A really good friend was staying up in Birmingham, Washington for a couple weeks and asked me to spend the weekend. Why not! Something different than the normal routine and anything for this amazing woman.
Six hour drive on a Friday afternoon, we spent the Saturday up in Vancouver, BC, before heading back to Portland on Sunday. Short trip but a lot of laughs, long talks, and no moment with Ruby is uneventful.
With my expected end date of July 1st, we thought ahead and planned a month traveling around Germany, Netherlands, and Czech Republic. Unfortunately/Fortunately, I was extended through to 2020... meaning, we would be cutting our Europe trip a couple weeks short. Two and a half weeks is still not a bad vacation. And honestly, I don't think the kid could have lasted much longer. He was exhausted.
Putting my mind to something other than what was going on at work, I planned what I wanted to see in each city/town/country... within a reasonable distance. Planned the number of days per location, and then narrowed it down to 10 (sadly only 10) attractions per main city... with of course, the expectation that Rehan would do his best to sabotage "the plan".
One day layover, with enough time to find the pizza we had over 10 years ago. It was still there and looked exactly the same.
The plan was to visit 10 attractions within each city, in a particular order and the least amount of walking, totaling ~3 hours on foot if we didn't include the time at each location.
First thing in Amsterdam, get tickets for Anne Frank House. This is not easy. Online only, and everyday you need to log onto their site starting at 9am and refresh every hour until tickets appear (thats if you didn't get tickets one month in advance). Day 1, no tickets so we started through my checklist of places to see and they had to listen to me recite the fun facts of history I read about each location.
Day 2: after a couple hours I finally scored 3 tickets for the afternoon. Yes, it was during the world cup soccer match between USA and Netherlands... Whoops! That would have been something to see. Americans in Netherlands, during a major sporting event against each other. Instead, we were walking through Anne Frank house experiencing a completely different vibe.
The checklist for Amsterdam went a little easier than expected. Especially with our legs still fresh, no back pain, and feeling "alright", we took a train to Leiden to visit a friend we met last year in Peru.
By this point, Rehan was starting to get antsy. He wanted to stray away from "the plan". Berlin got broken up into two days. One day in the order I was suggesting. Day two, what we didn't see on day one, and in reverse order because Rehan has a hard time following instruction. Again, both of them listening to me recite historical facts as we approach, walk through, and leave each of the attractions (their personal tour guide).
Here's where the list became a struggle to complete, with a few alterations and figuring out times each would be open/closed. The kid was exhausted, Rehan was against the list, and the city had so much to see. In addition, we fit in a side trip to Kutna Hora to see the Sedlec Ossuary (bone church) and St. Barbara's Cathedral... unplanned and forcing me to do extra historical research on a town not on my planned path. Still, reciting facts as we approached, walked through, and walked away. Even after walking up a steep hill and out of breath... "okay, this is St. Barbara's bridge resembling St. Charles bridge in Prague and...."
The list is now shot. We used as a general guideline, but the two travel mates have gone rogue. We somehow still finished most everything, barely, but they were against following "the path". I guess after two weeks of 30-40k steps per day might have been a little much. Maybe next time I won't share the plan with them.