Back in August, Tom and I had the opportunity to turn a quick trip to Ireland for a friend’s wedding into a two week, kid free European holiday. After dropping the kids off with Grandma and Grandpapa (and only shedding a few tears), we took the train to Montreal where we caught an overnight flight to London Gatwick via Quebec City. The flight was uneventful, I fell asleep as soon as we were in the air, waking up for a quick meal and then immediately going back to sleep. That’s one of the perks about having young kids – you’re exhausted and can sleep anywhere! I vaguely remember Tom waking me up to offer me a snack about an hour and a half before landing but I shooed him away to get more sleep.
Once we landed at London Gatwick, we breezed through Passport Control and grabbed the train to Brighton.
We arrived in Brighton a little too early to check in to our hotel, but we were able to drop off our bags and go find lunch, and by the time we found a place to eat, I was starving. Afterwards, we walked down to the beach and pier for some people watching, and also to grab some slushies to beat the heat.
We ventured back down to the pier around 6:30pm and while the view was incredible, it was literally swarming with angry seagulls. We walked down the beach a bit more and found a table with less birds to grab some onion rings and drinks. Exhausted, we returned to our hotel at around 10:30pm and may have gotten a little lost along the way. We had been awake for less than 12 hours at this point and according to my watch, we had gotten in just over 28,000 steps!
The next morning, we took full advantage of being on a kid-free trip – we slept in until nearly noon and then went out for tapas and cocktails. Our day was filled with more walking, sightseeing and window shopping and then ended with dinner at Wahaca – I don’t think either of us were craving Mexican, but my goodness, it hit the spot!
On August 13th, we set the alarm for 7am (ugh) and went for an English Breakfast at the Breakfast Club. Afterwards, we went to Boots for some sun cream and considering their beauty department rivaled any Sephora location I have ever seen, I could have stayed there for hours.
We flew out of London Heathrow, and in the weeks leading up to our trip, we heard nothing but horror stories about this airport. Between the horror stories of waiting in security line ups for three hours and the bus schedule, we arrived about four and a half hours before our flight, which turned out to be completely unnecessary because we were through security in about twelve minutes!
At the airport, we grabbed a delicious dinner and received several pictures of the kids (the highlight of my day) and before we knew it, we were off to Iceland!
We took the Fly Bus from the airport into the city (driving past the volcano, which was pretty cool), then walked to our hotel. We arrived at our hotel at around 1:30-1:45am, I somehow found the energy to brush my teeth and the next thing I knew, I was asleep.
Iceland was absolutely beautiful. Our first day, we slept in (it was necessary), went on a long walk and enjoyed a delicious lunch and took in some sights and then ended our day with a trip to the Blue Lagoon, including dinner in the Lava Restaurant. I didn’t hear the part where they said to apply conditioner to your hair before getting in the lagoon and my hair suffered quite a bit of damage, but thankfully I was able to get it fixed when we got to Ireland.
The next day we did a day long tour that did the Golden Circle. I wish I would have brought the DSLR because the pictures from my iPhone really don’t do these sights justice.
From here, we flew Reykjavik to Venice. That’s right – we’re in Iceland because we’re going to a wedding in Ireland and now we’re flying to Italy. Venice was sort of a ‘why not?’ destination. We were looking for flights out of Iceland and found an inexpensive flight to Venice and it just seemed funny at the time, so we booked it. We didn’t have any plans, and that’s probably a good thing because a massive storm ended up hitting while we were there, it actually killed 5 people in France and Italy, so we used that time to just relax at the hotel. We had a chance to walk around early in the morning when we first arrived in Venice before the weather turned and it was so quiet, and very charming.
Finally, we arrived in Ireland. We flew into Dublin and spent one night there (and I don’t have a single picture to prove that) and then the next morning took the bus to Trim. The wedding was at the Trim Castle Hotel, which is where we stayed. As previously mentioned, I had to get my hair repaired, so I booked an appointment at Headmasters, which was just a few moments away from the hotel. My appointment was with Debbi and she was amazing.
And of course, the whole reason we were in Trim was for our friend’s wedding. The wedding was beautiful and it was lovely to catch up with people we hadn’t seen in years. It was also the perfect distraction for me because by this point, I was pretty eager to get home to my babies.
We went from the wedding reception to the airport for a 9am flight and I slept like a baby the whole way back to Canada.
Now that I’ve enjoyed looking back at our kid-free European vacation, I can start looking forward to our next trip. We have recently booked our first big vacation as a family of four and we cannot wait!