Kailua, HI: Adventure Day

As with kids on vacation we slept terribly. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ Linc woke us up at 4am with a coughing spell. Then again for the day about 7am. We tried to keep them as quiet as possible in the room. But is it just our kids or does their volume suddenly just increase?!

We walked to the grocery store and got breakfast. Enjoyed some Jamba Juice!

Then we put Ty to work assembling the bikes while the kids and I played in the lagoon and the pool. 😁

At least he had a good view!

He finished around lunchtime. So we dropped the bikes off in storage and took the boxes up to the room to put our suitcases in them. Then Ty got to relax at the pool. That was all on our agenda for the rest of the day!

When in Hawaii, you have to enjoy the shave ice right?!

By the end of the afternoon L was coughing a lot. So we went upstairs to shower and get packed up. By the time we were ready he just about fell asleep on the bed. We managed to drag him across the street to dinner.

He ate about half before he was wiped out. By this point I was getting pretty concerned we would end up in the Hawaiian ER again due to his asthma.

Coughing break on our way back to the room. The inhaler we had brought, along with the kids cough meds weren’t helping him at all. Thankfully I remembered I had brought a single dose steroid. This is exactly what they would give him if we went to the ER. So I gave him that and he quickly fell asleep.

Meanwhile Ty and R finished their dinner and had a photo shoot on the way back. 😍

We went to bed hopeful for some more sleep and a healthier L in the morning.

Anchorage, AK to Kona, HI: Travel Day

So Ty’s quite the cyclist. He’s ridden across the US, Florida, and recently did a ride with a buddy from Croatia to Greece. So he decided it was time to drag his family along with him. πŸ˜‰

We knew we wanted to spend Spring Break somewhere, he found a good airfare to Kona and started researching if we could actually ride our bikes around the island. Thanks to Alaska Airlines great baggage rules we figured out how to make this happen! One kiddo will be riding a trail-a-bike behind me. The other kiddo can take a break in the Chariot behind Ty. Everyone seems excited for this adventure, and let’s hope it goes well, Ty already has another ride planned for us across Europe this spring! πŸ€ͺ

So we left the Monday of Spring Break, in the afternoon. It was such a nice time to leave. No red eye flight. Not waking the kids up or keeping them up late. But we did have to arrange my mom to drive Ty’s truck to the airport so we could get two bike boxes, a chariot stroller, and four small carry one suitcases in one vehicle. It sounds like a lot but we will manage to carry all our stuff with us in 4 paneers on our bikes. We will leave he suitcases and bike boxes at our hotel and get them when we come back around the island.

Testing out the chariot capabilities at the airport. Felt funny to travel with a stroller again. R basically squeezes herself into it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Also should note that of course, L went to bed Sunday night and suddenly developed a cough. πŸ™„ It didn’t seem too bad, just this annoying dry cough that nothing seemed to help.

The flight was fine, 6.5 hours of uneventful flying. Always what we hope for!

Landed at 9ish. Got our bags, and Ty scored free mileage for the baggage delay, like he always does! I was so glad we had arranged a van to meet us at the airport. It made traveling with giant bike boxes a breeze. Dropped off at our hotel and threw everyone into bed.

Tomorrow Ty works on putting all the bike pieces back together again. While the kids and I enjoy the beach and the pool. Life is good!

London, England to New York to Alaska: Travel Days

Our flight out of London was early morning. We left the hotel about 6am after a few hours of sleep. Security and checking in was no big deal. So we had a bit of time to find a lounge. It wasn’t anything fabulous but as always they’re so nice to get away from the hub-bub of the main terminals.

We got onto our flight and that’s when we got the best surprise. It was such an empty flight! Ty’s seat was in the middle three seats and no one else was in his row. So I moved over and the kids had three seats to themselves while Ty and I shared three seats. It was glorious!! Just not feeling crammed or confined made it such a delightful flight. Best international flight we’ve had!

We made it through customs quickly due to Ty using MobilPass. It’s such a great app! Our hotel in New York which Ty booked specifically because it had a pool, however the pool was closed. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ why they closed an indoor pool for the season makes no sense.

So instead of being able to burn some energy we had two kids stuck in a hotel room. We resorted to taking the kids to the hotel gym and working them out. πŸ˜„

We ordered some room service for dinner and crashed early. The past few days our schedules were so crazy so we were ok with extra sleep.

We also had to get up early, again, for our flight from New York to Portland. Thankfully the flights were easy and we had no issues.

