Dover to Paris: Every Moment Matters

Please read slowly to allow the suspense to build properly:


ferry from Dover to Calais is scheduled to depart


set sail and numerous crew members say the voyage is 1.5 hours – meaning the boat should arrive at 6:36pm in Calais

crew also said leaving the boat takes 15 minutes including the bus to the terminal

Google says the taxi ride to the train station is 20-22 minutes

looks like the Giants could get to the station by 7:11pm – 11 minutes late


boat docks – 6 minutes before the crew estimates


fastest taxi ever after it took 15 minutes getting off of the boat and taking the required bus ride to the ferry terminal

the driver acted very nervous for the Giants, biting his nails and visibly sweating – he had a football (soccer ball) logged between the dash and the windshield, but could not take any energy to discuss what clearly he loves

the race track efforts were interrupted by a police van that looked like it would pull over the Taxi and Giants to ruin the trips chances at success

after the police exited the highway the race commenced again before the last two miles were considerably slowed by a semi truck




ran in and watched train leave the station – like a movie where the man runs to the station to find he is a moment late to catch his love before she leaves the country

the Giants hoped to turn around to see that the sought after solution would actually be standing behind them

the very helpful and friendly staff and a new taxi driver were there – not as dramatic as a movie, still a solution for the desired ends


tickets exchanged free of charge even though they clearly state they are not exchangeable or eligible for a refund

new train booked, kind of, for Lille Flandres train 9:37pm to Paris-Nord arriving at 11:02pm

more like a permission slip pinned to our shirts from our moms saying we are again allowed to go out for recess with the other kids at school

car rental closes at 11:30pm so a 11:02pm arrival to the station in Paris will be a blessing


started a negotiated taxi ride to Lille Flandres station that is supposed to get us there by 8:54pm

cool setup on the taxi to have seats facing each other


traffic delays as this is authored – wish the Giants luck!

–updated at 9:37pm Giants made the train and only had to fend off one passenger from the seats claimed – passage was approved with no assigned seats so it was catch as catch can — he graciously allowed a Giant to sit in his seat and found another for himself

— updated at 10:00pm at the only stop fended off a persistent man who would have broken up the gang

— updated at 10:27pm world will never know if the permission slip to ride was valid since the ticket checker walked by the Giants twice and never asked to see tickets from the group

— updated at 11:30pm Rental car closed 1/2 hour early – Click here to read about Hertz stranding Giants.

— updated at 12:30am Oh there is more! Last night when the Giants left the train station for a taxi there was a line of 100 people queued for taxis – Paris is busy and with a train strike things are worse than normal during this high season. The facilitator at the taxi line enquired how many we were and put us right into the first taxi – to do so he took a lady out of it, she was already boarding!

Residence Inn London Bridge is Not Falling Down

The Giants stayed two different times in the matter of 10 days at Residence Inn London Bridge for a total of 3 nights. Those stays were met with unexpected surprises – good ones.

The Giants expected to be able to wash and dry clothes during the stays and maxed out the appliances on two different nights. What was not expected was for the usage of the machines to come free with the room rentals – based on the past the exception was that the machines would be coin operated like so many are at other hotels. Clearly this is not any other hotel since when the Father of Giants asked for directions to the machines he was given soap to use – again the expectation was that soap would need to be purchased, potentially at some level of real effort (going to a store or procuring the exact amount of money to use for a dispenser that only accepts certain coins and offers no change).

Breakfast can be one of the best meals when it is consumed with a group for the purposes of indulgence and social time. When breakfast is eaten purely as a way to get the engines running it can be a very disappointing event financially when some Giants consume 90 pence worth of food at a 18 pound English breakfast. What do Giants do to prepare?

4:45pm–5:45pm Shop for Tue/Wed breakfast, chocolate and snacks (Tesco Metro, 125 Tooley St, London SE1 2RS, UK) .5 mile walk (11 min) from hotel

Giants plan ahead and buy breakfast food elsewhere and eat in the hotel rooms. Above is the planning to get breakfast for one of the Residence Inn stays. Nothing at the Marriott website or elsewhere online said anything about breakfast being included with the stay. Of course breakfast is standard in the states at this name of property but dollars and Cheers merely as the name of a sitcom are standard too. Upon checkin the Giants and their perfectly detailed schedule were grateful to hear that breakfast is included with the stay (please go back and pronounce schedule in your mind like a true Brit would). The food was good too.

