“Hey, Babe! What do you think about driving up to Poland this summer?” Here’s another one of those wild ideas that enters the 1.2-kilogram, gray matter inside my hard head, flutters its fairy wings, grab on to a chunk of dying amygdala-gobbledygaga while in there, and just won’t let go!
“Are you crazy?” We live over 3,000-something kilometers (that’s closer to 2,000 miles for you ‘Mericans) away in Spain and Kaj (our little runner of joy) hates getting into a car, gets stubbornly mad seating down and could cry for hours (not that we tested this ; ) until he gets what he wants! One time, we had to detour from a trip because he wanted ketchup with his fries and would not stop crying “keeeeeeeetchuuuuuup” in an amazing combination of wailing, complaining and suffering reminiscent at times of a flamenco style called seguirillas or even saetas… The whole stop and search for a freakin’ ketchup took two hours! So, yeah, I do get my wife’s concerns!
“Better yet, we’ll take our time but not take any toll roads!… We can even go camping!” Yup, at that point of the conversation, I might as well go all out and push it.
Happy wife. Happy Life. And in order for wife to be happy, I’ve learned, in my own special stubborn way, to address her needs and the needs of the love of her life–our children! Hers is the need to travel, discover and see the family. The children’s? Well, they really don’t have much apart from Pavlov’s basics. Come to think of it… Kaj and Karol (K+K) DO NEED to have old skool children’s play and veer away from the endless parade of mind-zombifiers on YouTube, Netflix and the good old TV.
They need to be able to be in a car for long periods of time. They need to explore and discover… They need to hit the road as much as I do! After all, we are self-elected nomads of the cyber age, like others who are already out there! We need to ROAM FREE! (okay, okay, I’m getting carried away here, just a bit).So, back to reality.
Here’s our summer camping road trip plan (Plan 333).
Drive up to Poland. Stay. Drive back down. 3 weeks up. 3 weeks in. 3 weeks down. Simple enough, is how my accentuate-the-positive-ignore-everything-else kind of outlook sees it, doesn’t it?
Besides we need to get the heck out of the Andalusian summer sun-curse (unlike last summer when it was too hot to even think while I was steeped in a puddle of my own swampy summer sweat, even in the shady confines of our unairconditioned apartment.
Why the timeframe? We don’t have to work this summer (nice, eh?) but need to be back for the start of school.
Take no-toll roads. Why? The last time I drove across Europe, I sped through it all, pushing pedal-to-the-metal and all my kilograms of euro-coins went down the drain of toll roads, especially France! Besides, we do have time to travel an average of 4 hours per leg. So, we might as well take it easy, take it slow, and enjoy life on the road, unhurried.
Visit places that are no more than 4 hours apart on average. Why? K+K won’t take any more than that. They’d go restless and I’d go nuts when they start losing it during the drive. Kaj in particular cannot stay seated in a car for more than an hour at a time (unless he’s sleeping!) much less hours and days on end.
Cut the drive in half. Stop somewhere for food, fun and maybe some fact-finding (any place with a playground would do, or an off-the-beaten place to explore if it were solely up to us–parents).
Find cheap accommodation. This is a tricky one. It is summer season. The cheapest way to go is by camping–tricky too as the kids have not tried sleeping out of beds (unless they fall or pass out, out of tiredness), much less outside, in a tent and on the ground. Hmmm. Need to think about this some (more later).
Oh, and ahhhh… this has to be a child-friendly trip. That means sights and stops with playgrounds and more stuff to do with children than, say, pub crawls and past-midnight growls.
From where we are, going northeast through Spain… Andorra, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, and Czech Republic, (and some 3-thousand something kilometers and over 3 weeks later). . . Polska, here we come!
CREDITS: Modified partial map of Europe taken from “Maps” by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski; published by BIG PICTURE PRESS. Thanks!