Enjoying the lounge before our flight.

We flew New York to Portland to Seattle to Anchorage. Which sounds more miserable than it was. It really only added about an extra two hours to our day.

There really was nothing better than arriving back home. Even with all the snow and cold back in Alaska!

London, England: Adventure Day (Harry Potter Studio Tour Day!) Part 2

The saga continues πŸ˜„ My kids were totally freaked out by the Forbidden Forrest. Till the workers shared a secret with them. Aragog, Hagrid’s giant spider was made using coconut fur/hair. They LOVED this movie magic and it totally eliminated he scary factor.

We then got to explore Platform 9 3/4. You can walk through the train carriages and take blue screen photos on the train, pretending dementors are after you. πŸ˜†

We finally made it to the cafeteria area. This had something we’d all been looking forward too, Butterbeer!!!

Ty and the kids ended up trying Butterbeer ice cream, while I stuck with the original cold drink. Mine was way better!!!

We also took some time here to finish our lunches πŸ˜‰ and listen to all the extras on the audio guide. It was nice to do this while sitting down and we didn’t feel rushed.

They then have some outside sets, the Knight Bus, The Dursley’s House, Harry’s Parents Home, Serius Blacks motorcycle. All while movie studio fake snow was falling. It was so fun!

After being outside you can explore the special effects rooms. Again the amount of detail that when into every bit of these movies was overwhelming! They brought in a bird specialist so they could get the feather pattern on the Hippogriff (a made up animal!) as realistic as possible. 😳 That is just one example of how accurately they tried to portray every element of these movies.

We walked through Diagon Alley. It was so fun and you wanted to enter every shop!

Final part of the tour was the scale models and the artistic portrayals. Beautiful and incredible!

In the entry they have these life size photos of the cast, you can measure up against your favorites.

The best day!

So exhausting but so incredible. But now it’s 6pm. We had to catch the bus back to the train. The train was so full we had the kids sitting on our laps for the 45 minute ride. Then we switched to the Underground for another 30 minute ride. Went to our hotel and got our suitcases before getting back on the Underground for another 30 minute ride to the airport. πŸ€ͺ Our new hotel had a shuttle from the airport but by this point we were wrecked. So we booked ourselves an airport taxi. But not just any old taxi. It was a Tesla! Ty fell in love on that ten minute ride. Meanwhile I was just trying to keep R from getting car sick.

We finally made it to our hotel and threw everyone in bed. Since we were going to get up at 5am to make our flight to New York. Gosh London was a whirlwind but it was so amazing!

London, England: Adventure Day (Harry Potter Studio Tour Day!) Part 1

So to be completely honest the entire reason we came back to London this year, was to go to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. Ty and I were HP fans already. We started the kids on the audiobooks about two years ago. They fell for the stories, hard! The kids and I have listened to the entire series about 4 or 5 times, entirely now. It’s what we listen to anytime we’re in the car. So we knew this was going to be a wonderful experience!

We didn’t have entrance tickets till 1pm, so we walked around downtown London from our hotel. Played at a playground and the started taking the train out to HP. It’s about a 25 minute ride. From there you jump on a dedicated HP bus which takes you right to the studio. Ty had read that if it’s not busy they may let you in ahead of your scheduled time. So we decided to go for it, and we managed to get in right after noon.

(Be forewarned there is an excessive amount of HP associated photos in this post.)

I’m so proud of Ty on this day. He not only booked us the audio tour headsets, he got us the Official Guidebook, and he tolerated/supported the numerous gift shop stops throughout the tour! πŸ™‚

They also have these great little Passports (for free!) that you can grab at the entrance. It has you searching for snitches throughout the tour, and you get embossed stamps as well. It’s a great way to engage younger tour participants, or those who maybe aren’t huge fans. We were so busy looking at everything, we didn’t bother too much with the snitch hunt. But my kids did enjoy the embossing machines.

They first show you a short clip about the studio and the history of the movies being made there. Then they take you right up to the entrance of the Grand Hall and you start the tour by walking through it. It was all dressed up for Christmas and was a great way to start the tour. It was a bit rushed since they continuously start off new tour groups in there. So if you’re hoping to linger and really enjoy the details, you just don’t get that kind of time.

The audio headsets were great, for giving full details about each station, along with additional video clips, and still photos. We’d read the average person can see everything in 3 hours. We got in just after noon, and left just after 6pm. And personally, this felt very rushed! Looking back at Ty’s photos, there was a whole area that I missed! So if you’re true fans, please allow yourselves plenty of time.

