Thursday, June 30, 2011

Martha Washington and Helga were here!

We arrived at Royal Park Hotel in London on Wednesday. It is a beautiful place! It is a historic-type hotel. It has been updated with an old english feel.  The bathroom room was amazing. We had a suite... special deal for that night only. We had a seating area with a "couch", table with chairs and a flat screen. Let me tell you about the couch.... it was NOT an updated piece. I am quite sure that some viking named Helga used to own this fabulous piece of furniture. It was something. 

Hum... so you are probably wondering where Martha Washington comes in.  Well, we got to sleep in Martha Washington's 4 poster bed.  We are sure it was Martha's because it was built before mattresses were invented...I promise you, we sleptt on 2X4s covered with cloth. I have never been so stiff in all of my days as I was this morning when I arose from my slumber. It was all in the name of culture! :)

The key to our room was super cool! :) No slider cards at this hotel. It was a nice beginning to our trip and made us feel immersed in the english culture!

We were a "stone's throw" from Hyde Park and we walked over there while our room was being prepared. It is a beautiful place!

The Tube AKA Underground AKA Subway

I am all about adventure, experiencing culture to the fullest... including the food and different forms of transportation. My biggest fear about traveling overseas was finding my way. I never dreamed it would take up 4 hours to commute from the airport to the hotel. Lines for customs were long, lines for "Tube" tickets were long and the maze underground is unreal.  When we boarded the tube, it was fairly empty and I was not even a little prepared for the cluster of people to come. SARDINE in a can is exactly how I felt!  It was SO tight that we could not get up to exit at our stop so we had to continue to another route. I clearly did not listen carefully enough to my genuius sister in law who told me to PACK LIGHT. How heavy can just a backpack and a carry on be? I am certain the muscles that I am building carrying my luggage up and down HUNDREDS of flights of stairs each day will result in POPEYE arms! Marla... I can't imagine carrying a regular suitcase around but I should have left my carry on HALF empty! WOWZER!

I have a rather large personal space bubble. I don't like people too close so the tube is not my favorite mode of transportation. The stress of reading the maze on the map was enough to send me over the edge! Kelly captured my stress well!

The good news is we made it to our hotel safely. I will write about our first hotel in my next entry.

Top of the day to ya!

Well... we made it!  The plane ride from Washington D.C. to London Heathrow was about 7 hours.  It was really pretty uneventful and we were able to catch a couple of zzzz after dinner before arriving in London at 12am Tulsa time and 6am London time. For those of you who know me well, you can imagine my difficulty in functioning on little sleep.  We were strongly advised to stay awake after arriving to counteract jet lag.

Although we have both traveled outside the country, we had not actually been through a "true" customs experience. Our passports had never been stamped until Wednesday. :) It was cool to be asked questions by the customs official and to acquire a stamp! It took FOREVER to go through the line though... at least 45 minutes and maybe more like an hour. I could barely hold my eyes open as we waited.

Once through customs, we meandered through the airport to find something to drink. I have never been so thirsty in all of my life! Kelly was THRILLED to find iced tea at Costa in the airport. I must say though, it was pre-sweetened and had a lemon flavor... not the best but it worked at the time!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

EUROPE 2011... HERE WE GO!!!!!!

Today is the big day! I can’t believe we will board a plane in just a few hours. My stomach has been in knots for days. I am hoping I will relax once we actually board the plane to London later today. At that point, all the planning will be complete and it will be time to just enjoy the adventure!
I received the most amazing email yesterday from Annette Langen (German author of Felix books) telling me she could meet us in Cologne, Germany next week. I just booked the train tickets this morning! We will spend the day with her learning about her writing and inspiration for Felix. I have been asked many times what the highlight of our trip will be. I can answer with certainty that meeting my favorite author and visiting a school in Germany will be our favorite parts! I hope you enjoy reading about our WORLD TOUR 2011!

All the packing and planning is behind me now… it is time to set off on an adventure of a lifetime and EMBRACE THE JOURNEY!

Thanks for sharing in our excitement!

Kristine and Kelly

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hum... how will I ever fit everything in?

The packing process (and purchasing process to pack) is quite overwhelming and when you throw in that you are only taking a backpack and a carry-on...well, it is a whole new mindset. 

That being said, the packing is the easiest part by far. Trying to mentally prepare to be away from my family for 17 days is really hard. I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity but I will miss my family immensely while I am away. Trying to prepare to be part of 3 different cultures is also mind-blowing. All the study and research doesn't prepare one for the adventures ahead.

All the plans are made, reservations and tours booked...planes, trains, metros, buses and chunnels are planned and some scheduled. We are beside ourselves with excitement and the anticipation of learning so many things. We are so blessed to experience what most people only dream about.

Meanwhile, for the next 12 days, I make lists and check items off. I think, process, research and pray. I know we are about to experience more than I can dream of!

Let the packing begin!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Felix is ready for our world tour 2011!

If you have never had the pleasure of reading Annette Langen's Felix books... they are magical! Our grant for Fund For Teachers was based around this precious little rabbit and his travel adventures! 

As you can see... our travel companion is all packed and ready for our world adventure!