404 The Journey

My family travel reality

I’ve been a mother for a little over 3.5 years. That means I’ve been a mother who travels with her kids a little over 3.3 years.

Becoming a mom was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I was in my mid-30s and very used to my previous carefree life. After the shortest longest 9 months (more accurately 41 weeks and 1 day) of my life, there was a whole being whose soul existence strongly depended on me being responsible. Remembering to feed him, bathe him, protect him. On top of that I had post-pregnancy complications that made me move a little slower, with more pain than I remember having before.

It was a mental and physical challenge. And it seemed to never let up.

It took me a full year to feel good in my new normal. To get out of the haze.

When I had my daughter less than 2 years later, the cycle started again. Except now I was used to the sleepless days and nights. I just had to get used to protecting the kids from each other. My post-pregnancy complications this time made sleep more difficult and driving over cobblestone roads next to impossible. Again, it took me a full year to feel good in my new normal.

My truth of traveling with babies

Within both of those separate years of having new babies, we traveled. We traveled because we had to. We traveled because we wanted to. We traveled to see family across the pond. We traveled because we knew we weren’t going to live in Europe forever.

As with everything when a baby comes along, we had to change our style. We packed more, planned more, somehow slept even less, and concerned ourselves more with where we were when it was time for the kids to eat.

It was hard, but it wasn’t impossible.

Looking back I realized something about that time in our lives. New mommy-hood was easiest for me when we were traveling. It felt more right than anything else. I felt more alive because I wasn’t sitting at home waiting for life to happen. We didn’t eat at fancy restaurants, or sit at cafes and bars chatting it up with the locals, or do many things in our new travels that we resembled our old travels. But, we were traveling. We were doing what we love most, even through the pain and challenges.

And I think that’s what makes me different

At least different from the people who treat traveling with kids as a chore. For me, I can’t imagine going out and exploring this world without my kids. And I don’t know how people can just stay home. It would stifle me, it would bore me, and it would make me resentful.

These days

If I had any anxiety about how my travels would  be once I had kids, it’s gone now.

I have two toddlers who love to travel. They both love all forms of transportation, constantly wonder when our next trip to a hotel will be, and can typically sit pretty content in a car, a train, and a plane. And that’s even without an iPad or any electronic distractions.

They have their own travel preferences. My son loves fancy hotels and fast trains, my daughter loves walks and animals. They enjoy talking about going on vacation and looking at pictures afterwards.

It’s fun. It’s exhausting. It’s more than I thought it could be.

Photo by Kyle Taylor, Dream It. Do It. Kingrunandfr 302

Le Jardin d’Acclimation Paris, France


This is my 100th post! It’s been slightly over a year since I restarted this blog. Last month I wrote a little over 1/4 of the whole blog’s post as part of the A-Z challenge. I enjoyed that challenge so much, that I decided to make up my own challenge for May. Twice a week, I write a post about an attraction we’ve visited and haven’t written about before here.

Why? To encourage people to travel or to help someone trying to learn a little more about a place on their to-do list. See, for me, my travel researching style includes reading posts about what people did at a place. From there, I’ll usually make a decision that it’s a good fit – or that it’s a bad fit. The problem is there’s nothing I can say about our time at Le Jardin d’Acclimation in Paris, France that would justify a decision either way.

The tale of why my recommendation of Le Jardin d’Acclimation is not too reliable

If you’re unfamiliar with this park – it’s part botanical garden, part amusement park, part zoo, part playground and completely everything that could possibly answer “what would a child like to spend their day doing”.

And that would be reason enough to go.

I first heard about it long before we even moved to France. A blogger I read at the time celebrated her daughter’s first birthday in Paris and wanted to do something very Parisian that day. After some research, she discovered there was no more-Parisian way to celebrate a first birthday than by going to the garden opened by Napoleon III in 1860. And when we moved to Germany and had a baby, I figured, well this sounds amazing.

And that would be reason enough to go.

We spent a week in the city of love, loving on our little soon-to-be-one-year old boy. Our days were filled with trips to parks, towers, museums, coeurs, rues, baguette shops, and – oh, yeah – we also spent a day at Disney. On the one year anniversary of my son’s birth, the day before we left, it decided to rain. The rain was not torrential and we went anyway. Unfortunately, non-torrential rain means one thing: the park is still open, but most of the rides are not. On a good note: most people in Paris seem to skip Le Jardin when it’s wet – there were no crowds. Plus, our one year old, didn’t really care.

And because of this, I can’t say that our experience is a good indicator either way of if you should go or not.

We had a great time. We looked at the animals, ate some croque monsieur, spent a few Euros to ride the petit train – a train that takes you from the park to the parking lot, and made notes on how very Parisian this place was. Coming from Orlando, where rides continue in most weather scenarios, this place was as far away from everything the Orlando parks are known for – and that would be reason enough to go.

Thinking about going?

