Europe For The Senses

Author/Photographer Vicki Liston blogs on her book and some interesting places she's traveled. "Europe for the Senses - A Photographic Journal" was published under the name 'Vicki Landes'.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

One Big Happy Travelin' Family

So what do you do when you like to travel to places that your significant other doesn’t? And what about the kids? They don’t want to travel at all. Traveling is one of those times where you DO need to make everyone happy.

Take my family for example. I could hit every castle, cathedral, church, monastery, and ruins in the entire country of Germany and never get bored (I actually have hit them all in the greater Stuttgart area). But if I start to mention a potential trip to my husband, “hey, I was thinking about visiting this cas…” Right there, his eyes are already rolling. My son, although a great sport about being dragged to every location I’m interested in, would much rather sit and watch Toon Disney all afternoon. Here’s where a little research will pay off big time.

Know (or get to know) what your other family members are into. Rob will salivate at any war-related history site and Brady’s fine with the kid-friendly spots. So, before we set off for that castle, I’ll look for anything and everything related to WWI or II – concentration camp, museum, monument, tour, etc. I’ll also look for parks, playgrounds, botanical gardens (those usually have animals), animal museums (Germany’s full of petting zoos, reptile or spider museums), lakes with paddleboats, whatever might give Brady the opportunity to run around and burn some energy or see something creepy crawly.

Once you have something for everyone, plan your time. When we went to Ulm, my goal was to see the cathedral and climb to the top of the spire. Rob and Brady came along and explored the sanctuary with me but I took on the hundreds of spiraling stairs by myself. After I got to the bottom, we all continued to an old concentration camp. Rob spent time studying the pictures in the museum while I kept Brady occupied. After lunch, we visited a bird aviary where lush plants grew in large, domed cages. We found ourselves nose-to-beak with all kinds of exotic species of birds (watch out for aerial bombs, though :)

Another option is to split up. When we visited Berlin, Rob hopped a tour to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp while Brady and I took a train to Castle Sanssouci and Gardens. We met up later that afternoon to share what we’d seen. This way, nobody had to sit and wait for ‘the boring stuff’ to be over with. Everybody’s happy!


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