On Travelling

Apr
27

This weekend David and I travelled to Toronto with Anna and Charlie.  I thought it would be fun to use up a via rail voucher by booking train tickets and chose the most fun destination we could reach inexpensively with this voucher: the city that is only 2 hours away from us.

It wasn't all "me" doing this choosing and booking, my attempts at input from the other half were met with the predictable "that sounds good".  "okay". 

"Do you want to stay at this hotel?"

"Does it have a pool?"

"yes."

"okay."

I can't blame anyone but myself for the brilliant idea of getting on a train at 7:45a.m.  I am usually not out of bed at that point.  Neither is Anna.  Or Charlie.  In spite of the early rising, we had a fairly uneventful train ride into Toronto.  Most importantly, the train was on time.  Secondary to that, our snack supply was not fully exhausted by Anna.  Charlie blessed us by doing this:

And one of Anna on the train:

Stroller of infinite Awesomeness (oh, I mean, here is a family pic that includes David and I!)

Tip #1 - if you travel with shortlegged or non-walking children and plan to do a lot of "on foot" - a) get or borrow a stroller that allows i) pushing.  Easily.  ii)comfortable sleeping for all children and b) dont' go to Toronto (more on that later).

Tip #2 - if taking your preschooler to the Royal Ontario Museum

a) big things are cool.  They can be easily seen and taken in when blurring by at 3 year old speed.

b) kid areas are best saved for the end - tearing your young child away and then hoping for a peaceful tour through egyptian pottery is unlikely to happen. (learned this hard way)

Tip #3 - the hotel

"It's great - there's a king bed and a seperate sleeping area with a double pull out couch and its' own TV!  "

Wrong.  Wrong if you think your 3 year old will actually want to sleep on the cool pull out couch with it's own TV.  And after a days travelling at 10pm your 3 year old is not quite in a negotiating mood.  "Mommmy, I want to sleep in yourrrr bed with you and Dadddddy and I don't want you to MOVE me to my own bed.  I dont' like that bed.  Please I dont' want you to move me.  I want to sleep here with Mommy and Daddy" when you have finally calmed the child down from "I want to go HOMMMMMMME. I don't want to sleep here. I want to go to MY bed.  Why can't we go home?"...it all pretty much means that wonderful 40 inches by 80 inches EACH of space just shrunk by a head scratching 93% due to the bodies of two small children.

This picture shows that young children understand the "up and down" "head and feet" nature of a bed.. in THEORY.  However, in practice, a 37inch preschooler takes up 46 inches in width on a king bed. (if my math seems off, dont' forget to add the arms reaching overhead)

Tip #4 - Subway

When you are not familiar with a city, learning how to use the subway system is a bit of a daunting task.  It takes a few test runs and then it runs pretty smoothly.  It runs smoothly unless you are carting around two young children in a double stroller.  We gained an appreciation for accessibility this weekend.  To those who can not use stairs, I can truly empathize with how hard it is to get around even "accessible" places.  The convoluted twists and turns and up this elevator and down that one and then back up this third one just to get to the street... is just exhausting.  We'd get to finally FINDING the subway station we want and realize there is 18 stairs between us and the subway platform and we've got two sleeping children in the stroller (of infinite awesomeness).

Furthermore - everywhere you go in Toronto has stairs.  Shops have stairs (up or down in chinatown).  Restaurants have stairs.  Museums have lots of stairs.  Often just 3 or 4.  We'd have to go up to level "3" in a elevator, go around half the level, find the other half blocked by stairs, then go back down elevator and across museum to another elevator and hope that it would get us up to the right "level".

To make a long story short - Toronto proved no where near as accessible as I would have anticipated.