Are We There Yet?

January 2, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Posted in Family, Transylvania | 66 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

13 days. 4 countries. 3 kids. 1 car. We did it.

All we lost was a pair of earmuffs, a hat, and a black crayon. And maybe a few shreds of sanity.

What we gained was an unforgettable international adventure that included buses, subways, trams, a horse-drawn carriage, a thermal bath, monkeys, seals, a giant Ferris wheel, ice skates, ketchup-flavored Cheetos, glue guns, castles, and butterflies.

And two shots of Slovakian moonshine.

Here’s what made the top 10.

Austria, Slovakia, Hungary: Kid Favorites
10. The longest, fastest escalators in the history of the industrialized world in the Budapest metro.

9. The baboon at Vienna’s Natural History Museum. And his colorful butt cheeks.

8. The big pile of dog poop in the square with the giant Christmas tree.

7. Any machine that involves inserting a coin and watching it get squashed into a souvenir, voilà!

6. Kinder eggs. (Seriously, the U.S. is missing out.)

5. McDonald’s. Anywhere.

4. Graffiti. Anywhere.

3. Elevator buttons. Anywhere.

2. Their first water slide. And bumper car. And can of pineapple soda.

1. The rotating, self-sanitizing toilet at our first hotel. (Hours of fun. Hours.)

Austria, Slovakia, Hungary: Grown-Up Favorites
10. Aforementioned Slovakian moonshine.

9. Kids who refuse to eat anything except single-serving packs of peanut butter. (More mushroom soup, sweet cabbage, schnitzel, and strudel for us!)

8. 38-degree-Celsius heated pools. Ahhhhhhhhhh.

7. Gone with the Wind. And Legends of the Fall. And The Lion King. In Slovakian.

6. Hotel balconies and windows with wide ledges … For dirty-diaper storage, of course.

5. Locals. Who speak English. And offer directions. And help lift strollers onto buses. And return dropped mittens. And offer gingerbread to cranky children.

4. The espresso-cappuccino-hot-chocolate machine at the hotel breakfast buffet. Refill? Yes, please.

3. Highways, glorious highways. Romania, take note.

2. Being quiet and still so the kids can fall asleep. Then accidentally falling asleep ourselves. Before 9. Three nights in a row.

1. The five of us. Together. No matter what country we’re in.

What did your children enjoy most about Christmas vacation? And you? And have you ever had a Kinder egg??


Fluffy Bunnies in Romania:
Read the tales
See the photos.



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  1. good morning from Canada. The boys here have had Kindereggs many times but this year? Kinder did a SANTA! I didn’t buy them but they are a good hand length in size. The Christmas Breakdf or my kids continues. It’s been a week of chilling and relaxing so far. I think them opening and playing with their gifts have been the highlights.

  2. I was just thinking about how much I valued my core family together this holiday season. Whether it’s packets of peanut butter or Sherlock Holmes movies…nothing beats kids and parents….and moonshine.

  3. I had no idea kindereggs weren’t allowed into the states. Usually they are the first on fun things… I thought. Maybe we just get too many US commercials here. Anyways, they are my son’s favorite. Even the annoying little toys that come inside. He always asks for them at the movie theatre (part of the kids combo snack) and it’s become a tradition…. even when we don’t get the snack I sneak a Kinderegg in. Shhhh! Don’t tell!

    Together is everything.

  4. I love #1. So true! My family is about to go on a trip and I so look forward to everyone being together!
    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  5. pineapple soda sounds similar to the candy my little sister and i ate while driving to arizona. it was those fruit shaped plastic candies with flavored sugar inside. mine being pineapple, and we both became so sick the entire drive. never again. great post!

  6. I am totally envious, I’ll admit — what incredible experiences for the kids — and you!

    I’ve taken my kids to Washington DC…but we’ve yet to make it outside the states. It’s on my parenting bucket list, though.


  7. We found kindereggs on a visit to Australia once. It is funny what kids like best compared to adults. My grandson, for instance, loves trains. Getting stopped at a train crossing waiting for a train to go by is an annoyance to most folks, a treat to him. The longer the train the better.

  8. I love that you were together as a family for all of it. I am certain there were moments of total meltdown, but from your posts it appears there were several glimpses of complete happiness. Glad you got to experience this Stacia.

