“Choo Choo Choo, we’re going on a road trip. Choo Choo Choo, we’re guna have some fun!” Is what we were singing on the way to the ferry at Dover, UK at 5am. We had only decided two days prior that we’d get out of here! And why not? Stu had an unexpected week off work, we had our camping gear. Why not have an adventure and create more amazing memories?
Yes it certainly comes with its stresses at times, it requires planning – well, a little bit of planning anyway. Too much planning and then you end up stressing things aren’t going to plan! This particular trip we had no plan at all. The day before we spoke about going to Barcelona, Venice or Amsterdam. We had no idea. Weather wasn’t looking great so we debated to just drive south and find a sunny beach, maybe St Tropez?!
So as we hoped off the ferry we STILL didn’t know what direction to head in. Literally it was a case of shall we go left towards Amsterdam or right which would of brought us many more options. So we decided to turn right. We figured whilst we’re heading near that way we’d stop off at Paris and ‘pop’ in to see the Eiffel Tower. So I looked up camp sites near Paris and booked that. We’d set up camp and spend the evening in Paris. Turns out I messed the camp site up and booked a motorhome plot and you can’t set up a tent on concrete 🙄 along with the rude receptionist it turns out that plan had failed. (Told you plans can be bad.) We were told that we could get a bus from the camp site for €2 euros to Paris anyway so we just done that and told ourselves we’d figure out where we were going to sleep later. The bus trip turned in to 1 bus, 3 trains and a 15 minute walk to the tower. But hey, we’re on an adventure right? Plus Indiana loved the public transport too so she loved that part. We figured Indiana isn’t going to have a clue what the Eiffel Tower was so to make her interested we brought her a key ring of the tower and got her to search for it, asking locals where it was etc. She was the one that spotted the top of it over a building which she was so excited about. She loved the grounds of the Tower, running about. Playing hide and seek. Just fantastic for her. On our way back we then put a lock on an iron bridge going over the river Seine, Indiana put the key in the river which she hasn’t stopped talking about, such fantastic memories for her. We will go back to that spot in years to come and she will remember these moments
So we headed back to the car, 3 trains and 1 bus later we got to the car. We just wanted out of Paris by this point. We didn’t do loads in Paris but this trip wasn’t about Paris and we will go back there once we can teach the kids all about each of the buildings and history. So off we set in the car, kids in their PJ’s. They were knackered and soon went off to sleep. We drove for a couple more hours and stopped off on the side of the motorway, figured we’d just get a hotel and will camp the rest of the trip.
Our adventures are not always full of amazing days, they certainly have their crap days too. Just like life at home. It’s no different. You just deal with things as best as you can. We figured we’d head towards Switzerland now, so off we went in the morning. Except the second day was non stop rain. So we drove a lot this day, we actually managed to drive all the way to Chamonix which was a cool town, the kids weren’t to happy in the car but generally stu drives and I am able to get in to the back seat to be an entertainer for a couple of hours. Seriously I should be on a good wage from the amount of shit I can come up with to entertain those kids. Okay so because this day was just rain, it would of been near on impossible to camp. So yep, hotel it was!
We were now going to head up north, first stopping off at Geneva to see Lake Geneva where we took a boat trip around the lake which was awesome. TIP: Don’t take up two spaces when parking your car just to prove a point that there are no ‘parent and child’ spaces in the car park. They will clamp you. They don’t care.
We continued to drive north toward the Black Forest in Germany. However we saw a little town on a map called Interlaken, looked it up on my phone and saw that it looked an amazing place. So we took a TWO HOUR detour to get there, it totally was. It was incredible. INCREDIBLE! – see, never stick to a plan. Things just work out nicely if you let it. We went up to the view point at Harder Kulm which was breathtaking. Indiana didn’t care for this too much. (I realise I talk mostly about how Indiana feels, generally because Phoenix just loves being with me so where ever I am he is happy to be, Stu and I enjoy our adventures so that goes without saying so it’s really just the toddler that has mixed feelings lol). We were then going to grab some dinner and then get on the road and see where we get to. Looking at the weather through the night and the next morning it was rain, again! We didn’t want to wake up to a mud filled site needed to pack up and continue our road trip so yep, you guessed it. Hotel again. Anyway, restaurants in Interlaken were pretty crappy, we almost had a hooters but didn’t fancy greasy shit. Stu went off on his own to get some food whilst me and the kids watched the paraglider’s land. In the meantime I TOTALLY 100% got chatted up by one of the paraglider’s 🤣 hilarious. But he gave me some recommendations about where to find some waterfalls. Now the kids where getting tired by this point but we couldn’t miss out on something so beautiful. So we headed that way, the kids fell asleep in the car but we figured we’d just wake them. Climbed the stairs so that you can actually stand right behind the waterfall in the rocks, what an amazing experience that was for us all. Then we found an amazing spot besides a fricken amazing river that we just spent some time by, as the sun went down. I mean the kids were knackered but when they are preoccupied by amazing shit, they are good, and then they have an amazing sleep in the car ready for us to drive some more! BONUS!
Okay so basically our road trips are based around the children’s naps. You cannot waste a nap when you are out of the car, unless your spending the day there. And obviously this is for the little kids, Indiana at the age of 3 will probably still have one nap in the car now. Phoenix had about 2/3 naps – hour to two at a time so that makes for lots of driving. You also have to make sure your stops are good stops! You can’t just stop off, grab something to eat and get back in to the car because how boring is that for the kids, you will just create unhappy babies. No one wants unhappy babies. Once your babe has awoken from their sleep, don’t pull over straight away. Entertain them and keep them going for a little while, we usually give it about an hour after Phoenix has woken up. Whilst heading towards a city or somewhere we know we can get out, let them run/crawl, eat play and explore. It’s usually a checkpoint of a place that we want to visit anyway so we make the most out of each stop off.
We also don’t love to spend too much time in one place, we love to explore and go! I think that’s important for this sort of trip. To not faff about, do your research on an area, see what you need to see and go. I’m sure many people would hate to do this and they’d want to spend a good amount of time in each place but that’s just not us and we love how we travel. I just works for us. We get to see lots of different places, meet lots of different people and make memories! Also, when we’re ‘stuck’ in a car, it’s not horrible at all. That in it’s self is part of the adventure, we see so much when in the car, things that we don’t need to get out of the car and see, just different scenes everywhere we look. It’s fascinating and amazing.
So anyway, we headed up through the black mountains and towards Amsterdam. Amsterdam was lush! Such a beautiful city, but we felt like we covered it in 6 hours. We done a river cruise, saw Ann franks house, had lunch, saw the red light district. We didn’t fancy doing any museums. We were happy with that so bush bash bosh. Off we went to our next destination. Brussels. Again, a lovely city, we visited the ‘Mini Europe’ and the Atomium which was brilliant, and a must see when travelling with kids!
So from here we were planning on staying another night but the next day was due to rain so we figured we’d save a night on a hotel, because by this point we had completely given up on the idea of camping and had resided the fact that we were now spending money that we didn’t have. So we hopped on an early ferry home and arrived back to our house after 5 nights that made it 5 countries in 5 days –
We are still yet to really explore Switzerland and Perhaps some of Belgium but these will 100% be included in to our next road trip!
So yea. We love a good road trip and it’s really a fantastic way to travel with kids, kids are so adaptable and really do love an adventure. You will find they don’t get bored because they always have something new to do or see!
I’d love to hear about road trips you’ve done. And if your thinking about travelling around Europe keep an eye out for my next blog that will give some basic tips on what you need to know about travelling around Europe by car.