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Old 04-21-2012, 06:04 PM   #46
IheartDDuck
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Wow, that's some family history you've got right there. And that's so sad about your mother being teased in school for not knowing a language (stupid swede? Really?), it's nervewracking enough being around such a foreign language. I was absolutely terrified when I went to Quebec this past March and that was just for 4 days. But it's good to hear she got through it all right, even though her accent is gone

Anyways... it's so cool that you are getting the chance to really tour Europe from Belgium! I've heard many good things from my dad and he's been to many countries in Europe. My family is also friends with some great people who live there. But most importantly, the food looks delicious! I actually want to lick the screen right now, no joke (Belgian Waffle <3) Though I'm not of course... or am I hmmmm...

Anyways, can't wait to read more about your plans!
I know, it does stink that she was teased. Teasing and bullying isn't something new, that's for sure. It is nervewracking being around a foreign language, especially when you're not familiar with it.

Oh, the food truly does look delicious. I plan on getting tons of food pictures for you guys.

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Here! Your trip sounds like it will be incredible!

Wow, your family history is seriously fascinating. I'll never understand why kids can be so MEAN. I bet they were jealous of her accent. Dumb kids.

I don't like syrup on my waffles either! Not a big syrup fan really haha. All those food pictures are just wow... yum... I'm hungry.

Can't wait to read more! This is honestly fascinating to me.
I never understand kids either. And it's sad that it still continues on today.

I do like syrup on waffles, but not the ones that they have over there. It's just not the same.
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Old 04-21-2012, 07:29 PM   #47
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How are we getting there?

I figured I would get started by talking about our departure day. It's gonna be a long one ladies and gents. I mean, a long day.

When we first started talking about the trip, we talked about a lot of options. Fly into Paris, fly out of Brussels. Fly into Paris, fly out of Paris. Fly into Brussels, fly out of Brussels.

If anyone has been watching airfare recently, you would know that it's expensive right now. Like crazy expensive.

On my only other trip to Europe in 2010, we booked flights that had a stopover. I vowed never to do that again. Oh, it was no problem stopping over on the flight out to France. But stopping over on the flight back? Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, again. Ever. EVER.

Our flight back in September 2010 required a 3 hour stopover in Philadelphia when we came back into the country. I thought, "oh, 3 hours, that's MORE than enough time". Oh silly little girl who has never flown out of the country.....

Passport control in Philadelphia was RIDICULOUS! Like, insane. It took us 1 1/2 hours just to get our passports checked. Then (get this folks), we had to get our baggage, send it through customs, and then re-check the baggage for the domestic flight. Tired yet?

You think we were able to do that in 3 hours? Nope. Not at all. On top of that, when we got back to our house, TSA in Philadelphia had checked our luggage. And you know what was missing? Half of the Belgian chocolate that we had purchased.



We actually called Philadelphia TSA and the manager told us "oh, sometimes they may forget to put something back in your bag". Oh, THAT'S CONVENIENT!

People at my work actually thought that they took the chocolate in France. I told them "why would they do that? They can buy it DOWN THE STREET!"

So, that is why, direct flights only internationally. No stop overs.

Now, flights that we had been looking at? Insane. $1500 each person. That's a huge chunk out of the travel budget. Huge.

So, I looked on Kayak for all kinds of options. Flying into Switzerland, flying into the Netherlands, basically flying into any place that's driving distance from Paris.

And then......Kayak popped up this little beauty.

$1000 round trip, direct flight in and out of London. Mystery carrier.

Fitting exactly into the time frame that I wanted. Direct, and $1000 a flight. That's $1500 of savings TOTAL!

I told Mom and Dad about it. We weren't planning on London before. But I'm an Accountant. I work with numbers. I worked those numbers like a you know what would work a.....*ahem*.....*cough*....sorry inappropriate thought there.

Get this.....I got.....3 round trip direct tickets in and out of London, 3 round trip tickets on the Eurostar between London and Brussels, a car rental to be picked up at the Brussels train station, AND two nights in a hotel in London......for the same price as the three round trip tickets to Brussels.

Who's a great number cruncher? Actually who should be a travel agent?

This person....



So it was agreed! But, it's going to be a long day.

Thursday, June 28th we will all be working. Yup. Still gotta work. Stupid work. Stupid numbers that need crunching. Stupid need for money.

Our flight leaves at 6pm on the 28th. We will be flying on...



Yup, Virgin Atlantic y'all! I have picked our seats already. I'm hoping to change them, but we'll see. We already told my dad that he has to sit next to the stranger. The last time we flew that long of a flight, I was next to a BIG guy who had no personal space boundaries. None. So I said that Dad has to take the bullet. But all he needs to do is make this face...



....in case his travel partner gets out of hand. It is an 8 hour flight after all.

We land at 8am on Friday, June 29th at London Heathrow.



We have a car service that will be picking us up. And taking us to St. Pancras station. We will be hanging out there until 3pm when we board....



The Eurostar, direct to Brussels.

