Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fun with the Basch Family

We were lucky and humbled to have our first "family" of visitors come over our Easter Break. My good friend Jill and her family of five came for a jam-packed tour of London, followed by an amazing 5 days in Paris. Jill and I met in college, roomed in Theta together and then both somehow ended up in Seattle for a couple of years together. We both were newly engaged/dating our now husbands so we had some FUN coupley time in Seattle in our mid 20' forward years and years later to a total of 5 kids aged 9-14 between us and still fun coupley time together. Jill and I have spent every summer together at her family's cabin in Lake Tahoe (along with our other dear friend  and my last visitor, Cathie), so it was fun to see each other again but this time in the UK and Paris! Our kids have literally grown up with one another and May considers Corinna and Julia like her sisters. The kids call us Auntie Jill and Auntie Jen and I have heard Henry describe Logan, Corinna and Julia as his cousins. So sweet and so special-they all just picked up right where they left off two summers ago.
*I apologize for the pictures being all out of order. I really tried to put them in order but it got all jumbled up...argh.*
They spent the first 2 nights in London whilst my kids finished up school. We spent a day in London all together touring the Tate Modern, the Borough Market and Piccadilly Square. The beauty of having this age of kids is that everyone can walk and not get tired, they are excited just to be together and hang, and therefore allowed lots of fun adult time with minimal interruptions. Unlike the early years in Tahoe, when kids were bribed to stay inside the cabin and watch the movie at night or face an early bedtime. Now our reality is prying them out of their bedrooms (with doors shut of course) and off their devices!
We went on a lovely hike in the Hambleden Valley to the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang windmill, and followed that up with a yummy pub lunch in Henley. The adults even got several nights out at our local pubs and one really great dinner at the Quince Tree in Henley. We even spotted Tom Jones at the Quince Tree that night-fresh from the Voice UK premiere. Jill and Jeff were not as impressed but Pete and I sure were-we watch the Voice UK so we feel like really knew Tom Jones. Our kids were stoked we saw him too.
We spent Easter Day at Stonehenge and then toured the charming city of Bath. The next day I took them to Windsor Castle and enjoyed watching the Changing of the Guard again...can't get enough of them!
The next day the Basch fam was off to Paris for a few days AWAY from the Davis fam! We Eurotrained down a couple of days later and spent two days walking Paris, eating macaroons, pain au chocolates, enjoying the café culture that Paris is SO good at and eating well! The kids were troopers, up late and ready to rock and roll everyday! We saw St Germain, the Orangerie museum, the Tour Eiffel, the Latin Quarter, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, the Arc de Triumph, Martmontre, Rue de Cler, Champs Elysees, and the Plantee Promenade. I will admit that the Davis fam did NOT go to the Louvre...we just didn't have enough time and hopefully we will be back to Paris before we move from the UK.
After the Basch fam left to fly back to Cali, the Davis fam headed to Bruges via rail. 3 hours later we arrived in Bruges and stayed in a darling hotel called the Prinsenhof. It was excellent! Bruges is charming, clean and quiet. I understand it can be quite touristy but I think we were there a tad early. The thing about Bruges is that it was SUNNY and semi-warm. We were like bears coming out from our hibernation was glorious. We spent two days in Bruges and then trained to Brussels for a night and a day before we headed home to the UK (via Eurostar). Brussels was rainy and a pretty city but not nearly the charm that Bruges claims.
All in all it was a great trip. If you asked the Basch fam they would agree, but might have wished it was a little warmer. It was really freezing in London and Paris (complete with the occasional snow flurry!) - the usual spring flowers were non-existent which was a shame. But we did have a blast! 

Happy hikers in the Thames Valley near Turville

Three woolly sheep

Bringin' up the rear...

Jill and Jen

Cute Basch family!

Cute Davis family!

They were counting their Cokes...#13 I think. Photobomb courtesy of HRD

Love my Paris flower shops

Top of the Tour Eiffel

So happy to be with each other again!

Another keeper of the Basch fam!

Crazy Americans in Paris

Hair still red...sigh

Shot from the top of the Arc de Triumph

Last day in Paris with the Basch fam @ Café de Flore

Goodbye breakfast

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges Markt...the sun was shining! Finally!

Hot chocs outside on the Markt

Basking in Vitamin D

Those must be fake tulips because it has been too cold for them to be out yet anywhere!

Bruges Belfry

Biking the Bruges canals

Charming town

Even this old yellow lab was basking in vitamin D!

Café dog culture

Shot from the top of the Bruges Belfry

ALERT: Large RED poodle

Markt Square in Brussels

Couldn't tell you the name of this building

I can tell you this is the Grand Palais in Brussels-the only rain of the entire trip!

Had to stop at Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station in London before we headed home

Ty Burrell (AKA Phil Dunphy from "Modern Family") at the Tate Modern in London

Kids trying to figure out if this really "art"

Cheese tasting with the BIG CHEESE of Pt. Reyes Original Blue has its benefits!
Neal's Yard Dairy in Borough Market - YUM!

The BIG Cheese in front of Fortnum and Mason window display of a cheese wig! Apropos!

Posers in the Burlington Arcade in Central London

Jill and Julia at Stonehenge

Eurostar to Paris after a smelly, armpit in your face, train ride to St. Pancras Station-happy to be sitting down!

Feelin' good in Paris!

Baquette with Brie and Jamon for lunch...

Adult time at the Kempinski Hotel in Bruges


Belgian waffles in Belgium

Grown up dinner at the Quince Tree outside of Henley on Thames-
TOM JONES (aka "Where I come from I am the VOICE) was dining there that night as well!

A boy and his mussels!

Borough Market in London

Pub lunch for the Happy Hikers

The Handsome Hubs (AKA scarf buddies!)

Man sized beers for MEN!

Lots of tears as we said goodbye to the Basch fam!

What a special memory we will have of our families travelling
 the UK and Europe with one another! Thanks for coming across the pond Jill, Jeff,
Logan, Corinna and Julia!