I honestly thought one adventure was enough for us this year. I mean, if we survived an international move with two preschool aged children then we should probably just count our eggs and go home. (Is that even a saying? Because it honestly just popped out and now I have no idea what it means.)
But somewhere in the chaos of drop offs and pick ups, of late nights at school and long days with the kids, we decided a vacation was in order. A break from the demands of every day life. A chance to get away from it all.
I don't know if we were forgetful or just deluded, but we neglected to factor one thing into our plans.
Of course we know by now not to plan on long, relaxing weeks at the shore or intense days of sight-seeing or peaceful dinners out.
We realize that vacations revolve around little bellies with huge capacities for food, well-timed naps and, of course, numerous, sporadic, and always inconvenient potty breaks.
But, at times, we still forget to account for the unexpecteds of traveling with kids.
Like long, gloomy days indoors. Or overly anxious mom's chasing their energetic children through water-ridden streets. Or long car rides with a broken collarbone.
But we also forget about the pleasant surprises. The small moments that tell you the money and time and stress were truly worth it.
So to wrap up the latter (with a small showing of the former), we present to you, our fall trip...
With our bags loaded and children brimming with excitement we were ready for takeoff by nine (a decently early start for a family of four, one of whom insists on eating breakfast at home, no matter what the occasion).
I felt optimistic. After three months in the same place I found myself practically incapable of fathoming life outside Budapest. It felt like its own planet, and while beautiful and rich with history, I needed to know there was more.
So with a large McDonald's cappuccino and Joel's homemade IPad travel holder, we set off on a hopeful note. I imagined the children quietly soaking in the passing scenery while I savored one, complete, hot cup of coffee.
Vacation can really mess with a person's head.
Not even five minutes and choruses of "We want to watch something!" echoed through the car, followed by the unheard refrains, "Just look out your window" and "Quiet back there."
By the time I fought, distracted, and finally, gave in, I settled into the passenger's seat and yet another large cup of lukewarm coffee.
As we entered Slovenia the IPad was running a fairly constant stream of Wonderpets and Dora Choo Choo Train. But Mom and Dad were taking it all in. The beautiful, clustered mountain peaks, the rocky landscape dotted with ancient, baroque-style churches, the herds of sheep grazing on steep-sided hills.
Of course we enjoyed all this at 130 km/h, hardly leaving enough time to soak it all in.
So when we finally arrived and the tourist farm owner immediately led us to a quiet table of our own, cozy with the warmth of the crackling fireplace, we were ready for a break. After speaking some quick Slovenian in the kitchen he returned with a plateful of biscuits and struedel, homemade juice for the kids, and two large glasses of red wine... for the frazzled parents.
From there we bundled up and explored the terrain, greeting the animals, utilizing the playground, following windy dirt roads... and absolutely devouring some of the most delicious, home-cooked food we ever tasted (besides our mothers' of course).
Only one slight mishap. As we left dinner and headed back to our room, little Finny fell. Just down one stair. It was dark. so I could't quite see how he landed, but after some hard cries and enthusiastic distractions he came around. We thought that was it. Crisis averted, drama over.
So we all piled into our large bed, turned off the lights, and waited for morning.
To be continued...
(This particular post will be presented in three installments, due to the author's long-windedess as well as her undeniable inclination to laziness. Sorry.)