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Old 06-28-2018, 05:59 AM   #1
Bobo Fett
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Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

So we're finally off on the trip I've been planning for over 6 months, which some of you were kind enough to offer some advice and suggestions for.

My wife and I are taking our 18 year old daughter and 16 year old son to Europe, and bringing my parents for their 50th anniversary. We're going to be in the UK for the first 3 weeks (stays in Brighton, Bristol, Liverpool, Edinburgh, York, London), Paris for a week, Italy for 2 weeks (stays in Rome, Florence, Venice), Nice for a few days, Andorra for a couple nights, and finishing in Barcelona. My parents will be leaving us from Rome.

We're currently in Brighton. Flew out from Vancouver on the evening of Monday the 25th, after a 3 hour delay (medical emergency diversion of another flight cascaded to a whole bunch of other flight delays). Arrived at Gatwick on Tuesday afternoon, and after a short train & bus ride, ended up in our first AirBnb stay at around 4:30 PM. We're situated a block from the beach, in between Brighton Palace Pier and Brighton Marina.



Our place is near the end, on the left. 3 levels, 4 bedrooms with a small kitchen and decent-sized living room area - all we really need. Hell of a lot of seagulls and other noisy birds - they're prone to cacophonies at pretty much any time of day or night. Doesn't bother me much, but they keep waking my wife up.

It's been an interesting couple of days so far, as everyone is affected differently by the flight and time change. I only slept for an hour on the flight, after a 4 hour sleep the night before, so I was pretty exhausted and fell asleep around 7 PM, and then woke up at 3 AM, unable to fall asleep again. Meanwhile my wife couldn't sleep very well until the early morning, so she was in bed until about 11 - something of a role reversal for us.

The whole idea of coming to Brighton first was to allow for some relaxing time so everyone could start adjusting to the time zones and new environment, and it appears we'll need this time and more (as I suspected). So the plan while we're here is pretty casual - go out when we feel like, and see some of the sights close by.

So yesterday was our first full day, and we walked down to the pier and then to some of the shopping venues.

Here are shots from Marine Parade, the street that runs along the beach, about a block from our place. First one looking west, towards Brighton Palace Pier, and the second looking east, towards Brighton Marina:





And this is the other side of the street:



Another shot looking west, further down the road. You can see a big screen on the far left - that's part of a set up for what we think will be a viewing party for tonight's England-Belgium World Cup match. You can also see the set up in the first picture of the beach.



Looking back east from the pier - that isn't sand down there, BTW. The beach consists primarily of small (nicely rounded) rocks and pebbles. Maybe that's normal over here, but it's unusual to me.



The pier is full of activities and food. Carnival rides, midway games, arcades full of all sorts of ticket-dispensing kid's games and games of chance, and all that food. So. Much. Food.











A couple of shots west of the pier; in the first picture, the tower you see is the British Airways i360 - the pod comes down and then goes all the way to the top, apparently giving great views of the area. Not sure we'll have time to get there.





Back on land; here's the Brighton War Memorial:



Brighton Museum & Art Gallery:



Royal Pavilion:





And we finished up with some shopping; wish I had taken a few more pics here, especially of The Lanes:



Today I expect we'll wander down to the Brighton Marina, apparently Europe's largest, and I know our daughter wants to get over to the much-photographed beach sheds, but they're way down at the other end of things, so I don't know if we'll manage that. Also want to take in some of the England-Belgium World Cup craziness that I'm sure will be taking place.

Tomorrow, it's on to Bristol!
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Old 06-28-2018, 11:17 AM   #2
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

Enjoyable photos. Always wanted to know what Brighton was like. You are taking in quit a bit - but that's why you are there!

The jet lag should wear off in a few days - force yourself to a normal sleeping pattern.

Can you track all the different Beers you consume? That's why you went to Europe in the first place, right.
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Old 06-28-2018, 01:03 PM   #3
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

For a beer trip he picked all the wrong countries, arguably except for Spain
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Old 06-28-2018, 05:25 PM   #4
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

The opinion above is clearly a joke. England, Belgium, Germany and Czech make the best beer.

Interesting and good choice of cities in the main, though I'll be interested to hear what you think of Liverpool. You've hit the UK at the right time for the weather.

