Stockholm Adventures – Day 1

The kids woke us up about 7:30 this morning. We lazed around a bit till we left the house about 9am. Fun fact, there are still some very cool keys to be found in Europe.

Cute kids ready for breakfast.

We saw lots of good looking bakery’s and cafes around our house. So we were excited to find something good. What we didn’t expect was that not many places would be open. Ty spotted a woman placing her menu boards outside so we went to her cafe. The signs all pointed to a good meal, pancakes, Belgian waffles, hot coffee, and chai! But what we found was decidedly less. She didn’t have any pancakes. She hadn’t made the coffee yet. She could really only offer us the Belgian waffles. So we ordered two for the kids only after seeing the prices! We ordered two waffles and three drinks, it was $40! These weren’t homemade waffles either. She pulled premade waffles out of individual plastic bags and heated them in the microwave. πŸ™„ The adults couldn’t believe it. So Ty walked to the 7-11 down the street and found us large yogurts with granola, and fresh yummy rolls for like $15. The kids even got some Pez candy for free!

We’re so glad we came here but we can’t figure out why the cost is so high. Is it the area we are in? Is this just the prices of the region? We’re from Alaska. Nothing is cheap there. We haven’t really been thrown by prices anywhere else in Europe. So we’re also glad we’re only here for three days.

So after our expensive lesson in breakfast foods we walked down to the ferry terminal to go over to the Vasa Museum.

Ty had read that the Vasa Museum was THE museum to go to in Sweden. All we knew what we were going to see a Viking ship. This was so much more! It was incredible! This warship sank in 1628 on its maiden voyage. It never actually got out of the harbor because it was poorly designed. It tipped right over! It stayed buried in the harbor for 333 years until they located it in the 50s. It took two years to raise it from the ocean floor. The statistic that got me was they sprayed it polyethylene glycol for 17 years! To preserve the wood. Can you believe that?! This ship is incredible and the museum presentations were wonderful. Excessive number of pictures to follow


The kids finally dragged us away and Ty had read a good review about the cafe at the Nordic Museum and they mentioned a kid play area right next door to the cafe. Perfect!


However, upon arriving there we find out we have to pay full admission to enter the museum. We had understood the kid area was separate, but adults must be present in the kid area so they charge them full admission. Sneaky! The kids and I went right to the play area while Ty and Papa went to scope out the food situation. Unfortunately again, the food wasn’t as reviewed, much more limited selection and very expensive!

But the bright note is that the kids LOVED the play area. It was set up like a farm house, with chickens, pigs, cows, and a horse hitched up to a wagon. There was a stream they could pull themselves across on a ferry boat thing. There was also a store where you could your necessary items. The details were amazing and the kids played here for hours. It was like stepping into the Little House on the Prairie books. The kids even pretended to load up the wagon, with everything that wasn’t nailed down, as Papa put it. They were going on a journey, ‘across all the states in every country’ according to L. πŸ˜†

They also had a giant Christmas tree and clothes so you could dress up like Santa.

The rest of the museum was so-so. It was a history of the people of Sweden. But an entire floor was focused on the fashion of the people. The furniture and house exhibits were interesting to see but the displays on lighting were a bit dull.

We dragged the kids out of there about 4:30 and decided to walk the mile and a half back to the apartment. The adults needed to stretch their legs. The air was crisp but not freezing.

Oh, R thought it was hilarious to take my hat and have me wear hers.

There was this tree full of gnomes right outside the museum. Some of them even moved!

A few photos of the harbor from our evening walk.

L totally passed out. The carrier gets him every time!

We were hoping for another yummy Indian dinner but the restaurants Ty had found weren’t actually there. Weird. So we ended up at a burger joint again. But the food was delicious and for once not quite as expensive.

We got the kids Home and threw them in the tub.

Papa wanted to do bedtime since we’re all going our separate ways home tomorrow. He spoils them by reading the whole entire long book we got on the Vasa ship. We finally get everyone settled for bed when Ty yells, We’ve got puke! Ugh no words you ever want to hear.

