Yes, it was one of those kind of days…. Usually I love traveling with the kids and I take the bumps in stride, today the bumps kicked my A**! It started out smooth enough, we dropped our luggage off at St. Pancras, we had checked out of the hotel and would be taking the Eurostar from London to Paris at 7:01 PM and needed somewhere to leave our luggage. At the time the 8 pounds 50 (American Dollar equivalent would be around $13.50) per bag (we had 5 bags) seemed outrageous, if we had known at the time how the rest of the day would unfold I think I would have just sat with all my luggage at the train station until our train left, it would have saved a lot of trouble (and money)
It kept going smoothly, the boys and I walked across to Kings Cross station to see platform 9 3/4 where Harry Potter would leave to catch the Hogwarts Express to school every fall.
Then we easily found Chipotle for lunch, perfect for Shea and the other boys didn’t even moan and groan that much about food they don’t really like.
We had a few hours to spend before we had to get back to the train station, so we started walking around looking for a way to pass the time. Apparently everything in London that we saw today cost a small fortune, so we walked for an hour then decided to just get a snack from a coffee shop, the boys started arguing about snacks….. not a big deal, that happens…… the real headache came when it was time to return to St Pancras to catch the train. We had to walk down many many flights of stairs to catch the tube, with the stroller that was PACKED with as much as we could to avoid checking it at the really expensive luggage storage place, so things were spilling out of the sides of the stroller, literally falling off the stroller as I am carrying it down these stairs, Also,it was rush hour and people were frantically pushing me and the boys out-of-the-way. We finally get to the train, get on no problem and take it to our stop…. the stop that I thought had an underground walkway/connection to the St. Pancras station, turns out I was wrong, needed to switch trains to do that, so down more flights of stairs, spilling things out of the stroller along the way trying not to get to frustrated as the kids doubted my every move and questioned everything thing I did…. ahhh…. the joys of parenting…. so we get down to the new train platform, to take a train one stop. The train we needed is packed during rush hour, we couldn’t fit on the first train, waited another 4 minutes (there was a digital sign that displayed the timing of the trains… so I knew it was 4 minutes) train arrived absolutely no room on that train, waited another 4 minutes absolutely no room on that one…. and at this point in time it was 5;45, we were supposed to meet Matt at 5:30, after the boys and I had collected the luggage he would meet us, or at least that was the plan. So after 3 or 4 trains went by with no space for 4 people and a stroller I realized we were going to have to walk/run to St. Pancras if we wanted to meet Matt and catch our train to Paris (and by this time I was ready to leave London) So up many many levels of stairs with things falling out of the stroller and people pushing me and the kids out-of-the-way, apparently no one in London has ever had children, or children in London must walk much much faster then my do….. or maybe everyone was having a very very bad day…. hmmm… We get out of the station, run/walk a million blocks enter St. Pancras at the opposite end we need to be, run/walk all the way to the luggage area, where we find Matt in a near state of panic since we are SOOOOOO late, (sorry love!) We don’t have cellphones that work here so I couldn’t get in touch with him. We collect our bags, run/walk back across the train station to print out our tickets, easy self kiosk to print tickets, the kiosk wouldn’t read my credit card so then we had to wait in a LOOOOONGGGGG line, (only 30 min at this time until the train leaves) Finally get our tickets straightened out RUN (no more run/walkining, by now we are sprinting) back to the other end of the station where you board the train, go through security, empty the crazy full stroller etc…. get passports stamped, Quinn actually RUNS full speed past the passport control people! yikes!. EVERYONE has all ready boarded the train, the kids are in panic mode from Matt and I being in Panic mode, we are in the last train car so they just start running, get very far ahead of us, we get stopped by some train people trying to help, but we can’t even see the kids at this point… the train people put our luggage on car 16, we run luggage free to train 18, hop on as they close the doors behind us and start to pull out of the station, seriously any longer and we would have had to jump from the platform onto the train! Needless to say we are totally frazzled at this point, sit down and the kids are being totally loud, and for some reason we are in the quietest train car in the world so every noise the kids make we get all these evil (bad American Parents) stares from the people around us…yikes! What do I do in crummy super stressful situations, the only thing that makes sense, eat pounds and pounds of chocolate…. it didn’t make me feel any better but at least the stress was replaced by the slightly nauseous feeling in my stomach giving me something else to think about for a bit. Oh, and the cries from the children that they were starving, they made it sound like it had been days since they last ate, no time for dinner before we got on the train. Lucky we had rice cakes and peanut butter in the corner of a backpack….. yum…… Not sure the kids felt there was any luck when I told them that was all we had to eat. When they finally resigned themselves to the rice cakes and peanut butter, and we started a Harry Potter DVD for them the rest of the ride went totally smooth.
Ahhhhh…. tomorrow the Eifel Tower then the French Countryside for a week!
PS. The Eurostar was an awesome way to get between London and Paris, other then our experience with getting there on time, the train was quick, quiet, clean and it wasn’t even weird to go through the Chunnel!