Keep the photos coming.
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Old 06-28-2018, 06:40 PM   #5
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

Sorry to disappoint, but no one on this trip drinks beer.
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:54 PM   #6
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

100% in. Have fun. My eldest is currently teaching school in Leeds.

Of all the spots you've listed in England my favourites are Edinburgh and York.
And both Florence and Rome are amazing.

Wow what a plan. Well done! I am very envious.
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Old 06-28-2018, 09:00 PM   #7
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

Have fun!
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Old 07-05-2018, 02:04 PM   #8
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

can I haz update?
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Old 07-05-2018, 05:45 PM   #9
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

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100% in. Have fun. My eldest is currently teaching school in Leeds.

Of all the spots you've listed in England my favourites are Edinburgh and York.
And both Florence and Rome are amazing.

Wow what a plan. Well done! I am very envious.
Wtf?
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Old 07-05-2018, 05:46 PM   #10
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

Nice pics of Brighton. I visited it for a day last year and it was an enjoyable day out.
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Old 07-05-2018, 11:59 PM   #11
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

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Wtf?
Probably about a girl. Completely subjective.
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Old 07-06-2018, 03:08 AM   #12
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

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Probably about a girl. Completely subjective.
It was more a reference to the geography. Edinburgh definitely isn't in England.
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Old 07-06-2018, 03:43 PM   #13
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

Ooops. I knew that. Sorry England and Scotland.
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Old 07-07-2018, 07:49 AM   #14
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

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can I haz update?
Soon, I promise! We're in Liverpool now and planning to go watch the England-Sweden match shortly. Also just picked up our rental car and will be off to Edinburgh tomorrow. Everything's been amazing so far; hope to be posting some more pictures and stories in the next day or two. But since I last posted we got over to Bristol and took a very short trip to Cardiff, a day in the Cotswolds, and then a day in Stonehenge and Bath. Headed up to Liverpool on the train, and spent much of the first day on a Beatles tour, and yesterday got to the Phil, Liverpool Cathedral, and the Cavern Club, among other things.
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Old 07-08-2018, 08:08 PM   #15
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

Picking up where I left off, puts us at our last day in Bristol. The original plan was to head over to the Marina, but upon further study, it seemed our time would be better spent heading back into the main part of town again. Main destination this time - North Laine for some shopping.

On the way, the Victoria Fountain in Old Steine Gardens.:



I'm not a big shopper, but I have to admit that North Laine was pretty good. Nice variety of cool shops - a couple of my favourites were Resident, a record store, and the North Laine Bazaar, which was full of an incredible variety of antique and/or collectible items.

Some pictures of the street:







And our last stop, at sort of the outer edge of North Laine, Oliver's Brighton:



An incredible amount of Harry Potter merchandise in one little shop.

After some fish & chips for dinner back at the pier, it was time to check in on the football match.

Down on the beach, hundreds of people watching on the giant screen:



And lots more up at street level:



Unfortunately the game didn't lend itself well to much excitement, but we're making plans to catch each game at a good location, and expecting that the atmosphere will improve every time.

The next day, Friday the 29th, saw us saying goodbye to Brighton and moving on to Bristol. Bus to the train station, train to Gratton, another train from there to Bristol Temple Meads, and then a bus to our next Airbnb.

The second train started off rather...interestingly:



What we would call a stagette or bachelorette party at home (hen party here?) came on the train with us. I don't think I've ever heard a louder group of women before; thankfully they only stayed with us for a few stops.

Bristol Temple Meads train station:



Train stations don't look much like that in Canada!

I'll leave it there for now, with us in Bristol for 4 full days and plans for day trips to south Wales, the Cotswolds, and Stonehenge/Bath.
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Old 07-08-2018, 09:54 PM   #16
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

Quote:
but we're making plans to catch each game at a good location, and expecting that the atmosphere will improve every time.
Not sure how much enthusiasm there will be up in Edinburgh when/if England bring it home, tbh hopefully we make the final and you're in York for it!
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Old 07-09-2018, 01:55 AM   #17
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

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Of all the spots you've listed in England my favourites are Edinburgh and York.
Say that to the wrong person in Scotland and there might be trouble.
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:11 AM   #18
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

