Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Our European adventure, day 1

After over a year of planning, praying, wondering, packing, stressing, and going through every single emotion, it was finally time to get on the plane and get our adventure started!

That's right, we packed for 6 weeks in Europe with only 2 big suitcases and a bunch of carry on bags! I packed more when we went cabin camping last summer!

The plane was leaving in the evening, so we had dinner at the gate, and my plan was to have the kids get settled in, watch a couple of shows, and then sleep through the flight. It started off as planned, they've all flown before so they're familiar with the routine. We got settled in, I said they could watch 2 shows or 1 movie and then we'd go to bed. After the first show they came around with drinks, so I figured they'd have their drinks, then be ready for bed when the 2nd show was over. But just as I was getting them settled in to sleep, they brought out carts of food! The kids got all excited as we waited for the carts to make it back to us, and then we ate and started to settle in when they went around again passing out water. It made the flight fly by for me because I kept counting down the hours we would have to sleep. FINALLY they stopped passing out fun things and the kids went to sleep, for just a few hours before they turned the lights back on and passed out breakfast just before we landed in the Netherlands.
We had a layover for a couple of hours in the Netherlands and then finally got on our flight to Ukraine! It was only about 3 hours so it seemed pretty quick. We landed in Kyiv in the evening, but the wheelchair wasn't waiting at the gate like we expected, they said it would be at baggage claim. We went through immigration pretty quickly, and went to get our bags. We gathered them one by one until only the wheelchair was missing. I went to a woman at a desk who thankfully spoke English, and she looked in a few places before having me fill out a form. We got it back a few days later, it hadn't made it onto the plane in the Netherlands!

Finally we went through the doors to the outside where we met our driver, Max. Eric changed some money and then Max drove us to our apartment and helped us carry everything up. We were on the 3rd floor, but the elevator was only big enough for one person and a suitcase, so I walked the kids up the stairs while Max and Eric raced the quickly closing elevator doors to bring all the bags up.

After we got everything into the apartment, we asked Max to show us a place where we could get dinner, and he walked us to a Ukrainian restaurant that quickly became our favorite, we ate there quite a few times during our trip! The food, everything, in Ukraine is very inexpensive. We were starving and excited to sample our first authentic Ukrainian food (via the pictures on the menu), so we ordered plates and plates of dumplings, blinis (like crepes) and potato pancakes. At that moment, I vowed I would eat piles of dumplings every day and never tire of them. 

Finally we walked back to our apartment and collapsed into bed. Our adventure had officially begun!

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