Traveling with kids rule number one: The amount of time spent at famous, ancient sites is inversely proportional to and then divided by three, take away two, the amount of time spent at nearby children’s museums and subsequent parks. But I got to see the Acropolis. Even as someone who isn’t a lover of Greek mythology and definitely not a history buff, it was amazing. I was staring at the Parthenon thinking, “How is it that I get to be here?” There was a lot of gratitude and wonder. I was also glad we are morning people.
Rule number two: If you are a morning person get going early. If you’re not a morning person, consider becoming one. The extra long travel day from Oakland to Stockholm then to Athens after a 4 hour layover has been difficult to get over and we were both up quite early. The trip into Athens was only 40 minutes and quite easy and we were at the base of the Acropolis by 9 am. I was bummed there were two tour groups in front of us, until we came back down and there were about 6-8 school groups and that many tour groups as well waiting to go up. While we were up on the Acropolis it wasn’t really that crowded, nor hot yet. While the visit was short, we hit it just right.
Rule number 3: If I’m a bit overwhelmed, stressed and disoriented as an adult, my child is one hundred times more so. Junior is feeling quite overwhelmed. It ends up he was afraid of being up on the Acropolis as he thought he could fall off! He misses food from home, even though I brought a lot in my suitcase. When given a chance he’d rather stay in and watch a movie than do anything else. Back to rule number one. The Hellenic Children’s Museum followed by the local park after dinner where he found a friend to play with helped a lot.
Rule number 4: Let kids eat what they want. Junior is not an adventurous eater and he’s been known to just not eat if he doesn’t like something. Even the sandwich he’s had the last couple of days was intolerable and actually made him gag. While some families may live by the rule of eat this or go hungry, for multiple reasons I can’t and won’t do that with Junior. So I’m letting him eat what he wants, even if it’s the same dinner every night. We did this on our last trip and it helped a lot. I’ve been determined not to have the same thing every night myself and realized I can bring something home or make two dinners if need be. Coming home on the bus we stopped at a kiosk and bought him orange soda and chips. Definitely not what I envisioned having my child eat when I became a parent. But my kid needs to eat. I am choosing my battles.
Rule number 5: Everyone needs some down time. While traveling to a new place it can be easy to want to plan something everyday. And I’m a person who likes to get up and going early. But we’re gone for four months, It’s not a short trip. At home there are days Junior is in his PJs until 1 pm. I have to allow that to happen here, even if I’d rather be out and doing something.