  • Le Jardin d’Acclimation is in the 16th Arrondissement in the Bois de Boulogne. For those taking public transportation, which I recommend, it’s the Sablon metro station exit 2. Follow Rue d’Orleans until you get to the park. There are plenty of signs.
  • Entrance fees, and attractions are inexpensive. Purchase a book of 15, 25, or 50 tickets to save even more money. Kids under 3 do not pay to enter.
  • You do not need to have a car parked in the parking lot to ride the Petit Train, but I suppose this ride could be busier on warmer days.

Who should visit?

Le Jardin d’Acclimation is definitely a park for families. Because the rides are aimed towards younger children, this may not be the right choice for older kids. It is definitely a park that can take a whole day to visit, however you can also be comfortable spending only  a few hours there because of the low entrance fees.

Great links for further reading

  • We visited Le Jardin d’Acclimation on a rainy day, here are other things to do in Paris when it’s raining.
  • Since the garden dates back to 1860, there is a lot of history in the place. Check out the official website and hit “google translate” to learn more. Be on the lookout for: the famous other at the inauguration, the zoological society’s purpose for the acclimation garden, the “Pigeons of the Republic”, which country’s successful amusement park encouraged the garden to add attractions, and which other countries are represented within the gardens.
  • Here’s a pdf of the brochure in English.



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Parks, Playgrounds, & Picnics


Before I had kids I thought authentic travel experiences had to include places where locals drank or ate. Once I had my own kids, I worried that finding that local connection might not be so easy. Especially now that I prefer drinks and food via room service many nights – don’t judge, I never realized how enjoyable eating at a desk-turned dining table could be when the alternative is dealing with over-tired toddlers in a public place.

Then I discovered that parks and playgrounds are filled with locals. The conversation that used to be struck up over a drink, now starts while pushing a swing on a swing set. The parents I meet at the parks and playgrounds, they’re the ones that can give me the inside tips that I worried I would miss having kids. Only these tips are more suited for my new travel lifestyle because these tips are suited for my children.

So feel free to let your kids run loose at the playground, you never know who you’ll meet.

What about the food, though?

In my pre-kid days I enjoyed tasting new dishes at restaurants. These days, I’m rediscovering my love of picnics. Plus, it’s a complete cultural experience. Shopping in a local grocery store and figuring out what treats are perfect without heating or plates is just the half of it. Then there’s searching for the perfect spot to snack. A place with a view and a playground. Some of my favorite travel memories are those that happened while eating a picnic.

Know this – if you’re travel changes when you have kids to include more parks, playgrounds, and picnics, it’s really not a bad thing.

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If you have a moment, please visit fellow A-to-Z Challenge travel bloggers Kitty & Francisco of Bay Essence. Their alternating their posts between English and Spanish, so take a look!

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Instagram Travel Thursday

***I’m out of town and have limited access to my computer, but I wanted to make sure I still had some posts in the A-Z challenge. I’m keeping these simple until I come back. I’m going to expand on these later, but I’d love your thoughts and opinions in the meantime. Thanks for stopping by, and if you’re also participating in the challenge let me know and I’ll be around to check our your blog in less than a week.***


If you are not a travel blogger you may or may not have heard of the Instagram Travel Thursday link-up. Travel bloggers link up their favorite Instagram-related posts and share it with their community. It is so inspirational to read about the different places people travel. It’s also easy to see how you can use Instagram to plan your own travel.

Today, since “I” fell on a Thursday, I’m going to write about ways you can use Instagram in your travel before, during, and after your trip. And add photos from my own IG account throughout.

Using Instagram before your trip

Do a hashtag search of the city you are traveling to. Click on something that looks interesting, then follow the hashtag trail to find other things to do on your trip.

If you find something that interests you, ask the IGer about it.

Using Instagram during your trip

Of course you can still do the hashtag search to find fun things to do near you. You can also pinpoint a hashtag to be more specific. Instead of #london, maybe #bigben.

Another fun thing here is you can get ideas for how other people captured this area and use that inspiration in your own photos.

You can also create your own hashtag, #travelturtlegoestolondon for example, and upload your own IGs. This lets your friends and family know where you’ve been, and makes it easier for you to find the photos from this specific trip later.

Added bonus: people may start to ask you questions about that destination.

Tip: For safety, be careful of your upload timing. I try to upload pictures slightly after I’ve been to a certain place, that way it’s harder for stalkers to find me.

Using Instagram after your trip

Well, now you can be the go-to person for the specific destination. Answer people’s questions if they have any for you. Keep Instagram the friendly community is and offer support.

I’m a strong believer in taking the photo off the computer (or phone) and print it out. There are a lot of Instagram-friendly printing companies that will turn your images into bound books. Simple memory keeping technique.

My featured A-to-Z Challenge Travel Blogger of today is the Travelling Book Junkie. She has some pretty cool Alternative City Destinations that she’s featuring.


This post is part of the Instagram Travel Thursday linky hosted by Skimbaco Lifestyle

Follow me on Instagram to see what’s taking me away from the blog. Leave your IG link in the comments and I’ll follow you when I get back!translator english to germanhow to find keyword search volumeProxes C1Sobd2goption review

Weekend trip to Zurich and Vaduz

Over the weekend we discovered one of our new favorite places: Zürich, Switzerland.

