Europe in June

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Europe in June

Last month, with about five days notice, we found out that Chuck needed to be in Europe for a week for work and decided to pull off a last minute, ten day family trip. We would spend the week in Luxembourg City while he worked and then take a long weekend in Iceland for a friend’s wedding. With Nora’s passport in hand less than 24 hours before takeoff (yikes!), we headed across the pond for a little European tour. 

Now there are hundreds of helpful posts about what to pack for a plane ride with a little one (like this and this), but we found that all you really need is one well behaved infant, and somehow we lucked out and got one. She must also have her daddy’s travel gene, because not only does she not mind the plane, but I’m pretty sure she sees it as a shining opportunity to befriend a captive audience. There was a lot of eyelash batting, toy sharing and general shrieks of joy (which may or may not have been appreciated by said captive audience).

We first flew to Iceland, and after a 12 hour layover and about 4 hours sleep in a hotel, we flew on to Brussels, where we rented a car for the drive to Luxembourg. (If you are ever travelling to Europe with a little one, make sure you know how to use a seat belt locking clip first! It will save you so much stress at the rental car agency.) After catching a few hours sleep while Chuck navigated towards Luxembourg, we unpacked in a sunny little flat we rented right outside the city center.

While Chuck worked for the week downtown, Nora and I were free to explore the city. On our first day we mastered the bus system (it was only a mile to the center, but a very uphill mile. And the buses are so clean and timely! Gotta love Europe.) We spent the week roaming the city – Nora making friends with kiddos who spoke all sorts of other languages, sleeping in the stroller or carrier, and generally just gabbing at every passerby.

I knew just about nothing of Luxembourg before we went, so it was a treat to explore a place that I had very little preconception of before our arrival. The whole place has a medieval feel; it’s this modern European city perched at the end of a massive plateau, marred on every side by sheer rocky cliffs. My favorite discovery was the village Grund, which is nestled in the valley below the city and is dotted with these charming, bright villas along the river Petrusse. The best thing about Grund, though, is that you access it by taking an elevator from the city down through the rock wall of the plateau. It was like a childhood dream I didn’t know I had finally coming true.

On our second to last day there, Nora and I took a drive around the countryside, accidentally ended up in Belgium (I only realized this when I received a text message informing me of the rates in Belgium), and toured the castle Vianden before meeting Chuck in Clervaux, where we spent the night.

With Chuck’s work wrapped up, we headed off to Iceland for a long weekend and some wedding celebrations! Now you have to understand that the stars totally aligned for this trip. We had been invited to a friend’s wedding on a rural farm in Iceland and couldn’t find a way to make the trip feasible – until, of course, the last minute Luxembourg trip materialized and we were able to combine the two. So it felt meant-to-be that we were able to celebrate with Alex and Disa on their special day.

I would describe Iceland in words, but I’m just not that talented, so instead I’ve borrowed some pictures my friend Shelly took to show a bit of how incredible that place is. It’s unlike anywhere I’ve ever been before and feels so exotic, I mean the earth is actually steaming, and often right next to a massive ice formation. I could definitely use another week or so to explore the whole island.

Sadly, (and I mean really sadly, I’m not quite over it), our camera was lost on the very last day of our trip. Despite calling the hotel, airline, and rental car company, it was never found, so lost is our family selfie in front of a glacier (and when are we ever going to get that chance again?!). So unfortunately, borrowed photos and the few iPhone snapshots I have will have to suffice in sharing our adventure.

 

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^^ Mmm travel tastes good!

IMG_3889^^ To be clear, we didn’t pay for first class or business class on the way from Belgium to Iceland. I think we got these seats by a fault in the airlines reservation website, but why would I question that!? Clearly the universe wanted us to have them. (The universe also wanted us to have the white wine and chocolate there in the middle.)

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^^ Charming the flight attendant, I’m sure.

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^^ Hiking around Luxembourg City

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Happily strolling around Grund. (You can see the city in the background atop the cliffs)

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Hangin’ in the city, listening to a concert at the Place d’Armes.

dinnerwithdaddy^^ Our favorite part of the day! Dinner with daddy. ^^

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And off to Iceland!

Photo Jun 21, 5 24 23 AM

Photo Jun 20, 2 45 35 AM Photo Jun 20, 7 27 50 AM Photo Jun 22, 4 47 32 AMPhoto Jun 21, 5 39 38 AM Photo Jun 21, 5 44 05 AMIceland is just beautiful and so unlike anything I’ve ever seen. These photos were all taken by my friend Shelly, which I’m very thankful for since they’re our only record from this part of our trip. The orange structure is the lighthouse where the wedding ceremony took place in Vik, and you can see it was a bit of an adventurous drive to get out there! It was so special to be able to celebrate with Disa and Alex, and I still can’t believe the whole trip worked out.

So now I have the travel bug, big time. Where to next??

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