“Why don’t you save your money and travel when she’ll actually remember it?”
“Wouldn’t you rather have a romantic kid-free vacation?”
“Can’t you separate from your kid?”
We’ve heard and been asked them all. I want to give a little backstory on why we travel, and why we travel with #1Toddler on what can seem like daunting adventures.
When Amir and I were dating and having one of those talks where you feel the other person out for what’s important to them, what they want in life… travel, and more specifically international travel, surfaced over and over again.
Amir, half Egyptian, half English, was born in England. Thanks to his flight attendant mother with a worldly perspective and a degree in early childhood development, she placed a huge emphasis on ensuring Amir and his three brothers experienced all the world and its rainbow of people, history and cuisine had to offer. He grew up traveling and expected the same for his married life and future family.
I experienced my first international adventure at age 8 when my parents took my sister (7 years my senior) and me to Interlaken, Switzerland for a ski trip. Was I old enough to appreciate the full extent of the cultural experience – no… but that trip did involve my sister and I, while our parents were back at the ski lodge, getting lost in a snowy village and managing to find a doctor to stitch me up after a “J bar” ski lift went rogue and conked me in the head. Plus I’ll never forget the endless chocolate, tv commercials in a strange language and toys we didn’t have back in the US. After that trip, international travel became a big part of who I am, culminating with living in Madrid, Spain for 6 months back in 2002.
Amir and I agreed to escape the borders of the US at least twice a year. We take her with us because although she might not remember everything – or even anything – she lights up with new textures, colors, foods and smells. She understands the differences in languages, tempo of music and cadence of a big city vs back home. Even if she won’t remember it, her neurons are making connections – she enjoys it in the moment, and that brings us joy.
Today we walked East to see La Casa Rosada, “The Pink House,” which serves as the executive mansion for Argentina’s president. Built in the late 1800s, it’s seen many leaders, revolutions and renovations. It’s also where Eva Perón gave her famous speech on October 17, 1951. If you’ve seen Evita, then you likely know it.
If you want to tour the inside, you’ll need to come on a Saturday as the building houses government functions during the week and is only open to tourists one day. Book in advance if you can as slots reportedly fill quickly. We were here on a Thursday, so we settled for an exterior appreciation.
There is a small, free museum behind La Casa Rosada which features artifacts from prior presidents and details of an “Orient Express” type luxury train which used to be the preferred mode of travel for dignitaries.
Next we walked a half mile East to the canals in search of lunch. There were old ships and newer yachts, a mix of old and new that seems to match the rest of Argentina.
After lunch we hopped on the Subte, the metro of Buenos Aires, in search of the local Children’s Museum. Like most big city metros, you buy a card you can preload with trips then just swipe at the entrance.
Our destination was recommended by some well-travelled moms in an online forum I frequent. Museo de Niños is a 4 story kids museum located inside a gigantic shopping mall. Yes, we found a real life shopping mall filled with TONS of people.
They have some of the usual activities like grocery shopping and a tv station, but also some unique displays like the gigantic climbing toilet.
#1Toddler enjoyed the outdoor playground and making new friends with some “big girls” on the twirly ride.
After the kids museum, we stopped for what might have been our second ice cream of the day. I’ve never seen such an amazing display of popsicles. There was no way to walk past without getting one. Or two.
All the walking and climbing up and down to the metro sucked the energy from everyone. We had grand plans for a big Argentinian steak dinner tonight, but my pregnant back is aching and #1Toddler went down for the count early. Amir went down the block to Mostaza for burgers and fries. I have to say I was pretty psyched about our Plan B.
Tomorrow we have reservations at a small bakery where we’ll learn to make traditional Argentinian alfajores, little dulce de leche sandwich cookies. After that, we plan to explore Recoleta Cemetery which houses the tomb of Eva Perón.