From here we got to see the Gryffindor Common Room and the boys dormitory.

More costumes and amazing set pieces.

We got to walk through Dumbledors office. The attention to detail was incredible! It must have been an amazing experience to work on these movies.

They had a fun quidditch exhibit and we could practice our broom skills. πŸ˜‰

The burrow!

They had a dueling station thy was interactive. It was so neat, and the kids got to practice their moves!

More amazing set pieces.

They had a small set of the Forbidden Forest.

I’m going to end this post here. There’s plenty more to come from the day and this was about where we snuck into the bathrooms to take a belated lunch break! πŸ˜† We were no where near the cafeteria area and we desperately needed to refuel. So yeah, we blocked the handicap stall for like 5 minutes to stuff our faces and had a line of people waiting on us when we left. (Shame!)

Fez, Morocco to London, England: Travel Day

So I’ll start off by saying, Fez wasn’t how I would have liked to end our time in Morocco. We loved everywhere else we went. We would have scheduled less driving, but we were so pleased with all that we saw. The Medina in Fez was just a really difficult place to end our time in Morocco. I don’t want it to seem like we/I didn’t fully enjoy our experience. Fez was just truly difficult to navigate, to tolerate due to the noise, the smells, the constant barrage of hassling on the street. It was just completely different from every other place we stayed in Morocco. It didn’t help 3/4-1/2 of us were having stomach issues by this point, and food was very difficult to come by.

Anyway, so we start off this day at 4:30am, waking to do our final packing, get the kids dressed and ready so our host can pick us up by 5am. He finally shows up at 5:15, asking ‘am I late?’ Ugh! We get to the airport and then he wants us to pay for our airport rides. This was something that was posted on Air BnB as covered with the rental. We give him was money we have left, then confront about the unexpected cost. Amazingly they were then fine, with what we’ve paid.

Morocco has beautiful airports but their security is crazy! Never complain again about security in the US. We were screened getting into the building. We checked in at the counter, and went through the regular security screening.

By this point Ty was banking on the lounge for ‘real/safe’ food to eat. We were so happy to see it, however, it was the smallest lounge we have ever been to!

Yep, this is, it! But it had free drinks, croissants, and yogurt, so we were happy.

There is a security screening again before you can go to your gate. Ty got flagged but the kids and I didn’t. So we jumped on the plane and had our fingers crossed for Ty. He passed security but they tried to charge him for an extra bag. He had to wait while they verified that there were 4 of us traveling with him. They finally let him get on, and we were so happy to be leaving Morocco. (This is sad to say, since we really loved the country!)

Three hours of blissful iPad, and iPhone time for all of us. We landed in London and it was like a breath of fresh air from the get go. We went to the bathroom without any attendants hassling us for money. There were trash cans, soap, plenty of paper towels! I swear, it’s the little things that make all the difference.

The fun ended soon after our bathroom break though. We hit the line for customs and it was LONG! We waited over an hour before we actually hit the part that was the snaked dividers. This was of course, where three people tried to sneak into the line. The people ahead of us, managed to throw a fit and push them back. Then it became a battle between myself, the lovely woman behind me and the line cutters. Even Ty (my non-confrontational husband) exchanged some words with them! I finally cut them off at a turn around point. The lovely woman behind me pushed right past them to do the same. But they maintained their place in line, an hour ahead of where they should have been. It sounds so petty and minor but I swear it’s one of those moments that can cause a riot.

It took us over three hours from getting off our plane to getting through customs. It was BRUTAL! But the kids survived, and so did we. I was so happy to see that little grocery store they have outside the Underground. So much for us having an early check in and exploring for the day in London.

We found the train we needed into downtown and we thought it was the direct line. Well apparently something had been stuck on the tracks. So we had the slowest train ride. It stopped numerous times, and went so slowly through every stop. It was just like one more thing that wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t going our way.

We finally get out at our stop and it was glorious to be back in London. Even if it only was for two days.

Ty was still feeling poorly, but the kids and I were restless. So I found the British Library on Trip Advisor. I figured out how to get us there on the Underground, and we were off! It was so nice to feel comfortable traveling on my own again.

The library was a bit of a bust for us. We were hoping for a kids area, that we could just relax in, and read some books. This was a bit too high brow for that though, more exhibits, and rare displays I think.

L was starting to fade so we left the library soon after arriving. But we had to go back through Kings Cross station and they have a half trolley there at Platform 9 3/4, along with a Harry Potter store. So we found it and check that out for a bit, before I realized we were going to be late meeting Ty for dinner.

