York to Edinburgh 28-29th June

Days of traveling are always hard but they are even more tiring with a series of bad events. Our luggage is getting heavier, may have something to do with the wizard chess set,  the books and the puzzles, which means the transits are becoming a little more uncomfortable. With 9 people traveling together there is an awful lot of luggage. This time we even had to travel with wet washing also as our clothes which had been in a dryer for more than 3 hours were not yet dry! 

We ate breakfast at the station, bacon buns which half the kids didn’t like.  Who doesn’t like bacon and bread???? A few minutes beforewe were due to board our train it was announced the platform had changed which was a bit annoying as we had to lug all our bags down into the subway then up to the other line which we had already done once before as we had accidentally gone to platform 10 instead of 7. When the announcer told us we had to move we went to platform 11. Once on board there were people sitting in our reserved seating who then proceeded to argue with us even though Kevin pointed out he was traveling with 9 people, 5 of whom were small children.  The railway company had double booked our seats and until the conductor came along and told these people to move as he couldn’t accommodate 9 people anywhere else in the train but he could find places for doubles in multiple places, these people weren’t budging. So over and over during the 2.5 hour trip we had to explain to people we had been double  booked. 

Once we got to Edinburgh our car drama started with the hure company not having one of our cars ready for us, having in fact cancelled one of our bookings and our baby car seats! That resulted in Pauline and I having to wait for 1.5 hours in the cold with all the luggage and the 5 restless kids.

Lisa tripped over some bags and faceplanted into the flagstones. This was hours later when the egg had mostly gone down and she was smiling about it. It must have really hurt. The egg was huge. 

Our dining room, kitchen and laundry next to our loungeroom. 


Thankfully our accommodation turned out to be easy to find and very beautiful but by the time we got out of town to where we were staying we didn’t feel like cooking so we went for a drive to find somewhere to eat. As would be our day, there wasn’t anything available so we ended up cooking anyway. At least we were all ready for bed when bed time came however not before doing the nwxt lot of washing and preparing the cottage for a special birthday in the morning.

So impressed with having to have her photo taken.

Hollie turned 10 today. A very sad day for us because our family no longer has all kids in single digits but a happy one too as it means we have survived parenthood and witnessed this amazing girl grow. A more fabulous and caring big sister yiu could not find.  We are so proud of her in every way. 

She is genuinely excited to have farm animals for her train set.

We are in Scotland because of Hollie.  She said she wanted to visit Scotland so it was planned to be here today for her birthday.  

Presents before we left on our adventures included a card with money from Nanny and another from Mrs Granny Weymouth and an amazing recipe book with a hand quilted cover from Granny and Grandpuff which includes some of the Knight family recipes and space for Hollie to include her own. Gifts from us included her own camera, given to her the day we left, and a train cup for train club,  farm people for her train set and a boat in a bottle (there’s a story behind that). 

Kevin Joshua loved the Lego Britannia. Shown here with Hannah and Mort.


We had morning tea on the Royal Britannia which included a cake with a candle in it. The ship was amazing and we got to see the chair Kevin W sat on when he delivered mail to the Queen. It was a great ship and I’m glad we were able to walk through  it though I do think it’s a shame it is no longer used by the Queen and family. 

Hannah with her yummy milk shake.

Hannah and Kevin with the bell. Yes, Kevin did indeed want to ring it. 

A funny game the sailors played whereby the wombat, whoever gave the wombat was obviously not Australian as it looks more like a black bear, was placed on the fan and spun until it came off and the batter had to belt it around the room.

Scotland really turned on the weather for us today. If Kevin had any worries about me trying to find some standing stone to walk through to try to find myself a Jamie he needn’t worry. I could not handle this rain for very long at all.  Through the rain we walked up most of the Royal Mile to the castle. Good grief. There is no way you could storm that castle and take it. The fortifications are unbelievable. Natural and man made barriers mean you wouldn’t stand a chance.

The castle entrance.

These are NOT my sisters.

Hollie selected 9 cake slices to bring home as her birthday cake. Very delicious if a little unconventional. 

So yummy.

8.15pm.


9.30pm no wonder the kids won’t go to sleep. 


It is 11pm now and it is still light. I can see more detail than the photo shows. I can see the outlines of the trees and where the paddocks start and stop and where the individual hills are.
Only 8.2km walked today.

York 24th -26th June

Friday 24th
After arrival from London on Friday we quickly set up in our really cool apartment. It is an old warehouse which has been turned into 5 apartments and our is on the middle level. This is the first time on this trip our little family have all been together. The kids are quite excited to have a little pruvacy as there are 3 rooms here and they are able to share with one other. Hollie is in the loungeroom. Pauline and Kevin’s apartment is upstairs so we have quite a lot of space with a decent sized kitchen.

