So we've finally "settled" back in to Denver. Pictures from our trip will be posted soon.
I have to say this trip to Europe was easily the most difficult trip we've made to date. Why? I think it was because Chase is nearly two. This means she (1) actually realizes she has feelings and wants to do things a certain way, (2) likes to walk in the opposite direction of where we need to go, (3) likes to snack all the time, and (4) is getting way too heavy to carry all-day-long.
We thought we had it all figured out. We have a hip carrier that we carefully placed in the car. And then left it in the car once we got to the airport. By mistake. Or should I say, BIG mistake. We tried to buy a stroller for Chase on three different occasions - and each time Chase shook her head, "no," and arched her back when we tried to place her in it. Hubs even tried not so subliminal methods to influencer her, "see?" he'd say to her (arms burning). "That baby is very happy in his stroller. And look, he can even play with toys and read a book while he's in it." Hubs must have pointed out every stroller he saw on DAY 3. Miss Chase was still adamant she would NOT NOT NOT be one of those happy babies. She was quite happy, thank you very much, being so close to us.
So that aside, she was really an amazing little traveler. Oh, and besides the fact she did not sleep through a single night (and got up the first four to color, read, play), she really did very well. Her parents, on the other hand, were so b-l-e-e-p-i-n-g tired by the end of it, we could barely talk to each other without getting snippy. It didn't help we were both sick out of our heads on the last day and couldn't even hear each other - and couldn't talk any louder because our throats hurt.
But seriously, it was good be out and about again. I found myself with a renewed level of appreciation for our home, our life.
I found there were things I really didn't miss: (1) city air, (2) city playgrounds, (3) rough toilet paper, (4) check out people at the grocery store who are mean, (5) buying things I think are one thing and then finding they are something else (in Budapest I kept meaning to buy yogurt, but ended up with sour cream, quark and something in between. I also wanted to buy milk, but somehow ended up with chocolate milk, cheese that was too strong for Chase to eat, an unidentifiable meat product cut in to slices and sparking water when I wanted still).
But on the bright side of it all, Budapest was really lovely. The weather was warm, the sky was blue. I would, however, compare Budapest to a tired old lady, who used to be exceptionally beautiful, but now has lots of scars. The buildings that were once grand and falling apart. There is little in the way of color (I recall Prague's buildings were all gorgeous terracotta, greens, pale yellows, creams). The streets are larger and straighter (as compared to Prague's winding, cobblestones). Budapest was bigger (sort like how Seattle is to Portland). And there wasn't much in the way of a local art scene (Prague was filled with galleries).
But there was great food (goulash, stuffed cabbage, strudel). And most likely a great night life - although Hubs and I were back at the hotel by 8:30 p.m. each night. If one was young and hip, and without a toddler in tow, one might really enjoy it there.
We were really lucky in the hotel we selected (Hotel Starlight). It was inexpensive and clean. The room was large and had a living room, bedroom and large bathroom. The location couldn't be beat, and there was a playground right down the street that Chase loved. The only down side was that there wasn't a kitchen in the hotel, so we had to fly by the seat of our pants when it came to feeding Chase.
Lessons learned on this trip? We are definitely not doing any "city breaks" again anytime soon. I think from here on out we're going to be resort-bound --- at least for a little while.