Wanderlust Kids #7

I must apologise to everyone for the fact there was no #Wanderlustkids linky last month. I had hoped to get one sorted as soon as we got back from America but we then had to get BattleKid settled into kindergarten. So, as you can imagine, life got in the way. But we’re back this month and I am dying to hear all about your trips, hints and tips and anything related to travelling with kids.

I have to thank everyone who linked up in August. We had hints an tips, days out and holidays abroad. I’ve loved reading all your posts. I am going to continue as I started in August with a synopsis of everyone’s posts as usual but with the featured post as well. Introduced last time, this post gets special mention as the one I most enjoyed reading. 

August’s featured Wanderlust Kids post

This month’s featured post was a difficult one and two were in the running but in the end, I loved Nat from Awaybies review, and hints and tips post, about Disneyland Paris. As you’ll know we are going for the first time as a family in December and I gleamed some more hints and tips from Nat’s post. She wrote about where to stay, when to go in relation to your children’s ages and time of year, shopping and what rides are good. What I didn’t find out in all my own research was how good the Moteurs action show is. This Cars-themed show is going to be a must with BattleKid and our friends little boy! And I also got another great hint from Nat; bring on-the-go entertainment for queuing times with the kids. Now, I bought some Disney toys and colouring books in America for BattleKid. I was going to give them to him on the plane over but I think I’ll hold these for the queues! If you are planning a trip to Disneyland Paris I urge you to read Nat’s post as there is nothing like getting tips from those who have been!

August’s Other Great Posts

Rupreet of Rupeat shared her post about their amazing end to their Kenyan holiday at the Msambweni Beach House. The food, which always features in Rupreet’s posts looked and sounds amazing.

Jenny of TraveLynn Family shared some amazing hints and tips about road tripping with your baby. I love her idea of a cool box packed with snacks as it makes for a ready-made picnic if you see somewhere along the way you want to stop at.

Amy from Mama Mighalls told us about a great family day out for £25 for four people at the Kingsbury Water Park and the Broomey Croft Children’s Farm next door. Located in Warwickshire, they both sound great, although I know BattleKid would have to be torn away from the mini tractors in the farm.

Niamh from Treasure Tales linked up her post about visiting Rathbeggan Lakes in Co. Meath, Ireland. There is lots to do there for adults and kids alike and BattleKid would love the soft play and fairy garden. Just beware of the hidden costs as Niamh has pointed out, such as a charge for using a BBQ and the extras cost of rides!

Lucille from Bebe Voyage wrote and shared a wonderful post about 12 kid-friendly historical sites in Europe and hints and tips for visiting them. Rome and Pompeii are firmly on our to-do list, but I’d also love to visit the Cutty Sark. And we recently went dragon hunting at the Tower of London.

Lydia from Holidaze and Hellidaze shared a lovely post about Fagan Park in Australia. I love the sound of the Garden of Many Nations.

Laura of Musings of a Tired Mummy shared her post about their family day out in Staines. I have to say I’d have a hard time getting BattleDad out of Games Workshop.

Lisa from Baby Loves Travel shared her post about visiting Deen City Farm in London. I never knew there were city farms in London but I think they are a wonderful way to let city kids experience the countryside without having to travel for hours to get there.

Emma from Wanderlust and Wet Wipes linked up her post about visiting Lake Como with her mum and kids. She shared places to visit and stay, places to eat, things to do and even boats rides. This destination is firmly on the to-do lsit now that I know there is lots to do there with kids.

And last but by no means least, Zen Baby Travel shared their post about visiting the River and Rowing Museum at Henley-on-Thames. They had a lovely treat as Peter Rabbit and friends were visiting the museum at the same time.

I really enjoyed reading the different posts everyone linked up and cannot wait to see what will be linked up this month.

This month I am linking up a post which came into it’s own during our recent holiday. We have wanted to visit Yellowstone for a long time and finally got the chance at the end of August as some of you will know. Here’s our planning post along with our Yellowstone Bucket List. You’ll have to come back to see if we managed it all when I finally get around to writing up our recent travels. 

My ‘Wanderlust Kids’ linky will open from the 1st of each month for you to link up a post, old or new, which involves travelling with kids. It can be a day out, a family holiday, somewhere new your children have discovered or a post with hints and tips about travelling with kids. As long as it features kids and is travel based it can be linked up. The following month I will write a synopsis of the posts linked up (and/or featuring a favourite one, depending on the numbers), linking back to the owner’s blog.