L is usually so good about when he’s going to be sick. He gets up and goes right to the bathroom. But this time I guess he couldn’t. All over the bed, himself, his jammies, his foxy, and his blanket. Poor kid and poor us.

I strip him and the bed. Then thankful for spare beds, we settle him into a clean bed. I try and get as many sheets, blankets and towels as I can into the tiny European wash machine. Since every load takes an hour and a half on the fastest setting and every dry cycle is at least two hours. Why?!? We have to be out by 10am tomorrow so seriously hoping not to leave puke laundry.

About 9pm I hear the familiar sound of retching again. Poor lil man, but thank goodness this time he made it into the trash can by his bed this time. No extra laundry!

No idea why he’s puking. Fingers crossed, prayers said this is just a random ordeal and he is fine tomorrow. Since of course we fly out in the afternoon and are basically homeless as of 10am. Nothing to stress about right?!

Wish us luck!

Prague to Stockholm Travel Day

We’ve made it to country #5!

We had to wake up at6:45am. Tried to get the kids to eat a few muffins or cereal before our driver arrived at 7:30. We triple checked the apartment before leaving πŸ˜‰ and we were off for the airport. Check in went smoothly and like we’ve experienced most everywhere outside the US, Security was fast, efficient, and not a big deal. Why is that?!

With a small wait before boarding they announced our flight. It suddenly became clear why all these people had lined up before there were even agents at our gate. They just said the flight is now boarding, all passengers please come up. It was a total free for all! The passengers were soon lined up all the way to the gate agents and they couldn’t let anyone through till more people got on the plane. Seemed to us like such an inefficient and silly way to load a plane.

We finally get on and get settled. The kids wanted to sit with Papa and Ty and I lucked our with a whole row to ourselves! Best two hour flight! Aside from being surrounded by socks and screaming young kids. Oh we don’t miss those days.

Landed in Stockholm and it was cold! Everything was frosted over. It was very much like coming home to Alaska at 20 degrees.

Grabbed Papa’s suitcase and got ourselves into a bus into the city. It was a beautiful 40 minute drive. The boys sat in the back and R and I sat near the middle. She listened to Harry Potter and was totally content.

< We got off the bus and R was insisting she was SO hot. Didn't want to wear her coat, let alone, hat and mittens. L started screaming because R got in the stroller and he didn't want to be in the carrier. Just one of those moments when you wonder why is this such a big deal?! After walking to the end of the bus station, I think between the cold and the fussing kiddo Papa was ready to spring for a taxi. πŸ˜‰ We were all pretty excited when we saw where our apartment was located. Right next to the Royal Castle! It's a beautiful area of town.

We were too early to check in so we dropped our luggage off and went to find a Thai restaurant Ty had found for us. The food was good but the bill was quite a shock for us. There was a 12% tax and a 20% tax on top of very high prices!

Typical L restaurant behavior. We’re working on it…

After our meal we walked to tourist shops a bit.

Found an incredible church.

Then we went to investigate the Royal Castle. However, it was closing in 45 minutes so we went to the Royal Armory, which was staying open later. Ty had read you can try on actual armor too!

We saw Royal carriages used by Marie Antoinette alone with examples of their clothes. Pretty hard to picture dressing on that style any more.

At this point we learned the armory was closed for a years renovation. We were all bummed and decided we’d had enough exploring and to go get into our apartment.

It’s quite the building. Up two flights of twisty stairs to our door. Up another flight to the kitchen and dining room. Up another flight to the one bathroom and two bedrooms. Then up one more flight to a living room/bunk room. It’s a lot of stairs! One neat feature is the rooftop deck. It’s totally like the scene from Mary Poppins with the chimney sweeps.

Ty and I left the kiddos with Papa while we went to try and get tickets to the ballet. Ty had found this amazing ballet based on Alice in Wonderland. He was super excited for the kids to see it! But much to our disappointment the only seats available were non-visual seats. Which with a ballet is pretty important. ☹️

We were bummed but went exploring for a bit.

