Today the kids and I walked about a mile up the coast to a historical sight called Landguard Fort. It was originally built in 1660! You could see the red bricks, which were the original bricks used in the construction. Later on in the 1700’s, they used yellow bricks to upgrade the fort.
This place was amazing! Each one of the kids wanted a handheld tour guide, so we walked the fortress with our own audio guide, listening to the tour in it’s wonderful British accent. I really could have listened to that voice all day long.
It was most fun just watching the kids go room to room listening intently to what the audio guide had to say about each room. We saw the old sinks and washtubs they had and there were even original beds from the Victorian era up against the wall in the guard’s room.
After taking some time to eat a snack, we headed back down the coastal pathway back toward our rental house.
All in all, it was a good day. The sun was shinning, the breeze was blowing (I’m pretty sure this town could easily beat out Chicago’s Windy City title), it was warm enough where we didn’t need our jackets, and we all had a great time.
I think I’ll miss this sleepy seaside town of Felixstowe.
We took a walk yesterday and we all had our jackets and sweatshirts on and all the locals were wearing tank tops and shorts. It reminded me of spring days in Wisconsin when temperatures hit 45 for the first time in months and it felt like it was in the 90s. Man it was cold! Later I heard that Felixstowe was having a heatwave–that broke last night. Now it’s back to raining and colder.
I have been stressing out a little bit. I realized last night that I had booked our rooms, but there is a time-glitch. We have to check out of our house on Friday by 10 am and check-in to our place in London isn’t until 2 pm. My husband works until 5 pm. So…the kids and I and the luggage are all homeless for 4 hours. I messaged the person in London to see if we could check-in early, but that means that all 4 of my kids, 6 bags of luggage and 4 backpacks and I will all need to head into London by ourselves. This is definitely a stretching experience for me–and I’m feeling a little bit anxious about the thought of doing that alone.
I know it’s good for me–I never realized how comfortable I have gotten being in my own little town, my own little house, going to my normal places with people speaking words I understand and a culture that I’m familiar with. I know it’s England and they speak english, but it’s still… different.
So, here I was thinking the kids were the ones that were going to be learning things—when here I am being stretched out of my own comfort-zone into some very uncomfortable situations for me. I know I’ll survive and I know it’s good for me. So, I guess I’ll just take some deep breaths, say a little prayer, and march forward into the uncomfortable unknown, trusting that I will come out stronger on the other side.
The kids are still sleeping. It’s 9:43 am and yes, they are STILL SLEEPING! So, I have some time to sit down and write about our journey here, to this beautiful, sleepy coastal town, called Felixstowe.
We spent most of Friday packing our things into 6 suitcases small enough to carry onto the airplane. Each of our kids had a backpack small enough to carry some snacks, Kindles, books, toys, and basically anything they thought they’d want to bring on the plane to keep themselves busy. The snacks I had packed into those backpacks were over-ruled by someone who will remain nameless for now. As we left the house, I defiantly threw some snacks into my large carry-on bag. I have learned throughout the years that with kids, no matter the age, you just have to have snacks.We finally left the house around 9pm and drove (and made very good time) to the hotel in San Francisco. After crashing for the night, we got up at 7:30, packed everything back up, filled up the car, scarfed down what we could of the buffet breakfast before we rushed to the airport for our 10:50am flight to Philadelphia.
That first flight we were all split up. My 6-year-old and I sat in row 13 and the rest of the family was up at the front of the aircraft. As my daughter watched movies and played games I spent most of that flight in and out of sleeping consciousness, jolting awake every few minutes or so as my head fell forward in sleep.
This flight was delayed by 40 minutes. Normally, this would not be a big deal…except for the fact that we originally only had 80 minutes between flights…80 precious minutes when you know you need to use the bathroom and get food.
This flight also was very stingy on the snacks. It was a 5 hour flight where you got 2 drinks and either 1 mini bag of pretzels or 1 mini bag of European ginger cookies. Mind you, the stewardesses were very particular on that 1 bag per person. Throughout this flight, my youngest son made about 5 trips back to me asking me for more of those snacks I had smuggled into my cary-on before we left the house.
We arrived in Philadelphia knowing we had to get to the next flight, stat. As we rushed to terminal A, my husband looks at me and says, “You were right about the snacks” BOOM! My response? I smiled back, cheekily, and said, “I know”.
We get to terminal A with just enough time to use the bathroom. I am out of snacks and we don’t know when we’ll get the next meal. None of us have had a meal since our quick, shove-it-in-your-face buffet breakfast, so my husband runs to the nearest snack shop to buy what he can while we stand in line to board the plane. He comes back with a bag of snacks, we get on the plane and find our seats, disburse the snacks and breathe a sigh of relief that we have made it.
Once we’ve eaten our fill of granola bars, snickers, and chips, an announcement is made that the flight attendants will be coming around with our choice of chicken or pasta dinner. Awesome.
This flight was relatively uneventful. I was thankful that the kids slept most of that flight. I drifted in and out of consciousness—again being startled awake here and there by the flopping of my head. No wonder the coveted seat on those flights is the window so you actually have something to put your head up against so it doesn’t flop forward and startle you awake again. And again. And again. And again.
Our flight arrived in London at 8:45 am. My husband looked at me and said, “what should we do?” I looked at him and said, “well, I think we should head over to where we are staying and crash.” I won.
After figuring out how to get to the underground station we needed to get to and then finding ourselves at the same spot we started out in after making a circle around the station, we figured out where to buy our tickets for the train. We needed to take the train from the airport to Paddington Station and then the underground to Liverpool and then we could get onto the train that would take us into Ipswich. Once we got to Ipswich we took a bus down to Felixstowe. Once we were in Felixstowe, we took our bags and walked 30 minutes to get to the house we were staying at.
Those 30 minutes of walking were the hardest 30 minutes of the journey. We were all so tired. Our poor kids were what I like to call “beyond the beyond”. We definitely did not look like locals walking down the road with our bags, cary-ons, and disheveled 2-day travel looks. But when we got to the house—oh it was heaven. The kids picked out their rooms and got showers, changed, and watched a movie while they ate the snacks our hosts generously left for us in a welcome basket.
Then I stopped long enough to look in the mirror. Oh boy. I had not looked in the mirror since leaving the hotel. Was I a sight to behold…and no, not a good one. It was like my face knew I would not be looking in the mirror for a couple of days, so it said, “hey! Lets brake out in huge ugly zits and grow hair like we’re 13! Let’s break out the white flakiness on the scalp and oooooh, hair! You are going to look like you’ve been doing your own thing for a while!” Yup. You know what I did? I took a long hot shower.
We found a place to eat, had dinner and our 5-year-old fell asleep at the table. That’s when we realized how deliriously exhausted we were. After paying, we went back to the house and everyone went to bed.
It’s 10:49 Monday morning and my kids are still asleep. Happy day after Mother’s Day!