We ventured off to the National Rail Museum which I thought was going to be less than interesting but actually turned out to be quite fascinating.

The royal coaches were beautiful and very interesting. I don’t know how they slept in the beds but they did.  There was even a bath in one of the coaches!

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The kids and I loved the travelling post office. The mail nets were pretty cool. The things we humans develop just blow my mind. It was just amazing to see the way it was sorted.

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All the kids with Evening Star. The last steam engine built.

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Saturday 25th

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There are these cute little alleyways all theough York. We would probably think them dodgy and unsafe in Australia but they are everywhere and very clean and well used paths.

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Before morning tea the kids spotted a toy store with bubbles and free balloons. It was like Christmas.  They thought it was amazing.

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The streets are very busy so difficult to navigate with 5 boisterous children.

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Sunday 26th

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The streets in York are amazing. I loved the paved streets and the cobble stone. The buildings are all different even if they are right next to each other. Some lean in others lean out. Floors are subsiding. It makes for a really colourful streetscape.

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A lot of the streets are called gates. We had to take a photo in front of Colliergate because of my maiden name.

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I had the Plough man’s lunch. Cheeses, meats, salad, chutneys and bread. Totally delicious. Couldn’t eat it all.

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Pauline’s lunch was a Sunday roast. Yes they serve mashed and baked potato in the same meal. The Yorkshire puddings were delicious.

The next stop after Kevin Joshua threw a massive tantrum in the street then weed his pants and needed to be carried home by Kevin Paul as he screamed blue murder all the way back to the apartment was a 15th century house known as Barley House. Jessica had seen this as we had walked around yesterday and really wanted to go. She’d even found out prices and directed me how to get back there.

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Here is a peacock on the banquet table. In Medieval times they would take the skin off the bird, leaving the feathers on, then cool the bird and put the skin and feathers back over the cooked carcass. Nice and hygenic. The featgers were beautiful. There was also a swan which woukd recieve similar treatment.

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Here Lisa is dressing up as Joseph for a play. This museum was a hoot. It was totally interactive. You were encouraged to touch and play with everything. They even had tavern games for us to play, minus the drinks.

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Me in a medieval dress and cap. Very becoming.

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Jessica loved this dress. She wanted to smuggle it home.

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Hollie looked lovely in the green.

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Barley Hall. If you’re in York check it out. Great for the kids. We wish we had longer in there but our tickets are valid for a year so maybe we should come back.

London day 2 20th June

It was a horribly wet day and considering the late night we had last night at the Harry Potter studios we weren’t very keen to get going today.

We decided it was best not to take Kevin Joshua as he would need to be carried everywhere to see any of the jewels so he went ofd adventuring with Granny and Grandpuff.

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You can’t take photos inside unfortunately.

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One of the guards. Jessica thought it was so funny they wouldn’t react to us or move at all.

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The actual tower to the left. We were very lucky it was a rainy day and were able to get tickets straight away and only wait 10 minutes to get in to see the jewels. As soon as the sun came out the crowds came out.

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The windy staircases to stop any attackers being able to advance very easily and fight on their way up. They made me dizzy going up.

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Guards marching around the tower.

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We had to walk across Tower Bridge to see the crack where the lifts up.

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The family on the bridge with the Tower in the background.

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In the front of one of the traditional London buses. Up the top of course.

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Lisa and Kevin looking out over Trafalgar Square.

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They were keen to get up and explore but Kevin found it a bit scary getting down.

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The kids loved the Yoda busker.

We even walked from Trafalgar Square to Hambley’s toy store. Five storeys of toy heaven.  Even I loved it and nearly bought the whole store. Jessica did get a Hermione wand and we did get a family Wizard’s chess set. Kevin found some train things to buy, naturally.

It was another long day of walking but we really did enjoy our day out.

London day 1

We had a busy day of traveling yesterday so today was a bit of an easy day.

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We attended Mass and walked through Hyde Park from Marble Arch after we did an earth cache there. We walked until we were hungry and had lunch in an English pub.

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After lunch we spent some time at the Australian war memorial trying to locate names of towns we had lived in. Not very successful.

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Nundah listed as one of the many places in Australia who sent men t

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o war.

We intend to go back to find the names of Burpengary and Longreach.

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Walking back through Hyde Park we saw horse riders and joggers. It really is a great park.

Next came the trip to the Harry Potter studios after we’d had a brief rest back at the apartment.

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The Great Hall.

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Harry’s room under the stairs. It’s why we call our little door under the stairs Harry’s room.

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Jessica going to Hogwarts for the 2nd year and we didn’t have to pay £16 for it like you do at King’s Cross.

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The letters keep coming.

