So it was an impromptu dinner at Itacho Sushi for the four of us. After dinner, we popped by a Jap supermarket and they picked their own gifts there. Boys wanted ice lollies and KL wanted canned coffee. So those were their gifts.
Uneventful, but much better than last year’s disastrous day. Have to count my blessings when things are uneventful!
Creamier. We’ve been making regular trips back to eat their ice cream and waffles ever since we discovered the Gillman Barracks branch mid last year!
Young Scientists. Learning through comics is fun. Boys love reading these comic-filled magazines. Their first stash was inherited from an older cousin. Some issues they’ve even read twice or thrice. They’re now going through their second stash that was swapped with classmates living upstairs.
Fish curry. Nicest meal my mum cooked this year!
Today’s route took us to Sentosa! Same thing – adults jogged, K scooted, T cycled. We started from Sentosa Boardwalk and did a loop around one of the golf courses (Serapong?) before heading back. Weather was cool and it didn’t even feel like we covered much when KL told us to turn back. We had dinner and ice cream after the run, yumz!
We opened our presents late this year because K was away in the last week of December. He went on a cruise with his grandma and auntie and cousin. We were nice and waited for him to be back to open the presents together.
The boys received so many gifts from family and friends again! The Mastermind game and Nerf guns were especially fun! And this year, K made me vouchers that I can redeem for the boys to pack the house + keep quiet, lol!
Too soon, our holiday has come to an end! What did I like best about the holiday? The yummy food in Paris! The familiar feeling of home in London! And the rich history in Bayuex!
Must make myself jot down a short note on the yummy food in Paris. Our hotel was on a busy street with a few bakeries, fruit shops, cooked food stalls, restaurants. They weren’t the sort of stores that would feature on TripAdvisor, but gosh everything that I put into my mouth was so fresh and delicious! I couldn’t get enough of the strawberries, tangerines and chocolate croissants there, so sweet and so nice!
We wanted to take a tour package to go around the D-Day landing sites. But as luck would have it, all packages had to be booked in advance since it was winter and we only had ONE sunny day out of our entire Bayeux trip to visit the beach. Because we had to go to the beaches there and then, we decided to be adventurous and just went exploring on our own (with GPS of course).
We took a local bus 20km out to the Overlord Museum, walked 4km to the Omaha Beach, walked some more along the beach, managed to find the American Cemetary 4km later, and managed to find the bus stop to get home.
The route was nice. We saw farm animals and on a little stretch we even found apple trees growing along the road. Boys kicked the tiny apples they found on the roadside and squealed every time a passing car smashed the apples.
The good thing about exploring on our own was that we could walk for as long as we wanted along the beach. It was so peaceful and surreal. There were a few people walking their dogs. The boys had time to pick shells and play with the fine sand. And because it was a leisurely walk, there was plenty of time to think about what happened so many summers ago. Surreal!
The bad thing about exploring on our own was the uncertainty about the local bus. I didn’t mind the walking at all, it was a good 8km workout, weather was a sunny 7 degrees and boys didn’t complain about being tired. But the local bus, that was stressful. According to the schedule (which was all in French of course), its runs 4 to 6 times a day. We missed the second last bus (or maybe that bus didn’t run that day) and were absolutely stressed waiting around for the last bus of the day. It would have been awful if we missed it, but phew… luckily we didn’t.
Bayuex was the gateway for the Battle of Normandy in 1944. We visited the Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy today. This museum was different from other D-Day exhibits I’ve seen because it didn’t focus too much on D-Day but talked about everything else that happened from D-Day + 1, meaning 7 Jun till the end of summer 1944.
It was my first time thinking about the ‘others’ involved in the Battle – the engineers, journalists, psychological warfare units, prisoners of war, etc. So plenty of food for thought for me when browsing through the place.
Plenty of military vehicles, uniforms, artillery on display too. And so many wax soldier figures staring at me. It was slightly eerie to walk past some of them because the museum was so empty and cold today. Decided not to take any pictures of them!
No shopping malls in a small town like Bayuex, but plenty of nice little shops scattered along the main street. I found a shop that handmade all their chocolate and bought all of my souvenirs from there. I bought many different types of chocolate because seriously everything tasted so good!
Many bakeries dotting the main street, so I had fun trying the chocolate croissants from different stores everyday. And the delicatessen just downstairs had really good pies and lagsagne. We tabao-ed those for dinner whenever it got too cold and dark to eat out.