We came across some road construction they were doing, in a giant tent! I guess this is how you can extend the road construction season?

We walked back home and grabbed everyone for some dinner. Ty had found a yummy sounding burger joint near us. But when we found it, it was super packed. So we decided to keep walking but the kids were pretty set on having a burger at this point. So when I saw a sign advertising burgers at an Irish Pub we just went for it.

The burgers were good. My fish and chips (haddock) were just fine. But Papa’s Swedish meatballs where apparently dry and flavorless. Lame! Also everything was super expensive again. Nothing like a $20 bar burger!! 😬

We stopped by a mini mart on the way home to get some water and milk and I saw these candies. I couldn’t figure out why you’d want salt flavored candy. Is the other one supposed to be like a piece of charcoal?

walk home is beautiful. Old very narrow streets.

lly got the kids into bed around 8:30. That’s so late for them but on vacation we’ve learned to roll with it.

Only a few days left before we start making our way back home. Excited to see more of Stockholm tomorrow in the day light and fingers crossed not quite so cold!

Prague Adventures – Day 3

Our last full day in Prague and we had no real agenda. We woke up slowly and when everyone was dressed we went back to the most amazing pancake house, Den Noc. It was just as delicious!

We then decided to hit up some playgrounds and walked around the city center a bit.

We had a snack of a potato tornado along with some corn on the cob.

We walked across the Charles Bridge again. The religious statues lining either side are quite something to see.

This playground is right below the bridge.

We through the streets along the river and brought some old muffins to feed the swans again. R was feeling much braver this time!

On our way to another playground the kids were excited to see the baby bun statues again. It’s the little things in life. πŸ˜†

< On our way back to the playground on Shooter's Island. < With a slow meander back to our apartment. Like I said we had no real plans for today. < We gave the kids a bath. Ty and I packed us as best we could. This was the worst leg of our trip for loosing things. L had a pair of pants get left behind in Bratislava. L lost a mitten and his sunglasses. Ty lost his winter hat. πŸ˜• Except for the pants we figured we must have lost these things while we were out walking. Fallen out of a pocket or from the stroller. Since we are usually very good about double checking ourselves before leaving anywhere. But such is life. Ty found us a wonderful Italian restaurant just around the block from our place.

The we treated the kids to one more cone while Ty and Papa enjoyed the ‘turtleneck’ special again.

R was pretending to be the Statue of Liberty. 😍

After the desserts were enjoyed we walked back to our apartment and got everyone settled into bed. We had an early alarm in the morning to make our 9am flight to Stockholm!

Prague Adventures – Day 2

I’m so thankful I woke up feeling back to normal today. Everyone had some cereal (I had a chocolate roll) and we headed out with a goal of seeing the castle today.

We walked across the city center, and over the beautiful bridge again.

Ty being the smart man he is recommended we get breakfast #2 for the kids before heading into the castle since there may not be food there, and L is hungry like every ten minutes. We stopped at a little side street cafe and had a super yummy breakfast of ham, eggs and toast. The building it was in had been around since the 15th century. It was beautifully restored and I loved how they incorporated the old brick with the new.

We started our way up the hill again to the castle. Always stopping for a photo shoot.

Right outside the gates the views of the city were incredible.

We went inside to get tickets and this began a 30 minute meltdown of epic proportions for L. He wanted a snack and I told him he had to wait since we had just eaten breakfast ten minutes earlier. πŸ™„ This set him off to start fussing and screaming so we wouldn’t let him in the stroller with that behavior.

Well it snowballed till we had to remove him from a church we had attempted to see since the employees were freaking out at us. Papa, R, and I went into the church to see it while Ty stayed or with L.