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Wizard chess pieces coming to get us.

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Butter beer. Very sweet.

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Hagrid’s costume was huge.

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Had to have a photo. Perfect bus for us.

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Of course the train has to have a photo.

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Probably my favourite part.

I highly recommend this tour if you like the books and the movies. It is very interactive and self paced and although they say it will take 3 hours we could have been there much longer except we had a time schedule and it was past 9.30pm when we got out. We had arrived for the 6.30pm session and were already tired. It was really an amazing experience so if you get the chance please go along and check it out.

Versailles

The short walk we did around the gardens was magnificent.  They are spectacular.  We will return in years to come to walk all the gardens and spent a day or two just visiting the gardens.

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We didn’t even walk half way down to this lake/river and to the right is a whole heap more gardens. To walk to the end of the gardens is 3km.

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The videos in the museum of this water fountain working is spectacular.

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We had to wait 58mins in the queue to get into the palace museum but it was worth the wait even if we got rained on.

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The entrance to the palace.

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So many people inside. The paintings on the ceiling were so detailed and beautiful.

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Out of the King’s bed chamber.

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Jessica and I loved the ceilings.

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Little Kevin and his favourite person.

Arc de Triomp day 2 Paris

We had a very lazy start to the day however we made up for it by walking over 15kms. I had washing to do so went to the laundromat and had to use my knowledge of French words to work out how to operate the machines and payment system. I bought bread from the bakery as well as an apple pastry for Kevin.

When we finally got going it was morning tea time and we stopped at a cafe for coffee and pastry before walking to the metro and catching thd train to Charles de Gruille and the Arc de Triomphe. We went underground to get past all the traffic and up to the monument. We queued for tickets and climbed the 300 or so stairs to the top. Kevin Joshua needed carrying the last little bit but all day that was the only time he was carried.

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The view from the top was amazing and worth every cent we paid to go up. I loved the roof top gardens you could see and the tree lined streets.

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The highlight of the trip so far was my ride down the Champ Elyses. It was so scary with 8 lanes of traffic and cobble stones and French drivers who seem to follow no rules. The first ride was brief, only two blocks up and back, then we had lunch. It was the scariest thing I’d ever done as the whole time I thought I was going to die but it was so exhilarating at the same time. We have watch Le Tour de France for many years and watched the riders finish tbe race in this street so it was pretty cool that I got to ride that same road as them. The second ride was the whole length up and back. By the end I was weaving in and out of cars and waving to the family as I returned.

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We walked the length of the street and through the park, stopping for another gelato,  to the Louvre however we didn’t go in. We left Kevin W and Pauline and they headed home while we walked to Notre Dame.

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The girls at first didn’t think it was very interesting but once they understood how old the Cathedral was they were blown away. We may convert them to being interested in history.

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Paris day 2

We had a huge day of walking, over 15km. We walked almost from 9.30am until 5.30pm. Admittedly this was at little Kevin pace until 3.30pm but he was a fabulous walker and didn’t complain at all.

Firstly we took the kids to Sacre Coeur. This was the first rime they had seen or been inside such a big church. Like me, they were quite impressed with  the paintings inside and the small chapels which formed part of the large church.

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The kids even had a ride on the carousel.

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Morning tea in a park so the kids could play. We had coffee and pastry.

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We even had a maccas toilet break but this one was a pay for toilet but fortunately a French family were coming out of the cubicle and held it open for us so we didn’t have to pay.

We walked past Napoleon’s statue and all the expensive shops. There was a watch Kevin liked for over 21,000 Euros! I quite liked the statue of Napolean with its green tone. Imagine what it would have looked like when it was new and shiny.

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We had an ice cream in Jardin de Tuileries and walked through to see the Paris eye and Cleopatra’s Obelisk but it is actually Rameses II’s. It blew me away they would transport this from Egypt. It’s quite an impressive stone structure and the hieroglyphs were beautiful. 

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The Eiffel Tower was the highlight of the day. Jessica and I wanted to be the first to spotto it. We walked along the Siene which was very full of water and flowing rapidly from the flooding here last week.

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It was quite a nice walk although we heard the constant sounds of the police sirens because they were blocking off streets for some protest. Heavily armed police on every corner and car after car of police going past. Kevin Joshua was most impressed to see so many police. There were also a lot of police near an overseas dignitary we saw go past in his motorcade.

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There was quite a few upset people when we arrived at the Eiffel Tower because we found out Elizabeth the platypus had fallen out of Hannah’s bag. We decided to back track to try to find her but without luck. Kevin W and Pauline took the kids back to the apartment via the train. Jessica came with us and was just so good, walking and never giving up even though it was about 5km back to the apartment.

We even managed to find a train shop in Paris and bought some supplies.

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