Malta – sightseeing with Baby

Hey hey!

In the last entry I wrote how to get to Malta and how to move around 🙂 Today I’ll show you a few suggestions of places to visit in Malta exploring with a small traveler.

1) Popeye’s Village – do you remember the cartoon about the sailor Popeye? 🙂 Do you know, that the movie based on it was filmed in Malta? It’s worthy to go there especially, when you travel with a small child. You can meet the characters from the serial occasionally getting a chance to take a part in making a short film with you in the lead role 😀 In Popeye’s Village you have a possibility to organize Birthday party for your Celebrity. On the official webpage you can choose a package. Each option provides food and drinks, film set and fun on the special playground. Furthermore, Parents can enjoy the beautiful views 🙂 HERE you can check, how to get to village.

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2) Malta National AquariumI don’t know what about your kids, but my Bibi loves aquariums 😀 She likes coming to glass and talking (or rather babbling) with fish. That’s why we took her there on Birthday morning. Oceanarium is located in Bugibba, so the way from appartment took us 10 minutes by walk. On the official website it’s written, how to get there from different cities. Entrance ticket for adults costs around 14€/person, for children up to 12 years old is 7€, infants and children till the age of 4 enter for free. Toddlers surely will enjoy the variety of fish. Look at the photo of Bibi!

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I also recommend the recently opened Water Park situated nearby aquarium. It’s opened in season (June-September) between 10:00 AM and 7:00 PM. You can find there attractions for babies too 🙂

3) Ferry trip to Gozo and Cominoit was our one of the most exciting excursions. Travel offices offer options: just Comino or Comino with Gozo (in this case you relax shorter on Blue Lagoon, but you explore two islands in one time). We tried both offers, but I will write about it in the next post. Boats are well prepared for the youngest travelers. Blue Lagoon offers clear water, great natural landscapes and sometimes company of small sea animals 😉 Gozo in turn contains beautiful monuments, shopping on old bazars and relax on the beach with a view of architecture and rocks. Warning: Last march the Azure Window collapsed, so don’t believe travel offices still using this tourist attraction in their adverts.

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4) Valetta and Mdina – these two cities I can recommend for walking with a baby stroller. Malta is a place full of beaches and hills, so you won’t see much greenery there. In Valetta we have two (or even three) options for walks. The first one is near the port with a beautiful view of the city (the main photo of this entry is from there). Travelling by bus you must exit around three-four stops before the terminal station. Second one is the park in the heart of Valetta, where there’s not only a lot of greenery and beautiful views (eg. on port), but here and there we can see nice monuments 🙂 And if you’re hungry or just want to take a bit of city life, you can use the third option – Main Square. During our sightseeing it wasn’t so crowded there. Last two options are situated close to the bus terminal station.

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Mdina in turn is a very charming castle town full of quiet and romantic streets (but in South-European version, not Prague). I haven’t met any person, who didn’t like this place yet! Furthermore, there’s a park and playground close to the bus terminal station. HERE you can find playgrounds near your place of stay.

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5) Mellieha and Golden Bay – Malta is the country full of beaches. Tourists have a huge selection of places, they can swim and sunbathe. However, many of them are stony, so walks and relaxation may be limited for babies, because they have a sensitive skin. Golden and Mellieha beaches are wide and sandy. There is also no big difference in temperature between water and air. Just don’t bring your child’s electronic toys there. Sand is so powdery, it even got into our closed bag. It took us three days to extract the sand from our Bibi’s phone toy to unlock the sprinkled buttons 😉

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We enjoyed Malta a lot and we’ll come back there for sure! At the next visit we’re planning to see, among others, Marsaxlokk and dolphinarium. If you recommend some other places to see with baby in Malta, feel free to leave a comment 😉

 

How to communicate in Malta? There are two official languages in Malta – Maltese and English. You can communicate in English actually with everyone 🙂

Polski

 

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Malta – what and how?

Happy New Year! I hope, everyone is in a good mood 🙂

As I’ve promised before, today I’m going to write about Malta. Bibi spent her first Birthday there, that’s why I have a huge sentiment to this place 🙂 However, to find any nice place to explore with your Family, you must firstly get there, right? That’s why today’s entry will be about how to get to Malta and how to move around the island 😀

1) How to get there?