We got back to the Tube, found our train and squished in with all the other evening commuters. Poor Ty expected us about an hour earlier so he was getting nervous for us. But all was fine. We met up and went to an Indian restaurant he had researched. It was extremely fancy, with candles and fine table linens. I was a bit nervous for how the kiddos would do. But it was worth any stress I may have had. The meal was so delicious!! By the end the kids were falling asleep. So we whisked them back to the hotel, and threw them into bed. All excited with the knowledge that the next day we would be visiting Harry Potter Studio for the tour!!!! This was pretty much our whole reason for coming back to London. πŸ™‚

Fez, Morocco: Adventure Day 2 (kind of)

It was another rough night of sleep in Fez! Not surprisingly though The local leather cobbler is right next door. He bangs always with his wooden mallet till 11:30. Call to prayer is at 5am, the roosters, and local large dog, start making a racket around 4am. It’s extremely loud in this Medina.

L and I tried to sleep in as long as possible, since we had quarantined ourselves from the sickies. We even stayed in our room and watched some shows after we woke up. Once it became apparent that the others were awake. We got up and had some breakfast of toast, jam, and hard boiled eggs. The same food we’ve been eating for days around here!

It appeared R and Ty were on the mend enough to leave the house. We made a plan to get out of the Medina and have some sun on our faces! Ty said he found some hiking trails just outside the gate so we went for it.

Turns out those hiking trails were through a cemetery and a garbage dump. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ Oh well, we’re not too picky. However, may I just say, from what we have been exposed to, Fez has a rather unpleasant smell about the whole town. I think it’s a bad combination between the tanneries and the garbage that is just everywhere.

This family was getting their drinking water from what appeared to be a still pool of water, in the middle of a cemetery. My greatest takeaway from this way how thankful I should be for my VERY easy life!

We did find some old castle ruins.

We played some Crazy 8’s here on the mountain top. Then we made our way to a bit of a neighborhood square. We finally got to mail some postcards to friends and family.

Then we hit a local bakery for some ok sweets. Think fennel cookies, or dates instead of chocolate. No one overdoes the sugar like we do in the US.

We made our way back through the ruins/garbage to the Medina.

The kids found some seashells, literally buried in the hillside. They may actually be fossils! We couldn’t figure out why else they would be there, amongst the trash.

We passed by where all the hides are dried once they have been tanned, and dyed. It again, smelled as lovely as you’d imagine.

We then wound our way back into the labyrinth of the Medina for a few hours of rest at home. More card playing and iPad watching.

We did rouse ourselves to attempted dinner out again. We did a bit of lackluster shopping. We also completed a wishlist item of R’s, to get some henna tattoos.

L got jealous once he saw how cool it was. I needed some too of course. But she started running out of henna, so I got what was left.

We had hoped to get some Thai food for dinner but they didn’t open for another hour and half at this point. So we ended up back at the Chinese food restaurant. Just because we couldn’t handle kebabs and fries any more. (We’re totally burnt out on Morocco at this point, Sorry if I’m starting to sound whiney) We had half of what we ordered at the restaurant and left all this food. It felt so privileged to do this, as boys where popping in from the street to slyly beg us for money.

We were happy to head home knowing this would be our last night in the Medina.

Again the leather cobblers were at work till 11:30pm. Again the dogs and roosters were going crazy. It was another night of less than wonderful sleep. But we went to bed content with the knowledge, we were headed to London in the morning. 5am, early morning to be exact!

Fez, Morocco: Adventure Day (kind of)

Well last night was a bust as well! I woke up with L in my bed, and could hear talking downstairs. I found Ty in the bathroom with R. He had made her a nest of pillows and blankets by the toilet. They were FaceTiming my mom for support.

R was a mess. She hadn’t gotten sick, but felt extremely nauseous. She seemed to have a bit of a fever as well. I gave her some Pepto and Tylenol. Then tried to get her to eat some bread. We lounged around most of the morning. The kids did some school work on the iPad. Ty took a nap since he’d spent most of the night up with R.

The kids watched some shows, while I messed with the blog. The internet is good, unless I want to add photos.

Finally about 1pm I was going stir crazy and ready to leave the house. So Ty found us a Chinese restaurant and we set off. (We’re so sick of grilled meat and French fries, we needed something different!)

