Friday, December 16, 2011

Traveling with my kids: 10 memories of 2011

There are not a lot of days left of 2011, and even though I still have some more traveling to do with my kids before the year is all done, I am feeling kind of reflective. Here are some of my most memorable travel moments from the past year.

1. Spring break in the Canary Islands
Our trip with extended family to the island of Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands was a definite highlight of the year. So many great memories of good food, good beaches, good company, and family time together.

2. Sun & sand
Gran Canaria was a great place for our beach-loving family. Two favorite spots were the dunes near Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles. 

3. Drive on the wild side
One of the best day trips we did while on Gran Canaria was to drive around the island. We saw the wild, steep western coastline, had lunch by the ocean, visited the caves at Cuatro Puertas and had a wonderful time. The winding mountain roads did induce some car sickness, but the scenery was worth it!

4. Pyromaniac roaches
One of my weirdest travel experiences occurred on our last morning in Gran Canaria when I woke up very early and smelled smoke. I got up and found that one of the elements on the stove had somehow turned on by itself and had burned a corner of a lunch bag that had been left on top. Everyone was asleep, but two seconds later I saw a cockroach run over the stove top, very close to the touch-activated controls... Yeah, that was one of the things I learned this year: cockroaches can be a fire hazard!

5. Picking strawberries with the kids
This was not a long trip: it only took about 30 minutes to drive to our place to Westham Island and the U-Pick strawberry farm. But it was definitely a trip worth making. Six months later I am just using up the last of the freezer jam we made from all those berries (and we go through a lot of strawberry jam in this house!).

6. Sheep fun
This even at North Vancouver's Maple Wood Farm was another wonderful close-to-home trip this past year. We got to see all the farm animals, sheep being expertly clipped, and we got to see what happens to the wool once it comes off the sheep: I'll definitely be returning for this event in the future!

After the meltdown. Zzzzz.
7. Traveling with my kids to Sweden
Taking the kids all the way to Sweden by myself was not a relaxing endeavour, but I was so impressed with how travel savvy they were, and how well they handled themselves for the majority of the trip. Yes, there was that major meltdown (both kids at the same time) at Arlanda Airport, but hey, 20 hours of travel time can do that to you... and other than that they were good as gold.

8. Spending time with family in Sweden
The last few years we have spent the first part of summer with my parents in their summer house, and the kids always have a great time. Fishing, boat rides, sleeping in, beach time, picking blueberries, swimming, splashing... It's pretty much unbeatable.

9. Harrison Lake beach & boat fun
We did a few day trips to Harrison Hot Springs this year, but the one when we rented a boat and drove around the lake was the best one. It's such a nice spot: gorgeous scenery, child friendly beach, and a lot of fun on the water as well. Can't wait for summer to arrive again so we can go back for more!

10. Heading up the Sunshine Coast
Taking the ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, heading across to Langdale and then on to Earl's Cover for the ferry to Saltery Bay made for a great weekend trip and a great time with family. It's a real treat to see British Columbia's coastline from the deck of a ferry on a sunny day. And when you get a home-cooked turkey dinner once you arrive, it makes the trip even better!

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