So, if you’d like to join in, just grab the badge below, add it to your post and link up your post via the link up button below. Please make sure you visit a few other posts that have linked up and leave a comment.

Don’t forget that throughout the month you can use the #WanderlustKids on your Instagram photos which involve travelling with kids. These photos can be abroad, home or days out, so long as they feature your children and have a travel theme attached to it. Each fortnight I will pick my favourites to showcase. I cannot believe how well this little community is growing and appreciate everyone who has adopted the #wanderlustkids on Instagram.

I look forward to reading your posts, maybe gaining some inspiration.

WanderlustKids

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Living Arrows 39/52

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

Kahlil Gibran

We’ve had friends from Wales over visiting us here in Portugal and we’ve had a lovely time. We brought them into Tavira on Saturday. We watched the Tavira beach ferry coming in, which was a surprise, as we were sure it would be finished for the season. We had a lovely brunch in a cafe off the square and the kids enjoyed seeing the terrapins in the water around the band stand.

On Sunday we visited our nearest beach, Manta Rota. This little dude has enjoyed seeing his pal and had an especially fun time at the beach on Sunday. Now that the temperatures are coming down a bit, we’re able to enjoy the beach more and I think it may become a regular weekend trip!

living arrows - BattleKid watching the Ilha de Tavira ferry coming in living arrows - BattleKid watching terrapins living arrows - BattleKid enjoying himself on the beach

 

Linking up with Donna of What The Redhead Said. If you’d like to take part or see some other Living Arrows posts, please click the badge below.

Living Arrows

Portland to Yellowstone and Back Again – A Two-week Itinerary

Many of you who read the blog and follow us on Instagram will know we have just returned from an epic two-week USA road trip in which we went from Portland to Yellowstone and back again. It was 11 months in the planning, from Portland to Yellowstone, and came around rather quickly after we moved to Portugal. Before we knew it, we were getting ready to go.

I have so much to write up about our trip. From amazingly beautiful Yellowstone, to smoky Montana, to hip and trendy Portland, we packed in a lot over our two weeks. I’ve had some people ask me about our itinerary so I thought I should get cracking with it. So, in the first of a few (ok, maybe many) posts about our wonderful trip, here is what our itinerary for our two-week trip looks like from Portland to Yellowstone and back again, with 36 hours in London.

portland to yellowstone

Portugal to London – Thursday, 1000 miles, 2 hours 30 minutes

When we booked our flights to Portland from Heathrow last October, we were still well and truly living in Wales. Delta Airways had just opened their new (and the only) direct route from Heathrow to Portland, in association with Virgin Atlantic. This made a huge difference to how our trip was going to work out. When we had previously looked into the trip, we would have had at least one, if not two stop-overs. With a toddler in tow, this would not have been ideal. But a direct flight most definitely was.

That said, once we moved to Portugal, we needed to book flights to and from the UK to connect with our Portland flight. The only airline flying to Heathrow from Faro around the weekend of our trip was British Airways. We flew to Heathrow on the Thursday evening (there were no other flights before our Portland one), two days before our flight to Portland. This flight was just under two and a half hours. Following this, we had 36 hours in London and we had a great day in London. More on that to come.

portland to yellowstone - kid on luggage in airport
Starting our epic trip

London to Portland – Saturday, 4897 miles, 10 hours

Our flight from Heathrow to Portland with Delta Airways left London at 12.30pm and was scheduled to be 10 hours 55 minutes, arriving at 3.15pm local time. We actually arrived ahead of schedule at 2.30pm. This is the longest flight we have done with our son to date and it was us adults who were getting bored long before he was.

Portland, Oregon to Richland, Washington – Saturday, 227 miles, 3 hours

Our first destination on our road trip was going to be Yellowstone but to drive there in one trip would have involved between 762 and 829 miles, and a minimum of 12 to 13 hours driving, without stops, depending on the route we decided to take. You can either go over the top of the Nez Perce Clearwater National Forest or around the bottom of the Sawtooth National Forest. We had a look on Google Maps and saw nice roads around the Nez Perce route, so opted for that.

But with our son in tow, we decided to break up the driving by stopping at a town called Richland, in Washington state, for an overnight stay before driving the rest of the way to Island Park close to Yellowstone. So, after picking up our Hertz car for the two-weeks, hubby drove us to Richland via I-84 and the very beautiful Columbia Gorge Creek.