Tired yet? I know I will be.

The beauty of train stations in Europe / UK? They have a baggage area, where you can have your luggage held while you putz around until your train leaves. So, if we get to St. Pancras really early, boom! They hold your luggage and you're free to enjoy yourself until your departure.

At 6pm (it's a 2 hour train ride, but there's a hour time difference), we will arrive at....



Brussels train station in Belgium, or Gare du Midi.

Where we will be picking up a car from Avis and driving to Antwerp to our family's house.

Your exhausted aren't you? I know I am just talking about it.

Fortunately for us, my Dad can sleep anywhere. Planes, trains, holes, sidewalks......

Sitting up perhaps?



And that's our travel day! I understand if you had to stop for a break, drink something, have a snack. It's a lot to take in.

So, by about 7:30pm on June 29th, we will finally be to our first destination....even if that's only overnight.

Up next: DLRP!!!

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Old 04-21-2012, 08:29 PM   #48
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I had an international connecting flight nightmare as well. When I went to Italy many many years ago we flew from Rome to Newark and then had a connecting flight down to Norfolk. Well, our flight arrived in Newark on time but we were held on the plane because there was a problem with the wheel. We were stuck on the plane for an hour. Then we had to go through the whole immigration/passport/luggage drama. By the time we got through all that we only had 15 minutes to get to our connecting flight. We were running through the airport like the family in Home Alone. Luckily, we just barely made the flight, they actually held it for us (the fastest person in the group ran ahead to the gate). Of course, this was all pre-9/11. They would never allow us to run like maniacs in an airport nowadays.
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Old 04-21-2012, 08:51 PM   #49
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I had an international connecting flight nightmare as well. When I went to Italy many many years ago we flew from Rome to Newark and then had a connecting flight down to Norfolk. Well, our flight arrived in Newark on time but we were held on the plane because there was a problem with the wheel. We were stuck on the plane for an hour. Then we had to go through the whole immigration/passport/luggage drama. By the time we got through all that we only had 15 minutes to get to our connecting flight. We were running through the airport like the family in Home Alone. Luckily, we just barely made the flight, they actually held it for us (the fastest person in the group ran ahead to the gate). Of course, this was all pre-9/11. They would never allow us to run like maniacs in an airport nowadays.
Haha, I felt like the Home Alone family at that moment.

I didn't mention it, but we didn't make our flight and had to be re-booked ona flight that was two hours later. Not fun at all.
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:01 AM   #50
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Wow, that's quite a long travel day indeed! I love flying direct to Europe, so much easier!
Hope your dad gets a considerate travel partner!
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:51 AM   #51
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It is a long travel day but it's going to be so worth it.

Great job at crunching those numbers. It's so satisfying to be able to get a better deal by doing a little research. You get the prize for that one.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:16 AM   #52
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Flights have bee crazy!! I've been looking for the summer and they are nuts! At one point Delta was giving me like $500+ round trip...CRAZY!!! I'm stalking Southwest like you wouldn't believe!! Sounds like you have great plans and my father would praise you for your number crunching!
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:25 AM   #53
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I need a nap after reading that! That's a long travel day but I always find that adrenalin helps alot Direct flights are a must aren't they? The last time we went to Europe we had a stopover in Toronto there and back....never gotten a direct flight out of here

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Old 04-22-2012, 08:45 AM   #54
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I am in.
Ik ben benieuwd om je reisverhaal te lezen.

As I live in the Netherlands and my mom is from Belgium and my father is from Germany i love to read al about your trip.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:13 AM   #55
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Your family history was fascinating to read about, it was seriously like a WWII novel or something! (Sorry, I'm a dork, I love history!) Your poor mom, getting teased for knowing 3 languages and having an accent! I'm never going to understand kids, they're so vicious sometimes. My DH grew up in Boston and moved to CT when he was 11, so he had a thick Boston accent when he came here, and he said he was teased horribly so he had to learn how to speak without it, and now you would never know he had an accent at all. Lame.

Your travel day sounds long, but exciting! Again, me being a dork, I love airports and train stations, and going to new places so even though it sounds like it's going to be exhausting, it will be so much fun!

It's only a 2 hour train ride from England to Brussels? Wow that's crazy! The only European country I have ever been to was England (I loved it, and I LOVED Heathrow Airport!) but I wish we took the train over to France for the day or something...who knows when I'll get back to Europe?

Can't wait to hear your DLRP plans!
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Old 04-22-2012, 01:01 PM   #56
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I'm so in for this!!!

That is incredible of your family's history! I'm so sorry that your mom was teased.

Good job on the numbers crunching!! But yeah, that first day sounds like a doozie! Hopefully everyone will get some decent naps in!

Can't wait to read more!!
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Old 04-22-2012, 02:32 PM   #57
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My oldest DD loves mayonnaise on her chips too.