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Not sure how much enthusiasm there will be up in Edinburgh when/if England bring it home, tbh hopefully we make the final and you're in York for it!
Yeah, my wording may not have been the best. I don't expect the atmosphere where we watch will be better in Edinburgh than it was in Liverpool, but the enthusiasm of the actual supporters I would expect will continue to ramp up. And we'll be in London for the final, so that should be awesome!
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Old 07-09-2018, 11:16 PM   #19
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

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Say that to the wrong person in Scotland and there might be trouble.
Especially if I said it to my grandfather.
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Old 07-10-2018, 04:45 AM   #20
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

Yes indeed. Not sure if Bobo knows that in 1966 when England won the world cup most Scots were ardent West Germany fans for the day and many described England's win as the worst day of their lives. lol
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Old 07-10-2018, 05:08 AM   #21
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

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Yes indeed. Not sure if Bobo knows that in 1966 when England won the world cup most Scots were ardent West Germany fans for the day and many described England's win as the worst day of their lives. lol
Don't know what the difference is now but there's actually quite a lot of people supporting England this time. Certainly far more than I ever remember. I'm remaining neutral on the matter
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Old 07-10-2018, 06:20 PM   #22
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

If I may...



https://www.shropshiretourism.co.uk/

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Old 07-10-2018, 08:04 PM   #23
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

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Yes indeed. Not sure if Bobo knows that in 1966 when England won the world cup most Scots were ardent West Germany fans for the day and many described England's win as the worst day of their lives. lol
While I knew there would be a strong rivalry, I wasn't aware it had run that deep. That said...

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Don't know what the difference is now but there's actually quite a lot of people supporting England this time. Certainly far more than I ever remember. I'm remaining neutral on the matter
Yeah, that's the feeling I get as well. But I guess I'll find out for sure tonight.

But really, I'm good either way. I'm in for the experience, and if that means a pub full of anti-England sentiment tonight, so be it. We'll be in London for the final, so if they make it, I should get more than my share of fan craziness there. And knowing now that it would be against France...that would be awesome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lapidator View Post
Thanks!

Given that we're now in Edinburgh and won't be coming back through that way, that'll have to go on my list for next time. That list is growing, and there definitely is a desire for there to be a next time for my wife and I.
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:22 PM   #24
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

So, where were we? Ah yes, Bristol.

So, the first day we were off to Wales after I picked up our minivan (will save the driving discussion for another post). Unfortunately, a combination of circumstances led to a less than optimal day, but I know to expect a number of those when travelling with 6 unique personalities. Everyone's still a little off their game, so we left later than I'd have liked, and enthusiasm for a lot of sight-seeing was low.

The game plan was initially for a trip over to Cardiff to see the castle and a bit of the city, and then maybe a castle or two in the countryside. When we got to Cardiff Castle with only a couple of hours until closing, lots of lines, and difficulty with parking, we just ended up with some drive-by shots:





Managed to park elsewhere and take a short walk around the city. The National Museum was the most photo-worthy place we got to:



One thing I was struck by was the amount of Welsh on the signage and other places. When we parked, I was actually unable to pay because the electronic meter was displaying everything in Welsh, and I couldn't see any way to display in English. I'm wondering if Welsh is really that commonly spoken there, or if it's more an issue of protecting/promoting the language - I'm assuming the latter.

Sadly, that's really it for useful shots for the day. I promise it gets better. And Wales is the start of the list of things to come back and see more of on a future trip.
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:40 PM   #25
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Re: Trip Report: 7.5 weeks in UK, France, Italy, and Spain - with a family of 6!

Second day in Bristol, we headed up to the Cotswolds. Everyone's getting a little more well-rested; the only real issue this day was that our daughter often gets car sick, and she was still learning how best to cope with it.

I managed to get us to Naunton, Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water, Upper Slaughter, Burford, and Bibury. I think I might have missed one or two more on that list.

Stow-on-the-Wold was our longest stop; did some wandering and shopping:





Here's a couple from the very small village of Naunton:





And Burford:





Finally, a couple of driving shots:





It's a really beautiful area, and while there are similarities throughout, each village has its own look. I can definitely see my wife and I coming back here, getting a place in one of these villages, and spending 2-3 days (or more) driving/hiking around the area.

Two more full days in Bristol to come; the next one being our day trip to Stonehenge and Bath.
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