Here’s a glimpse of some of the things we saw, via Instagram photos. More photos and details to come.

*Note: The prices below are listed in Swiss Francs. The exchange rate between that and the USD is roughly the same. If something is say, 10 Swiss Francs, it’s about $11.

Rheinfalls, Switzerland

Who doesn’t like waterfalls? I love them.

Rheinfalls are Europe’s largest. The area is extremely family friendly, and isn’t a touristy or cheesy place like Niagara Falls is often accused of being. The huge playground was a welcomed site for my son after our long road trip. He also loved the falls. I don’t know if it was because of the clear water (my son does love bath time) or that he’s only two (and a bit of a daredevil), but the little guy just wanted to climb over the railing and jump into the water.

Travel Tip: Switzerland is expensive. Germany is right across the border (10 minutes in traffic), eat there. Oh, we paid 5 Swiss francs to park for 2 hours.

Short Boat Trip on Lake Zürich

The Zürich channel at the hotel told us that Lake Zürich is clean enough to drink from. I believe it. Our trip took us around the lake where we got to see Zürich at its best. It’s tough sitting on a boat watching people having fun in the water. There were other boaters, kids on the lake-side beaches, and people playing water sports. Again, my son wanted to jump into the water. This time, though, I probably would have been happy to jump in after him. It was hot.

Travel Tip: It’s only 8.50 Swiss Francs to take the 1.5 hour trip around the lake. Once on the boat, you can order a meal, snack, and a drink.

Vaduz, Liechtenstein

One of the world’s 25 least visited countries is only 1.5 hours away from Zürich by car. We had to go. As we drove to Liechtenstein, my husband shared some of the things he learned about L-stein: it’s in a valley, there are 5000 residents, there is no official army and the police force is less than 80 people. We talked about how, with such a small police force, did this country keep its sovereignty? Oh, the huge, beautiful mountains surrounding it. My kids weren’t so interested in dad’s facts so they slept.

We arrived in Vaduz with over-tired kids and over-hungry parents. My son whined his way past every shop. I’m sure he was disappointed that there wasn’t a river or lake to try to jump into. Ironically, this was the only time on the trip that he got wet. It rained. A nice heavy rain. We ended up dining at the fine, reliable establishment that is extremely whiny-toddler friendly: McDonald’s. Afterwards, we made our way back to Zürich.

Travel Tip: Liechtenstein might be more expensive than Switzerland, plan accordingly.

The drive between Zürich and Vaduz

If you have no interest in checking Liechtenstein off of your list, it’s still worth a visit. The drive between Zürich and Vaduz is beautiful. As I mentioned earlier, Liechtenstein is in the valley. That means that it’s surrounded by mountains and those are the mountains you’ll drive through to get there. The Alps, Caribbean-like water, and typical Swiss villages made every turn picture worthy. There are many tunnels on the way to Liechtenstein. As we exited each one it was like a little surprise to see how Switzerland could top its previous view. The best happened on the way back, after the rain: a double rainbow.

Travel Tip: The drive is only 1.5 hours, but could easily take all day because you’ll want to either drive slow to take in the view, or stop frequently.

Sattel-Hochstucki, Switzerland

I really enjoyed the city of Zürich, but I wanted more mountains. I mean, seriously, the Alps? How could we resist? We searched for ski-lifts/winter sports on our GPS. Sattel-Hochstucki, 45 minutes away, popped up and we crossed our fingers that the end destination would be worth it. We were happy to see the panoramic gondola cable-car when we arrived and bought ticket to the top just expecting to have nice views. We were wrong. The top was filled with fun activities for the family. There was a place with bouncy castles and trampolines, a very steep and twisty sledge run, and Europe’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge. There were also paths and trails for hikes. I’m sad to admit that my fear of heights won out and I did not cross the bridge. My husband took our daughter while I watched my son jump and bounce on the trampolines. I wish we could have spent all day there, but we had to leave after a few hours.

Travel Tip: The gondola ride is only 19 Swiss Francs round trip for adults, the bouncy castle and trampolines are 7 Swiss Francs for kids, the sledge run is 4 Euros per run, and the suspension bridge is free.

Overall travel tip: Switzerland is expensive. Coming from Germany, I was shocked at how much we spent on food and drinks. For example, a small bottle of coke could easily be around 4 Swiss Francs, and a medium cold drink at Starbucks was more than 7 Swiss Francs. Keep this in mind when budgeting and consider packing small picnics instead.

Have you been to the area? What should I see on my next visit?


This post is part of the new Instagram Travel Thursday linky hosted by Skimbaco LifestyleDestination UnknownChild ModeHines Sight BlogLive.Do.Grow.House of AnaïsLuxury Travel Mom. Click on any of those links to access all Instagram travel posts.commander les stimulateurs de clitorisapple smart case pour ipad airpenguin seo updateGERDA CR-Z W2411binary option investment