Monday, July 11, 2011

planes, trains and automobiles (part two)

Let me first say that I can take absolutely no credit for our travel arrangements. My rockstar husband did it all, occasionally asking, "what do you think?" to which I usually replied, "whatever's best."

After three or four days in Amsterdam we were going to head to Paris. Chris and I had taken a train from Germany to France back in 2006 and had a great experience. So we knew that we wanted to, once again, get to Paris by rail. The turtle had traveled by train when he was about three months old (not to mention he rides the subway at least a few times every week), so I was certain he would take to the ride. A couple of things we did to ease our travel: we paid for the turtle to have his own seat. For an extra 20 euros we were able to reserve the extra space, which was great because our little guy stood in his seat, watching the windmills fly by for at least half an hour. We also upgraded to business class, which meant we had extra leg and baggage room and free wifi. We also were served coffee, and lovely little french sandwiches and pastries. This time the upgrade cost us nothing, but I think we would be happy to pay extra in the future. Just the extra room alone, was a lifesaver with a wriggly toddler.

The final way we traveled was by car. While in the Netherlands we took a day trip to visit Chris' and his father's cousins who lived about an hour outside of Amsterdam. Now keep in mind that we were adamant about not traveling with a car seat. After all we had planned to take the train and/or metro everywhere we went. So when it came time to rent the automobile, a rented car seat had to come along for the ride.

Perhaps it's because we're New Yorkers, who rarely drive, but I think we all found the car ride the least relaxing part of the trip. Fortunately, my father-in-law, who both rented and drove the car handled the whole thing with considerable grace, but were it not for the side-trip, we would have been just fine, relying on public transportation.

The one thing that traveling in Europe has done, is it has inspired me to reconsider riding a bike. Bike-riding in Amsterdam is a phenom beyond compare, and the bike rental system in Paris is urban service at its best. Not to mention there is something quite romantic about traveling through the city around with a basket full of baguettes and flowers.

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