Tag: toddler

Argentina Day 9: Hiking to Tacul Beach

We awoke this morning, finished watching “Cars” and picked a hiking trail for the day. Tacul Beach, 1.5 hours and rated medium, seemed like a great fit.

Scenic views from the trail to Tacul Beach

The website billed the terrain as “flat,” so given our success two days ago in reaching Sendero de los Arrayanes, we set forth with our CitiMini stroller in tow.

It wasn’t long before the terrain turned bumpy with rocks and roots crisscrossing the trail. We decided the only way to continue forward was to leave the stroller behind and for Amir to carry #1Toddler on his shoulders.

Considering and dreading the trek back, we almost turned around before reaching the beach. That surely would have been a mistake.

Crystal clear water at Tacul Beach

As soon as we arrived, #1Toddler scooped up a handful of pebbles and shouted “Splash! Splash! Splash!” I’m not sure what it is about throwing rocks into water, but she could do it for hours.

Rock throwing champion

We lucked out with the weather. No rain today and 60 degrees. The cools temps didn’t stop some young Argentinian women from bikini sunbathing though. Sorry, no photos.

We made it!

We spent about an hour at the beach, resting, throwing rocks, getting our toes wet and polishing off some leftover chocolate from Chocolatería Rama yesterday. It was hard to leave, but we knew we had a rough trek back and didn’t want to have to rush.

The for the trek back, Amir carried her on his shoulders until we caught back up with our stroller. We just gave ourselves permission to stop and rest as often as needed which made the return trip pretty tolerable.

Cleopatra took a nap in her stroller

All the rest stops along the way made for a great opportunity to snap a last few photos.

We reached the car starving and desperate to find a baño for me. I’d spotted a small café on one of our many drives through town. We decided to give it a try.

Chaido Tea Room & Café

The place reminded me of a young grandmas house. Eclectic decor, small, intimate and laced with detail.

We found a table near the window and quickly made some menu selections.

We ordered the waffles with creme, two sandwiches and two fresh fruit juice blends.

Prosciutto, Brie, tomato and arugula on multigrain bread
Café con Nutella (Coffee with Nutella)

#1Toddler not having had much of a nap was restless, so we had to pay up and skip dessert.

Admiring the decor at Chiado
Do the outdoor seating if you can

Tonight we have to pack up for our flight to stop #3 on this Argentinian adventure, Iguazú Falls. On the border between Argentina and Brazil, Iguazú Falls are the largest waterfalls in the world, despite Victoria and Niagara Falls sometimes trying to steal the title. The weather should be sunny in the low 90s, and our hotel has a pool. I’m ready.

-Steph

Argentina Day 1: Getting there is half the fun (when it involves travel perks)

You may recall that the last time we flew to Denmark, we came back on a first class upgrade. I knew that was going to be trouble. Once you experience it, especially with a toddler, it’s hard to go back.

Amir had a solution for this. Back in the states a week, he’d sorted out which credit cards and flier clubs we needed to join to ensure an elevated travel experience from here on out. If you want details, ask him, but in short it involved the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card with Priority Pass as a start.

British Airways lounge in Terminal B

The other way this trip is already different for us is that I am traveling while 20 weeks pregnant. No major alterations to our usually pretrip prep – except I scheduled a special visit to the Infectious Disease travel clinic to ensure my vaccinations were all up to date, and to learn about any exposure or other safety considerations for this trip. Turns out Zika is still a thing, but there are just as many cases in the US as Argentina. Fortunately most of my immunizations from traveling to Rwanda are still valid.

“Get some insect repellant with <30% DEET and don’t forget your sunscreen.” Easy. Check. Plus 2 “just in case” doses of azithromycin for any GI bugs.

“And any red meat has to be cooked well done.” Hrumph. We are only going to the red wine and red meat capital of the world. I’ve decided to order decadent seafood and chocolate wherever and whenever possible.

Static cling letters and animals are great for window seat entertainment

As I always say, the key to surviving 5+ hour flights with an infant or toddler is preparation. Small toys without parts that are easily lost are key. This trip we added static cling window cutouts since #1Toddler is big into her ABCs these days. We also brought two magnetic puzzles that help limit lost pieces.

