Europe - July 2017
T-9 - pre-departure
Wednesday 19th July
Shit just got real. Yesterday, I bought some Pounds & Euros. This is a very tangible reminder that we’re now getting very close. It’s also another reminder of just how much this trip is eating into my bank balance…but I digress. In addition to the ready cash, I’ve also arranged for a couple of currency bank cards from my bank. This’ll be the first time we’ve used anything like this but the idea is that you can load them up with specific currencies separately. Whilst abroad, you can then use the cards at ATMs to withdraw from that specific currency – at least, that's the theory. To be honest, we’re not entirely sure how much we’ll spend whilst away so I’m covering all bases just in case. My best guess is we’ll spend somewhere between a-shit-ton, mortgaged-up-the-hilt and bankrupt-by-the-time-we-return but we’ll see how we go.
I lost several hours of my life that I’ll never see back again just this week when I sat at the computer to figure out where and how we’re going to eat whilst spending a couple of days at Disneyland Paris. This seemingly simple task is much more complicated than you might imagine. There are dozens of restaurants to choose from. The type of park tickets I bought include two standard meal vouchers. We get to choose two sit down meals during the three days and two nights we're there. Sandy, of course, wanted to get at least one character meal in. This is where you sit and eat whilst the Disney characters come to your table to entertain the kids. I tried to work out the best places to eat, all the while slowly squeezing to the depths of my mind the possibility we’ll ever be able to afford our own home as a result. Anyway, organising where to eat was no mean feat. I not only had to make sure we chose a restaurant that was in the park we will be visiting on the day, but that it was a restaurant that served food that all four of us would eat. One or two of us are somewhat fussy eaters. Of course, I couldn't possibly reveal who. Then there was the problem of making sure we could get a booking. Being high-season, many of the restaurants need to be booked in advance to avoid disappointment. I'm already have visions of hordes of angry, screaming people scrambling and jostling for the buffet after having stood in line for thirty minutes. I'm sure it'll be a very relaxing experience. Anyway, whether we’ll stick to this meal schedule or not remains to be seen but after several hours of trawling through the Disney website, review sites and sifting through the various menus, I eventually landed on this combination:
- Mon 7th Aug 18:30 Le Grange in Disney Village
- Tue 8th Aug 12:30 Plaza Gardens in Disneyland Park
- Tue 8th Aug 18:15 Inventions in Disney Hotel (character meal)
- Wed 9th Aug 12:15 des Stars in Walt Disney Studios Park
Being half board, we also have breakfast for the two nights we're staying at the hotel. I gather that our hotel is undergoing some renovation and they are operating at reduced capacity but it turns out we're allowed to breakfast in the parks themselves so we'll see how that pans out.
The itinerary is now really quite organised for the most part. The one place that still hasn't received much attention by way of research into what we will be doing, however, is Paris. This week, Sandy and I sat together at the laptop to see what’s what. We have two full days – a Saturday and Sunday – in Paris with nothing yet planned so we had a blank slate to work from. Sandy and I have already been to Paris before. It was a long weekend immediately prior to our round the world epic back-packing tour. We had used the opportunity to test out our backpacks and kit to make sure we could travel comfortably with everything we planned to take around the world with us. Paris, therefore, won't be a complete surprise to us and we should feel comfortable enough getting around the major sights. Here's a list of the things we think we'll take in during our two days and nights there:
- Eiffel tower
- Cité des sciences et de l'industrie (science museum)
- Notre Dame
- Père Lachaise Cemetery (photo opportunity)
Whether we tick off all of these Paris sights during our two days and nights there remains to be seen, but we have to start somewhere.