Monday, 4 January 2010

2 days, 6 countries, 1 car, 2 small boys, 850 miles and 1 secret to succesfully enduring the ordeal

We're back. The house is officially a catastrophe and buried under piles of laundry. The dog is furious with being left behind and sulking by the front door. The boys are back in nursery. I'm having my first proper (i.e. sludge at the bottom) coffee in weeks. And, finally, a chance to sneak back into the blogosphere whilst ignoring the colossal number of things that I should be doing to take a chance to wish every one a very Happy New Year.

We had ever such a lovely time. Christmas was filled with great food, good wine (so exciting), excited children and tipsy adults playing games very competitively. Perfect. The boys raced around with their cousins proving the bizarre theory that the more children there are, the less work it is. Secretly wonder whether we should have more children to try and reduce my workload before remembering the exception to the rule, which is that the other children must not be siblings. New Years was dominated by skiing, and having put the boys into French ski school in the mornings, Dave and I had plenty of opportunity to blow the cobwebs away racing each other down the slopes before chasing the boys all afternoon. Somewhat surprisingly, the boys took to skis like a duck to water and Adam was already heard to say to my Mum 'Come On! Catch Up!' as he pegged it down the nursery slope executing a couple of nifty turns on the way. It won't be long before we can't catch them at all.

We drove back last night. 6 countries in 2 days is not to be taken lightly. In no particular order they were

Switzerland: Used to Bosnian prices, Switzerland was quite a shock. We had bought with us a huge stash of Bosnian meat (which is excellent by the way!) which probably halved the cost of the holiday.

France: France. So lovely. So many cheeses to take home with us. Such a smell radiating out from the back of the car. Wonderful. We might have sneaked in a bottle or two of fine red wine and some champagne to offset the pain of going back to drinking Croatian Vranac (red) and Krstic (white) until we go home. Now we just have to decide whether to ration ourselves or to blow the lot in one evening of excess.

Italy: Italian drivers have made me rethink my assertion that Bosnian drivers are dangerous. The Italians take it to a whole new level.

Slovenia: Definite candidate for where we would like to live for when we embark on that dream of buying that old wreck in a spectacular setting to do up. European (in the Euro and everything, with really good motorways too), beautiful, skiing, lots of spectacular national parks, not much coast, but plenty of lakes. Kind of like the best bits of Bosnia without the pain. Yes, we like Slovenia.

Croatia: Sadly not the pretty coast bit, but the bit that goes across the top which is rather flat and not all that interesting.

Bosnia: Hitting Bosnia after spending 2 days driving at 120km/hr (80 mph) was like sticking the handbrake on. The motorways disappear. The top speed is 80km/hr (50 mph) but most of the time is spent at 60km (40mph) trying to avoid the plethora of traffic police out with their speed guns. Seriously, it must have been their New Years Resolution, they were everywhere.


And the secret to success? I've always been against them in a we didn't have them so why should they, it is good for them to get bored, we'll do so much else in the car without them kind of way. But, there is a big difference between a 3 hour drive and a 15 hour one. So, In Car DVD player with screen for each boy, I fall worshipping at your feet. For you kept them happy, not fighting (much), not hitting each other (much) and allowed us adults to do a couple of the 'what do you remember of the last decade quizzes'. It turns out that we don't remember all that much. That's what parenthood and sleep deprivation do for you.

24 comments:

TheMadHouse said...

Sounds like you had a fantastic time. Oh and yep the DVD's we swore we would never have them, but traveling to France and Down South they are a godsend!!!

You see when I was little you didnt have to wear seatbelts and mum and dad make a bed in the car and traveled at nights when we were asleep!!

Mwa said...

Good to have you back! Sounds like an amazing holiday, but a hellish trip!

ourprivateblog.wordpress.com said...

Sounds like you had a great time!!! oh, and you are right about Italian drivers!!!

Very Bored Housewife said...

Welcome back and I am humbled by your bravery of such a car trip. We keep promising ourselves a driving holiday around Europe but keep bottling it.

Happy New Year. xx

Glowstars said...

What I would give for a DVD player in the car - unfortunately it's just not worth the sickness.

ck said...

That sounds wonderful. Cheese, wine, all those countries. I'm not one for snow, but I might be willing to try the nursery slope with your kids if I got to go on your vacation!

PS: I'm still trying to crack "the more children there are, the less work it is" code. You know, without having more children,,,

Michelloui said...

Sounds like you had a great break from the everyday!! I was reading on expectantly for the magic that kept your boys happy for that journey. Then I nodded in agreement about the DVD player--I gave in and bought a gameboy for my daughter when the two of us flew to the states one year, via iceland, and she became the easiest 6 year old on the planet. Phew!

Youve made me start thinking about a holiday in Slovenia now...

planb said...

