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European Vacation – Skamarakas Style

This is actually a bit of a pre-trip report, just so in years to come, when my girls are looking at pictures of what a great trip we had, they will also know everything that has gone into the planning of this event of a lifetime.

Back around Christmas time, my in-laws invited us to take a vacation with them.  We started looking at options offered through the Carnival Vacation Club, and after some discussion, a few phone calls, and confirmation that we could all get the time off to go (okay, that was only Jim, since the rest of us are persons of leisure in August), my mother-in-law decided we would do a cruise of the British Isles.  This happens to work out perfectly for my husband, who, unbeknownst to my in-laws, dared Brighid and I to ride the Hulk roller coaster at Universal Studios in exchange for a trip to Ireland.  He’s off the hook, and we’re going to Ireland! 

We looked into airfare, and decided to stay in London a couple of days before the cruise and a couple of days after, so Jim booked the Marriott County Hall for everyone.  Right on the Thames River, across from the Parliament building, we had a wonderful stay here a few years ago right before Eilis was born, and we’re looking forward to the stay here as a bonus part of the trip.

British Airways was running a buy one, get one free promotion, which made it an option to upgrade our airline tickets so there are only two of us sitting side by side, as opposed to four, which is how we have flown to Europe on our previous trips.  This should make it much easier with the squirmy children, give us all a little extra room to sleep on the flight over (we leave Philly at about 6 PM, so we’ll be flying overnight), and alleviate the worry of having to wake up a total stranger to climb over them to go to the bathroom. 

After all of the arrangements were made, we talked about some things and decided to cancel our stay at the Marriott in London before the trip and head to Rome instead.  There were a few things we didn’t get to do when we were there last spring, and it would be so nice for my in-laws to get to do them.  My mother-in-law especially wants a book that is really a pictorial essay of the beautiful city of Rome, which seems to be available only in the city itself, so we’ll be on a mission to find one. 

 As the months have gone by, we’ve modified a few other things, gone through torment with Carnival Vacation Club, added sightseeing tours in Rome – including one to Castle Gandolfo to see the Pope, and confirmed dining plans.  We booked our excursions – although I think they may yet be modified based on information we receive when we get to the ship. 

We’re looking forward to the trip, to the time away, to the exciting things the kids will get to see.  I’m journaling each day for a full report when I get home.