The pictures and discriptions of the property are correct with the accommodations proving to be nice. The negative on the facility is that there was only one elevator for a property that needed three. The staff was very helpful with one mate helping to fix a detached van mirror. Read more about why that was needed by clicking here.

Giants hotel rating:

Friendliness to Tourists rating of hotel staff:

June 18-20, 2018 and June 26-27, 2018

Drowning in Friendly London Staff

On Monday, 6/18/18 we left Zizzi after 15 mins of no service at the start of our late meal. We were pleased at the extremely prompt table service at Pizza Express.

We were seated, fed, watered, and checked out in less than 40 minutes. Food included appetizers of dough balls. The pizzas we had ranged from plane cheese to one with items like caramelized onions and goat cheese.

Giants food rating is:

Our Food expert said after the meal, “It’s not fair since I was so hungry,” referring to how he felt about this dinner at 10:00pm. Our expert alludes to the idea that at 5:00pm we would likely rate the place lower.

The server was fast, friendly, and aware of how parched we were. He gave us good tasting water, refilled it, left a pitcher, and refilled the pitcher. Us Arizonans loved the water love.

Gotta love the view of St. Pauls from the Pizza Express behind the Mother of Giants with her picture of water.

Giants Water rating:

Friendliness to Tourist rating:

“How Many Big Macs does it take?”

The Goodman Giants! A family travel blog.Goodman Family-01

Goodman Giants: Nick, Shelly, Savannah, Boston, Houston, Tacoma. Giants love to travel, and love sharing this family travel blog with the world. Experiencing as much of the local culture as possible, all while maintaining a safety net of comfort food!

One of the aspects of travel that the Giants have trepidation about is the local fare. As much as enjoying new places, new foods, and new cultures creates found memories, there are some picky eaters in the midst of Giants. No matter where family travelers go in the world, there is almost always a McDonald’s nearby. If the oftentimes exotic food does not go down so well, Giants can fill up on Big Macs! As American Giants this group is well qualified to say that McDonald’s tastes better outside of the States. Could be that it is a reminder of home? Not likely the case – the Big Macs around the world look like the pictures in the American ads.

The family gauges experiences eating local foods by seeing “how many Big Macs it takes” to fill up after an experience meal. Consuming 6 Big Macs means the group is not going back. If post dinner only takes 1 or 2 Big Macs then consider that a win!

The family rates everything from accommodations to the local water with this “how many Big Macs does it take” system! For the purposes of this blog, a 6 Goodmans scale is used:

All 6 liked it!

5 and a half Goodmans liked it!

…and so on.

Experts in the following categories with all Goodman Giants voting:

Nick = Transportation
Shelly = Water
Savannah = Friendliness to Tourists
Boston = Food
Houston = Activities
Tacoma = Chocolate (milk, white, specialty). Dark will get no mentions and no ratings because no Goodman likes dark chocolate!

Goodman Giants Avatars-01

Please enjoy this family travel blog while the Giants enjoy sharing it. Thank you for joining the Goodman Giants adventures!

Marriott on the Falls – Niagara Falls, Canada

We went to Niagara to see the falls and saw them we did! The view from the beautiful one bedroom suite was exceptional. Picture above shows the two story room we stayed in and a nighttime view of the falls.

Since there are 6 Goodman Giants our booking was for 2 bedroom / 2 bathroom accommodations (with bedding for all). When we arrived for our reservation we were informed that what they had available was a 1 bedroom / 2 bathroom / 2 story space for our family. The initial staff member as well as the supervisor each made it very clear that this unrequested change was an upgrade from our booking and that we should be very pleased. The two stories made the usable space crammed and privacy impossible – views were amazing! The arrangement would have been ideal and luxurious if there were only the 2 founding members of the Goodman Giants staying for the two nights. We received 1/2 the rooms at all of the rate. If persistent complaining would have resolved the issues or mitigated the bill then that end would have been achieved.

Responsiveness to the lack of consideration was poor, which was explained away by judgmental employees who shared that with the Thanksgiving Holiday leadership was not onsite. We followed up by phone, email, and delivery snails to little resolution or engagement.

We rate the accommodations:

2.5 Goodmans

2.5 Goodmans

Great views: simply keep commitments Marriott, have friendly staff, and this property would have received 6 Goodmans. Staff at the property and the wrong room unresolved knocked off 3 and 1/2 happy campers.

October 8-10, 2017