Friday, November 19, 2010

Exotic Lands

Beautiful Budapest, Hungary
Greece, Turkey, Portugal, Croatia, Slovenia, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic are what I like to call the more exotic European countries.  They are all fabulous destinations, each with their own character, history, customs, and scenery.  They probably offer the most unspoiled culture and the best travel bargains among European countries.  But for one reason or another – be it because they were once behind the Iron Curtain, or because they have a shaky economy or government, or because they’re less developed, less industrialized, or have a weaker infrastructure – these countries were never my first choice to travel to with young children.  In fact, I even marginally include Italy on this list, since once, in a hotel on southern Lake Garda, the water shut off while I had shampoo in my hair and didn’t come back on for 24 hours.  The management suggested I jump in the lake to rinse it out.  I’ve also seen some sleazy dealings going on among the Brindisi port ferry operators.  (Looked like extemporaneous ticket price escalation due to the crowds, to me.  But that was nothing compared to the palms we had to grease on the other side, in Corfu, to accomplish embarking on the ferry back to Brindisi.)
Brindisi to Corfu ferry
Anyway, these are not the sorts of things that make traveling with young children any easier.  Better to rely on Swiss precision and German engineering, or the remarkable capability of everyone in The Netherlands and Belgium to speak perfect English.  The Scandinavian countries too, are über-civilized and safe.  Besides, I remember that once I became a teenager I was no longer much interested in rustic mountain chalets or reading World War II memorial inscriptions . . . I wanted the white sand beaches of Santorini!  Snorkeling off the Canary Islands!  The open markets in Istanbul!  Fortunately for me my parents were happy to compromise and we managed a few of those dream destinations.  So my plan is to save these exotic lands until my son and daughter get a little older, too.  But have I mentioned that my daughter is already a teenager?  And already pining to see glorious Rome and ancient Athens.  That's my girl.

1 comment:

  1. I love your blog too! You can't imagine how much I miss Europe since I've moved to America...


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