Monday, January 21, 2013


As our time in Europe is dwindling down, Keith and I have been trying to cross cities off our "must-visit" list. My 30th birthday seemed like the perfect excuse to do just that! We decided to go to Prague for a long weekend and were lucky enough to have our good friends Lindsey, Josh, and Jackson join us! Keith and I spent Friday afternoon to (early!) Monday morning there, and our friends came Saturday to Sunday.

When we first got to our hotel on Friday we did a little exploring and found somewhere to eat lunch. Lucky for us Keith's boss is Czech and was very familiar with downtown Prague, where we were staying. All we had to do was send him a text to say where we were and ask for a recommendation and voila! It was done. So our first restaurant recommendation was for a tiny little restaurant around the corner from our hotel where Keith and I got some savory crepes. Luckily they were between services so the place was pretty empty, but otherwise it would have been hard with a toddler -- not a lot of space and no baby chairs!

Afterwards we began to wander and found ourselves downtown on the main strip. Let me say now that because of where Prague is located, the sun sets extremely early -- so when we were walking around at 4:30 pm it looked like it could have been 10:30 pm! I actually didn't mind it for two reasons: first, Prague is beautifully lit up at night, and second, I actually felt like a real adult who goes out in the evenings! Haha! Seriously though, I can't remember the last time we were out all "night" with Liam. So it was nice to enjoy the night (or five o'clock, whatever) without worrying about bath and bedtime just yet.

We found a great Czech restaurant on the strip that was the opposite of our lunch locale. It was huge and very child-friendly. We actually had a room to ourselves where Liam wouldn't bother anyone should he get antsy. Lucky for us there was a big flat-screen on the wall that was showing a live feed from the kitchen, so that kept Liam entertained for a while. We had delicious food (Liam loved the pork and au gratin potatoes!) and even better service. The waiter and waitress who worked our section were obsessed with Liam and kept him fully occupied and happy during our whole dinner! Afterwards I could hardly get Liam to leave because he was running around playing peek-a-boo with them for a good ten minutes!
The next morning Josh and Lindsey arrived bright and early and the boys were pretty excited to see each other! Our first stop? Starbucks of course! We can never get it in Eindhoven so it's always a treat on trips! We explored a little bit and found an awesome playground where we let the boys run around for a while and get some energy out. We found a quick lunch before heading back to the hotel so the boys could nap (and we rested a little too!).

By the time we were ready to head out again it was starting to get dark and we decided to show Lindsey and Josh the main strip while heading on our way to Old Town. The streets were so alive and full of people from every nationality -- it felt awesome to be in the middle of it all! In Old Town the first thing we saw was the famous Astronomical Clock Tower. Then around the corner was a HUGE square with a beautiful fountain in the middle, surrounded by hotels, restaurants, a church, all in the old architecture characterized by that time period. Our little boys immediately found the horse carriages and spent a good fifteen minutes watching horses with Liam screaming "NEEIGHHHH!" excitedly! They then ran ALL over the square which was not very crowded and allowed them some freedom from their stroller and from us. : )

I guess we lost track of time there because all of the sudden it was dinnertime and we needed to find something to eat, like, 15 minutes ago. The problem was that every place we were looking into was either not child-friendly or had a ridiculous wait time. So we ended up at McDonalds! I swear I have eaten more McDonalds living in Europe the last year than I did in my whole life in the States! After dinner we slowly made our way back to the hotel and let the boys play in Lindsey and Josh's room while we had a nightcap. Our hotel rooms were gigantic with lots of running-around-room for two toddlers. :)

The next morning we decided to make our way to the castle by way of the river and the Charles Bridge. This particular bridge was not a driving bridge anymore, but a wide walking bridge where street vendors and artists had their displays set up for people to buy trinkets, jewelry, or have their portrait sketched in charcoal.


On the other side of the bridge we found another playground for the boys to spend some time in before having to get back in the stroller for a LONG climb up a STEEP hill to where the castle was.

By the time we got to the top we got to enjoy the views for a millisecond and admire the castle and church on our way back DOWN the mountain because the boys got antsy. Jackson was starving so Lindsey and Josh found the first thing they could stop in for lunch--another McDonalds at the bottom of the hill. Keith and I walked a little further and found a great little pizza place where we got to warm up while Liam ate two big slices of pizza! We walked back to the hotel after that for nap time . . . the joys of parenthood!

Lindsey and Josh were flying out that night so we decided to just wander around Old Town again before they had to leave. We all loved how nice and beautifully-lit it was, and the boys loved the wide-open space to run around. We said our sad goodbyes and birthday wishes were made -- it was so fun to celebrate with good friends! After they left Keith and I found this yummy restaurant right in the middle of Old Town that was SO good. All three of us loved what we had to eat, and again the waitress flirted with Liam so he was totally smitten and entertained. We then headed to bed early because we had to get up at 4 AM for our extremely early flight Monday morning.

You would think that the story ended there -- but oh, no. The morning is going smoothly and Liam did great in the airport on the short flight back to Eindhoven . . . but as we approach Eindhoven airport, the cloud cover is too thick and our pilot has zero visibility. We circle for a few minutes before he comes back on the intercom and says that we are actually being diverted to Germany . . . where they will get us back to Eindhoven . . . BY BUS. Are you serious right now? In the end, we DID make it back to Eindhoven by way of several large charter buses hauling all the passengers and our luggage across the country's border. And Liam slept most of the way on the bus, which was much needed by that point after such an early morning. By the time we made it home Keith said we could have rented a car and driven faster than flying that day. Oh well, it made for an interesting birthday -- all's well that ends well!  And who can say they were in three different countries on their 30th birthday? Not many!


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