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The original world nomad "Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance." - Confucius.

Travel with Children - Part IV

GREECE | Friday, 9 November 2007 | Views [1864]

While travelling with children has it rewards, sometimes I feel like an Octopus with four mouths. Our energetic boys have just turned 3 and 5 respectively so try to imagine using your hands to read a menu, catch a falling water glass, grab a young one before they fall off the chair backwards and drink a glass of wine while taking a photograph and shouting at one of them to get off the road while ordering some food and have a side conversation with Yuki ... all at the same time.

It's fun. Honest.

Actually, they have been pretty good and it has been quite noticeable that they have played well together and really bonded as they don't have their friends around. We brought along a large bag of lego this time, anticipating that it would gradually get lost as we travelled around, but they have been pretty good about packing it up and making sure not much got left behind. Interestingly, the lego got turned into various things we saw, did or travelled on as we moved around: suspension bridges in Amalfi, front-loading ferries with ramps  on Crete, large pointed ferries in Naxos  and large cantilevered cranes appeared in Athens . Interestingly too,  this time neither of them really mentioned the TV or movies, just lego, lego and more lego, which is quite different from Bali which was just 10 months ago.

'Don't they get bored?' or 'Don't they want to go home?' or 'Aren't they tired?' or 'Haven't they had enough?' are questions we frequently get asked. Maybe it's because we started young and they've got used to it but people also frequently underestimate the resilience of children.

Including us.

A 4am in the morning start to catch a flight? All smiles and energy. Thirty-six hours on the go with two flights, a day in Milan and a train trip to Venice? A bundle of laughs. Stuck in Naxos for an extra day because of an unexpected storm? Bored but quite understand there was nothing we could do. Hungry and don't like the food on offer? Well that's all there is so eat or go hungry. Not a squeak of complaint.

Perhaps we are lucky or perhaps  we just started them young, but they seem to eat pretty much anything, the only problem we have is getting them to eat when its available! Kai particularly is a 'grazer' so that he eats very little for breakfast and gets hungry (and cranky) pretty soon afterwards. This trip in particular we learned to take our small stash of plastic picnic boxes to breakfast (if we were staying in a hotel) and load them up with whatever was at hand to snack on through the day. These boxes were also fantastic ways of making sure fresh fruit such as bananas don't get crushed to a goo in day packs stuffed with jackets and nappies and all the other paraphernalia  associated with travel with a young family.

The range of accommodation options seems to have matured and developed greatly over the last 20 years or so with nothing quite so segmented as it used to be. On Santorini we stayed in a small boutique 5-star apartment, so you get the luxury of a hotel but a small kitchenette too, which suited us fine since I reckon I could cook better food than most of the tourist fodder served up on the island. In fact, where we could, we much preferred apartments to hotels, as the flexibility makes it so much easier with kids and this included Venice, Amalfi, Rome, Crete, Santorini, Naxos and Mykonos.

Tags: Educational Experiences, exhausting, food, rewarding, tips, travel with children

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