I am sitting in the Amsterdam Schipol Yotel encouraging the kids to brush their hair and get ready for the next leg of our trip.  We all had a fantastic 3-4 hour catnap and feel (slightly?) refreshed.  I only have a few minutes before we need to leave so I'll include what I wrote on the plane many hours ago...;

The last week has been a whirlwind to say the least!  We had friends from Holland staying with us and between staying up late chatting and drinking wine to being a spokesperson for Calgary Tourism my days have been extremely full.  It was so fun, but it also meant that getting ready for this trip took a backseat and it wasn't until literally 24 hours before our flight that I had time to even think about packing.  Of course laundry had to happen first because although Jeff thought it was okay to pack dirty laundry I balked at that… what does this say about my personality?  Or his?  In any case, after working at the office Thursday morning I got home and proceeded to do no less than 7 loads of laundry.  That was an easy task - the difficult part was taking all of those clean clothes and deciding which ones made the cut and were deemed acceptable to come along on the 2012 European adventure.

I pride myself (and my family) in being able to pack for a 3 week trip using only carry-on suitcases.  However… carry-on takes planning (of which I had none) and quite honestly this is a very different trip for us.  Usually we visit 4 - 5 destinations and take the train - all of which warrant the carry-on.  When you are going to many places for short periods of time packing less is much better.  There are various reasons for this, one being the ease of getting in and out of trains (or, alternatively, not having to check luggage on a plane), but it is also good because it is a lot less of your 'stuff' to unpack and re-pack at each destination.

This trip, for us, is very different,  We are going to spend a week in Paris and then two full weeks in the same apartment in Amsterdam.  Plus we have a big family party to attend for my in-laws 40th anniversary and I just don't know what shoes to wear.  Silly!!  Honestly shoes are the biggest problem I encounter with carry-on, and although I have managed to make it work every time I still end up wistfully dreaming about a pair I left at home or one I've seen in a store window.  (Disclaimer - I always buy at least one pair of shoes on a vacation!)

In any case, this is a very long ramble about nothing more than the fact that we did not do only carry-on bags for this trip.  But, we still packed much less than most people we saw in the airport and I will credit us with being able to really know what we need and what we don't.  We still need to pick up some shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste when we do a grocery trip in Paris, but we will toss that in our cart next to the Brie and baguettes.

Side note - in my previous post I mentioned that I would be watching American Pie Reunion as my first movie on the plane.  I have just finished watching it and it fulfilled all of my needs.  First of all - it was stupid and easy to follow.  (Helpful when you need to let the flight attendant know which dinner choice you want and what is your 'preferred beverage choice'.)  Also, it was nostalgic… most of the people in my generation (ie - half old) remember the original and it was hilarious to say the least.  This one places us all in an older demographic trying to figure out our way between cool and lame… perhaps a little to close to home?  Especially when I remember my high school reunion last month???  In any case it was a great way to start the trip (and completely enhanced by the two mini bottles of delicious Chilean Sauvingon Blanc they brought to my little tray.)


Okay... that's it for now - until Paris! (Oh, and I made some less than desirable movie choices after that... I went against my own rules and watched a sappy movie.  Sigh.

So far, so good! 


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