Summer of 2019!

Hello fellas! Summers can be a mixed bag for parents - on one hand you look forward to taking a break from the usual school routine, going on a vacation, getting together with family, etc. On the other, the very thought of kids being at home all day for so long can get stressful! Plus, in my case, the hubby being away for work for a good 3 weeks during this exact time was not going to help things at all.

As a family we travel a lot and we love it! So travel, by default, was going to be on the cards in summer. Also, it's easy to go overboard with watching TV when at home and I was clear on not letting that happen. As a result, we went completely TV free in our house this summer which I really appreciated (well, kids did have their share occasionally at their friends place but I guess that's okay :) )


I always believe that the better you channelise the kids' energies, the happier ALL are. After a lot of planning, research and what not, here is how we spent our summer!


1. Bengaluru
What are summers without 'galli dost'. Luckily we have super sweet neighbours with kids more or less of the same age as Viaan and Vibha - this helped a lot as they literally used to be together all the time! Eating, playing, doing things, endless hours of lego, paintings and POPSICLES. It was Mango feast all through out; thanks to thanks to my FIL who makes sure we get non stop supply of Alphonso and 'Payri' every summer! Evenings were mostly spent cycling, outdoors, meeting other friends, experimenting in the kitchen.

We went on a Road trip to Mysore with our neighbours, the kids had a galla time throughout the journey and the destination! Visited the zoo, Sukha Vana (Aviary) and Chamundi hills.

I did try summer camp for 2 weeks (practically 10 days, out of which 3 days they declared holiday, duh) - so that I get to hit the gym at the least, but then realised its not really working out for us.

A few other things we did:
  • Visited a Gurudwara and experienced the 'Langar'
  • Took our house help to Lalbagh for a day trip - this was exclusively for her as she had mentioned she never gets to step out of house and has never been on an outing 
  • Made our own bio enzymes and replaced most of the chemical cleansers in the house
  • Visited @giriyas emporium, an indoor play area


Packed our bags and started off to Sakleshpur- all four of us!

2. The Wildside, Sakleshpur
When our friends Jeune and Avin - fellow parents of twins, who are unschooling their children, moved to Sakleshpur, this place was on our cards for a long time. With hubby out for work, I knew this would be just the right place for us to volunteer at and learn new things, with kids enjoying their holidays at the same time.. Just the way they like it - amidst nature..

'The Wildside' is conceptualised and brought to life by Gautham and Venetia (https://svargaonearth.wordpress.com). After I saw her handling her 2 kids and running the show almost exclusively by herself, I was left in awe! Well, I shouldn't be complaining of my daily chores anymore :p And now with Jeune and Avin - the place is all the more lively, vibrant and delicious :) It's always a learning experience being with these folks. 

Food: Simple vegetarian food, cooked using firewood. Ingredients are sourced from around the area as much possible.

We were lucky to taste some unique things here: cocoa fruit, jackfruit seed rotis, avocado shakes, firewood baked bread, variety of dishes made from watermelon rinds- pasta, halwa, salad to name a few.

Stay: Nice, unique container cabinets and mud houses. A small library, hammocks, herb garden,vegetable garden. a nice mud pool for you to take a dip; dogs, duck, hens to give you some company and a vast beautiful meadow! You get up and go down with the sun. Waking up listening to the peacock calls and boosters cook-a-doodle-do was a bliss! Note that the place is a plastic free zone and toilets are composting toilets. That's how you live 'off the grid' - with no access to electricity, internet and fancy gizmos.

Travel: We went driving and returned by train and both the experiences were pleasant. We also visited local markets and Manjarabad Fort.

All in all it was a great experience and learning for us. Right from collecting firewood, watering vegetable garden, walks in the wild, clearing out weeds, making DIY hangers we did many things which we never imagined we could! It also was the first time for kids to stay with other kids and pets and I am sure it was an immense learning experience for them too!














3.  Next stop - Pune!
Pune is a city I totally love and so do my kids.. The rickshaw rides, cousins, parks, street food, and the company of grandparents. We also visited a few interesting places in our week long stay apart from our usual Tulshibaug visit and street shopping.

Railway museum: Located in Kothrud, this miniature exhibit is worth experiencing- variety of models, attention to detail, a treat for eyes for sure


Parvati: This was the first time i took kids to Parvati and oh boy! they climbed it without breaking sweat - non stop without complaints! (and i had people warning me against babywearing fearing they will always cling on :p)


Musical fountain: Musical fountain show at Aba Bagul Udyan is worth visiting if you are in Pune.






4. MUMBAI
We then travelled to Mumbai for 2 days but gosh those 2 days were completely action packed! 'Jeevachi Mumbai' <3 thanks to my Maushi who is a super enthusiast and my mum. Together we make a great 'Bhatku team'. We were super excited to see my cousin Snehal - who newly opened up her own chick cafe - The Pink Sauce!!! If you happen to be in or around Dombivali, you simply cannot miss this one, they offer a variety of dishes, with a yummy twist!

The next day we started off with the local train, took a double decker bus ride sitting right on the top front seats. Enjoyed a walk at the marine drive. Gobbled up 'Aswad' vada pav and returned back- peak time ladies special local - that was quite an experience. I am glad kids easily adapted and had nothing to complain about.

The cherry on the cake was meeting my grandfather who radiates oodles of inspiration - now 94 but independent, enthusiast and still a student, learning Sanskrit (he attempted a written examination this year and cleared with flying colors). He is at the same time tech savvy and comfortably uses watsapp and other gadgets which even my mom stays away from :p





5. Vacation time, Europe! SWITZERLAND AND ITALY

So it was a self designed and planned family trip with the 7 of us together. Instead of bugging you with the travel details let me get back straight to the point - the kids and travel

a. Luggage: Golden rule - travel light! The four of us managed to have our stuff (including snow jackets, spare flip flops) for a 11 day vacay packed into a single large suitcase! I had the suitcase ready and sent it out with my husband - so that I could hop places with kids with ease. I had just a single hand bag - with the last minute 'oh we forgot that' stuff, some colouring books, and small play dough packets (Gave them one by one on need basis) and some handy snacks. We also carried with us necessary medicines for kids and adults for cold, cough, fever, upset tummy, acidity- packet all in zip lock bags and tossed one in each bag to take care of medical emergencies.

b. Commute internally:  In Switzerland we rented a car and two car seats and that was very convenient. Preparing kids mentally in advance wrt walking long distances, modes of transport we would use, climate, food availability helped a lot for them to sync in well.

c. Food: Though we carried some snacks with us like chakali, laddoos, trail mixes and the likes, we enjoyed the fresh, local pasta, eggs, bread, gelato, local fruits and the occasional meat.

d. Tour packages: If you are willing to spend lots of time on research and like to keep things flexible,
making your own bookings and arrangements is the way to go. You may end up saving some money as well. On the other hand, tour packages give you that peace of mind and make sense all the more if you plan on visiting the more popular tourist places. Choose depending on your priorities - we chose the former and it worked out very well for us.

e. Tantrums - How can the sun set without one ;)




In all, we had a summer filled with experiences, travel, amazing food, memories, family time, and most important of all - tons of fun!

Let me know if you have any questions/ comments; I would love to hear back from you <3

How did you guys spend your summer? Let me know in the comments below.




Comments

  1. Amazing read Prachi. Such a refreshing vacation, I would love to have a summer like this with my family too..

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