Europe with kids, ain’t it grand?

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“I don’t know why everybody says Europe is so beautiful,” my youngest complained today as we walked our bikes through a crowded street of Old Town Zadar, Croatia, trying to avoid running into tourists. “Look at all the cracks on the stones!”

“Do you know how old those stones are?” I said. I don’t know how old those stones are. Old. Very old.

I’ve spent half the summer defending Very Old Europe to my kids and explaining why they should appreciate their surroundings as much as going to roller coasters and water parks. Some days, I lose the battle.

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Today, I promised them that after I finished my work, we’d go somewhere. My oldest, “A,” wanted to go to a history museum, which naturally meant his brother, “W,” wanted to stay home.

“Why do we have to go somewhere that seems like school?” he said. “It’s summer!”

Sometimes, I think my kids have a secret pact. If one wants to do something, the other must protest. I run the spectrum of wanting to keep them from being spoiled brats to wanting to keep them content in a country that is not their own.

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Today’s destination was the Archeological Museum. Lots of old, cracked things. “W” was not impressed. I kept having to stop and say nagging, motherly things to him, like, “Don’t sit on the tomb!”

“A” is more of a history buff who likes lingering on past lives. We walked around the museum talking about the people who must have made the objects we saw. “W” sped past us looking for interactive exhibits that haven’t arrived in this country just yet.

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If the best education is not learned in the classroom, I hope all of this “old stuff” is rubbing off on both kids. It’s kind of like taking them to an antique store and wanting them notice more than a dusty collection of stuff. Not everything comes with an app or video or a climbing ropes course like the children’s museum back home.

If one child tours museums looking miserable, disinterested and bored, will he still take it in by osmosis? Or do the teenage years last way beyond the teenage years? (He’s only 10).

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I keep having to remind myself that my kids are not mini adults. They’re just kids. Their travel experience is not supposed to be like mine.

We will not look at cracks in cobblestones in the same way. And I need to be fine with that.

 

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24 thoughts on “Europe with kids, ain’t it grand?

  1. “I kept having to stop and say nagging, motherly things to him, like, “Don’t sit on the tomb!””…… At least he didn’t try to “climb in!” Just relax and enjoy, Mom….. They ARE “taking it all in……”

  2. For the first time I am reading on some one saying Europe is boring. For sure museum may not be great place for kids.

  3. I wish I didn’t live so far from Europe so I could take my kids to Europe, one day perhaps when I save a few more pennies.

  4. Haha kids and museums can definitely be a tough combination! It’s only natural they don’t understand all about the old continent but it’s great you still took them on that trip, they might have learned a few interesting facts! 🙂

  5. This is cute. I remember my folks taking me around … and i constantly cribbing. Kids r like tht. But later I’ve realised traveling is a completely eye opener. So glad to have started young …
    Cheers 🙂

  6. My fiancee and I love to travel and are living in the Netherlands at the moment. We want to introduce our future kids to the world of travel, but have different opinions about how it will go. He’s very optimistic about how easy it will be to travel with children and I’m a little more nervous about the challenges it will bring! It was great to hear your story! Also, on my blog I have an interview feature where I share stories of how other global citizens are navigating the ups and downs of international living. Let me know if you’d be interested in sharing your story– http://www.intentionalexpat.com

    1. Thanks, Melissa! Traveling with kids is definitely doable. I think it will help them see the world in a new perspective. Kids adapt. Sometimes it’s just painful for everybody. Your site looks fascinating. I will message you there on your contact page.

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