Richland, Washington to Island Park, Idaho – Sunday, 607 miles, 12 hours

From Richland we made our way to our AirBnB accommodation in Island Park, Idaho, located 30 minutes from the West Yellowstone entrance. We had looked into staying within Yellowstone itself but this proved to be outside our budget.

Leaving our hotel at 6am, our route took us along some stunning scenery past Coeur D’Alene, along I-90, until we turned off onto US-287. From there we met up with I-20, just south of West Yellowstone and it was a short hop to Island Park where our log cabin was located. This was a long haul and we stopped four times along the way, twice to fill up with gas (as the Americans would say), once to stretch our legs, and once in Missoula for lunch. It took us a total of 12 hours to drive the 607 miles. Our drive from Santander to Tavira, when we moved to Portugal, was good practice for this trip.

Yellowstone – Sunday evening to Friday morning

We spent 5 nights in our AirBnB wood cabin and toured Yellowstone National Park over four days. Although we didn’t get to see absolutely everything, we came away from our visit thoroughly content with what we did see. Our son did not complain once during the trip, as you have a lot of driving around the park to do. We got to see some stunning natural wonders along with quite a few of the animal inhabitants of Yellowstone. I cannot recommend Yellowstone National Park enough.

my sunday photo - gibbon falls in yellowstone national park
Gibbon Falls, Yellowstone National Park

Island Park, Idaho to Lolo, Montana – Friday, 280 miles, 4 hours 30 minutes

Leaving our AirBnB accommodation in Island Park at 9.30am, we took I-20 to US-287. We stopped once to fill up and use the toilet and, taking I-90, we arrived at Missoula, Montana, the main town beside Lolo at 2pm. Since we arrived early and before our check-in time for our next AirBnb, we stopped for lunch at a great Five Guys in Missoula.

This drive back was not as clear as the drive towards Island Park. We later discovered that a lot of Montana’s forests were on fire and the smoke we drove through was pretty awful, reducing visibility quite a bit.

Lolo and Missoula, Montana – Friday evening to Monday morning

We spent 3 nights in Lolo, the next town over from Missoula. Our plans were to visit Lolo National Forest while we were there but unfortunately those plans went by the wayside as there were wild fires across Lolo National Forest, along with many of the other forests in Montana. So, instead, we discovered some other delights close to Lolo like the National Bison Range, the Garden of 1000 Buddhas, and Missoula town itself.

portland to yellowstone - smoky skies in Montana
The incredible smoky skies in Montana

Lolo, Montana to Richland, Washington – Monday, 350 miles, 6 hours

As we made our way back towards Portland, we had another overnight stay in Richland planned. Leaving our AirBnB accommodation in Lolo by 9.30am, we travelled back along I-90, through 350 miles of smoke haze, which had various degrees of visbility, until we arrived in Richland at 4pm, local time. We had crossed a time zone when we left Montana.

We filled up just once on this trip and stopped once for lunch in a town called Spokane. I drove the first 230 miles, while hubby did the last 120 miles. We passed Coeur D’Alene again but could barely see this beautiful lake due to the smoke haze.

Richland, Washington to Portland, Oregon – Tuesday, 227 miles, 5 hours 30 minutes

We left our hotel in Richland at 9.30am but didn’t arrive at our accommodation in Portland until 3pm. The reason for this was the forest around Multnomah Falls and along the Columbia Gorge Creek had gone up in flames on the Sunday, and as a result, I-84 was closed. This meant we were diverted around Mount Hood, adding a couple of hours onto our journey.

Our intent was to visit Multnomah Falls on our way to Portland as I really wanted to photograph it, but that never happened. We filled up once on this trip and stopped for lunch off Highway 35 for lunch. Our final long leg of driving had come to an end.

Portland, Oregon – Tuesday afternoon to Saturday afternoon

We spent four nights in Portland and thoroughly enjoyed our break from driving. We visited a few places where our son could relax and enjoy himself like Oregon Zoo and the Children’s Museum. It was nice to have a chance to relax after an epic 11 days, 3000 miles and 60+ hours in the car. We did a little shopping, ate good food and got ourselves ready for our return trip to Portugal via London.

portland to yellowstone - trendy Portland building right out of Grimm
Hip and trendy Portland

Portland, Oregon to London Heathrow – Saturday, 4914 miles, 8 hours 42 minutes

As always, on the return trip from America, we had a good tailwind, so our original flight time of 9 hours 55 minutes was a lot quicker and we got to Heathrow ahead of schedule. I managed a few hours’ sleep, along with our son, but hubby never manages more than a few minutes on planes. It was a pretty uneventful flight.