We found the restaurant and thank goodness it was wonderful! No one spoke English and we don’t speak Chinese or French. (French is the second language here, after Arabic) But with lots of pointing we managed to order some very yummy food.

The second goal of the day was to visit the tanneries. It’s what Fez is known for. So Ty located them on the map and we set off. These streets are like nothing I’ve ever seen before. There are just walls of buildings everywhere. So you can’t actually get out unless you go to these very specific gates. It’s very labyrinth like, and dark, and old, and a touch uncomfortable. I honestly don’t feel like I can describe them adequately. There are houses on some streets, food vendors on others, restaurants, and trash heaps everywhere. There is no such thing as a trash can Trash collection appears to be a few workers with stick brooms that come out early in the morning. Its. Very. Different.

Anyway, thank goodness for GPS, we were able to find the tannery. Well actually when you get any where close to it the locals start pointing you in the right direction. Finally I gave in, and followed a local “worker” into this sketchy building to “view the tannery”. It felt like one of those moments that they warn tourists not to go off into unknown areas. Ty scoffs at me though, I swear as a man, he has never had a twinge of unease in Morocco. I have had a very different feeling about the place.

Again, anyway, this worker led us up through these leather shops to a viewing platform. From here you can see the workers below in the tannery. It was the oldest tannery in all of Morocco. It smelled just as terribly as everyone says it would. But it was something to witness!

https://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/img_2540.mov

(Perhaps this short video will show the experience a bit)

After the tannery, we wound our way back to our house. Settled in for the afternoon, gave those who needed it more meds. By this time Ty was really feeling terrible. I was hoping he would perk up a bit more for dinner. But he and R really went down hill quickly.

L and I were left scrambling. We had not enough water for everyone. Just a bit of dried out bread, and not much else for dinner. Also we were short on funds, and needed more cash. Since apparently everyone, only takes cash in Morocco! With much trepidation L and I ventured out onto the streets of the MΓ©dina. With Ty’s phone at 30% battery life as our guide.

It was a major struggle to not only try and find our way in the streets but to then try and locate an ATM. We finally came across a Western Union, which I then was able to get some minor directions to an ATM. That ATM after we finally found it, wouldn’t work. Ugh!! This took us about an hour, to accomplish. We wandered back towards out house, and ran across another vendor we had dealt with earlier. He was able to again give me vague directions toward another ATM. Another half hour of blindly walking up hill, we found an ATM that worked!

By this point, I was over being harassed by local sellers, lost amongst sketchy streets, no really knowing where I was going, it was such an overload. We brought some more bread, eggs, and yogurt drinks from a little quick stop. Then I let L buy a bunch of candy as a reward for being dragged everywhere with me. L, by the way, was loving this adventure through the streets. He would run up and down the hills as fast as he could through the crowds. This kid has so much energy, it’s boggling!

Then we attempted to head back home. This was a whole other challenge. Trying to get somewhere specific was extremely difficult. Especially when you wouldn’t be anywhere on the map. Just in the middle of some streets.

After almost two hours of being gone, and we were close to home, but I was struggling, I gave in to some assistance from the street kids. They’re always hassling as you walk by. In a kind way, saying hi, asking where you’re from, if you’ll give them money. Well this kid offered to show us the way home. So we went with him, and he was able to ask along the way, and got us home much faster than I would have. He of course wanted payment for his ‘service’ but what I offered was apparently too low, so he turned down my money.

We were so happy to be home. R had been sleeping this whole time, she went straight back to bed. Ty was glad to see us safe and went to bed soon after.

I was proud of myself for making it through that adventure, however I had no wish to repeat it any time soon!

Chefchaouen, Morocco: Adventure Day

We had stayed in another of the Air BnB host’s houses, because he said there was a heating issue at our rental. But that it was fixed and we would be going over to that unit this morning. He brought us breakfast at 9:30. It was delicious and quite the spread. It was nice not to have to immediately go out searching for food.

Then we packed up and he moved us to our original rental unit. That was just being cleaned, so we dropped our bags, and would come back later. I’m assuming he’d actually double booked our rental, and that’s why we had the house switch. But really, it wasn’t a big deal.

We decided to go up hiking a bit. To get away from the crowds of tourists. This place is like Instagram overload. Every single corner is crazy beautiful with all this blue!

That last photo was from the interior of the first house we stayed in!

The kids have become picture posing superstars. It’s kind of ridiculous, but in a fun way.

Here I am replicating a pose I had just witnessed. I swear it! The posed tourist photo shoots are hilarious.

