Another busy month. It started with a school -, involving a Dance-a-thon, cake sale and a visit from Warwick Davis! The school raised over £3000 for Little People UK and the Dwarf Sports Association.
More good news as Orla won a prize in the library summer reading challenge so rushed straight from the dance-a-thon to collect her Scalextric set!
As the darker nights are now approaching, the school events continued with a ‘Be Safe, Be Seen’ Glow disco. A brilliant idea to encourage the children to think about their safety when out in the evenings and even the early mornings. We made bows from a hi-vis jacket and topped off the look with fluorescent glow necklaces and bright clothes. Dad even got in on the action with his work jacket.
At home, we had two separate visits from two of our wonderful ex au-pairs. It was so nice to catch up and the children loved talking about what they did when they were younger.
We then set off for our own adventure. We dusted off the backpacks to enjoy a half term break.
Chips, beer, over priced waffles and a piddling little statue meant we could only be in Brussels! Not our favourite place in Belgium by any means, but a handy stop after the Eurostar leg of our travels.
We even stopped for a beer in Le Cercueil, a bar with loud heavy metal music and coffins everywhere!
Then we set off again… travelling through Germany – where we were pleasantly surprise with the Kinderbetreuung (a section in the family carriage where staff provide free activities for the children!) What a fantastic idea! They were entertained with model making, friendship bracelet plaiting and colouring whilst Ian and I got to read our books and a brief respite from the countless games of ‘Happy Families’ and ‘I Spy’. Thank you Deutsche Bahn, I’ll even forgive you for being so delayed.
We eventually arrived in Prague where we spent four nights. We walked miles every day (hats off to the kids!) to try to make the most of it and still find time to do many child friendly things, like visiting the parks.
Obviously, we made time for a beer or two…
We visited the castle and saw the changing of the guard. We walked to the Monastery, visited the touristy parts, the Jewish Quarter and found some hidden gems too.
Of course, we just had to try Trdelník , a chimney cake filled with ice cream, chocolate, caramel or fruit as well as eating delicious honey cake and other regional goodies whenever we got the chance. The restaurants and bistros were great, with a wide choice for those in the family who are vegetarians and some lovely traditional dishes for those who aren’t.
We made sure we did the expected tourist rituals too. Ian and I placed a lock on Charles Bridge , which thankfully had three keys so each of the children could throw one into the river.
We also visited the Ice Pub, where we drank from glasses made from ice. The kids loved it. It was great to find that they weren’t charged to enter and were given free slush drinks. The staff were nice and explained they could leave early if too cold. Ian and I paid 200Kc, approx £7 each but that included the first drink. Our hostel had given each of us a free drink voucher, so much to the annoyance of one grumpy bar tender, we managed to make a few trips to the bar in the 30 minute session, and even had a spare to slyly give to another customer on our way out. Surprisingly, standing in a freezer at -8C was a lot of fun and we all thought it was a ‘cool’ thing to do – excuse the pun.
We travelled on the trams, metro and bus as well as on foot, and found it fairly easy to get around Prague. We even made a visit to the zoo, which cost around £20 for the family to enter. It is huge so it does involve quite a bit of walking, but there were plenty of places to rest and play areas too. As we visited in October, it didn’t seem too busy and not that expensive once in there (the kiddies’ train ride cost 10Kc, which is less than 40p)
Our hostel was nice enough, although the sound of trams through the night was a little disturbing. We had a family room, and although we had some meal making facilities, we ate out as there was so much choice and found meals and drinks were not to costly (less than UK) Prague got a big thumbs up from all of the family!
We then went to spend a night in Cheb. Mostly as Ian had found our train ticket cost was greatly reduced if we used that route. Cheb was quite beautiful in parts with some lovely play parks and sports facilities. A border town, it has a big German influence, with people speaking both Czech and German. However, although our hotel was lovely, we found the people in the bars, restaurants, cafes and even the tourist information office to be unfriendly and found the worst tasting pizzeria outside of Italy. Surely they couldn’t ALL be having a bad day. It was a relief we were only there for only the one night.
After a quick (but delayed by Deutsche Bahn again) hop to Frankfurt and an overnight stay in Belgium, we then headed home.
Once back in Broadstairs, they pace hasn’t stopped. We welcomed a French friend who is staying with us for a week, we went to rugby training, completed an emergency Sunday night homework project on the Solar System, found all three PE kits and still had time to go to a Halloween Party (Thank goodness for that extra hour !) Costumes this year – Aoife was a Cereal Killer, Orla was Scary Poppins and Seamus was a mummy.
The following night we went to a neighbour’s Halloween party and got back to make a start on our pumpkins – grown by Daddy and so huge we’ll be having pumpkin soup for a week. It is not Halloween until tomorrow, so hopefully we will have time to finish our carving. If not, might I suggest they put the clocks back by more than an hour next time and we might just fit everything in!