If you can swing it, lay flat seats guarantee a solid nap

All our flights arrived on time. We flew Avianca for the first time and were quite pleased. We arrived at the airport in Buenos Aires and easily summoned an Uber to take us to our AirBnB.

Raphael met us in the lobby of our AirBnB to ensure a smooth checkin. We’ve had some great luck with AirBnB wins the last few years and were delighted with an artful apartment in a historic building with breezy balconies and more square footage than anyone would reasonably expect for an urban setting like this.

Of course now we are all three thrown off on time. Amir and I want to nap, but #1Toddler is requesting a trip to the park and sliced apples. Here’s to hoping for a second wind.

Denmark Day 4: LEGOLAND!

Yesterday we travelled by train (x 2) and bus from Copenhagen to Billund, the site of LEGOLAND. There’s an option to fly here from Copenhagen, but it still means a train or bus to the airport, then another bus to the park. Renting a car is reportedly the easiest option, but incredibly expensive (like many things here).

So we opted to test out the robust public transportation system here. Not the easiest trip ever, but two thumbs up for a national public transit system that lets you seamlessly “swipe in” with one access card for the whole country and across all modes. No separate fares for trains, buses or the metro. Also friendly if you want to bring your bike or stroller.

Specific cars are designated for bikes and strollers, plus free WiFi!

Last night we stayed at Hotel Svaden, roughly 700m from the park entrance, but 1/4 the cost of a night at the official LEGOLAND Hotel. It served its purpose.

The park opens at 10am daily. We stopped for breakfast at an Espresso House, right across the street from the park prior to entering and avoided breakfast at a pricey all-you-can-eat buffet.

Rain ponchos thankfully come in adult and kids sizes

The only negative about today – the weather. Today was 62 degrees and rainy, the entire day. As Amir said, “what are we going to do, go back to Copenhagen?” So in Louka style, we made the most of it.

Admittedly, the yellow ponchos were pretty fun. I now feel bad for the multitude of people I’ve made fun of over the years at various theme parks. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

I’m pretty sure the LEGOLAND website can do a better job showcasing everything the park has to offer in much greater detail, so I’m just going to drop some photos and small details.

Nyhavn a la LEGO

Nyhavn in real life

It was fun seeing the sites of Denmark built intricately in hundreds of thousands of LEGOs, particular scenes like Nyhavn which we’d visited just two days earlier.

After riding on a Jungle Safari, we headed to Duplo land, a playground designed just for kids under six. With a hospital, an ambulance and 3 slides, it was everything this team wanted.

Someone didn’t feel like driving the ambulance

Next we headed to the carousel to ride a horse. The ride allows a parent to stand in the middle and chaperone a little one, which is nice at our age.

She went once with her MaMa then immediately wanted a turn with DaDa

After the carousel, the rain had intensified, so we went in search of an indoor activity and landed at Atlantis, the aquarium. There’s a short film before entering the aquarium itself, but you are quickly greeted by sharks, clown fish, stingrays and various other colorful creatures.

LEGO sculptures live under water with the sea life

A little damp, but everyone is still smiling

LEGO submarine and a stingray

After the aquarium we met and hugged a beautiful princess and indulged in strawberry ice cream at the request of #1Toddler.

She also tried cotton candy or “candy floss” for the first time

We would have stayed a tad longer, but #1Toddler eventually passed out in the stroller.

No question what was Amir’s favorite

We took the bus-train-train route back to our hotel and exhausted, enjoyed a nice dinner in the warmth and convenience of our hotel restaurant.

The train is always the scenic route

Buses run every 30 minutes

These $3 IKEA stacking cups are a must have for out & about


Some photo odds & ends:

Cape Canaveral, FL

The Royal Palace, Copenhagen

Everyone was tired by the end

Denmark Day 3: LEGO House & MINI CHEF

Today we took the train to Billund, Denmark, the home of THE Legoland. It requires a bit of finagling to get to from Copenhagen – 2 or 3 train connections plus a short stint on a bus. Amir thankfully is a great navigator on all our trips. He can look at a route ahead of time (when internet is accessible) and navigate across an entire country from just Google Maps screenshots.

