutely spectacular. It feels reminiscent of our home in the Pacific Northwest weather-wise, and we’ve been taking full advantage of every “partly sunny” day. This week has settled in with a bit of rain and a biting breeze so we’re sipping tea, spring cleaning, and catching up on all sorts of things. You would think that, having moved away from all our stuff, we wouldn’t have anything to spring clean. But nine months into our time here and we have a garage filled with things for donation. We recently discovered that the local church where we go to nature journal, explore, and picnic is where three of the original Salvation Army founders are buried which makes me hopeful that I can find a Salvation Army soon to donate a lot of our accumulated stuff on to.

At the start of April we met our friends from Oxford for something called Lambing Weekend which seems to be a popular thing around here, and I can see why. It essentially involved spending a few hours wandering around a local farm petting and holding baby lambs, admiring piglets, buying some early spring vegetables from the farm shop, eating food and drinking coffee. I could do this every single weekend and never tire of it, which leads me to believe that my long harbored dream of having a little farm of my own is something I should seriously pursue.

SPRING LAMBING WEEKEND ENGLANDPINSPRING LAMBING WEEKEND ENGLANDPINSPRING LAMBING WEEKEND ENGLANDPINSPRING LAMBING WEEKEND ENGLANDPINSPRING LAMBING WEEKEND ENGLANDPINSPRING LAMBING WEEKEND ENGLANDPINSPRING LAMBING WEEKEND ENGLANDPINRight now things feel so good here; something I doubted would happen in the first months we spent trying to settle in. The list of frustrations and things we miss is slowly fading, and the list of things we love and are going to miss is growing steadily. The girls do ballet and gymnastics, we do our homeschool work, and we try to get out and adventure every weekend. We have started playing with watercolor painting, and we are quickly becoming avid nature journalers. In the midst of our activities Baby Roux keeps growing (far too quickly), Gigi keeps loosing teeth and slowly transforming into a proper kid, and Lulu keeps being Lulu – that is to say a feisty, magical, hilarious tot-kid.

ENGLAND SPRINGPINENGLAND SPRINGPINENGLAND SPRINGPINENGLAND SPRINGPINENGLAND SPRINGPINENGLAND SPRINGPINENGLAND SPRINGPINENGLAND SPRINGPINMy Mom and her boyfriend came to visit mid-April for a week and it was wonderful to have family around! We had a wonderful time inviting them into our home, hosting meals, and showing them around our favorite places. We spend most of our time here walking around lakes, wandering footpaths, checking in on the local cows, staring at Roux, and picnicking at our favorite little local church so we brought them along on all of those activities. My Mom is a wonderful watercolor painter and she brought the girls watercolor “crayons” and small watercolor journals which they love. When we’re out and about they draw in them, and then paint over their drawings with water when we get home. She did some watercolor lessons with the girls during the day, and some with me at night after the kids were in bed, and helped me pick out some quality watercolor supplies for my new hobby.

spring in englandPINspring in englandPINnature journalingPINnature journalingPINspring in englandPINspring in englandPINspring in englandPINspring in englandPINnature journaling spring in englandPINnature journaling spring in englandPINspring in englandPINspring in englandPINspring in englandPINThe month of May shows no signs of slowing down. Kyle is hard at work and we’re trying to form and keep a balance of everyone’s needs. We have a trip to Salzburg, Austria planned where we’ll get to spend some wonderful days in the company of good friends from back home. Lulu will turn four this month, Roux will be five months old, and I’ll be trying not to cry over how fast they’re growing up. With life flying by, I’m finding it hard to carve out time to write here, but you can follow along on Instagram too, where I keep things more up to date and in the moment.

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January and February have come and gone. The weeks keep slipping by, some feel much longer than others, but still they slip away. It’s starting to feel like spring here in England; daffodils and crocuses are blooming, stormy afternoons come after blue sky mornings. We’ve just passed the six month mark of living abroad. For Kyle, who’s been working long challenging and stimulating hours at the brewery, the time has passed quickly. For the girls and I that six months seems to have gone by very slowly. As we enter into Spring with more time outside exploring the area around us, visiting new friends, and feeling more and more at home here, I can literally feel time speeding up. The girls are doing wonderful homeschool work, Roux is growing quickly and is such a cuddly, happy boy, and the days go by in a rhythm of naps, lessons, meals, and more laundry than seems possible.

living in englandPINliving in englandPINliving in englandPINWe’re loving cozy pub afternoons, walks in local parks to feed ducks, geese, and swans, hanging laundry outside instead of on the radiators inside, getting the backyard ready for lots of spring and summer play time, exploring local churchyards and neighborhoods, baby cuddles, homeschool lessons, and solitude. It’s ironic that the hardest thing in this move is how much we miss our friends and family on a daily basis, and that one of the things we are most appreciating is the about this move is the solitude, and the freedom that comes with that. It’s hard not having many play-dates, evenings with friends, invitations to family events, but it’s also kind of wonderful to be so completely in charge of our time and our calendar.

living in englandPINliving in englandPINliving in englandPINliving in englandPINliving in englandPINliving in englandPINHere’s to the next six months, to spring, to solitude, to adventures and to quiet days at home… and to baby cuddles.

living in englandPINliving in englandPINliving in englandPIN

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