๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ’ฆ Pacific Ocean ๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ’ฆ We couldn't leave Peru without me taking my first ever dip in the Pacific Ocean.

It was bloody cold and the waves were huge so I settled for just a paddle.  But it felt great!

After being a bit grumpy (I was worrying about our tsunami exit route) a dip in the sea proper cheered me up.

Miraflores has some great beaches for surfing and their are surf school right on the beach that will sign you up there and then.

I was tempted but didn't fancy trying to squeeze on a wetsuit with an audience. โค๏ธ #pacificocean #oceansoftheworld #ilovethesea #swimallday #familybloggers #travelblog #photooftheday #kidsthattravel #worldschool
๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฎ Pucara Bulls ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฎ You'll find miniature versions of this bull all over Peru.  In a variety of colours too.

Some of the houses in the countryside will have two little bulls on the roof.

They arrived in Peru in the early years of the Spanish colony and were originally crafted as a cup.  They would be filled with chicha, a drink made from corn and mixed with blood.  This would be consumed by the priest in a cattle blessing ceremony.

Now, they are used as a blessing to Apus, the Inca mountain god, to bring health, wealth and unity to the owner. โค๏ธ #pucarabull #exploreperu ##travelwithkids #familytravelblogs #familytravelblogger #travelbloggerfamily #suitcasefamily #backpacker_pics
๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ Hot Chocolate and Churros ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿซ The food in Peru is soooo good!  We didn't have one bad meal and the snacks are incredible.

Dan made it his personal mission to try everything and he did pretty well.  He did go back for seconds on some though, and that held him back.

Anyway, we had read about a place in Miraflores that did hot chocolate and churros and decided it was an absolute must.

Churros are a big thing in Lima.  People sell them everywhere and they are amazing.  But Manolo's is like the best.

You can get 6 churros and a mug of hot chocolate for S/16, which is less than ยฃ4.  Dan and the kids loved them.  Let's face it that drink looks more like melted chocolate. โค๏ธ #manolo #churros #miraflores #travelwithkids #familytravelblogs #familytravelblogger #travelbloggerfamily #suitcasefamily #backpacker_pics #Flytographer #kidstravelblog #travelblogger #familytravel #travelfamily #familytravelblog #viajefamiliar #travelphotography #beautifuldestinations #kidstravel #adventurehood
๐Ÿœ๏ธ๐Ÿœ๏ธ๐Ÿœ๏ธ The Desert ๐Ÿœ๏ธ๐Ÿœ๏ธ๐Ÿœ๏ธ I hadn't ever been to the desert before.  And if I'm being completely honest, I didn't know that Peru had any desert.  I'm learning, OK?

It is an amazing place!  We set out early in the morning to climb the sand dunes that surround Huacachina. 
Dan carried Alice but Emily walked to the top of a small peak all by herself.  We were super proud as it was hot and hard work.

We then took it in turns to look after the kids while the other climbed right to the top.

I thought I was going to die.  It was a hard climb.  It got steeper and hotter the closer you got to the top too.  But we both did it.  And boy, was it worth it?! โค๏ธ #explorethedesert #seizetheday #topoftheworld #travelfamily #suitcaselife #kidsthattravel #worldschoolers #worldschooling #Flytographer #kidstravelblog #travelblogger #familytravel
๐ŸŒด๐ŸŒด๐ŸŒด Huacachina ๐ŸŒด๐ŸŒด๐ŸŒด After a night's stop at Paracas, we boarded another bus (only an hour this time) to Ica.

From Ica, we hopped in a taxi that took us to Huacachina.  A desert oasis!

This is a completely incredible place with a funky little vibe going on.  Surrounded by restaurants and hostels, this is a great place to hang out for a couple of nights.

It was here that we got to stay in our first hostel and we loved it.  It had a gorgeous garden with hammocks and a swimming pool.  It actually felt kinda luxurious.

We also got to catch up with a friends and have a spot of dinner too.  So sophisticated. โค๏ธ #huacachina #exploreperu #desertoasis  #traveltheworld #familytravel #travelfamily #familytravelblog #viajefamiliar #travelphotography #beautifuldestinations #kidstravel #adventurehood
๐Ÿง๐Ÿง๐Ÿง Paracas ๐Ÿง๐Ÿง๐Ÿง As part of our stay in Peru, we wanted to get out of Lima and at least explore some of the many amazing things that the rest of the country has to offer.

One of the places we really wanted to go to was Paracas, as from here you can take a boat trip to the Ballastas Islands.