We generally enjoyed the food in Bayuex, but Au Ptit Bistrot was a standout for me. All the dishes were made from scratch and I especially loved the pumpkin puree with my fish. I finished every drop of that and even stole the ones from the boys’ lunch. They were won over by the meal too because their children’s lunch set came with two scoops of ice-cream each.
Bayeux is home to the Bayeux Tapestry. In fact, this was the most famous thing about the town. I was initially skeptical about how special an embroidered piece of cloth could be, but after seeing it for myself today, I had to admit that it was really impressive! It dates back to the 11th century, and is amazingly well preserved (given that cloth is challenging to conserve).
The cloth itself is 70m long. It depicts in a comic-strip style, the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England in 1066. We’ve been to the battle site at Hastings before, so it’s nice that we see the same story now from another vantage point.
We had audio guides to walk us through the 50+ scenes embroidered on the cloth. Gosh, it took us 20 minutes just to walk from one end to the other end because the cloth was choked with details! Too bad no photos allowed of the tapestry.
After we were done with the tapestry, we popped by another museum to take a crash course on the history of art in Europe. Nothing was particularly famous at this museum, but the curatorship was excellent! Almost every room was a visual treat, so I enjoyed the visit v much!
Boys were bored because there were no audio guides here or any children activities in English. They sprawled themselves on sitting benches (sometimes they just plonked on the floor next to the radiators) to wait for me. Halfway through, KL passed them a phone to play so I think they enjoyed their museum visit too.
We’re back in France! It was a full day of train travel. We travelled from London to Paris, and Paris to Bayeux.
Bayeux is a small town in Northern France. KL likes small towns. Whenever he plans our trips in Europe, he’ll always try to make sure there’s a short stay in a small town.
When we got off the train just now, K asked if we’re stopping in the middle of nowhere, lol! And I counted that from the train station to our accommodation (750m), we saw a total of three people! Wiki says that Bayuex has a population of 16,000.
Snow is fairly rare in London, so I was not expecting to see any on this trip. But Storm Ana dropped a lot of snow in the UK this morning.
Lucky for us. Boys were thrilled to see snow falling in the morning. They had a lot of fun throwing ice balls at each other! And sticking their tongues out to taste the snowflakes as they fell. Yucks, totally not my cup of tea …
Met friends at Ciao Bella for dinner. T loves the spaghetti bolognese here. It’s the best in the world! And I love the generous seafood risotto! Yumz! On the day we met our friends, the restaurant was so crowded that we only managed to get an outdoor table with a one day reservation. It was a new experience dining alfresco in winter under red-hot radiators!
We returned to Ciao Bella a second time on our trip. Because there was heavy snow, many reservations were cancelled so although the restaurant was crowded, we managed to get a table indoors. The pictures just don’t do the food justice. The plating doesn’t look appetizing but the food is actually really delish!
Plenty of sunshine in the weather forecast, so we planned a trip to the park. Along the way, we made a random stop at Wellcome Museum. I always pass by this Museum on the way to Regent’s Park but never thought to check it out. It’s actually quite cool now that we did. The ground floor was a graphic design + health exhibition. It was thought provoking and I enjoyed it v much.
The sky was nice and blue. Although it was 4 degrees, the sunshine made it comfortable enough to hang out at the park. Left the boys at the playground while I went for a light jog.
Our favourite museum in London! We visited the usual exhibits that the boys liked. Superbugs was a new exhibit, and then everything else we’ve already seen before. We ate ice cream at the cafe as we usually do. Happy to have found a dairy free lolly for K!
This was really a nostalgic trip more than anything!
It turned out to be a 2 hour walk through the Egyptian and European galleries. We tried a children’s activity sheet, but it wasn’t very fun (some of the things we were supposed to find were actually not available for viewing). Boys were happy with the catapult sharpeners they picked up at the gift shop – their only souvenirs from London on this trip.
Goodenough College looked the same as it did two years ago. Too bad we couldn’t sublet a flat at the College for this trip. But we managed to visit the College still and was happy to find ourselves at the parents’ club collage hanging outside the laundry room.
Mecklenburgh Square Garden was so pretty even in winter! We had to chase the boys to finish playing because it was getting so cold staying out (even under the sun).
