Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Family vacation!

We’re in the midst of planning our first real family vacation. We’ve done plenty of road trips, staying with friends or relatives for a weekend, and of course we had a few camping trips with varying degrees of luxury. But this will be the first time we go to a city where we know no one, just for the heck of it, and actually stay in a hotel. Believe it or not, it’ll be the first time since our honeymoon (in Paris, bien sûr) seven years ago that Beloved and I have stayed in a hotel together.

We’re going to Québec City for three whole days, and I can’t wait! We’re also going to Montreal for a day, where we have an all-day playdate inked in with my frequent co-conspirator and favourite blogger, Nancy and her boys.

Beloved is teaching a course on Québec art this fall, so he’s doing a gallery and museum tour to familiarize himself with the subject matter. While I would absolutely love to tag along with him, I’m thinking that preschoolers and art galleries do not make a good mix. We’ll probably do something as a family early in the day, and either I’ll retreat to the hotel for Simon’s (ha!) nap, or I’ll drop Beloved off at a museum and drive big loops around the city for a couple of hours while the boys snooze in the back.

Planning a vacation with preschoolers is not exactly the same as planning a trip for yourself, I’m learning. When I went to Europe in 1995, I travelled by myself and chose places to stay based first on the cool factor, then on the safety factor, and finally on the cost factor. If I were travelling to Québec without the kids, I’d stay in the old city in a little B&B with period furniture and lots of charm and character. Where we’re actually booked is a Holiday Inn about a 20-minute walk outside the old city, with a pool, wi-fi, cable and lots of Internet reviews that say things like “family friendly” and “boring but serviceable”. Because Simon the Terrible and period furniture just don’t seem to be a good mix, ya know?

I’ve never been to Québec City before, and I’m looking forward to it. Everyone who has been there tells me it’s the closest thing to a European city this side of the pond. I absolutely love the idea of letting the boys run rampant on the Plains of Abraham, and I think there will be more than enough to keep everyone busy for a few days. And who knows, I might even get to practice my French.

Any thoughts on vacationing with preschoolers? You guys were positively inspiring on the whole “what should we eat when camping” issue, so now I’m not making a move without consulting you first!