When I was younger there was a show called "Live with Regis and Kathy Lee." One of these early morning talk shows, coffee talk where they discuss current events but nothing too serious. Kathy Lee was famous for her big fluffy hair, Laura Ashley dresses, complete with shoulder pads, and constantly talking about her children. I found her to be loud and obnoxious, but America liked her. They liked her so much that she now has her own show where she gets to drink wine in the middle of the day and be loud and obnoxious on purpose. She has found her calling. Good for her. (this is the most I have ever talked about this woman and now I will never again mention her). All of this is build up to say that sometime after, when she left the show, she was replaced by a little tiny blonde woman with incredibly toned arms and way too much energy named Kelly Ripa. Kelly Ripa is still, to this day, the female host on the morning show, though, sadly, Regis has left due to his being very very old. I used to watch this show occasionally during my earliest mom years. It fell right after Dinosaur train and smack dab in the middle of morning nap time. So I, with my basket of clean laundry, and cup of late morning coffee (American housewife perfection) would switch it on and listen to them chat. Kelly revealed one day that she often stays in hotels. She travels a lot so hotels are like a second home. She then revealed that she is so grossed out by the idea of other people sleeping in the beds in the rooms that she actually brings her own sheets/towels, comforter and pillows to the hotels where she stays, strips all the beds, and remakes them with her own. She can do this. She is a celebrity.
We happen to stay in a lot of different homes due to traveling. Notice I didn't say "hotels." Hotels are expensive, the rooms are too small for our ever growing family, and they lack privacy (re: thick walls so no one can hear the screaming). So we decided after child #3 that we would only stay in homes. Home-away type homes. Flats rented out to couples, families, bachelor parties. These types of places. Waaaaay cheaper (like a whole week for the price of one night in a nice hotel ), and often allow us to "live" in some pretty great old flats with the crown molding and the tall ceilings, and the beautiful wooden floors. Aaaaaand....
...all the beds, furniture, silverware, bathroom, etc. that are used by all those other people that came before us. And there is no hotel staff coming behind all of them and sterilizing the room with their sprays and their industrial boiling water laundry systems and their little nice tags wrapped around the toilet that promises the toilet has been sterilized... NOTHING is sterilized in a home-away type house. NOTH. ING. It is a big time "hit or miss" type of situation in terms of cleanliness and "comes with". And this time it was a big miss. It was a particularly not so great feeling coming from the stained couch, the not so well cleaned silverware in the drawer, and the lone roll of almost finished toilet paper that made me feel just a little put out that I was not a celebrity who had thought to bring her own sheets (or towels, washcloths, soap - which all definitely did not "come with"). Because I can see with my own eyes that those other things are dirty... but the sheets? No. telling. We are the healthier for it, right? Other people's germs of the past are our immunities of the future? Ms. Ripa doesn't know what she's missing!
Flat 'quirkiness' aside, the trip was great. The weather was cool and windy at first and then warmed up more each day. And the drive, well, there was no vomiting, only a little crying, and only one instance of 3 year having to pee in a bottle (those return trip toll booth lines are a pain in the rear). I'd say it was quite a success. And it's a drive that takes you from the South of Poland to the very North, so you get to tour the whole country, sort of. Very cool. Everything you see pictured, we did. Rode on boats, toured battleships, saw fish, swam in the sea, ... I think the kids will remember it for some time to come.