Ty said everyone was staring at them since L was screaming and fussing. A wonderful local woman even came over and tried to console L in Czech. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ I took over after coming out of the church and after about five more minutes I was finally able to distract L a bit. We found the entrance to the church’s tower and he seemed to have calmed enough he wanted to climb it. That seemed to be the end of the freak out, thank goodness! Both kids climbed the tower and enjoyed seeing the big church bells on the way up.

– The views from the top were incredible!

– We climbed down and then it was finally time for a snack. That also seemed to help attitudes. Though how those kids were hungry after the multiple breakfast I have no idea. But we’ve learned, especially while traveling alway have snacks! Food can make a big difference.

We explored the grounds a bit more. They had a big exhibit on the building of the castle and it’s evolution.

– Papa and I then decided we needed to get out of the cold for a bit so it was lunch break at the nearest cafe. They served the best hot chocolate! It was like rich liquid chocolate. No Swiss Miss for them, and it had homemade whipped cream. The kids had yummy chicken strips, while Ty and his dad ate some local fare, schnitzel and goulash.

– After warming up and filling our bellies we headed back out the front gate and continued up the hill. Ty wanted to explore the Petrin Tower, and he’d read there was a mirror maze as well.

The walk up the hill was a bit steep. But again the views are worth it. So neat to be able to look out over the city. We decided against paying to climb another tower. You can see it over Ty’s shoulder here.

– We did pay for the mirror maze. It sounded really fun. It was the oldest mirror maze in Europe, over 100 years.

– The maze part was quite short. I think we’re all just used to things on a bigger scale now. But you can see the woodwork was beautiful. What R especially loved was the fun house mirror area. She was cracking up like mad! Ty tried to capture a few gems of us all.

– After the mirror maze we found a playground right next door to the Funicular.

– We then took the funicular down the hill.

– They’re always a fun little ride. From here we walked to the John Lennon wall. Basically a wall with his photo spray painted on it and graffiti all over it.

– We walked back to the city center and found a little Mexican restaurant. The food was really good! Afterwards we got the kids small ice cream cones.

– Walked home, let the kids play a bit before getting them to bed at a decent hour. Ty and I did some laundry. I’ve been blogging and it’s now 9pm. Happy to have a bit of time to relax before calling it a night.

Tomorrow is our last day in Prague and we don’t have any set plans. R requested getting her portrait done. πŸ˜† It’s nice having a bit of an openday.

Added: Ty just informed me we did 17,000 steps today!! No wonder we’re freaking tired!

Prague Adventures – Day 1

Papa slept in today and since it was Sunday I asked Ty to find out what time mass was near by us. He found a close church that showed a 10am mass so we got dressed and headed out. We walked across the square and were sad to see they were taking down the Christmas market. Our first night here. When we only got a glimpse of it would be our only experience with it.

The church Ty found was beautiful but I had my doubts it was Catholic.

Then the female pastor comes out and I knew for sure it wasn’t! But we stayed and prayed for about 15 minutes. It was cold in that open stone building but they had heated church pew pads and those big outdoor space heaters. The kids read through all the books they got and started to get restless. We didn’t know what they were saying, let alone what we were praying for so we decided to leave. We tried to find another church but all appeared to be done with mass.

So after some quick research Ty found us this amazing and tiny pancake restaurant, called Den Noc right around the corner from our apartment.

We’re already planning on going back on Tuesday. They warned us they would be closed on Monday. ☺️

From there we explored the city square a bit.

< We walked across a beautiful bridge and found a large group of swans. Some people were feeding them and L was trying his best to pet them. R really wanted to but she was freaked out by how aggressive they were. < I found an old granola bar we had that no one wanted so we feed that to the swans to get a little closer to them. They were huge! < R was so proud she actually touched one. πŸ˜„ We walked from there across the city. Why does it seem that most bridges in Europe people feel the need to put locks on?

I loved this nativity. Also check out the blond curls on Jesus!

Found some random statues.

Took some selfies by a cool bridge on Shooter’s Island. L was feeling a bit grumpy so we went with it!

