I am a person who can get nostalgic for anything. Sweaty, dusty, turd-lined streets in Delhi. Sleeping in the driver’s seat of a compact car for four weeks straight in Australia. If it’s a travel memory my brain has a strange way of giving even the most unpleasant experience a silver lining.
But even I have a hard time rousing any rosy feelings for a nine and a half hour flight with a 13-month child.
Yes, we took the baby abroad. And it had its ups and downs. Highlights included an extended nap that allowed my husband and I the chance to have a leisurely dinner of moules frites in Brussels. Lowlights included an extended fit that cut our lunch short at Cafe Savoy in Prague.
On the plus side there was the excellent Reserved Family Car on the train through Germany that afforded us both privacy and the chance to mingle with other little ones from across Europe. Then there was the standing room only train through Poland where we had to choose between the stroller and the luggage because both were not getting through the narrow, Slav-strewn corridor. (Funny story though: an angsty Polish twenty-something, probably scarred from years of Catholic school, forced an uppity nun to give me and the baby her seat.)
Once safely at grandma’s house in Poland, baby promptly fell ill. We all followed suit and caught the flu. Side trips were cut short, Christmas was threatened. Tough challenges for even the rosiest-colored hindsight glasses.
We did eventually make it to the Christmas markets in Prague and the beautiful spa town of Karlovy Vary, but it wasn’t without a few battle scars. But I’m not daunted. We’ll go out into the world again. I’m looking forward to a little travel partner who can engage in the trip, be curious about different cultures, and most of all sit still for two minutes. Maybe I’m just using my rose-colored glasses on the future this time.