Tag Archives: Traveling With A Toddler

Chicago bound! We’ll miss you Croatia! xo

munich-layoverTHOSE GUYS! ^^ I dashed to grab the camera when I saw these two, haha.

Five hours to kill in Munich, Germany — next plane we board will take us HOME!

Yep, it’s that time already. We’re homeward bound. One flight down, one more to go.

Truth be told, we’re all very ready to get back to “life as usual,” but it’s bittersweet. We’ll miss you Croatia!

Where did the time go?! 71 days living out of suitcases, stays in 3 countries, and 9 cities. Next stop: CHICAGO!

Somehow I’ll sort through all of our photos. Blogging on the road didn’t go quite as smoothly as I planned…OH, I have lots more to share — and we’ll get there. We will.

this is how we stroll: Split, Croatia style

Split, Croatia at Night: Traveling in Europe with a Toddler

So here’s the thing. Toddlers go to sleep between 7:30 and 8:00 pm. At least this one does. At home, that’s a beautiful thing. At home that leaves hours of evening free-time. Hours of necessary decompression (from toddler) time laid out on the sofa. ;) But when you’re away  from home, the sofa is just so much less attractive.

It’s hard to stay inside on these warm nights when you know that the cafes are buzzing, the sea is so calm, and candles are flickering on restaurant tables.

So we don’t stay in.

We’ve learned from traveling, that the stroller is our friend. Strollers are beds on wheels.

Our strategy is to take a quiet route in the evening and put Mateo to sleep. From there we either continue walking (I can’t get enough!), grab a drink, or even have a meal at a quiet restaurant. If we go to a restaurant we just choose a table that has an easy (roll away) escape route in case Mateo stirs.

We’ll see if the same strategy will work this year. Last year in Croatia we only had one dinner cut short, and maybe a handful of times where one of us had to take a quick shhhhh-ing round with the stroller for a minute or five. Of course there was that one day in Venice, Italy where the stroller strategy was a complete no-go. Not bad stats overall though!

This year we’re lucky. My sister will be joining us in a month (hello babysitter), and as soon as Mateo adjusts, his grandparents have volunteered to watch him every once in awhile at night as well (when we’re in Split).

Last night we put Mateo to sleep in the stroller and had a really lovely walk by the sea and through old town. Like I said, I can’t get enough. It always amazes me that Aki grew up steps from the Adriatic Sea and all of this HISTORY. Split is built around the walls of an old Roman palace!

At home, we always opt for a babysitter. But it’s nice to know that (although we have to be flexible), we aren’t prisoners to the toddler schedule. It’s just good to know!

Guys, I have more photos but Mateo is jumping on me yelling “outside, outside, goooooo!” (literally). So, we’re going to go outside.

Let’s catch up later! xo


PS  Did you know we’re on facebook now? We are! Come hang out! If you aren’t already following our facebook page, go on and “like” us. (please and thank you). :)

coffee and trucks: just an ordinary day in Croatia

happy toddler - day 2 Split, Croatia : summer in EuropeDay two and we’re settling in. Right now Aki’s working, Mateo’s napping, I’m blogging. We’re figuring out a routine. We’re going to try to spend the morning/early afternoons out and about together, and our late afternoons taking care of “normal life in a different place.”walking-to-gingolaThis morning we hung out at a local café which caters to families. They have a little play lot and lots of toys for the kiddos to explore and well, essentially leave their parents BE. :) I immediately noticed a few things that I found interesting. Little things that made the experience a bit of a cultural study.

In Chicago we have a variety of adorable kiddie cafés. Same idea: happy, distracted kids equal happy (more relaxed) parents. These types of places also fulfill city kids’ need for free range play. The difference is that in Chicago, all of the kiddie cafés/play places cost $12 to walk in and the whole environment and experience is set-up for the children. That’s the point, right?

In contrast, this café was definitely geared toward parents. There is nothing on the menu for a child; the offerings include a variety of coffee drinks and alcohol (like any cafe around). The café is for adults. The toys are for the kids.coffee & espresso in Split, Croatia: play cafeI find differences like this really interesting. Subtle differences which speak to a cultural variance. I rather like the idea of catering to families as “adults with children.” That’s what we are, right? So often in the U.S., once you become a parent, you are no longer an “adult,” you are now a “parent.” New category. I think you can wear both hats at the same time.gingola-play-cafeAnother difference is that this play space is not slick, bright, “safe,” or sterile. Quite honestly I’m guessing that there would be about 37 health and safety violations if the same space existed in Chicago. But maybe  Americans could benefit from relaxing a little bit. ;)

Funnily enough, in our family, Aki (the Croatian national) is the hyper-vigilant “American” parent and me (the American national), I’m of the “he’ll figure it out” and “a few bumps and bruises are no big deal” philosophy. Okay, I know I am generalizing. Yes, there are something like 105 million American families, so of course “the American parent” spans the entire map. yep, yep.

Today is just an ordinary day. But it made me think about why it’s so important to travel. It’s not always about seeing amazing things. Sometimes it’s just about seeing a different perspective or a different version of ordinary. This is why I try to experience the local “daily life” when I travel. The simple activity of having a coffee at a local café can make you stop and consider the different ways in which we think and live. There is always a benefit to that.gingola-rocksgingola-playgingola-shoesgingola-cargingola-smileI know Mateo had a great time (while building his immune system, ha kidding) and Aki and I absolutely enjoyed our coffee and espresso with cream in peace. Best of all, the café is just a street over. Trucks, gravel, and coffee is a formula that works for us. We definitely plan to be regulars.croatia-day-2-editAnd in other news, Mateo fell down today and yelled, “Opaaa!” haha, looks like he’s feeling his Croatian roots and already becoming a local. ;)

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND, friends!

It’s Friday, right? Yeah, pretty sure it is.

 

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