Then we found a small playground that the kids had a blast at. We pretended each section of the ropes course was some new and terribly dangerous situation, volcano, crocodiles, ravenous tiger, and such. Made a simple playground much more entertaining!

We continued alone the edge of the river to an area called Nove Mesto. Everywhere you looked the buildings were incredible. Such details and colors.

We found another playground for the kids. This one on Slovansky Island. This one was better but it was starting to get quite cold so Ty and I moved them along after maybe 15 minutes of playing.

We were slowly making our way back to the apartment but found a super market and stopped for some supplies or the apartment, sandwiches, and donuts for lunch.

We decided to go to another nearby playground and have our lunch there. This playground seemed awfully babyish to us but don’t discount the kids imagination. They had a great time on the three things that were there.

So we ate and let the kids play for a bit before I started to get very cold. We bundled up and headed for the apartment. Making a brief stop for Ls first visit to Hooters! 😳 Just so we could all use the bathroom of course. Thank goodness for those nice waitresses! πŸ˜†

t a nap on the way back in the carrier. We tried to encourage R to nap since we knew it’d be a late night but she wasn’t having it. We got back to the apartment about 4pm and I laid down. Tried to take a nap since I wasn’t feeling that great but napping with kids barging in and out of the room isn’t really a possibility. While I rested a bit Ty researched what shows that evening might be best for all of us to see. A few people had recommended the black light theaters. Ty found one loosely based on Alice in Wonderland so he booked us the 7pm show which was about the earliest he could find.

The show we saw was called Aspects of Alice. It was supposed to be based on the relationship Lewis Carrol had with the sick girl he based Alice on. Honestly the show was a bit trippy/psychedelic. The kids were hoping for something more Alice in Wonderland so trying to explain what it actually was, was hard. But they did good and enjoyed most of the performance. There was a bit with some clowns that had them laughing out loud they loved it so much.

Afterwards they like to show the audience how the show is created. R volunteered to be a helper and they had her dress up as a clown and perform the stunt. It was SO cute! I have a video of it but no idea how to attach it.

is her after the show with Alice and the main clown.

the drindl came back again for last nights show. Gotta look you best when going to a performance right?!

We walked the kids home with Papa and it was about 9pm. Gave them some cereal and left them in Papa’s capable hands to get them to bed. Ty and I took off for a date night!

After being propositioned for some weed right outside our apartment we decided to head into the square and look for food. Neither one of us was that hungry so we actually just grabbed hot dogs from a local vendor. We’re so fancy!

e our meal out took all of ten minutes we decided to go explore, the kids weren’t in bed yet so why go home?

eautiful everywhere you go! I also worked on my ‘tourist’ pose.

hen grabbed a local specialty before heading back to the apartment. They’re called Trdelnik, but I just translate it to turtlenecks. πŸ˜‰ These are made of dough that are wrapped around a large dowel which is then cooked over charcoal. Rolled in cinnamon and sugar then filled with either chocolate sauce, apple strudel, ice cream, or topped with homemade whipped cream and fruit. So good!!

– After devouring one and giving the other to Papa, Ty and I ended the day relaxing with some Stranger Things on Netflix. It was a long but wonderful day!

Bratislava to Prague Travel Day

We lucked out with free hotel breakfast again this morning. The European breakfast buffet is quite the spread! Crepes, waffles, omelets, muffins, smoked salmon, yogurt, cakes, cookies, fresh fruit, and on and on. So many options! We were also the family getting snickered at for wearing our hotel slippers to breakfast. But when you only brought one pair of shoes it’s nice to get a bit of variety.

After breakfast we packed up but left our suitcases at the hotel. We got an Uber to the zoo. Figured it would be a good way to spend a few hours before our 2 o’clock train to Prague.

This zoo was way more impressive then any of us expected.

How cute are those meerkats?! Also you have to get a kick out of signs in different countries.

We did see a guy peeing off the side of a trail later so I guess it’s a necessary sign. πŸ˜’ It was feeding time for the big cats, and they were so close to the glass. Very neat to watch!