London to Portugal – Sunday, 1000 miles, 2 hours 15 minutes

We had a few hours to kill in Heathrow between flights, so once we got rid of our bags we had lunch and did a little shopping before our flight to Faro was called. Unfortunately, we were delayed by almost 2 hours as they couldn’t get a passenger with a broken leg off the aircraft. Not what we wanted at the end of our holiday, all we wanted was to get home to our beds.

portland to yellowstone

So, there you have it, our full itinerary for our recent USA road trip from Portugal to London, to Portland to Yellowstone, and back again. We covered a lot of miles, both in the car and by plane, and we’d do it all again. That said, if we were to do it all again, the only thing we would change would be the time of year we go.

Due to wild fires in many of the forests in the Pacific North West, we didn’t get to visit Lolo National Park or Multnomah Falls. We also drove through 600 miles of smoke haze from Montana all the way to Portland and had it until our very last day in Portland itself. We’d perhaps choose to go earlier in the summer before it gets hot, and dry, enough for wild fires. Other than that, we wouldn’t change a thing.

Have you done an epic road trip similar to this? I’d love to hear all about it!

Cath x

portland to yellowstone portland to yellowstone

5 Things To Do Around Lake Bled with a Toddler in Tow

Two years ago, we visited Slovenia, and more specifically Lake Bled, with friends of ours. Now when those friends suggested a holiday around a lake, I was quite dubious. BattleKid was 18 months old at the time and I really wondered if there were things to do around Lake Bled with a Toddler in Tow. We had never even considered Slovenia as a holiday destination but the pictures I was seeing of Lake Bled got me excited nonetheless.

We went in the August as our friend’s children are older and the holiday needed to fit in during their school holidays.  And as our friend’s children were older, they had been on the hunt for a holiday which was different from your usual package sun holiday. So, Lake Bled was the suggested and accommodation and flights were swiftly booked.

I did wonder how we would fair with BattleKid being so young but I need not have worried. It turns out there are plenty of things to do around Lake Bled with a toddler that you can enjoy even with a younger child about.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler
Beautiful Lake Bled

5 Things to Do Around Lake Bled with a Toddler in Tow

A walk around Lake Bled.

One of the very first things we did around Lake Bled with BattleKid was walk around Lake Bled. There is a beautiful walk around the circumference of the lake and goes from walks near one of the hotels in town, under a bridge, to the far end of the lake (just under 4 miles on total). There is a boardwalk from here before you walk around the back of the entrance to the lido. It is simply a beautiful place to take a walk and takes roughly 2-2.5 hours to complete, depending on whether you stop to teach your toddler to throw stones in the water.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler
Walk around the lake

BattleKid loved this and it became a regular thing for us when we visited the lake. There are jettys where the gondolas stop that make for a great platform to teach an 18 month old toddler to throw stones into the water. There are also several areas suitable for having a picnic and also several cafes and restaurants around the lake for lunch, dinners or even a snack (see below).

BattleKid and I even had a walk ourselves around the lake one day while we waited for everyone else to do their toboggan ride, which I am reliably informed was brilliant (best suited to older children).

RElax and swim at Bled Lido.

Bled Lido is an area of the lake made for pleasure, sunbathing, swimming and body boarding. It is situated on the side of the Lake opposite the town just under the castle and has a charge to enter it. We visited it twice, as written about in my Slovenia Holiday Diaries, and is a great place to bring a toddler.

There are several pools of varying depths to go in, and BattleKid and I got into the water on both occasions. He thoroughly enjoyed it, having gotten used to being in the water from his Waterbabies lessons. You can also swim freely in the lake itself outside of the pools, but it is advised to stay in certain areas to avoid being in a precarious position with kayaks, body boarders or worse still, the gondolas ferrying people across to the island.

BattleDad, our friend and their teenage son enjoyed body boarding one day and I was quite surprised at how well BattleDad was doing for his first time, and how much fun they seemed to be having, even in the rain that rolled in off the Alps one afternoon.

There are also kayaks which can be hired out, a room with table tennis (which we ladies and BattleKid used as shelter the afternoon of the rain), sand pits and swings for children, and also ample changing rooms and lockers. The Bled Lido is a great place for those living around the Lake to go to for a bit of R&R.

Just be warned. If you decide to swim outside the pools, you cannot reach the bottom of the lake with your feet so you should be able to swim, and you will be swimming among the fish of the lake at all times, whether it is in the pools or in the open water!