London sure feels like home! Coming in from Paris, London feels so familiar. The dreary weather, the bustle on the streets, the accent we hear everywhere, and even the smell of the sidewalks.
We stayed in the same neighbourhood as we used to. We shopped at the same supermarkets we always did. We visited the same restaurants we liked. Nice!
Versailles was humongous, and so was the crowd.
We were literally packed like sardines along the whole stretch of the state apartments, king and queens bedrooms. I hardly had a good view of any of the rooms. The photos are deceiving, it was really crowded. And we were all clamoring to get out because getting stuck within a crowd isn’t exactly the most pleasant thing I want to do on a holiday.
We cut short the palace visit and went for lunch. After that, we returned to the Gardens and explored it in foot – something that isn’t too popular with tourists. The afternoon was definitely so much more enjoyable.
And tourists do not walking on foot because the Garden is sprawling! We had to walk 2km just to get from the main palace to the Marie Antoinette estate, and then another 2km back. And finally 1km more to the train station. The boys were exhausted when we reached the station!
The Louvre was fun!
Once we arrived, we started jostling with the crowd to get to Mona Lisa. She was tiny and it almost felt like Asia with the number of black-haired people in the room trying to take a selfie with her. Mona Lisa was clustered together with the Wedding at Cana, Four Seasons, and Liberty Leading the People. So tourists who are pressed for time only needed to visit this part of the museum and they would have ticked off most of the must-see items in their Louvre checklist. This was therefore the most crowded section of the museum.
After the jostling, we went for lunch at a mall right next to the Louvre. So convenient that the buildings were connected via an underpass so we didn’t even have to wear our coats to get there. After lunch it was to explore the galleries that were not as popular with tourists – the sculptures in the garden, the decorative arts gallery with all the paraphernalia that I like, and the Flemish gallery with so many Rembrandts.
Boys had their audio guides to amuse themselves. We tasked them to match the pieces of art with their audio guides. It was actually just an easy peasy task of keying in a matching digit to the guide to search for the particular piece, but the boys made it so complicated because they needed to find it game-style by zooming in and out, navigating the galleries, checking all the clickable things along the way. Oh well, they can do what makes them happy as long as we all enjoy the museum visit! Which we did.
It was freezing the day we visited the Eiffel Tower. Zero degrees in fact, and the Tower was closed in the morning because it was too icey. The top of the tower was shrouded in mist. No choice, we walked around the area and returned in the afternoon to try our luck again. Although it was still freezing, at least we finally got to climb it!
We walked all 669 steps up! Boys were complaining about the cold, about the walk, about the climb … about everything in fact. We refused to let them go back to the hotel because hey, we’ve come all the way to Paris, how could we not climb up the Eiffel Tower? T was even upset about how he could fall off the structure. But the view was totally worth it once we got to the second floor! And we let them cheat by taking the lift down since it was already turning dark by the time we finished the climb up. Almost forgot how early it turns dark in winter.
In the end, the boys agreed that they enjoyed the day despite all their complaints about the cold, about the walk, about the climb. Grrrrrrr…. And the tower was definitely prettier with all the lights after it turned dark.
KL plans all our overseas trips and he loves learning about wars. So on our first day of sightseeing, he took us to the Army Museum in Paris (Musée de l’Armée).
Lots of weapons and lots of arms. The medieval section was interesting; I’ve never seen child-sized armour before. Other than that, the rest of the museum was so-so. There are only so many weapons and arms I can tolerate seeing in a day…
We’re in Paris for our year end holiday! Why Paris? Because I’ve never been to France before and I want to visit a friend in London this time round. So Paris will be super convenient for us to pop over to London via the Eurostar.
Boys had a swell time flying to Paris. We picked two day flights on Emirates (transited in Dubai) and they were chirpy throughout both flights. T didn’t puke. First time he’s responding well to his anti motion sickness pills. He really enjoyed his kid’s meals, really enjoyed watching movies and playing games non stop. Entertainment choices were so much better than SQ! Taking a nice plane ride is definitely like a good holiday in itself for the boys!
T has been working hard on his piano pieces recently. His new ambition is to be a famous piano player.
I cut my own hair last week! Only the bangs.
K has a new tuition Chinese tutor who uses games to teach the language. Don’t know how Chinese bingo is played, but it sure beats doing 习字！