Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Travels with My Rica - Vienna, the Aging Lady

The first question for parents of a small child who love travelling is: To travel or not to travel (with the kid). When to start, where and how? For me personally a small kid has never been a reason to stay home. Naturally one has to take precautions and be aware of places and possible dangers. But someone told me your kid is happy wherever you go, since the kid likes to be with the parent/s.

Especially should she or he skip the school, right?

There are several rules one should be aware of. The top first rule is tune yourself into being utterly, absolutely, maximally flexible. Planning is necessary but be prepared to accept changes to your plans and improvise. Any time you want the kid to do something, like fall asleep for example, be sure she or he will not. And vice versa. Rica fell asleep twice on Manila metro and I had to sit in a station and wait until she wakes up (not only to allow her get some energy but simply because I cannot carry those 16 kilos around in the humid tropical climate any more).

I also found amusement in observing the kid when taking in new experiences. It often enriches her vocabulary bordering with poetism. So for instance to fly in an airplane she started to use a phrase: To be on the cloud (Být na mráčku).

Vienna, Aging Lady

My first foreign trip with Rica was visiting friends in one of the neighboring countries, Austria. Vienna is an aging lady of elegance and manners, clean, well-kept and a bit pompous. An aging lady, which strives to be modern but would look more natural if she faced her age and were faithful to the old style.

It was Easter time, something between the ending winter and beginning spring, so Vienna was still clad in grayish colors. No leaves on trees yet, no green grass. But the sun shining fully and happily for four days revealed the town’s semi-nakedness before it would get dressed in spring colors.

When thinking about Rica in Vienna, I think of her walking by my side happy and joyfully singing along our way to a park where we sat on a bench and ate our snack. We bought goodies in one of the plentiful  Bäckerei shops. I think of her chasing the pigeons in front of and inside the Stephan Dom and then leaving the huge kirche and Rica singing Ježíšku, panáčku (Czech Christmas carol about Baby Jesus). I think of her jumping on a trampoline with kids in a park from all over the world. 

Rica may not have discovered the famous sightseeing spots of Vienna this time but it was something I call a training trip. To train her to travel longer hours, experience new places (playgrounds), eat new food (and lots of Easter chocolate), learn to share her toys (and iPad) with a kid she saw for the first time in her life, that is my friends' daughter Giulia (sharing toys was a huge challenge for both of them).  

I would like to praise the České dráhy (Czech railways) for being so helpful when frantically looking for a seat. We had only a couple of minutes to get on the train before it would depart and I literally struggled with the pram into the wagon. The conductor standing nearby quickly responded and helped me to get on and then found a convenient seat for me and Rica himself (in fact, he asked a young lad to sit on the floor). I felt bad about it but there was little I could do at that moment.


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