  9. I enjoyed your journal very much. It makes me want to visit. Was it difficult to get your blog on? I have a big journal of travel in the 1980s. Your site inspired me to try to get it on. Regards, Ann Loftin

  10. What, pray tell, is a Kinder egg?

    Your trip sounds wonderful, and your limbs stayed all intact? Even better! Glad you were able to create some new memories (yum to the sauerkraut and the strudel!)

  11. Most people wouldn’t have the patience for a trip like this, especially with three kids. Kudos for deciding to make this trip and doing it. Sounds like you all had a great time.

  12. So incredibly envious of each and every part. And so very happy for you that you are getting to have this journey. (Thank you again for sharing it with all of us!)

  13. One word: Jealous !

  14. Who knew Kinder eggs weren’t available in the US?! Crazy. We always get them in our stockings for Christmas up here in Canada 🙂 My kids definitely enjoy all the time we spend together over Christmas vacation. They get to see Daddy for 10 mornings in a row! And I of course enjoy having my hubby home as well. The relaxed, no schedule, sleep late and do whatever we want, extra snuggles with the kids time is the best. Plus all this extra time to read great blogs 🙂 Your trip sounds awesome!

  15. kinder egg

    your thin foil shell is no match for my eager fingers
    I peel away your protection
    to reveal deliciousness
    I waste no time
    I know there is more to be found
    I squeeze your ends
    and pop you open
    to reveal my prize.

  16. There was something in the newspaper not long ago about Kinder eggs being confiscated at the border when people were trying to take them into the U.S. I can’t remember what the issue was with them though… might have to google!

    It sounds like a fun trip!! Happy New Year!

  17. Great list! Family adventures rock! And the kids will NEVER forget them!

  18. Nice post! A rotating toilet? Just thinking about it makes me seasick….

  19. So great you were brave enough to take the family on such a trip. Sure it will talked about for years to come….once those “shreds of sanity” are recovered.

  20. I liked being in Orlando with 75 degree weather, but its just not Christmas for me unless its cold. It was an experience visiting Disney World, but not my favorite vacation ever.

    It sounds like you and your family had a wonderful time, and I find it absolutely amazing that you were able to tackle so many countries with 3 kids! hats off to you!
    I’d like to know tips on doing that if you had any?

  21. Sounds brilliant. You don’t have kinder surprises in the USA? I’m stunned. Europe by train was so much fun but I’d love to do it by car too. Are you planning your next trip?

  22. Oh my, I am not a parent but im an older sister, all I can say is you are so brave! lol What a great experience for you all

  23. wooowww!! so amazing what you did, i wish to travel the world someday also, its such an adventure.. 🙂

  24. woaw! discovered something today! so you can’t have a non edible item in a kinder egg but you can have a toy in a mcdonald happy meal? we should launch a kinder egg attack on the US 🙂
    loved the post, so well written, and gives example how simple things can become so exciting! happy trip memories! 🙂

  25. A sweet post.

  26. Love Kinder eggs…

    fun post! Anyone willing to travel internationally with small children gets my vote.

  27. Kinder eggs are awesome. Even when I was a high school kid. And sanity is overrated. Togetherness, well, that’s worth more than gold. Or even a kinder egg.
    What wonderful adventures you’re having!

  28. Oh my goodness. You guys really have done a lot this year, haven’t you? Hope you have a good 2012!

  29. Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun. Kindereggs are a favorite of my hubby’s from all the years he lived in Germany. My In laws brought some for us when they visited Germany this past fall. For Ava it’s 2 treats in one. Hope you are enjoying the dryer. Happy New Year!

  30. Love the Kinder surprise and the tradition, which I carried on for decades- this is the first year my son– now oh, so grown — did not get one in his stocking. Never cared for the chocolate. Oh, well.

  31. Wow! What an amazing adventure you all had!! So happy for you and all the memories you and your family are making.

  32. That was a total fun experience!! 🙂 I add Slovakia and Romania to the places I want to see before I die!

  33. Lol! I love this. Your family sounds like mine…spend thousands, but always love and remember the cheap entertainment moments. Thank you for sharing. Great read!

  34. i’ve never had a kinder egg but now i will be looking for it! your christmas adventure sounded fun. i particularly loved the reason why the adults loved the kids for eating nothing but peanut butter 😆 happy new year!

  35. 13 days. 4 countries. 3 kids. 1 car. Wow! this is adventure at its best! Thanks for sharing these memories.

