Sunday, July 08, 2007

Trains, planes ...

Last weekend was Montreal by Via Rail. This week it's B.C. by Air Canada.

Here we are in lovely Vancouver. I'm finally relaxing... figured out why I've been so stressed the last few days. It was because I was planning the family vacation. Trying to plan an itinerary and the appropriate places to stay around those activities. Kid-appropriate activities; kid-friendly accomodations, kid-centric holiday. Just thinking about, doing the research, spending upteen hours a day on the computer and the phone trying organizing. No wonder I was exhausted!

We were originally going to spend the first and the latter part of the week in the city, and rent a car for a couple days for some days trips, not to include Whistler, which we did for most of a week last year. I thought Victoria would be a nice change, but having gone there a couple of times already, we finally thought the logistics of the car, ferry, with kids, stroller and various bags made it less attractive the more I looked into it. I don't know what it is... well, maybe I do. We wanted this to be a family vacation, stress-free if at all possible. So adding another mode of transportion that would be more than a 60 minute ride, was really low on the totem pole on things we wanted to do.

So we decided to stick around the city as there's so much to do here that we haven't really explored. Problem was, trying to find 2 nights accomodation in high season was almost impossible. I had booked the other hotels about a month ago, so thought it might be nice to do a B & B in Kitsilano this time. Unfortunately, you have to book months in advance, especially for kid-friendly accomodation. In the end even the hotels I booked didn't have vacancies, so we're going to do a hotel tour of downtown Vancouver. Frankly, though, this made our kids totally ecstatic. They LOVE hotels.

The flight from T.O. to Vancouver was great - primarily because little G passed out just after take-off and slept for almost 2 hours. Without the help of Gravol (I know terrible mom, but desperate times often call for desperate measures). Liamster was great as usual. Watched a couple of movies, played his Nintendo DS, then passed out himself for 2 hours.

Landed, checked into hotel number one. Westin Grand - a suite! Only way to go if you're travelling with kids, if you can afford it (uhhhh, and for now before our major reno's we sort of can). Perfect location for exploring downtown. Even better there's a beer and wine store right in the same building. Party Mama here went to the 7-eleven first to pick up milk, juice, popping corn. Then to the liquor store to pick up more pomtinis (now addicted) and some imported beer for Party Papa. Heaven!

We went to Amarcord restaurant in Yaletown for dinner. North Italian cuisine, very friendly to the kids. Always-prepared-me packed Winnie the Pooh backpack for the diva, complete with cups, diapers, colouring books. And left all of it at the hotel.

No matter, kids were very well-behaved, although they ran out of patience within 90 minutes The atmosphere was very nice, formal but family-feel. They tucked our stroller away discreetly, and were very understanding as our tot made a climbing gym out of their chair and steps near the server-prep table. Food was OK, but quite pricey for what you got. We both ordered seafood pasta; I had a couple of not so fresh clams in mine. But we were starving, in a rush, the Mission Hill Pinot Noir went down smoothly, and the waiter was top-notch, a fellow who actually hailed from T.O. and was very happy to chat with us.

While I waited for the bill, Ian took the kids out to the sidewalk to wait. I had to do a double-take as I realized the QUIET which suddenly surrounded me. Wait a minute, me, myself and I, with a half a glass of Pinot Noir, sitting in an upscale dining establishment?!!! No "I'm bored!" "Can we go?" "Where is my milk", "I'm tired ... wahhhh" to deal with.

I leaned back and let out a deep sigh, said to myself "My, this is NICE. I'm going to have to stay here the rest of the night" and I heard a little bit of laughter behind me. A couple were enjoying their dinner, and were chuckling at my reaction after my crew "deserted" me. I had to explain that while I love my kids beyond belief, this was a rarity for me. These couple of minutes were an oasis, a mirage in the desert - I was pinching myself inside! The wife said "No explanations required. We're contemplating starting a family soon too." I told them that kids are a LOT of work, but that they would never regret it.

So nice to see a nice young couple out for dinner and enjoying themselves. They'd better get as many of these dinners under their belt now!

I'll check back in as the family adventure continues.

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