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January 4th, 2011 at 01:56 pm

When in Rome do as the Romans please! We returned from a 2 week family trip to UK and Europe last weekend, a (somewhat expensive but important) success in introducing the world to my preteen kids.

The crowds! The food! The cold!!
We saw lots and lots of hats, scarves and boots.
We walked 10-15 miles per day and not one peep from a kid except for the cold. My husband bought a hat the 2nd or 3rd day and it didn't come off much the rest of the trip.

Whether or not it was the time of year (a week prior to Christmas), London was like Disneyland on a bad day. Did I mention the crowds? The streets and sidewalks were narrow. They bus whizzed past inches from you. How brave were the women with strollers. Especially in the underground train stations. Crazy! One false move and you would be trampled. Or maybe the people would just stream past you like a river eddy.

Quiet Hyde Park. If only we knew the crowds that were in store after this walk to our hotel the first day...

Funny, I saw maybe one or two Starbucks and a handful of McDonald's in 3 world cities (London, Paris and Amsterdam) and despite the BIG temptation for the comfort of what kind of food you'll get at what price, we resisted. I discovered a coffee chain called 'Costa' in London that was good.

[EXCEPTION: when we were desperate for the McD's free wi-fi internet we visited because our hotels did not provide a lobby computer station.]

There were a some good pubs with upstairs family restaurants, a couple good moderate french restaurants (but not great and we were disappointed), and lots of street festivals with sausage, hot cider and sweets to sample.

Our favorite? Dutch chocolate bars. They were about $1.25 in Amsterdam for these big 1 lb+ bars. Nut, dark, white, etc. Everyone in the family picked two kinds and are still nibbling today!

I learned that the Amsterdam harbor handles the most cocoa in the world. So my husband was smart and found a box in the grocery. WHOA under $2 a box! There are two brands we saw: you've probably heard of Droste, and the other was a bargain brand called Blooker. YES I brought a box home and it is my prized possession of the trip!

3 Responses to “Blooker”

  1. CB in the City Says:

    My mother used to collect Droste tins. I don't know what they look like these days, but they used to be pretty.

  2. Petunia 100 Says:

    What a wonderful family trip! I'll bet your children remember the trip their entire lives.

  3. Looking Forward Says:

    That's awesome! A trip you'll all remember forever. Smile

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