All posts by KOBYLKATRIP

Dijon III

We spent our final day in Dijon completing the entire Owl Walking tour, which meant walking three more loops. The boys were game for it but wanted to use Segways which were advertised but that wasn’t happening on my watch. The Owl tours are excellent and it took us all day to finish. Dijon is a terrific city and I had no idea that its architecture was so old and well preserved. Many photos of buildings but they were beautiful. The two building below date from the 1500s and 1600s.

We stopped for lunch at “L’Escargot” and it was delicious. David LOVES escargot.

One impressive feature of Dijon is the sheer number of old buildings, they are everywhere. I read an article in the Seattle Times and the writer had high praise for Dijon and it was a significant factor in our making the visit.

There were small statues embedded in buildings throughout the city, easily missed if you weren’t looking for them. The pamphlet was purchased for the tour pointed out only a few of these small sculptures which are literally all over the city.

The city also had several nice parks, one of which featured in the last loop of the Owl tour. Next stop is Brugges in Belgium which is also a medieval city.


We arrived in Prague and I can tell were in the Czech Republic because when we made a dinner reservation and the waiter asked me for my name, I didn’t have to spell it. I think that is a first. While there are not many Kobylkas in the USA, there are lots of them here. We walked around the city and then went on a two hour boat ride which was terrific.

I didn’t know that Prague was on a river (the Vltava) so there are many, many bridges which reminds me of the Seine in Paris. I enjoy boat trips because it gives you a different perspective of a city or countryside.

Prague is a gorgeous city and tomorrow we’ll visit the castle, cathedral and hopefully the Communist Museum.

At dinner Alex asked to order dessert and wanted the “Sweet Secret,” which was fine by me as long as the “secret” was going to be something Alex would eat. I asked the waiter what was in the sweet secret and he refused to tell me because it was a secret. Alex thought that was hysterical. Kids.

Europe 2012!

Our Europe 2012 begins. I still am taking French lessons with Augustus (pictured above) and September of this year will complete my third year studying French. I read it well but I have zero confidence speaking it. I’ll give it a try when we are in France. Our itinerary is: England, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Belgium. Unlike our other trips, this visit will see significant train travel which will be fun.

We’re at the airport waiting to board our flight. We’re taking Air Canada this year so we fly to Vancouver (45 minute flight) change planes and fly direct to London. Much, much cheaper. I forgot to take a photo of Caitlain Marovich who is house sitting for us while we’re gone. It is her third time doing so. Hard to believe that we’re ready to embark on our third European adventure. David is holding an iPhone which I rented for this trip. I’ve never used a smart phone before so we’ll see how it goes.

Our flight from Seattle to Vancouver was great and took only 45 minutes. Before we landed the steward said that people traveling to London should stop by gate D54 to pick up their food voucher, and that didn’t sound good. Sure enough, our flight is delayed by six hours. So armed with $30 in food vouchers we eat dinner and hang out in the airport. The boys are excellent travelers and we’re having a good time waiting for the flight. The Vancouver airport is very comfortable with electrical outlets all over and they provide free internet access to boot.


We bid a fond farwell to Barcelona after an outstanding three day visit. We could have stayed several more days. My first visit to the city was in 1981 and I hadn’t been back since. Barcelona was a much fun in 2010 as it was in 1981. We crammed seven people and 14 pieces of luggage into a Volkswagen van and while it was a challenge getting everyone in it was surprisingly comfortable once we got on the road. We arrived in Carcassonne late afternoon Thursday. We’re staying in the same B&B we stayed in during our 2008 visit called Le Jardin de la Cite and it is absolutely wonderful. The owners (a mother and son) treated us to a superb dinner and we sat around the table and talked until nearly midnight. We visit the walled city on Friday.

The boys standing next to a sign advertising our favorite drink, horchata de chufa. Sort of a sweet milk concoction. When we traveled in Spain during 1981 we drank a ton of horchata and I remembered it as being delicious and that memory did not disappoint this trip!

Our B&B is wonderful, complete with a pool which is nice on the 100+ degree days typical of Carcassonne this time of year.

Stonehenge & Bath

We departed Crediton with one last play date with David, Alex, and Rosie. The boys absolutely love playing with Rosie and it has been one of the highlights of the trip. We drove to Stonehenge and the site exceeded my expectations. Even though there is a rope fence around the structure, you can still get relatively close. It is beautiful site and the audio tour provided was excellent. David and Alex enjoyed it as well, particularly Alex. We then drove into Bath and watched England lose to Germany 4-1 in the World Cup. It was not a good game for England. I did laundry, then we went to dinner, and finished the day in the Royal Victoria Park which is about a 10 minute walk from our B&B. Terrific park. Tomorrow we’re check out the Roman baths and Bath Abbey.

