This day we boarded a private bus first thing in the morning for our own tulip tour. Tom, our tour guide, was a professional photographer on the side as well – so he was thrilled to take pictures upon pictures for us. Our first stop was near a petrol station – that had rows and rows of gorgeous tulips behind it. We were the only people there and took a bunch of family photos. This one, taken by Zach’s brother Tony, is my favorite of Cal.
We drove all around northern Holland and stopped to view more fields, but none were as beautiful as the first. We had a pit stop for lunch in an art town called Bergen. It was great timing because it had started to rain and we were able to avoid getting soaked.
Our next stop was to tour some beautiful windmills. We got to look inside, experience a little of what life was like for the people living there, and climb all the way to the top. The Dutch countryside is truly stunning – even amidst the moody weather.
Tom brought tons of snacks on our little day trip: chocolate (which was how we learned of our favorite brand – Tony Chocolonley), fruit, nuts, and cheeses. We were all exhausted and full by the end of the day.
We were so lucky to have incredible weather nearly the entire trip. That night it poured rain so we took an Uber to an Italian restaurant [Zach was craving some pizza] and then back to the boat.
The next day was our last. The forecast was rainy all day – so we bundled Cal up in his coverall and set out.
We had a few places we wanted to see and some souvenirs we wanted to score before heading back home. We stumbled through the Red Light District and Zach took a lovely video of this woman [who was actually a man – the purple light below the red indicates transgender] who was not thrilled we were capturing his/her best side.
Like I said before – I didn’t know how a trip to Europe with a baby would be. So I prepared as much as possible. One of the things I packed with us [that Zach told me was a little excessive] was a waterproof car seat cover. It came in handy our last two days and I am so glad we had it. Sometimes being crazy prepared isn’t THAT crazy, guys. Maybe Zach will have that engraved on my headstone after I’m gone?
After grabbing some souvenirs for Sloan and family members we met up with our group at the Pancake Bakery for a late lunch. We took our haul back to the boat afterwards and packed our bags for an early morning departure.
That night we had our last dinner on the boat – where the staff made us said apple pie. Again – mostly because of Sean, but we didn’t mind to reap the benefits of his life-saving gesture. We ordered everything on the menu we could find the strength to consume and then ended the night with some live entertainment in the lounge. Mostly Gina dancing/lip syncing to Benny and the Jets.
The next morning we left at 7 am. A bus took our whole crew and all of our luggage [except Zach’s phone which was accidentally left on the bus] to the airport. We grabbed a bite to eat and then took off at 10 am. Calvin did so well on the flight home. He took three solid naps and was happy and content for 10 hours being cuddled the entire stretch.
Then, back home. No more Igor bringing us sodas. No more freshly baked cookies at our disposable. No more live dance performances from Gina. But we were so ready to be back with our Sloan. 13 days was too long to be away from her and I have vowed never to be gone this long again if I can ever prevent it.
Overall, it was a fabulous trip. Spending time with my in-laws and having adult conversations – uninterrupted by hangry kids – was so wonderful. There were so many hilarious moments that will become memories forever. Also, I feel prepared to take the plunge if ever in the future we want to take young children to Europe on our own. Additionally, I respect moms that live in foreign countries more than I ever thought possible AND am singing another tune when it comes to cruising. *Did I mention I do not like cruises? Oh, I didn’t?? Well…I am not a fan.* But a European River Cruise is a whole different ball game than my experience on Carnival Cruise Lines. Let the record show that this kind of cruising I am 100 percent on board for. No pun intended.
It was depressing to wake up and not see all of Zach’s family the next morning. But one, very energetic face, made up for it.