Bled Lido costs €7 per adult and €5 per child under 14 years of age*. This gives you all day access to the lido. Other amenities such as kayaks, deckchairs and umbrellas can be hired for additional charges.

visit Bled Castle and admire the views.

Bled Castle is situated on a hill overlooking Lake Bled itself. It is best reached by car or by bus. There are many coaches which go to the castle. There is parking at the castle grounds but at busy times it might take you a while to find a space.

Bled Castle which has both Romanesque and Renaissance architecture, has some stunning views of the Lake and surrounding areas. This is definitely a place to visit if you want to get some panoramic pictures of the lake from above.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler
Bled Castle

BattleKid quite enjoyed toddling around the courtyard of the castle while everyone else explored the castle. There are several rooms toddlers can visit such as Workshop/Library (others), but I would suggest that if you visit you leave the buggy in the car. The courtyard is cobbled and there are areas of the castle which are not very buggy accessible. We had BattleKid in his Toddlepak reins and they worked a treat.

We hadn’t started our dragon hunting adventures when we visited Bled Castle, but it would make a great place to do some dragon hunting!

Bled castle costs €10 per adult and €5 per child under 14. For families with at least 2 adults, 1 child is admitted free of charge. Bled Castle also has a museum and restaurant if you fancy a sit down in a beautiful setting.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler
Panorama views of Lake Bled from Bled Castle
Take a Pletna boat to the church on the island.

In the centre of Lake Bled lies an island with a church. It is the iconic church which forms the centrepiece of most pictures and photographs of Lake Bled. To reach it you need to take one of the many gondolas, or pletna boats, from the stations around the lake. It is said that your wish will come true if you ring the bells inside the church.

We took BattleKid over and he seemed to enjoy the boat ride. The gondola itself has a charge (currently €14 per adult return and €7 per child under 14 return) but visiting the island itself is free. There is a walk around the edge of the island which doesn’t take very long. There are information boards along this route telling you about the different species of fish that can be found in Lake Bled.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler
Take a Pletna boat to visit the church on the island

You can go inside the church which carries a donation cost (€6 at the time of our visit in 2015), there is a gift shop selling all manner of items including chocolate and gifts, and there is a tea room too (check this). Visiting the island is an absolute must if you visit Lake Bled. I really enjoyed the ride across the lake and there were no complaints from BattleKid either.

savour a Bled Cake.

No trip to Lake Bled would be complete without having at least one slice of Bled Cake. It would remind me of a custard slice but boy is it so much more. We had been told to make sure we tried on at Bled itself, so one afternoon, while out as a family, the Battle Family stopped at a rather nice restaurant for a slice of Bled Cake and some tea/coffee and we were not disappointed.

It was the most heavenly take on a vanilla slice I have ever tasted and even BattleKid got in on the act. I haven’t tasted a vanilla-based dessert or cake anywhere near as good as Bled Cake. So, I highly recommend you try it if you ever get the chance to visit Bled. And you must let your toddler have at least one mouthful.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler
About to devour some Bled Cake

I am sure there are other things to do around Lake Bled with a toddler in tow, but these were our top 5. In the end, it was one of the best holidays we’ve had within Europe with BattleKid, so much so we have every intention of returning when he is older. I think BattleDad is keen to get both BattleKid and me on the toboggan ride!

A lake-side holiday wouldn’t have been my first choice of holiday that year but we were not disappointed and it has me eager to try another lake-side holiday in the near future. I was pleasantly surprised that there were actually things to do around Lake Bled with a toddler in tow, and I’d highly recommend it as a holiday destination, whether you have toddlers or not.

Have you done a lake-side holiday, and if so, where should we go next?

Thanks for reading,

Cath x

*Prices correct at the time of writing this post.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler things to do around lake bled with a toddler

39/52 My Sunday Photo: 24/09/2017

On our last evening in Yellowstone National Park, we went to the Wild West Cookout, which was brilliant. On the way back to our accommodation outside Yellowstone, we took a drive along the River Drive on the way towards the West Yellowstone gate. It was getting late and the sun had set but the scenery and colours along the river drive were amazing. It was the most fitting end to our trip to the most amazing place we’ve had the privilege of visiting.
my sunday photo - amazing sunset colours along the River Drive in Yellowstone National Park my sunday photo - amazing sunset colours along the River Drive in Yellowstone National Park - panoramic view
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