Jetlag with children! What a joy! Last time when we travelled Melbourne to London we had three days of children waking at 3am in motel rooms. We arrived on the plane from Costa Rica to Spain two days ago. It was a 10 hour flight and we arrived at 11am. Not having any accommodation booked in Spain, we sat down at the airport café, had a coffee, and learned from the info desk that there is a direct bus into the city. I had the address of a reasonably priced hotel in the city, so we withdrew some Euros and jumped on the bus.
Due to Spain’s more stringent enforcement of road rules, we couldn’t fit five of us in a regular taxi, even though Cole (6mo) would have needed to sit on my lap anyway, and there wasn’t a minibus in sight. So we walked through the midday sun with all our suitcases and children. As we walked along, a woman came up and commented enthusiastically on Cole “Que Lindo!” (a common occurrence), but something about it set off alarm bells and I looked around in time to see another woman with her hand in my bag. When I started swearing at her she walked on in a hurry (nothing was taken), and I shoved my little bag into my wrap between me and Cole.
Shaken, exhausted and hot, we arrived gratefully at the hotel and crashed. Scott was snoring in minutes. The kids lounged on the beds watching Sponge Bob in Spanish. I attempted to stay awake, but kept nodding off. Awoke to find Isla (2yo) dissecting my purse. At 6pm, Scott was awake, fresh and ready to go out and Grady (4yo) fell asleep. Scott went out for a bit with Isla to pick up some essentials (milk and midnight snacks) and I slept for an hour or two. At that point, we woke a very cranky Grady and went out to hunt for something to eat.
A visit to the playground was the first point of business. It is light here in Madrid until after 9pm and a good play in the park next to the palace relaxed the kids and got them moving again. Then we found a place with a buffet. The food was a bit on the cold side, but I was able to enjoy some Paella and Grady ate fries and about 5 peaches. Everyone eats late in Spain, so we didn’t raise any eyebrows sitting down to dinner at 10pm. The kids would normally be catatonic at this time of night, but with the time difference, their usual bedtime in Spain is about 2am.
While we travel, we try to maintain our usual bedtime routine. We keep it pretty simple. A shower (yes, we practised having showers instead of baths before we left home), a story each, a kiss, and lights out. Sometimes we skip the shower. We don’t usually do this routine at midnight, but this night we did, and the kids went to sleep quickly.
I had only booked one night’s accommodation, thinking we might take the train down to Granada, but woke to a knock on the door and the words “Excuse me, our normal check out time is 11am.” It was already noon. All of us were still fast asleep. I thanked her and asked if we could stay another night and then went back to bed for another hour. We woke feeling somewhat refreshed and went out to explore. We also needed to buy me a new Kindle (see previous post) as well as replace an item of luggage. The handle on the suitcase broke as I attempted to lug it up some stairs upon entering the hostel the day before.
We enjoyed several coffees, a glass of wine and some thick Spanish and Galician omelettes for our 3pm brunch, walked around and made our purchases and came back to our room around 6pm to rest. Grady was tired and cranky and didn’t want to go out for dinner, when we finally roused ourselves from our stupor at about 9.30pm and left the room. We amused ourselves looking at the buskers and sidewalk entertainment around Madrid and sat down at a pleasant terrace around 11pm. Wonderful dinner of steamed cockles, shrimp and crab salad, Iberian Chorizo and fried baby Octopus served with crusty bread and a bottle of Verdelho. The kids fought over the cockles and smeared chocolate pudding all over their faces. There were other small children at the next table. No-one gave our children, eating dinner at midnight, a second glance.
So here you have the advantages of jetlag- if you time it right, you can actually enjoy going out to a restaurant in the evening, and sleep late the following day. Just figure out which timezone is seven hours earlier than where you live and travel there.
It is now almost noon again. I snuck out to the front desk an hour ago and asked if we can stay an extra night. Grady’s watching Sponge Bob again, and everyone else is still asleep. We’ll go to Granada in the morning.