  36. Never heard of Kinder eggs, had to Google. That’s quite a trip, but it sounds like lots of happy memories were made. It doesn’t take much to entertain children! Thanks for sharing your journey.

  37. I wish I was one of your kids. That was a great adventure!

  38. Really funny, especially n. 1! This just shows how you don’t need to spend lots of money to have fun, with or without children! Happy New Year!

  39. happiness really does not depend on what you have financially. amazing write-up.. 🙂

  40. Kinder Eggs are not available in the US? Come on up to Canada – we have tons!

  41. Kindereggs sound awesome, I’m sort of bummed I’ve never had one because I’m from the US. I mean, according to the other comments, even Canada has them! If Mexico has them as well I’ll be ticked.

    Great post – you definitely don’t hear about family vacations involving 4 countries very often.

  42. Wonderful!

  43. Memories unfold as I realize you are living my life of 40 years ago… your kids will NEVER forget this trip, you have created a bond that will link you all forever. Fabulous best 10 list. Bravo!

  44. Lovely post – brings back memories of Europe. I haven’t been to the countries you visited, but I lived in France for 10 years until very recently, and it was great to think about all of that. And kinder eggs are definitely a big plus 🙂 Sounds like you had a wonderful trip! Happy new year, and congrats on being freshly pressed!

  45. Holy comments Batman! 🙂 That sounds amazing. I’m glad you not only survived but enjoyed!

  46. Sounds amazing. Wow. You are brave. I have 3 sons and I don’t think I can do what you did. The kinder eggs are a favorite by us but although I like them, they make me mad. They are too expensive to have that tiny little tease of chocolate inside. But they are a fun favorite over here. Congrats on FP!

  47. Wow. What a wonderful time you had with the kids. Sounded like it was really fun.
    Why didn’t you ask me to go, too? Connie

  48. Great post. We travel a lot with out kids also, so I laughed at a few of these familiar things on the list! And yes, Kinder eggs are alive and well in Denmark as well. They are great!

  49. Wow! What an extraordinary adventure to give yourselves and your kids. You are planting seeds that will surely blossom as they continue to grow and enjoy the world.

    And a very happy new year to you and yours!

  50. WOW what a fabulous adventure. I agree with the kiddies those self cleaning revolving restrooms are awesome!!
    Happy New Year wishing you all continued happiness and togetherness in this New Year 2012

  51. What a wonderful trip full of unforgettable moments!!! I am so happy for you all and for a Christmas you’ll never forget!!! I know with 3 kids and you just getting back on your feet, it was not the easiest of trips, but I am sure it was worth every moment!!! Miss and love you guys!!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  52. Sounds so fantastic. You and your children are on quite the adventure. Will have to look up Kinder Eggs. Never heard of them! Happy New Year!

  53. This is lovely. Especially the five of you together anywhere – I can relate!

  54. The ice rink looks amazing!

  55. I do love the ending…the 5 of you together is wonderful! Congratulations on surviving this trip…wishing we could take one sometime….Thanks! Great read!

  56. How brave of you guys! Sounds like a wonderful trip; love the part about being quiet in the hotel rooms so the kids can sleep… we’ve been there, too! Sounds like a really great time!

  57. love that you’re traveling with your family, and to some of my favourite places in the worlds! nice post!

  58. Really cool that you took yoour kids on a trip like that. I hope I can do that for my children someday!

  59. Great story, sounds like you’re really enjoying your trip..

  60. You had such a lovely adventure with your kids 🙂
    Our mother use to put Kinder eggs in our presents every year 🙂 And there was a Kinder egg for every child that would come to our house during the Holidays. It was absolutely mandatory to get it for New Years! But now we are all grown up, and oh how I miss Kinder surprise 🙂 This year my sister and I bought one for our “little” brother (he’s 19!), and he was absolutely ecstatic about it 😀

  61. What a terrific trip! You give me hope that traveling with small children is doable and can be enjoyable. Thank you. xo

  62. It sounds like it is a really awesome adventure with kids and it seemed like they weren’t much to worry about! 🙂 Great post! 🙂

  63. What a great post and wow, what an adventure your family is having! I enjoyed reading all about it. And yes, we have Kinder eggs. The chocolate is disgusting and the toys are extremely lame. The kids like them though, for whatever reason! 🙂

  64. wow, how did you do 4 countries in 13 days and with 3 kids???

  65. Wow, that sounds like an amazing trip!

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