They had a Dinosaur Park which was hilarious due to the tarps but also a big hit.


After the Dino Park we hiked up a trail through the woods following the signs for the white rhino. It was quite sketchy, with mud, rocks and leaves all over. An abandoned house off to one side. But sure enough we eventually came up to the backside of some enclosures.


These are supposed to be white rhinos.


The level of security at these places is definitely more lax than in the US. πŸ˜„ So you know us Americans have to push the boundary a bit.

The kids enjoyed the playgrounds before we left.

We went back to the hotel, grabbed our bags and made it to the train station with 40 minutes to spare this time. Much more relaxed! We grabbed some sandwiches and hot dogs for lunch and watched L chase the pigeons.

After our train arrived we got settled in for a 4 hour ride.

Enjoyed some show time and the views along the way.

Arrived in Prague just after 6pm and wonderfully our AirBnB rental offered a driver to pick us up. Such a nice detail not to have to arrange.

After two weeks in hotels it feels good to be in an apartment with a living room and kitchen again. This place is beautiful and located right in the heart of things.

We had a delicious Indian meal. Felt like the kids were a bit frowned upon just for their existence but it wasn’t the worst reception we’ve ever gotten. Ty took the kids back for bed and Papa and I explored the center a bit while trying to find some groceries.

After a small money snafu and wandering the streets a bit, we managed to locate a few small provisions and are now back relaxing in the apartment while the kids sleep. Excited to explore more of Prague tomorrow as I’ve never heard anything but amazing reviews of this place.

Vienna to Bratislava Travel Day

We had a relaxing morning since we knew we could buy tickets to Brastilava almost every hour. We decided not try try and rush breakfast and packing and take the 11:16am train.

We had a leisurely hotel breakfast. The kids went out into the patio and found worms. Which L then tried to feed an apple to. πŸ˜„ Back up to our rooms to finish packing and brush teeth. We lazed a bit and let the kids listen to Harry Potter before finally heading down to check out and get an Uber to the station. But what we didn’t realize was that we’d daudled a bit too much and now our train was leaving in about 20 minutes and we were still at the hotel! Thankfully though the Uber driver was quick, we hopped in and he zipped off. We got the train station with a plan, Ty would go buy the tickets and Papa, the kids, and I would find the platform with the luggage. We made it to the platform just as Ty arrived with the tickets and we had 2 minutes to spare. Guess we shouldn’t have taken things quite so lazily!

An hour riding through the country with various stops. It was relaxing and the kids enjoyed their Peppa Pig time. Also something to note about this train, when you use the toilet and flush all of a sudden you can see straight down to the tracks. 😬 Not so much for plumbing.


I cant stay the train station in Bratislava is my favorite. Smells a bit like garbage around there.


But once we made it to our hotel things perked up for sure.


There were two big draws for us to come to Bratislava, it was only an hour away fro Vienna and they had a hotel that was super cheap points! It cost us just a few hotel points to stay here. (Another big Ty skill is navigating hotel points) Above was a glimpse at our Suite and the kids and Papa have a super big room with two twin beds and a pullout couch. It’s huge! And they gave us free warm cookies upon our arrival. πŸ˜„

We dropped our stuff off and then Ty found us a place nearby for lunch. It was in the mall by the reviews said it had a kid play area next door to it. That’s all we needed to read! What we found was even better. It was a kid play area that they’d incorporated tables into it. For grownups and kids to both enjoy. Why don’t more places do this?! It made for such a relaxing meal. Yes, Ryder is on day three of wearing her drindl.

Vienna Adventures – Day 3

The day started off a little rough for Papa. He needed to stay behind at the hotel due to illness. After another delicious hotel breakfast for ourselves we raced to catch the shuttle going into town.

The shuttle dropped us off in front of the opera house and from there we walked to the Haus der Musik (basically a music museum). It was recommended to us by R’s german teacher who is from Austria.