Our plan was to walk up and around Old Town, making our way to the Spanish Monastery up on a hill. But we must have overshot the trail. We ended up hiking a few miles up this trail. It was a beautiful overlook, but we had a large valley in between us and the monastery.

Our only option was to come back down our same route. We ended up at a playground of course.

We walked back into the Old Town and found ourselves a little cafe in the sun.

Then we decided to wander around a bit. Found ourselves a trail through the cemetery up to the sunset point. It was a lovely spot to view the entire city.

We found ourselves the regular path back down. A fresh orange juice vendor was conveniently located right there along with a man hand cranking cotton candy!

Lots of vendors all over, people in traditional garb, and even a guy with a ostrich and a parakeet that you could pose with for pictures.

We wandered home back through the streets of blue.

Our house is apparently more of a hostel than our own place. We have two rooms and the host provided us with a lock for our door. It’s definitely different then advertised.

We grabbed a couple of baked goods and some yogurts for dinner from a local quick shop. None of us felt like going out and walking about any more.

Settled the kids into their bed for the night then Ty and I stayed up watching Bird Box. So intense!!! Then we tried to sleep while listening to people banging on the front door. Cats getting into fights in the street. R fell out of bed because L was hogging it πŸ™„

So I traded with her and soon realized why L was hogging the bed. It was slanted so the person not against the wall was falling out.

I was able to get a few hours of sleep but R was up most of the night with an upset tummy. It didn’t bode well for our day of driving tomorrow.

Chefchaouen to Fez, Morocco: Travel Day

After another rough night of sleep. R spent most of the night going to the bathroom so nauseous. We were provided breakfast on the terrace upstairs with the other boarders. Breakfast is simple but good. They have these flat crepe/pancakes that are wonderful with butter and jam. Usually hot milk, that the kids add cocoa and sugar to. Eggs scrambled and cooked in a skillet and lots more bread options. They love their bread in Morocco!

R and I battled some more tummy issues and we packed up our stuff, and walked out of the Old Town to our car. Getting a better look at the map and the roads, we decided to take the route that was a bit more mileage but much better roads! We also realized that with upset tummies our 3.5 hour drive might be much longer.

(Can you believe those plastic jugs?!)

We did stop a few times on our own. We were also stopped once by the radar cops. They literally had a radar gun, and a couple of plastic chairs by the side of the road. They nailed us and some other foreign couple for going 7kms over the speed limit. (Rolling eyes) But it wasn’t too expensive and so we paid and went on our way. No idea why, since it was Sunday but those radar cops where all over the roads this day!

We stopped for lunch in some random town. The first place we went to only had fish soup. Which I new wasn’t going to sit easily on our sensitive stomachs. So we walked next door to the large fancy restaurant. This turned out to be one of our worst meals of the trip, and most expensive! I ordered chicken and steak kebabs for the kids and I. The steak was way over seasoned, and super chewy. The chicken seemed to be a bit better at least. Lunch took a long time too. It was about an hour stop.

Back on the road we made it with only one or two more stops. The roads were much improved this way. However, it still took us about 5.5 hours to drive back to the airport in Fez.

Once there, we met the driver for our Air BnB. He took us through the new city, to the Old Town Medina. They have to park outside the wall, and someone gathers all your suitcases and backpacks into a cart. Then someone else showed us the way into the Medina, to our house.

This house is lovely. Narrow, but it goes up about 4 floors to the roof terrace. Best of all, we had it all to ourselves!

They welcomed us with mint tea and some snacks. Then I got R snuggled into her jammies and tucked into bed. She had a bit of a fever, and the aches. Ty and L went out to try and find some food. But with the maze that this place is, all he was able to come back with for dinner was some yogurt drinks, a loaf of bread, some jam, and a bottle of water. It was sparse…

We were all exhausted from the day and settled the kids in to bed. Then Ty and I took the top room. Which the host proclaimed to be the best! We have no idea why, after staying here for a few days. It’s right on the narrow alley. So everyone who walks by sounds like they’re right outside your wall. There’s a leather cobblers shop right next door, and they spend hours banging on the leather with a wooden mallet. They seem to shut down about 11:30pm. Then there’s the call to prayer, five times a day, that’s blasted over their speakers. The excessive cat and dog fights. Are you getting the sense that this place is a cacophony of noise!?

After very little/no sleep the night before I finally put Ty in charge of listening for the kids, while I put in ear plugs, and placed a pillow over my head. I was finally able to fall asleep just past midnight.