We are officially on Spring Break. Woot! Spring Break is one of the many reasons that teaching high school rocks!
Yesterday, the tiny tot and I were driven by my very lovely husband, two and a half hours to the nearest airport of significance to take a plane to see my sister, mother, brother-in-law and niece who live in the Washington DC-area.
We were early enough that after our pleasant good-byes, in which Chris asked a dozen questions and offered to go in which us, and the security check (which I was told I went through like a "pro"...and I did. It only takes one time of taking a baby and holding up the line to make sure that you NEVER do that again) we still had 40 minutes left for a diaper change and a snack purchase. Things were going smoothly, and then came the dreaded announcement...our flight was going to be delayed 3, yes THREE hours! I panicked for about 15 seconds and then realized that 3 hours with a baby would be way more entertaining than 3 hours alone. We toured the airport, ate a delicious late lunch with our $18 worth of meal vouchers and she happily played with her toys while I read some of my book.
All that time though did give me quality time to think about what we wanted to do in DC. I'd been visiting them enough before the tiny tot that we really have done everything, count last summer when the husband, my other niece and Lila came along, and we've even done a bunch of 'kid friendly' things. What to do? What to do?
The answer was simple, of course, go to the guide books.
I didn't even know about the joys of guide books until the semester I spent in London. They gave us each a London A to Z (pronounced A to Zed). Those books are nice and pocket sized, so you don't feel like a tourist idiot when you pull it out on the sidewalk when you can't find the tube stop for the Barbican/Old Vic/British Museum et cetera. What's so cool about an up-to-date guidebook is that you can read it before you go (that's how I managed to get around New York City, when we'd get turned around I just recited the guidebooks section about avenues and streets and my friend would translate what I said into directions), plan your attack strategy in your hotel room before getting on the Paris subway system, and you learn the rules and customs of the city (including any fines you may incur at the prospect of not following them).
I've brought two guidebooks with me. My Frommer's (I never go anywhere without buying a Frommer's guide for where I'll be going and I hadn't purchased a DC Frommer's since 2008) and my old portable guide.
Now I know with the advent of GPS tracking systems on our smart phones, wireless on our laptops and the wealth of information from other electronic devices people are apt to steer clear of guidebooks and deem them cumbersome and old fashion. I, however, find deep pleasure in all books especially those that tell me a history of a city and map it out in a macro and micro fashion. Cell phone screens are too small, sometimes don't get service and I hate that the GPS talks to me. A guidebook let's me go at my own pace, already has the information that I'd want printed out from various websites and gives star-ratings on hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions all in one.
I look forwarded to making my sister roll her eyes this afternoon when I go to the guidebooks to find a list of things to answer her question, "What do you want to do this week?"