Here’s the back ground to this vacation. Never in a million years did I think I would find myself in Europe with a toddler. My husband and I had never been Europe ourselves. Let alone on a flight longer than 3 1/2 hours. This. Was. Big. We knew it would be a challenge and we knew it would push our little guy to his limits. The travel time and the time change. We felt that it was the right time though. My brother and his wife had just moved to Germany. (You should check them out on youtube-passporttwo). Anyway, a kiddo under 2 can fly internationally for approximately $100 and we would have family to help us out and to stay with. This was an opportunity that we would have definitely regretted not taking. Over the course of several months J and my brother went back and forth on dates, flights, places to go and stay, etc. We finally booked our tickets and it was all a reality. We are actually going to Europe. This had been a dream of mine for YEARS. I love to travel, hate to fly, but love to travel. I started planning months in advance, places to go, parks and playgrounds, outfits. J planned car rental, carseat rental, house rentals in Switzerland and Paris, etc. We were thrilled to say the least. I’m pretty sure we drove my brother and sis nuts with all our questions.
First off, we live in Tulsa, OK. Meaning there are no direct flights to Europe or most places for that matter. We decided to book out of OKC, OK and fly direct to D.C. We love D.C. and know it pretty well. It’s easy to get on the metro and get around with a kiddo. We decided to stay a night in D.C. and then fly out to Paris the next day. We didn’t want to put too too much on our sweet boy. We stayed in Tyson’s corner because it was closer to the airport we were flying out of. Practical? Yes. Nice area? Not so much. I wouldn’t recommend staying here if you don’t have to. It’s a walk to the metro and not a nice one, odd area, and food wasn’t easily accessible. The hotel wasn’t bad, but it was just weird. Just take my word for it. Stay more in D.C. if you can. We changed our hotel for the way back through after our one night in Tyson’s Corner.
The flight to Paris was 7 1/2 hours and overnight. We flew out at 5:45 that evening. Now, our little man doesn’t sleep very well on us anymore. He’s more of a put me in my bed kind of kid. This is a stark difference from how he started out, but that’s for another time. I had been worried about an overnight flight for a while. If you have seen my instagram post on our way out of D.C though you would see that God’s hand had been on this entire trip. A couple of things- I wasn’t nervous. Not even an ounce of nerves. I’m usually a wreck when it comes to flying. Things happen that I don’t want to mention on here. Stomach things. All before a flight. None of it happened before this trip. J and I were both so calm and cool, it was freaky. My brother had fall break from school for the first week of our trip and my sis was able to take off from work to go to Switzerland with us all. It was all coming together beautifully.
Let’s get to that late flight with a kiddo that doesn’t like to be held. You guys, this is not the post I had planned on. Believe me, I wasn’t expecting the worst, but I wasn’t expecting the ease of the flight. The food was meh, the people around us were nice enough, and the flight attendants were just ok. But none of that mattered. Our child did not cry, he did not fuss, and he slept. He slept for at least 5 hours of the flight and was happy when he woke up. HAPPY?! I wasn’t prepared for it to be so easy. Let me tell you my secret. God. God’s hand was on this trip. God cares about these things. He cares that I had wanted to go to Europe, that J had wanted to go to Europe and yet neither of us ever had. He prepared the way for us in every way. I hummed to our sweet boy the entire flight. No, I didn’t sleep at all. He slept on me and I hummed. If you’re a parent, you know that when something is working you aren’t going to stop for anything. Not even a little sleep. I hummed, “Jesus, let him sleep. Let him sleep so well. Jesus, let him sleep” for 5 straight hours. Worth it. I realized that J and I couldn’t do it on our own so I sang a prayer over him almost the entire flight. God’s hand was on this vacation. Why? Because he cares about us and wants us (everyone) to have a fun and full life.
We landed in Paris and our family met us at the airport. Big bonus for us. They were helpful and new faces for our little guy to see. He was so happy to see his Aunt and Uncle. We facetime with them often and it has paid off. He knew who they were. They helped us get out of the airport and into Paris. This was poor planning on our part. The train to Germany didn’t leave until 1:00 pm and it was 7:00 am. There was a 9:00 am train ride, but we didn’t book it because it was too much of a risk with timing. We had some time to kill and went to a cafe and a little park. We looked into storing our bags at the train station but for some reason decided that the 11 pounds was too expensive. If you’re in Paris for a few hours, store the bags. We regretted this decision. This day was a bit of bust because of it. We got on the train and I kid you not, our guy napped again on J and then me. God’s hand was all over this trip. It was a miracle. Truly. We got to Germany and went to their apartment. I can’t even tell you how incredible it was to be in our family’s home and not a hotel. It was so comfy and cozy. They had chocolates on our bed waiting for us, J had ordered a pack n’ play and it was all set up, they had their wifi password in a cute frame, and had a fridge full of food for us all.
It was perfect.
It felt like home.
**On the next post I’ll talk about jet lag and how we handled that with our sweet boy. It wasn’t easy but we got through it.