There were quite a few hands on exhibits which is always nice with kids. I think the giant musical piano keys on the stairs was the favorite.

After listening and playing all the music we walked around the corner to the Sacher Cafe for their famous chocolate cake and hot chocolate. We waited in line about ten minutes before getting a table.

It was an extremely fancy place and our kids were probably the youngest I would take there. The cake was ok, a bit dry perhaps. The hot chocolate was so rich and delicious though!

I’m glad we did it but it was much more of an adult event. Hard to be relaxed and enjoying it when you don’t want your kids to break anything. Also R told the waitress we’re sharing the cake because it’s so expensive. πŸ˜† Kids have no subtlety.

After the cake we walked to St. Stephens Cathedral. It was neat but rather dark inside.

< Ty was stoked for a tour of the catacombs. No idea why but L just wasn't into it. So he started fussing. We would go from room to another room. Then the guide would tell us about each room before moving on. Well about the second room I grabbed L and walked out. He was fussing so much I didn't want him to bother anyone else. We spent the rest of the tour at the back of the group not hearing a thing that was being said. πŸ˜• The tour did seem neat and a bit spooky.

But as soon as we got out, gave the kids snacks, everyone was right as rain again. Food crankies or just being four, no idea.

He was so pleased with this idea!

We walked from here back to the Naschmarkt. The kids requested sushi again for lunch. This we ended up back at the same restaurant as before. It’s a tricky balance between wanting to try new foods and going where you know your kids will actually eat. Here’s how we keep everyone entertained during meal times. Also a gluhwein for myself!

After a late lunch we walked across the city center to the Haus des Meeres (basically an aquarium).

It was neat. Very vertical, I think they has nine floors you could visit. But also quite narrow and not stroller friendly at all! We of course saw the stroller parking area as we were leaving.

They had a little rain forest area with these monkeys just roaming about.

This tank you could put your hand into and the fish nibbles on you. L was all about it but had the worst time holding his hand still long enough for the fish to come close. R was completely freaked out by it but finally put the tips of her fingers just barely in.

She was so proud she finally did it!

By the end of it we were getting a little slap happy I think.

We left there and walked across the city center again to the opera house to catch our shuttle. R fell asleep on the drive so Ty carried her into the hotel. I think a bit of playing possum may have been happening here.

We had some tired kiddos either way and Papa was on the mend. We got them ready for bed and left them in his capable hands. By that point in the evening we didn’t want to walk anywhere else. I did a load of laundry in the hotels one washer. Then Ty and I ordered room service. Which was a total splurge for us.

That salad was amazing!! But we also over tipped because we didn’t realize it was included until later. We’re such novices! It was a nice relaxing last night in Vienna.

The credit card we can’t travel without!

The best thing we have learned to make traveling easier is having the right credit card(s). Theresa mentioned that people have asked about how we get into airport lounges for free and it’s because of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. This is what’s known as a “premium” travel card as it costs $450 per year to have with an annual fee, but you actually come out way ahead with tons of perks which I’ll try to highlight and how we’ve used most of them over and over again.

Right now it comes with a sign up bonus of 50,000 chase ultimate rewards points which is worth $750. These can be used to book flights, cars, hotels, trains etc. You can also transfer them to a particular airline or hotel chain if you prefer. Super flexible, and the great thing is if you use points to fly or stay with a hotel, you still get credit for flying towards yearly airline status versus using an award with the airline where you don’t get the credit. We’re from Alaska and we make it a yearly goal to get to MVP gold status with Alaska Airlines. So if we use chase points, that flight will count towards our 40,000 mile/year goal and we don’t have to pay for it! You also get 3x points when you use the card on travel and restaurants. So when you go out and spend $50 on dinner, you’ll end up with 150 points, so they add up quick. We only use this card to purchase airline tickets or rental cars and we will explain why.