Sounds fab! And I'm with you on the joy of skiing - watch my space for a gushing post about Whistler. Well done on the journey too though - I take my daughterhascarsickness hat off to you... (sadly the same car sickness puts DVDs in the definitely not happening menu. grr)

Mud in the City said...

Happy New Year and what an adventure! Nice to be home though, isn't it?

Pippa said...

Withe wine I vote you blow the lot in one wicked evening of excess! And also the men who invented in car DVD players are my personal heroes too!

London City Mum said...

Welcome back! And happy new year too! Sounds like you still have your sanity, so that's a brilliant start to 2010.

LCM x

Sandy Calico said...

Welcome back and Happy New Year!
Slovenia sounds lovely :-)

Alice said...

Welcome back! I enjoyed this post, but your comments on Slovenia really do not help my quest to find a stable home... I had thought I was narrowing options down, but now you have thrown another possible into the pot! lol x

Victoria said...

I am deeply impressed that your journey was so smooth. Well done missus! Can I include your post in my horror stories carnival as an example for those of us without your good luck? You didn't even have a single episode of car sickness? Wow.

nappy valley girl said...

So glad you had such a great trip -it sounds fab, especially the skiing and the French wine. Happy New Year!

WeDoAdventure said...

The only time we drove through Slovenia it was not a pretty route and we'd paid heavily for motorways we didn't get to travel on so there was some obvious bitterness on the part of our driver! We probably need to give the country a second chance.

angelsandurchinsblog said...

Blow the lot in one evenig of excess! Happy New Year, and hope 2010 is as exciting for you as 2009 has been. With better wine, of course.

Helena Halme said...

Sounds magical though tiring! I admire you. Longest we drove when our children were little was for 10 hours from Stockholm to Northern Sweden - in a snowstorm. We swore by Harry Potter tapes. My daughter can still guarantee to fall asleep to Stephen Fry's voice, at nineteen!

Helena xx

Babies who brunch said...

wow. am with you on slovenia. let me know if you need a neighbour.

the skiing sounds amazing. am desperately scheming to work out how we might manage to go. blog coming up on that subject within days. sadly 20 months is just too young to stick skis on him though!

Athena125 said...

In love with the fact that you liked Slovenia... And nice to have you back.

P.S. We have great wine, you name it, you got it. Plus way cheaper than the French ones, plus we're closer than France... Not to mention excellent cheese, if you know where to buy it.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

MH - Good point - hadn't thought of that. I do feel sorry for the lads with their cricked necks from kipping in the seat.

Mwa - could have been a lot worse!

Kathryn - they are AWFUL! Officially the worst in Europe.

VBH - You can do it...

Glowstars - we do have a rule of motorways only (which totally rules out any DVD action for travels in Bosnia then!)

ck - if you crack the code then do let me know!

Michelloui - Slovenia is lovely. The Gameboy phase will come soon enough here, I'm sure!

PlanB - even on the motorway?

Mud - Happy New Year to you too. It is nice to be back!

Pippa - I'm thinking one night of fine wine, fine cheese, fine chocolate and sod the NY resolutions.

LCM - Just about!

SC - Slovenia is lovely, go if you get the chance.

Alice - it is nice... you should consider it...

Victoria - Of course you can! I didn't include the bit about wanting to do a poo as we entered the Mont Blanc tunnel... interesting moment.

NVG - does life get better than skiing and french wine?

WDA - the vignette is expensive - but not as bad as Switzerland! Give it another go, we love it especially the bit around Bled.

A&U - That is a good resolution. The better wine. I'm struggling to drink the stuff we normally drink here. Problem with getting spoilt for a few weeks.

HH - That sounds just as bad. Talking Books are quite a feature with us, but the books they want to listen to at the moment are only about 10 minutes long. Loving the idea of the Harry Potter ones. When we drive without them we usually take some books to listen to - working our way through Dickens and Hardy!

BwB - 20 months a little young, but at 35 months they can slide down and by 4 1/2 they are whizzing along...

Athena - I thought of you - we drove straight past Ljubljana. And you can get good cheese too? Might merit a trip all on its own!

Emily O said...

How lovely, sounds like you had an amazing time. It's so easy to let the fact you have young chidren stop you from doing these trips. Sounds like the DVD players help a lot!

Athena125 said...

FM, it's a deal! Send me an e-mail first (tina.petek()gmail.com), but please don't come in May - that's when my baby is due and I really doubt I will be available... ;-)

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Emily - it is possible to do all sorts of travelling with kids. I actually find that the boys behave better away from home. If you are interested then read Fanciful Alice's book - Tales of a Travelling Mum.

Athena - Now you are making that trip to Ljubljana really tempting. I shall have to see what we can manage between now and when we go back to the UK in April. And congrats on the pregnancy too - May is a great time to have a baby. x