Since I’m writing this post, it’s obvious we’re back from our apparently glamorous vacation to Europe, Spain and Portugal to be exact. Europe is fascinating no matter how many times you visit or which country it happens to be; there’s just too much history and the general un-suburbia type feel that pulls you in again and again. Which is exactly why it is the worst kind of vacation to take with two little born-and-bred North American suburban kids. Here’s why:
- The first thing to come out of their mouths after the initial “Yay, we’re going on a plane tomorrow!” is, “How much loooonger are we gonna be in the plannne??” Especially when the airliner doesn’t have personal TVs. Oh, the inconvenience of it.
- The space vacated in the baggage by diapers is now occupied by “favorite” toys that absolutely cannot be done without for 12 days. No matter that some of them had been lying behind the sofa in the basement ignored for the past 6 months. The fight seems too petty to be fought while packing (parent guilt: they’re going to be uprooted for so many days it seems cruel to not even bring the few things they’re asking for), but man, how we rue those extra pounds while having to lug suitcases alongwith a sleeping child on public transport.
- Someone throws a massive tantrum over a used, plastic Batman figurine while trolling an antique market for precious one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
- How do you cover an area meant to be discovered on foot when your otherwise overwired kids claim they’re “too super tired” to walk before even reaching the metro station? Which, by the way, is so close you can see it from your hotel balcony. Also, it’s 9 a.m. and they’ve just woken up after a refreshing night’s sleep. You can practically guarantee chants of “Can we go back to the hotel now??” or “I’m tired and SO hungry” before noon.
- At a plaza surrounded by stunning medieval architecture, they zero in on a rusty playground that absolutely needs to be played in before advancing any further.
- You have to pack 2000 snacks along with non-perishable food items that can be cooked in a single pan for the picky eater or risk him surviving on bananas for the whole length of the trip (yeah, BTDT).
- Dressing up for dinner is pointless because a) you’re bringing tired kids with no interest in food along, and b) your semi-fancy clothes (read: dress with flat sandals) are accessorized with a large backpack stuffed with paper, markers, snacks, electronics, etc.
- You’re half distracted trying to prevent losing your kids in the tourist crush to pay much attention to the cathedral murals that you just spent 30euro per person to see. Maybe Spanish kids are enthralled by such magnificence, our kids are most decidedly not.
- The excitement your kids show on the plane ride home is much more than the whole rest of the trip combined.
And that, mi amigos, is all we remember while recovering in the first few days after returning. Thank goodness short term memory will quickly fade and smiling photos will be all that remains.