Now the Ballastas islands are excellent!  Home to a shed load of loads, some very rare but also a great place to see sea lions and PENGUINS.

The place was full of sea lions lounging about on rocks.  There were baby sea lions too with mummy sea lions that looked like they just wanted some peace and quiet.

Seeing penguins was a big one for us though, as this was on Emily's bucket list. 
We were all so happy to be able to seeing such beautiful animals living in their natural habitat. โค๏ธ #peru #penguins #ballastas #travelblog #travelwithkids #familytravelblogs #familytravelblogger #travelbloggerfamily #suitcasefamily #backpacker_pics #Flytographer #kidstravelblog #travelblogger #familytravel #travelfamily #familytravelblog #viajefamiliar #travelphotography #beautifuldestinations #kidstravel #adventurehood
๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š Travel stories ๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š I'm going to tell you a story now.  I'm writing this and scheduling it to go out later so I'm hoping by the time you read this the story will have an ending.

This is the story about why we bought the kids alpaca wool cardigans.

It starts in the USA, where we managed to gather a small collection of coins.  This included a one cent coin.

Fast forward to our last day in Colombia, where Alice finds this coin on the floor and decides to eat it.  I mean full on swallow it.

This led to major panicking from Mummy and Daddy.  Lots of Googling happened including
โ›ฒโ›ฒโ›ฒ Parque de la Reserva โ›ฒโ›ฒโ›ฒ I had read about this park before heading to Lima and wanted to check it out.

This park contains 13 water fountains, all of them impressive and many of them interactive.  It holds the world record for the largest water fountain complex.

The kids loved this feature.  A 35m long tunnel that you could walk through and stay fairly dry.

Others include the Fuente Magica which has a jet of water that goes up 80m into the air and the Fuente de los Ninos which is a children's fountain that you can play in.

At night they all light up.  Then the Fantasia fountain comes to life with a light projection show, spanning its 120m length.

We had a magical evening walking around the fountains, drinking coffee and eating churros.  Another must-see in Lima! โค๏ธ #parquedelareserva #lightshow #lima #peru #seetheworld #familytravelin #familytravelers #travelblog #travelwithkids #exploretheworld
๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฏ Huaca Pucllana ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฏ Turns out there's not an emoji for Incan pyramid ruins, so you ended up with that.

Anyway, that's what this is.  Actually, it pre-dates the Inca period (200AD ish) and was a sacred place or place of worship at the time.

We didn't get to do the full tour unfortunately.  Kids were going a bit loopy in the sun, but we did get a pretty good look anyway.

The entire structure is made from mud and is assembled in a bookshelf formation.  The slabs stand on end with small gaps that allow for movement whilst retaining its strength.

It was here that I learnt that Lima has an average annual rainfall of less than 30mm.  Which is lucky otherwise this would have washed away a long time ago.

A great find in the heart of Miraflores, Lima! โค๏ธ #huacapucllana #miraflores #incaruins #exploreperu #loveperu #familytravels #travelphoto #travelblogger #familytravelblog
๐Ÿ‘’๐Ÿงฃ๐Ÿ‘œ Inka Market ๐Ÿ‘œ๐Ÿงฃ๐Ÿ‘’ Immediately on arrival in Peru, I had a huge urge to spend all my money on brightly coloured clothing and accessories made from alpaca wool.

Therefore, we had to head to Inka Market.  This colourful market is an absolute must see in Miraflores.

Emily loved it!  She borrowed Dan's phone and wandered around snapping pictures of everything she liked.

The bag in this picture was a particular favourite early on and she kept talking about it.

The shop owners kept enticing us in by shoving knitted hats on the kids, scarves around my neck and generally waving around toy llamas.

I loved it!  I nearly spent all of my money there and then bought a ticket home.  It was beautiful!

If you are heading there my advice would be to take cash and remember that the prices are VERY flexible.

SPOILER ALERT:  We went back and got Emily the bag the next day! โค๏ธ #inkamarket #perusouvenirs #alpacas #photooftheday #lima #kidsofinstagram #travelfamily #familiesaroundtheworld #worldschoolers
๐ŸŽจ๐ŸŽจ๐ŸŽจ Painting in the park ๐ŸŽจ๐ŸŽจ๐ŸŽจ After our initial walk down to the sea, we decided to explore the parks closer to our apartment.

Turns out the park is brilliant.  As well as being a place for local artists to sell their work, food stalls to dispense delicious treats and cats to wander freely, there is a play area for kids.

We all sort of lost our minds at finding this play area.  We hadn't visited a proper play area since Central Park in New York.

