Don't be afraid to take them!
19.06.2008 - 10.07.2008
Erma Bombeck and W.C. Fields once said "Kids should be seen and not heard"[quote]
After a few years of saving, my husband Richard and I decided it was time to take our nine year old and sixteen year old to Europe.
I through caution to the wind and bought our tickets with American Airllines miles six months in advance. My teenage daughter rolled her eyes when I told her we were going to Europe for three weeks. She flat out said that she wouldn't go for that long of a trip with her parents and she would miss her friends back home too much. I spent more than three months pouring over web sites like Trip Advisor and Orbiz looking for the perfect hotels for our families' three week adventure in Europe last summer.
I went to the web sites for each town that I thought would be fun for the kids and for us to visit. This proved to be a dizzying experience. I spoke with friends, travel agents and co workers and listened patiently as they tried to talk me out of taking them for such a long trip. My husband and I hadn't been in Europe for many years and we were looking forward to showing our kids some culture.
Our first stop was London. Our bleery eyed kids ran up to the closest concession stand and bought themselves candy that they recognized from our visits to the tea rooms in L.A.
After navigating through two different tube stations and dragging our luggage up and down many stairs, we made it to our hotel in [b]Acton, a suburb twenty minutes outside of London called Ramada Encore London West. It is a two minute walk from the tube station. This hotel was very modern and had a helpful friendly staff. They had a restaurant and bar and served a buffet breakfast for an additional cost. The rooms are very tiny compared to any hotels in the United States or for any other part of Europe that I have been to. The cost was the most expensive of our trip. The reason we chose this location was because the hotel was new and did not have any of those old musty dingy rooms that most of London have. If your kids are sensitive to smells, you might consider staying in a newer hotel.
It took us about twenty minutes by tube to get to central London and my kids memorized the stops and looked forward to seeing all of the different stations that we passed.
Some of the highlights of the time we spent in London: A Must is The Tower of London, Madam Tussaudes, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, Harrods Department store with all of the amazing things in the food hall and the design of main entry to replicate the Egyptian Room of the London Museum.
My husband and kids are huge Soccer fanatics and the trip wouldn't have been complete without a visit to the Chelsea Soccer Stadium. The tour is great even for those of us who are not so sports minded. It lasts about one hour and is very popular. They have a great store selling everything for the Chelsea fan from replica jerseys to boxer shorts.
The best way to see the people is by taking the bus. If you sit up on the top of the double deckers almost always someone will strike a conversation with you. We found out good restaurants to eat ate and chatted about soccer teams with people coming home from work. If you are in a hurry, take the Underground known everywhere as the tube. By a day pass and go where you want. They travel late into the night. Check your station where your hotel is near to make sure that it is operating late in the night. It is safe all times of the day and night. Our kids loved the poster art and people watching too. If you are lucky, you maybe able to talk to someone who isn't plugged into their IPOD.