That is one very long day of travel, I think I would need to sleep for a whole day to get over it. Looking forward to hearing more of your plans.
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:12 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by teekathepony View Post
Wow, that's quite a long travel day indeed! I love flying direct to Europe, so much easier!
Hope your dad gets a considerate travel partner!
I've been spoiled by domestic travel and direct flights, because I very very rarely stop over on the way home home here. I'm so happy we were able to find flights that worked out.

I hope he gets a considerate travel partner too. But, my dad is the kind of person that can talk to anyone, so we're hoping he makes a friend along the way.

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It is a long travel day but it's going to be so worth it.

Great job at crunching those numbers. It's so satisfying to be able to get a better deal by doing a little research. You get the prize for that one.
I know, it will be worth it in the end. Plus, all this adrenalin is going through you when you travel too. I think once we get to Belgium though to finally rest up for the night, it's going to hit us for sure.

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Originally Posted by TinkerbellLuvr7 View Post
Flights have bee crazy!! I've been looking for the summer and they are nuts! At one point Delta was giving me like $500+ round trip...CRAZY!!! I'm stalking Southwest like you wouldn't believe!! Sounds like you have great plans and my father would praise you for your number crunching!
That's insane! I refuse to pay $500 for a domestic flight. That's just crazy.

I was happy myself with my number crunching. But I always seem to find a solution that works in the end.

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I need a nap after reading that! That's a long travel day but I always find that adrenalin helps alot Direct flights are a must aren't they? The last time we went to Europe we had a stopover in Toronto there and back....never gotten a direct flight out of here

Adrenalin will definitely keep us going for sure. I normally need a nap just thinking about it. I don't do well staying up for really long periods of time, so I'm hoping that I'll be able to sleep on the plane.

I don't mind stopovers in theory. But, with the customs ordeal, it just made it ridiculous. I've actually had friends who travel to Europe frequently tell me that the trick is to have a stopover in Europe, rather than here, because our security and TSA is just ridiculous.

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I am in.
Ik ben benieuwd om je reisverhaal te lezen.

As I live in the Netherlands and my mom is from Belgium and my father is from Germany i love to read al about your trip.
Ik ben blij dat jij mijn blog leest. If I murdered that, I apologize. Hahaha.

We have common themes with our mom's being from Belgium, except my Dad is a mixture of many nationalities.

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Your family history was fascinating to read about, it was seriously like a WWII novel or something! (Sorry, I'm a dork, I love history!) Your poor mom, getting teased for knowing 3 languages and having an accent! I'm never going to understand kids, they're so vicious sometimes. My DH grew up in Boston and moved to CT when he was 11, so he had a thick Boston accent when he came here, and he said he was teased horribly so he had to learn how to speak without it, and now you would never know he had an accent at all. Lame.

Your travel day sounds long, but exciting! Again, me being a dork, I love airports and train stations, and going to new places so even though it sounds like it's going to be exhausting, it will be so much fun!

It's only a 2 hour train ride from England to Brussels? Wow that's crazy! The only European country I have ever been to was England (I loved it, and I LOVED Heathrow Airport!) but I wish we took the train over to France for the day or something...who knows when I'll get back to Europe?

Can't wait to hear your DLRP plans!
There is nothing wrong with being a history dork! We have many of them in our family for sure.

You're right, kids are extremely vicious. I was fortunate enough that I never got bullied, but I just don't understand it. To an extent, kids will be kids, but I believe a lot of responsibility lies with the parents.

I am super excited about all of our modes of transportation! We took the train from France to Belgium in 2010 and it was awesome.

It only takes two hours to get from London to Brussels because taking the Eurostar is taking the chunnel (the tunnel under the English Channel). It can go up to 186 MPH, which is insane!

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I'm so in for this!!!

That is incredible of your family's history! I'm so sorry that your mom was teased.

Good job on the numbers crunching!! But yeah, that first day sounds like a doozie! Hopefully everyone will get some decent naps in!

Can't wait to read more!!
Yay, I'm glad you're here!

I hope we will get some naps in. If not, I will likely do the embarrassing falling asleep on the plane and scaring myself awake.

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My oldest DD loves mayonnaise on her chips too.

That is one very long day of travel, I think I would need to sleep for a whole day to get over it. Looking forward to hearing more of your plans.
Mayo and fries are just the best.

I really think I am going to need at least one day on my trip where all I do is sleep, because honestly, I would probably be a huge crab bomb.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:38 PM   #59
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Oh dear God, that just sounds like the longest trip of life, ever. And I'm used to long trips... I went to a college eight hours from my house hahah. But I mean, it's a necessary evil when you're going on such an awesome trip! Darn these long distances hahah.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:57 PM   #60
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Oh dear God, that just sounds like the longest trip of life, ever. And I'm used to long trips... I went to a college eight hours from my house hahah. But I mean, it's a necessary evil when you're going on such an awesome trip! Darn these long distances hahah.
Haha, I wish that I was like Jeannie and could just cross my arms, blink, and you know....do the head thing that she does and that I'd magically appear where I'm supposed to be. But no. It doesn't work that way.
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