We dedicated today to travel with the goal of getting to Billund with time to check in to our hotel, grab some dinner at MINI CHEF, and unwind for a big day tomorrow.

LEGO House, Billund, Denmark

Hostess Stand at MINI CHEF

Jeff told us about MINI CHEF last night. Here’s how it works:

  • 1. Pick one block of each color to build your meal. Kids get an extra special surprise yellow block.
  • The “menu” at MINI CHEF

    The meal options

    2. Stack your blocks in the tray and load it into the computer to create your meal.

    3. The computer detects your creation and little LEGO chefs build your meal.

    4. A few minutes later, it appears on a conveyor belt where two friendly robots then deliver it to you.

    5. Bring your meal back to your table and enjoy!

    Don’t fret – they have adult beverages as well.

    The whole dining area has activities for the kids within reach. Books, little LEGOs, big LEGOs, there’s lots to keep the kids busy while dinner is prepared.

    MINI CHEF is located inside LEGO House, which features a coffee shop, LEGO store and six zones of fun inside the main portion of LEGO House. You don’t need to buy a ticket to LEGO House to be able to eat at MINI CHEF or the cafe.

    Making a mess is encouraged

    LEGO friends in the lobby

    There’s a small LEGO store located inside LEGO House. All the favorites are available there including StarWars, LEGO Movie, Harry Potter and more.

    Tomorrow morning we’ll walk a short distance from our hotel, Hotel Svanen, to Legoland to spend the day.

    Denmark Day 2: Exploring Copenhagen & World Cup

    We went to bed last night at 9pm exhausted and with #1Toddler just having napped half the day. Needless to say we weren’t expecting much, if any, sleep.

    We awoke at 11am, (yup, you read that right) despite the sun peering into our room since 4am. 14 hours of blissful sleep on hotel sheets. Our toddler parent dreams come true.

    As mentioned yesterday, we packed a tad too lightly for the cool weather, so the goal today was shopping, then hot dogs and if energy – culture and World Cup. We accomplished all of the above with a little help from H&M, a friendly street vendor and Jeff & Nadja, our hosts.

    On our way to the shopping district, we passed through Nyhavn, a pedestrian friendly street lined with cafes, musicians and people pausing to converse and enjoy the water. You can take a canal tour if you prefer the view from the water.

    You can never go wrong with a train set

    Building table

    A pretty serious “play” fire station

    We always look out for toy stores along our walk. They provide a needed break from the bustle of pedestrians, cars and bikes (omg the bikes) of the city scene.

    Biking is the preferred mode of transportation

    “Park n Ride” equivalent outside the metro station. These are commuter bikes, not rentals.

    We were lucky enough to catch up with Jeff & Nadja after a quick stop at the National Museum. It houses a Children’s Museum within as well as a fantastic exhibit on the Mongolian Empire. #1Toddler’s take on the museum: “Too much scary.” (Lots of skeletons and masks on display).

    Unfortunately we got there just an hour before closing and didn’t get to see all it had to offer. It’s conveniently located right next to Ørsteds Park which has multiple swings, slides and a sandbox perfect for antsy toddlers.

    Ørsteds Park

    After H&M, we enjoyed our obligatory street food adventure with a local hotdog.

    #1Toddler approved.

    I ordered mine with mustard, crunchy onions and special sauce.

    We met Jeff & Nadja at a local food market called Torvehallerne. We ordered duck sandwiches x 4 paired with local, unfiltered brown ale drafts.

    After dinner we walked to a pub that Jeff was fairly sure would be airing the Women’s World Cup match. USA vs England is a house divided for us and a match not to be missed under any circumstances.

    Two pitchers of Carlsberg, one order of very bad nachos and a victory for the good old USA, and we called it a night. Tomorrow we head to THE Legoland.

    Backing the engine into the fire station after a call