We’ll be home for Xmas, via Paris

It was so good to catch up with our good friends the FInans! I wish we had taken more photos, seems we were too busy yarning and watching the kids shenanigans to get better photos than this…

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Still adjusting to the cold UK weather we were happy to take advantage of the café culture that was not really available in the Southern Caribbean. Quite a change from sandy beach bars to British cafés and pubs.

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Being so close to Europe we jumped at the chance to fulfil one of Amelia’s dreams, to visit Paris. The logistics were sorted, Thank you again Nelson, this time for storing our 5 large bags. A train ride from London to Paris was unfortunately very expensive so EasyJet flights booked and carry-on baggage only off we went!

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Looking forward to the arty apartment and sleep we arrived late at night in downtown Paris. Internet connection problems were not fun added to navigating late at night with tired kids trying to find the right place. Nerves were wound tight trying to keep all four of us together in the high speed trains and bustling stations with visions of one of the kids being separated. I’ll admit to dirty MacD’s as our first meal on French soil as we tried to contact our AirBnB host on their wifi. Locked outside the fifth floor supposed apartment (no lift) in the dark we started to wonder if we had been stitched up. Finally we got in touch and the lovely lady came puffing up the five flights to let us in. Phew, crisis averted. And what a groovy apartment it was! Here is the view out the window…

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Revived and refreshed we headed out to explore in the morning.

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Stumbling upon a street market it would be rude not to partake in some fantastic French food.

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Wow

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A trip up the tower was compulsory, as was the queues, security and fees for the privilege.

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Yes, it’s still cold!

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And it’s busy…

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Daytime view from the apartment. Lovely.

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The next day we started by heading up to the church in the window. A brush with pickpockets working the crowd was a reminder to stay cautious.

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Aw Dad! Not another photo! And a street artist outside the Louvre.

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It’s a pretty big place.

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The kids were (mostly) great as we explored some of this amazing and enormous place.

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Here’s looking at you kid. Enjoying a sampling of (mostly) French finery as we rest our weary legs after another big day and feeling comfortable now navigating the bustling metro train system.

 

 

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You know you are in a big airport when the plane drives around for a while just to get to the runway.

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Next adventure, hopping back to the UK.

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A day trip to an aviation museum was quite interesting.

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Amelia working on being a pilot.

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I enjoyed marvelling at technological wonders, but it was quite sobering to learn more of their history and usage in an escalating warfare and race to deal death more efficiently and faster than the other guys.

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And staggering to realise how close we came to obliteration in a nuclear mutually assured destruction carried by these. As humans we can collectively be amazingly stupid and selfish. It really highlighted for me the contrast in that most people we met were awesome vs the popular scaremongering of they look different so must be the baddies.

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In a more rating friendly click bait photo we had a great time at the high street Christmas tree lighting party. One of the few shots we have of the Chambers and Finans in one frame as the four kids usually at full speed and up to something.

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Some local scenery. Still cold…

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Not competitive or anything but Nelson had some pace on as we shuttle the car to the pub and cycle back.

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So we can walk to the pub. Stunning crisp winter’s day.

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Never seen an owl on a shoulder at the pub before. She had the pip with the camera and turned away so this was the best shot we got.

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Professional chauffeur, fixer and all round good guy Nelson.

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We had fun dressing the Finan’s place with Christmas decorations including a 10’ Santa for Katie.

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Boston’s wish list included Stonehenge.

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It was surprisingly small and very busy. Well worth the wait and queues.

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The local church in Gnosall in the evening light as we head out to the pub, as you do in England.

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And suddenly it was time for the long haul flight back to New Zealand.

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Our lovely large shell didn’t make it through the strict NZ customs unfortunately. It was a memory from one of our favourite places, Barbuda where we had found it on the beach after being eaten by someone long ago. Such a shame that after our visit Barbuda was devastated by Hurricane Maria.

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Fortunately we did make it through customs a little after midnight 28 Nov 2017!

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