It was a good thing the kids really liked the science museum we visited, the Technorama Swiss Science Center, because for that kind of entrance fee I was going to keep them there forever, or at least overnight if possible. Although it must be said that the Technorama in Winterthur is worth every penny. I would just recommend getting there as soon as it opens in the morning.
No matter where I go in France, before I even open my mouth to utter the perfect French sentence I’ve practiced in my head for the last five minutes, I am greeted in English. What is it that gives me away as "l'Americaine?" Is it my perfectly aligned teeth? The way I dress? The number of children in my tow? I have a theory. Read on.
Perhaps I brought this on myself, you'll say, by engaging in the folly of taking my four kids on a train trip around Europe, all by myself. Touche. In any case, I had some - a lot of, truth be told - moments of bickering. My kids are good at that. I also had some moments of panic. As in: "Did I actually check in that bag?" Or "did I leave my wallet at the coffee shop?"
I must be insane. At least that's what everyone tells me. But it was either flying through creation just to see the grandparents, or flying through creation to see the grandparents and a bunch of really cool cities. Who doesn't want to see some cool European cities? Our family, that's who. But to Europe we went, nevertheless. Here is the first blog post.
The cabins are a throw back to old time train travel, in a good way. There were two "couches" facing each other that obviously would later get reconfigured as beds. Our children LOVED having their own compartment. There was a shared toilet for your car and a shower. There were also bathrobes, slippers, and towels in the room. We were on a Premier Classe train.
I have no regrets about our family's time in South Africa. When we came to Johannesburg in early 2010, we had the benefit of having a prior expat assignment under our belts. That made a huge difference - not so much in terms of navigating a new country but in terms of our attitude towards it and life in general. What I mean is we knew to leave out nothing from the start.
So we go on the first one WITHOUT kids, and what should we get to see the very first afternoon at Banoka Bush Camp? Mating lions. In fact, it’s the first time we’ve seen anything mate in the wild. If you don't count the odd dragon flies over our pool. Opportunity missed. With the kids here, we could have had the entire birds and bees conversation right there.
This was the longest vacation we've taken while living in Southern Africa. Two entire weeks, and all of it on the road. Or some of it on the river, if you want to be a stickler. Most of it without any internet, some of it without any electricity, and a portion of it without any air in our tires. Our story will likely fill a whole book, but here are some pictures to get you started off.
Electronic devices must have done more for the safety of family vehicles than seat belts and speed limits combined. I'm sure of it. Oh the bliss when everyone is playing a game on their very own iPod. With earphones plugged in. Who cares whether they've seen the Grand Canyon on the way past? They were silent! And not touching each other! These are might thoughts about family road trips.
When we went diving in the Red Sea, the whiny kids were the ones on top, snorkeling, with me. I haven't been convinced yet to actually take up diving, much preferring to stay at the hotel pool and read my book and then look at all the pretty pictures afterwards, but the one aspect of diving that might convince me is the prospect of absolute silence underwater.