I’m back in the Kingdom and, for those of you the least bit interested, this is my “What I’ve Been Up To On Holiday” post. Before getting into that, I have to say it’s quite nice to be back. Travelling the globe is awesome and I would encourage anyone thinking of seeing the world to do so, but it’s also nice to have your feet back on home ground – for recuperative purposes, of course, before heading out again.
So, where did I go and what did I do?
First I flew off to Townsville in Australia. My daughter has moved to the Big Smoke of Bris Vegas for work, but her hubby and kids were still in T’ville so I went there first to help finalize moving house and to keep an eye on the grandkids who started their school holidays the day I arrived.
It was lovely to be back in Oz (I don’t admit that to too many Australians!). And while out walking the dog one evening I came across Townsville’s very own Christmas Lights strip down Greenwood Drive. It was so nice seeing streets of houses done up in their twinkling, sparkling, sometimes singing, best. It’s been a while since I went looking at Christmas lights and I’d almost forgotten how magical rows of houses elaborately decorated in their Christmas finery can be.
Before leaving Townsville I had time to help daughter number two kick start a minor home renovation project by pulling up bathroom tiles. Whoever thought I had come to T’ville for a holiday had certainly got the wrong end of the stick!
Then it was time for the grandchildren and I to head to Budapest. We flew via Dubai and picked up Hubster on the way. I have to say, for youngsters they are very good travelers. It helped we had a night flight so after a dinner, a movie and a game or two on the LeapPad, they tucked themselves into their seats and slept a good part of the way.
Budapest wasn’t as cold as we thought (well, not for the first three days). We were hoping for a white Christmas but unfortunately this part of Europe was having an unseasonably warm winter, so snow was scarce on the ground in Budapest in December. Although the temperature did eventually fall below zero, it only snowed a couple of times, just enough for the kids to see snow falling and have a little play around in it.
The lack of snowfall didn’t detract from our holiday though. We had a couple of friends living in Budapest, so we got to have Christmas Day dinner and New Years Eve celebrtations at their home so the Christmas and New Year season still felt like a special family affair. We also had a great time visiting hot baths, zoos and model towns, walking the hills, riding the trams and metro, searching for outdoor skating rinks to get in a spot of ice skating and sussing out all the kids parks. In fact, the kids had the best time because of all the parks.
One day we took a day train trip to Vienna because it’s only a couple of hours away and because Vienna has all sorts of kid friendly stuff to do. Dressing up in the kids museum at the Schonbrunn Palace was a real hit, as was visiting the Imperial Zoo.
It is fantastic seeing things through the eyes of young children. They are so excited and/or honest about every new experience and having them around reminds me on one hand how jaded we adults can get, but on the other how wonderful life is.
After 15 days of sending photos and video reports home to anxious parents it was time to leave Budapest and head to Saudi Arabia. So now my grandchildren are with us here in Riyadh, (and the parents are even more anxious!) Our grandson has asked if we are still on holiday or if this is our real house now. And we are on a ‘What Is There To Do With Kids In Saudi’ learning curve! I had a few ideas in mind before they came but am fast finding that most things I thought were available currently aren’t. Although there are a number of fun parks about that the kids would no doubt be quite happy being let loose in, I’m more interested in structured activities, like art, music, sport and dance. Such activities for youngsters seem to be few and far between. I’m confident there are suitable activities for the kids out there, it’s just that knowledge of them is typically buried in ‘Inner Circle’ email lists. If any of you has any suggestions at all about activities for two under 9 year old’s here in Riyadh, they will be gratefully accepted.