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Tuesday Travel Trouble: Train-a-palooza

Last Christmas we packed up the family and headed to Portugal to visit Emily’s parents for a week.  It was a wonderful trip, in spite of the challenge getting there and the added stop on the way home.  As we geared up for our trip, our train-loving son, Peter, was particularly excited to hear that we could probably ride a train while in Portugal.  Yet with access to Grandma’s car for most of our trip, we found ourselves nearing the end of our stay, not having been on a real train.

Since Emily’s parents were only a few blocks from the train and trolley connecting Belém to central Lisbon, we decided that we would treat Peter (and the other boys) with a little train adventure—an activity we dubbed Train-a-palooza!  We’d catch the train from Belém, head into central Lisbon, transfer to the subway for a couple of stops, and then hop on the trolley back to Belém.  A perfect activity for our train lover, and pretty low risk as far as adventures go. Read more

Boating on the Grand Canal

Adventures in Paris: Versailles

When I think of the top five Paris sites, Versailles would definitely be in the list.  After all, it is the palace of French kings that, in my mind, defines French aristocracy, glory, and excess.  To this day, it’s a grandiose demonstration of Louis XIV’s greatness, from the approach, to the Hall of Mirrors, to the gardens, and beyond to the various secondary buildings such as the Grand Trianon and Marie Antoinette’s estate.

The place is HUGE.  And to our kids, it’s a bit less interesting than the more medieval structures we saw in Provins or Vincennes.

But how could we miss it?! Read more