However, were just warming up. You also get a $300 travel credit for each calendar year. This is anything travel as well. Flights, hotels, car rentals, taxis, etc. it’s automatically applied so you don’t have to call and don’t have to chose an airline to spend your credit with other premium $450/year cards like the American Express platinum card which we haven’t gotten yet. The super great thing is you can use this twice in your first year and get reimbursed $600! For example, if you sign up in March you can spend $300 on travel that calendar year and be reimbursed automatically, then again the following year as well as long it’s before your one year anniversary which is March in this example. Amazing!

Our favorite perk is the Priority Pass Select Card which is included and you apply for once you get your reserve card set up through chase’s website. This is a lounge program that has partnered with lounges all over the world and are in most airports that we’ve been to. I’d say 90%. This Priority Pass card comes with the Reserve and you and your immediately family get into the lounges for free, if there is room, which is nearly always the case. So nice to get away from terminal madness, get good wifi for last minute Netflix additions and to grab snacks and drinks for the plane. Most lounges are actually much nicer than the Alaska lounges that we’re accustomed to with our Alaska gold status. Something to put this in perspective, the yearly Alaska lounge passes are $450, just for their lounges only and they aren’t widely available once you leave the west coast. We’re well past the $450/year fee and are still going so bear with me.

We’ve also discovered that some airports actually give you a set dollar amount that you can spend at restaurants. You can use the Priority Pass Card like a credit card. On our current trip we were able to spend $15 euros or roughly $20 per person, so $80 in food and drinks for the four of us if we really wanted to. This has become a fun way to fill up, get good drinks, coffee and an assortment of food for the plane, without it costing us a thing!

Another great perk is you get free TSA pre check or global entry credit. We did global entry since we travel internationally and it’s a huge time saver and stress reliever when you depart from busy airports. We’ve also found that our kids are TSA pre check as well when on our reservation! That’s normally $100/person and lasts for five years. So we haven’t had to pay for our kids to get precheck but we still get the benefit when they’re on our reservation. Yay for getting into the short security line!

You also have primary car rental insurance coverage. No need to get bent over at car counters buying their overpriced insurance, as they will cover you up to $75,000 if you are in an accident…thankfully haven’t used this yet.

You are also covered for flight delays, cancellations or emergencies. You can get $500/traveler if you are delayed or up to $10,000/traveler for a cancelled trip.

You are also covered for $2500 in medical expenses in an emergency. We kept this in mind with L when he had an asthma attack and had to take an ambulance to the hospital. We weren’t as stressed about the cost as we may have been had we not known our credit card offered medical emergency coverage. We’re mid process with our reimbursement now, but I am confident Chase will pay us back. What a relief!

Lots of information out there on this and many other cards. I will have to write a few other posts about credit card churning, hotels, and travel planning etc. If you do want to give the reserve a try…and I obviously think you should then please use the link below and full transparency, that will give us some bonus miles. We’d definitely appreciate it! Let me know if you have specific questions as there is a learning curve to the credit card madness, but it can be very, very rewarding and fun.

My referral link for the Sapphire Reserve

Vienna Adventures – Day 2

We slept in till almost 9 again. I think we’re all a bit thrown by the time change. We enjoyed another wonderful hotel breakfast before taking an Uber to the Schonbrunn Palace.

Due to some excessive lines and bad times for the English speaking guides we decided to go with just the extended audio tour. We had about an hour before our time slot so we walked around the palace and found the King Triton fountain.

We had a bit of a photo shoot at the top of the hill past the fountain.

I wanted to get a photo of R in her drindl and this is what she came up with. 😍


The palace audio tour was very neat but it was pretty crowded with tour groups and pushy people. It also falls a bit short after visiting Versailles. #europetravelproblems πŸ™„ It was good to hear about the royalty that used to rule in Austria but it also got very confusing and none of us could follow the lineage. I was proud how well R did with following the audio tour. L spent the time listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. πŸ˜„ Also no pictures were allowed in the palace.

We left the palace for a late lunch about 2pm and found this amazing Turkish restaurant.