Luxembourg for Memorial Day
So this was my first solo trip without any other adults...just me and the kiddos!!! We decided to go to Luxembourg. We planned on leaving the house at 9, and actually left at 9:15...fantastic team cohesion!!! Lunches made, everyone dressed, potty breaks, activities to entertain them while in the car, and diaper bag!! It was 1 1/2 hour drive and it was easy!! (NO stau's)
Our first stop was the American Cemetary. We got there about 11 and looked around. We found General Patton's burial spot.
We looked at lot of headstones, but not all 5,076 of them. There are 2 Medal of Honor headstones, and the kids found them. I am thankful we didn't have to search through all the headstones, but rather just about half of them before we "stumbled" upon them.
We also got a lesson from a PFC and SGT on how the cannons worked. The kids even asked a few questions, but couldn't get passed the "rotten egg" sulfur smell from the practice rounds.
Emilee and Dominick tried playing in the fountains before I stopped them. We saw some of the girl scouts and boy scouts cleaning the headstones. Feliciti and Gabi could have helped, since they are girl scouts, but since they didn't camp out the night before, they weren't "allowed." Everyone was preparing for the ceremony that was going to start at 4pm. Instead of hanging around for 4 more hours, we decided to go to Luxembourg City and then come back. It was only a 10 minute drive!!
I forgot our Europe "guide" book at home, so I had to wing it and depend on our GPS to get us into the city by picking an address!! ha-ha!! We got there, and once we entered, we knew we had made it to the city!! We were surrounded by huge buildings, traffic, taxis, and tour buses..not something we have seen very much of since living here in Germany. Parking was interesting (another city "issue") I circled around 2-3 times before I found a spot, but we could only park for 2 1/2 hours. I knew I wanted to see the cathedral. And a friend told us about the Viaducts and a huge park.
Our first stop was the Cathedral of Notre Dame. You would think that once you see one Catholic church, you've seen them all....NOT! This one was just as beautiful, and I could never get enough of
seeing the architecture, paintings, tapestries and just the pure "awe" of any church. The pictures say it all!!! (see facebook profile for more pics)
We had about an hour before our parking expired, so we went exploring. We never found the Viaducts. We never really found any other "touristy" sites, so we went window shopping. The kids wanted icee's and shared 2 of them. We then had to go bacvk to the car before they were going to tow it. There were "rent-a-cops" literally watching their watches and walking around the parking lot. We got there just in time. As the kids loaded themselves in the car, I nursed Matthew and then we were off.
We had 2 hours before the cermony started, so we went on a mission to find the park. We drove around for a little while, and found it!! But the silly part of this part of the story is, the park was literally across the street from where we parked. Just behind some trees and down a path..nto something we could see from the parking area. I luckily found another parking spot, bought our parking ticket, which gave us 1 1/2 hours, just enough time to let the kids burn some energy off. This park is awesome!!! The kids loved it. I even let down my guard and let them play in the water ~ but not too much since we didn't have a change of clothes and a ceremony still to go to. And anyone who knows me well enough, knows this is a huge step for me to let the kids play in water ~ UNPREPARED!! After the kids went down the huge slide, played pirates on the ship adn play in the water it was time to go.
We, again, raced to the car in hopes it wouldn't get towed away. We only had a 10 minute drive back to the cemetary Once we got there, the parkig lot was filled, and the street was lined up with cars on both sides of the street, for probably a mile. We parked the car, and ran up the hill (thank goodness for the double stroller) to the ceremony. We were about 10 minutes late, but didn't miss much. Some distinguished guests were speaking ~ the Prince of Luxembourg, an Air Force 3 star General (sorry, didn't catch his name), General (R) Chenseky, Luxembourg's mayor and others. They laid wreaths of flowers. And then other guests and the Girl and Boy Scouts laid smaller bouquets on the first row of headstones. It was very nice. The kids started getting fussy, so we started heading back. While the kids were in the bathroom, they did the 21 gun salute with the Howitzers...it was very loud, and the first boom scared the kiddos, but then by #3 they were use to it. I thought they were going to do 21 rounds between the 3 Howitzers (therefore only sounding like it would be 7 shots), but they did all 21 separately. They also played Taps, and then Luxembourg's anthem and then our anthem. I held it together till our anthem, and then started crying because I missed Thom so much!!! Overall the ceremony was beautiful, and the kids appreciated it as well. It was definitely worth it despite being 10 minutes late, and having to run a mile to get there!!!
We got in the car and had an easy drive back home. The 3 little ones fell asleep. We stopped for some Doner's and ate them at home. Overall it was a good day. I proved to myself that I could handle small trips, and the kids proved to themselves (and me) that they could behave. They earned another trip :o)
Till next time!!
P.S. Sorry I couldn't get more pics on here, like I usually do. I am still learning how to use our month old Mac...I don't know how to adjust the picture sizes or move them around easily on the blog page...hopefully by the next entry I'll have it down!! See my facebook profile if you would like to see more pictures!!