This park has swings and slides, climbing frames and seesaws and, of course, those wibbly wobbly horse things.

On top of that, it had some added bonuses.  Our favourite was that you could do painting in the park.

A couple of (rather entrepreneurial) women had set up some easels and had a selection of pictures that the children could paint.

For S./5 (a little more than ยฃ1), the kids sat and painted happily for the first time in a long time.

We had such a lovely evening watching our kids just be kids. โค๏ธ #kidsbeingkids #kidsaroundtheworld #familytravel #familytravelbog #advetnuretravel #slowtravel #letkidsbekids #lima #peru #miraflores

Catching the train from NYC to DC

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After our initial stay in New York City, our plan was always to catch the train from there to Washington DC.

 

In the months and weeks leading up to our departure, I had chatted to several people about this train journey and had only received positive reviews.ย  Everyone said that it was brilliant and super interesting.

 

This inspired us further to make catching the train from NYC to Washington DC a big part of our trip.ย  And we werenโ€™t disappointed, it was awesome!

 

Why choose to take the train?

A couple of years ago, we took the girls to Edinburgh.ย  From our house in Norwich, Google Maps says that by car this journey would take us 7.5 hours.ย  This was about 5 hours more than my kids could handle in the car.

 

Therefore, we were inspired to look at the train.ย  Luckily, the trip took over an hour less and was relatively cheap.ย  Even better was that we discovered a love of train travel.

 

When travelling with young children, trains offer a great deal more flexibility.ย  You can take toilet breaks at your leisure, picnics are welcome, games can be played and you can take little walks.

 

AND you get some really amazing views from the window if you are lucky.ย  We had all of this in mind when we booked our train tickets from NYC to Washington DC.

 

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How much does it cost?

Now, I kind of messed up here.ย  When I first looked at tickets I swear that the entire journey cost about $50 per adult.ย  (Children under 5 years old ride free.)

 

However, I did not book them when I saw them at this price.ย  Over the weeks in between the seats filled up and the cost of the tickets increased.ย  In the end, we ended up paying about ยฃ200 for the trip.

 

Despite the price increase, I still think that this is a reasonable deal.ย  When looking at flights for the same trip I couldnโ€™t get them for less than that.ย  And driving has its costs too.

 

Who did we travel with?

Amtrak and I cannot fault them.ย  The train leaves from Penn Station in NYC and they have a good lounge area for their customers.

 

On top of this, they have support for customers with disabilities and those carrying with children and will aid you boarding the train.

 

The whole service was very efficient with clear and regular updates about our journey.ย  They helped us, and other, find seats together and helped people with their luggage.

 

We were particularly impressed with how they treated us as a family.ย  They gave us priority boarding and made sure that we had great seats together.ย  This was much better than the service we had received on the plane.

How long does it take?

The trip for us was about 3.5 hours but this included some delayed.ย  I believe that there are some services that make this trip faster but for us this was fine.

 

The route included a few stops along the way which slows the trip down and there were some small delays due to maintenance on the track.

 

Where do you travel through?

Travelling out of New York and straight into New Jersey feels like you are suddenly somewhere very different.

 

The high rise building of New York falling quickly away and New Jersey feels much more homely by comparison.ย  As someone who had only ever visited New York, I was fascinated to see these different sides of the USA.

 

Passing out of New Jersey, you find yourself heading through Pennsylvania towards Philadelphia.ย  You get some great views of Philly from the window, so make sure you have your camera ready.

 

Leaving Pennsylvania, you take a quick dip into Delaware before reaching Maryland.ย  The route takes you long the waterโ€™s edge before reaching Baltimore.

 

Baltimore is the last major city before you reach Washington.ย  The whole route provides snapshots into normal life for the residents of these states.ย  It is completely fascinating!

 

Where to take the train to next?

I would love to include some more train travel on our trip.ย  Do you have a favourite route?ย  Is there a journey that is not to be missed?ย  Let us know!

We caught the train from New York City to Washington DC with two kids. This is what we thought.

Disclaimer:ย  Remember the information you read here does not represent advice.ย  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.ย  Read the full disclaimerย here.

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2 Comments

  • Andrew Young
    October 14, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    Great article! Would love to take the train from NY to Washington. Whilst Iโ€™ve heard mixed to negative reviews about train travel in most of the US, the Northeast Corridor is the place to do it. Currently, itโ€™s one of the few routes in the US you can experience high speed rail travel too

    • charlottejessop
      October 15, 2019 at 1:29 am

      Well, it gets good reviews here and I’d definitely consider using the train in other parts of US based on this experience. Maybe that’s foolish though.

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