Year Trip – 25 Days To Go

gorgeWe are getting ready for our year trip and for this trip my husband and I decided to use a new blogging site, which might help get more traffic and exposure. I am still learning how to use it but for now you can check out the new site here: http://www.yeartrip.net

This is the site we will chronicle all of our adventures, mishaps and tips that we feel important to share. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

kg

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Family Time In Vancouver

In years past, Andrew and I have agreed with his brother Alex & his wife Anna that we really don’t need to buy gifts for Christmas and instead we should give experiences. Last year we took a trip to Victoria, and we had a lovely time exploring the city. This year we decided to extend the gift giving to Andrew & Alex’s parents. Instead of buying a book on history or something for the kitchen we decided we would plan a train trip for the WHOLE FAMILY! This past weekend, all 10 of us loaded the Amtrak Train and headed north to Vancouver. I am  really bummed we didn’t get one photo of the whole crew, considering we were all taking photos, but this is us at a holiday brunch this past Christmas, so it all ties together. family_xmas

On Friday morning, we took advantage of the mid-winter break for Seattle schools and loaded the train around 7:45am. The train ride is a great way to travel with family and kids, you can spread out and explore the train, the girls were able to run back and forth to the lounge car, I got to have some uninterupted reading time with my nephew Ollie, I watched over him while he napped, while the grown ups got to enjoy a beverage in the lounge car with the girls.

Once we got to Vancouver, we had a tasty lunch and explored Robson Street and did a little shopping. The girls also loved the hotel pool – swimming is one of their favorite activities, so while some of the others napped we did some swimming before dinner.

The second day our adventures took us to Grandville Island, this little island has an amazing public market and a super cool kids market. And when I say kids market, I really mean: crazy, insane building with tons of stuff for kids. After walking to the ferry dock (about one mile), walking around the island, these girls still had energy to burn in the crazy ball pit and tube mazes. We made sure to fully sanitize and, of course, swim and shower after this little outing.

ball pitgrandvilleisland

We had dinner at two different Joe restaurants that probably couldn’t be more different from each other. The first night was Joey – which was in the bottom of a building what seemed like the financial district. This was a recommendation from the cocierge at the Sutton Place Hotel, it was nice because we got to eat early, but it was not the best atmosphere for chatting with each other. The dinner was tasty and the service was fairly quick, which is a nice perk with kids. The second night dinner was at a restaurant called Joe Fortes, also a recommendation from the cocierge but a different style all together, still loud so our kids didn’t stand out, but this was a bit more of an upscale seafood and chop house, dinner was fabulous, but not as speedy as the night before and for some diners its hard to sit still for too long. But our waiter took great care of us and we all had a great dinner.

Sunday morning it was time to head home, and in order to have a day to regroup, we opted to take the earlier train home, which meant leaving our cozy hotel at 5:30am. Needless to say we tried to rest and sleep on the train, but that’s easier said then done with 2 little girls looking for attention. In the end we were very happy to be on the early  train home, considering the train that left later that afternoon was cancelled due to mudslides, passengers on the second train between Everett to Seattle had to be bussed to their location. Overall, it was great trip, there was quite a bit of planning, coralling and coordinating to get everyone in the same place at the same time, but it is fun to have these types of family adventures to look back on.

So, until next time, who knows were next year’s Christmas presents will take us!

Let’s All Go To Victoria!

Over the past couple years, instead of Christmas gifts, Andrew and I exchange experiences with his brother Alex and his wife Anna. One year we went out to fancy a dinner at Canlis (and now I am drawing a blank on where we went the year before or last year – it might be my early on set Alzheimer’s – just a joke, but more on that later). In any event, this year we decided to step it up a notch and take a trip. We decided to head north and visit the beautiful Canadian City of Victoria, BC. We took the Clipper up early Saturday morning, it was windy and rainy and Anna and I took our motion sickness medicine to make sure we didn’t start the trip off getting sick. Which seemed to work, since the girl sitting next to me was a light shade of green mid-way through the trip and then had an extended visit in the loo – she should have invested the 25 cents! Once we arrived in Canada and made it through customs we were greeted with a lovely downpour of rain (likely so we wouldn’t be homesick). Luckily, we were staying at the Hotel Grand Pacific, which is almost directly across from the Clipper dock. After we dropped our bags off our first task was to eat! This was sort of how the weekend went: eat, drink, walk, museum, repeat. Literally, that is what we did all day. We did mix it up a little, we ran one morning which was lovely (making the eating a little less guilty), drank coffee or tea and we also did a little shopping. But really our main objective for the trip was to eat. Our first dinner out was amazing, The Black Olive. I highly recommend it if you are ever in Victoria. Andrew found this by googling where to find good Olive Oil in Victoria (Olive Oil is currently his latest passion – I will give him & Google credit, it was very good too). This is a little family owned Greek restaurant off the beaten track. As the Google review said it caters to a lot of older people, but we didn’t mind. We got in because some of those older folks cancelled their reservations. We enjoyed lovely wine, olive oil, I had a delicious white fish, Andrew had rack of lamb and Alex & Anna had delicious pastas. Unfortunately, the Baklava we had at the end was not the best I have had, but it did take care of my sweet tooth and since I was stuffed it was okay. We turned in early, since the day had started early. The next day Andrew and I went on a 4.5 mile run, I had an amazing massage and then we made our way over to the Fairmont Empress for Afternoon Tea. A must when visiting Victoria. These were just a few of the highlights of the trip, we also had an awesome lunch at an Irish Pub the first day, an amazing Italian Dinner the second night and visited some really cool museums – the Maritime Museum and the Royal British Columbia Museum, which was featuring an awesome Photography exhibit.

Overall, it was a great trip, it was relaxing, we ate a ton of great food and we saw some wonderful exhibits, movies and sights. Plus it was just fun to hang out with Alex & Anna for a weekend. I am happy to be able to put together a little recap of the trip. One of my secret dreams is to be a travel writer (not really a secret anymore), so here in my own little blog I can pretend that my whole trip was paid for by some great magazine that sent me away to write about the sights and culinary experiences of a new and exciting city. A girl can dream! Also, as I mentioned earlier, because (sadly) Alzheimer’s does run in my family, these little trip reports and this blog is really a way for me and my family to remember our trips and where we went. If I waited much longer to write, I am sure a lot of the details would be missing. So, until next time and the next adventure! Thanks for reading, kg