One last time with Rosie (under the table) and Mattie.

A procession of people leaving Stonehenge just after we arrived. I have no idea who they were but they had access to the monument.

David and Alex with the audio guides in front of Stonehenge. It was a surprisingly good site.

Alex climbed (quickly) to the top of a structure in Royal Victoria Park.

David made it up, too.

Jenny goes home!

Well – I took Jenny to the airport this morning!  Her trip has ended.  It was a wonderful adventure for all of us. We loved having her visit and I know she enjoyed Seattle and getting to know America very much!

We are already talking about plans for next year!! Can’t wait to get together again. We will always remember our special summer with Jenny!!

Jenny getting ready to walk to the boys to school.

Bye bye Jenny!!!!!

Jenny plays badmitton

Today was a quiet day. I’m not sure about Jenny – but I am exhausted!  Jenny was supposed to go on a boating trip with a friend – but it was cloudy and rainy so they decided not to go.   Hopefully they can go next week.

So we played in the park.  Cat and mouse.  Jenny was the cat and caught us all easily. I told her I am so old that she should only WALK when she chases me.  She caught me anyway!  Then we came back and played a bit of badmitton in the back yard.

Tonight there is English Talk Time at the library.  It is a time for people who are learning English to get together and practice a bit. I think there is a teacher who leads the discussion. Jenny doesn’t want to go – but I think it would be good for her. It is only for 1 hour. I’m making her go. I told her – if we called Marlene – Marlene would say – GO!     We’ll see how it is. 

Tomorrow  Jenny has to get up at 6am to go to the gym with Richard. They will have fun together.   Then she can visit his office. I’ll pick her up at the office and we’ll do something interesting. Then in the evening -they are going to a baseball game!

Jenny and Alex on a hike.

The waterfall on the hike.

Jenny – “The waitress” – serving doughnuts at David’s school.

Jenny helped stuff envelopes for “1st day of school” – she liked listening to all the women talk.

Jenny and me playing badmitton.

Jenny Arrives chez Nous!!

Our French adventure continues with Jenny coming to visit us for a month!  We are so excited to have her visit. She is already learning English quite well. David and Alex have taught her “burp!”  How lovely….

She didn’t seem too tired after a 10 and a half hour flight from Paris.  We visited at the house and then went to the pool for a quick swim. We have lots of activities lined up!  Will try the zoo tomorrow!

Jenny and boys at the Seattle airport!

Last Night in England

Had an easy drive into Dover today. Rich has gotten quite comfortable with the driving here – me – less so. I’ll be happy to switch back to the right side and maybe some wider roads would be nice.   And as much as I *love* navigating for Rich (“Left here honey — oh wait – maybe you should have gone right?”) – we will try to get a GPS system for the France car and hope that relieves some stress for me anyway. (At a minimum  Rich can scold the GPS system instead of me.)

All in all driving wasn’t too bad and we had no major accidents!  

We have both been surprised at the number of road signs we don’t immediately understand. My favorite is the large exclamation point with no description.  It seemed to sum up my feelings much of the time while driving. We called it the “PANIC NOW!!!” sign.  Another was a big red X that at first we thought was “wrong way” – but knew that wasn’t right as all cars were going in that direction. We figured it meant don’t do something but were not sure what. Sometimes it would have “X – for 10 miles” and then “X – end” – and I’d tell Rich – whatever it is – you can start doing it now. (We found out later it was for no stopping on shoulder.)

Don’t complain to the Brits about high gas prices – they are over $9 a gallon here!

After our arrival in Dover – Rich and Alex hiked up to Dover castle which Rich will detail for anyone interested.  David and I took a relaxing walk into town, had a light lunch and checked out the shops.

For dinner we went to a wonderful Italian restaurant. David refused to do one more pub – much to Rich’s disappointment. We had a good meal nonetheless and toasted our last dinner in England.

It has been just great and we are looking forward to France!!

Alex and I had a great three hour walk around Dover Castle today. The castle was built in the late 1100s and was added on to frequently in the subsequent centuries. It had extensive use during WWII and the secret tunnels originally dug for the Napoleonic Wars were significantly expanded. The evacuation of Dunkirk and the naval operations for D-Day were supervised from the tunnels in Dover Castle.

Gas prices – 1.17 pounds for a litre. Equates to over $9 a gallon.

Dover Castle

Way home from Dinner – last night in England!