(^Venice: Libreria Acqua Alta)
There’s a popular quote that goes, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Those words couldn’t be any truer especially for people who love to travel. Travelling exposes you to so many wonderful things about the place we call home – earth. Even not-so-wonderful experiences during trips can be considered lessons learned along the way.
Learning Outside Books
Indeed, just as the books we read open our eyes to new things learned and add to an ever-expanding knowledge repository, travelling expands the box you’ve built around yourself. It can change your views of the world, the people in it, and life in general. On the contrary, if you’re afraid to step out of your comfort zone and travel, it’s as if you’re stuck on the cover page of a book. Like being satisfied to just look at the pretty picture in front of you and not bothering to read the content.
Now I have a question for you – which one are you? Are you the type who merely glances on the cover or are you the type who excitedly peruses the content of a book in anticipation of what’s in store for you? Hopefully, you’re among the second type. As someone who’s had her fair share of travels locally and internationally, I can honestly agree with the quote mentioned in the get go. All the more so, since I usually travel with my kids.
Teaching Kids Through Travel
Travelling with kids is easy if you’re going to countries that are big on theme parks and the likes. However, try hauling your kids to a place that boasts of museums, culture, and history like Europe, and you may not get the wide, toothy smile you deserve. Fortunately, I’ve been successful doing the latter. How did I do it? I talk to them about the places we will be visiting, just like how I used to read them bedtime stories.
It is not impossible for kids to enjoy a family travel in Europe. If you can make them enthusiastic about what they will see in this culturally rich continent, you’re good. Aside from preparing them, it will also help if you can do thorough research to find out which places can be fun for people of different ages and interests. Again, the allusion to books is there – painting a vivid picture of what’s in store for them when you travel will make them want to venture out of the cover page, so to speak, and continue reading each page of the book.
(In photos: Having gelato from one of Rome’s many gelateria. / Roaming around Rome’s ancient streets. C with the Castel Sant’Angelo in the background and D with the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II behind. )
Experiencing Cities First-hand
If you were to travel to Europe with your kids in tow, you may want to give them an exhilarating tour around Rome. I mean, what can be grander than a visit to the 2,000-year old Pantheon, right? It’s probably something your kids read about in one of their schoolbooks, and now, you have a chance to show them the place in the flesh. You need not take the bus; just let the kids stroll as they take in the milestones of Rome. Don’t leave without tossing a coin in the Trevi Fountain. This will tickle their imagination.
Bring the kids to the days of the gladiators as they step on to the Colosseum. Other landmarks that can surely catch their attention are the Piazza Navona and St. Peter’s Basilica. Awe them with the masterpieces of majestic Rome. Rome boasts of the world’s ultimate work of art: the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo. It is a landmark worthy of anyone’s time as well.
Experience the Rides, Be Street Safe
Discover the alleys and canals of Venice. How else can kids be delighted but by boarding a vaporetto or a gondola that can take you to the heart of Venice? Nights are best spent strolling the backseats of Venice, a gondola ride and a big pizza to boost their energy. If you come here on a summer, your best bet to thrill the kids is a trip to the sandy beach island of Lido.
You can’t afford to leave Europe without passing through and staying for a few days at least in the “City of Love”, Paris. Why not start the day with a guided tour of the splendid Louvre Museum where the Mona Lisa resides. Admire other great masterpieces of art and find one that could be your new favourite. Highlight your sightseeing with an ascent to the uppermost level of the Arc de Triomphe or simply “Eiffel Tower”. Let the kids release their energy by strolling down the celebrated Champs-Elysées. Teach them street safety as you go.
Related read: Paris’ Louvre Museum with the Kids
Take time to check out the local restaurants to cap your days. At romantic Pariss, have foie gras, ratatouille, duck confit, or salmon terrine for the mains. Pick your favourite flavor of macarons from the many patisseries Paris is famous for. In Rome and Venice, taste all the pizza offerings, try all the pasta sizes and flavors, and even all the gelatos as you fancy.
The World is a Book, Let’s Read
Deciding on the destinations is just a matter of knowing what will inspire or interest the members of your family. Travelling with kids is much more fun if you involve them. Make it into a fun, learning experience for them. Widen the scope of their knowledge through travel, and they’ll thank you for it forever. The World is a Book, Let’s Read.
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