We went there by WizzAir airline from Warsaw. We departed with Bibi on Saturday at 6:20PM and arrived three hours later. I’ve chosen this option, because it was a direct flight, inexpensive (a little over 140 euro with checked luggage), and furthermore the time of departure suited me. Unfortunately, Polish Airlines LOT and Air Malta didn’t have any direct connections between Poland and Malta. However, Air Malta offers flights from and to many European destinations and three Middle-Eastern countries (such as Italy, Germany, Turkey or Tunisia). I could have chosen RyanAir as well – however, the distance from the airport, departure time (eg. RyanAir departed very early in the morning) and also price decided on the final choice. You can also check the offers from the national airlines of your country – they sometimes organize some discounts.

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WizzAir is a typical lowcost, that’s why I didn’t have many expectations towards this air carrier. Don’t expect free sandwiches, tea or any gadgets for infant. For a checked luggage up to 20kg you have to pay around 35euro/flight. However, it wasn’t a bad journey. The plus of this airline was, I could check-in even four weeks before journey. I could choose any place during reservation and (by a nice coincidence) we had a whole row of three seats for ourselves 🙂 On the boarding card the entire preparation process is nicely described. (Do you remember the post about packing baby bag? I reminded you to print a boarding pass. WizzAir is one of those airlines, where you need to have printed card not to pay extra.) Moreover, cabin crew was very helpful, passengers too and it wasn’t too tight between the rows 😉 Buying ticket you can also order special minibus for around 6€ taking you to your place of residence (but we took a taxi, because I was going the same direction with my Husband and our friends who arrived a bit earlier).

2) Traveling around Malta:

Maltese and tourists move around the island mainly by buses. I recommend you to buy a Tallinja Explore electronic card you validate at the entrance (the price for adults is 21 euro, for children up to the age of ten – 15, infants travel for free). You can buy it in special kiosks, mostly situated on terminal stations. Warning: these cards sometimes get demagnetized (my Husband already experienced it), so it’s good to keep a bill, because it can be useful when you want to exchange it. Planning trip around Malta I recommend you to use Malta Bus Journey Planner 🙂

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Honestly, in Malta we experienced the first Bibi’s journey by bus 🙂 Previously I had prejudices for this mean of transport. There was no way to travel by bus, when my Daughter was still using gondola stroller 😉 Fortunately, traveling by Maltese bus lines isn’t so stressful. Maybe, because parents with babies in public transportation is almost a sanctity and passengers take the principle of privileged seats seriously. A place for strollers will be always free for you there, so that you can safely attach your baby vehicle to the belts. If not, the driver will do all of his best to make it 😀

3) Trips around islands:

Staying in this little country, you should go to the other two islands – Gozo and Comino. You can use various cruise offers and go by boat. We had an opportunity to use two ships – Extreme and Sea Adventure. They’re both good, but which one is better for parents with babies? I’ll compare then in the separate post, otherwise this entry would be definitely too long 🙂

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Sources: Facebook and Travel Grip

4) Taxi from and to the airport:

I don’t have much experience with Maltese cabs, but my Brother-in-law ordered a private taxi for us. The way from the Luca Airport to Bugibba was 24 euro. What’s  interesting, on the way back to airport we were accompanied by exactly the same driver 😀 Unfortunately, we lost his number already, but the most popular corporation is Malta Transfer.

 

When to go to Malta with a little child? I think, the best time for a trip to Malta is May-beginning of June. The weather is already warm, but you don’t feel this hot temperature yet. Later, you can start your holiday plans in September. Why? Because in the middle of season the temperature is almost unable to survive for the average North-European person and traveling in such a heat wouldn’t be a pleasure for you. Furthermore, in July you can often find jellyfish. Because of them, swimming in Blue Lagoon was forbidden this summer for some time.

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Wishing You a Happy Christmas…

My Dears.

Today many people in the world start celebrating Christmas. Although I’m just making the first steps in blogging, so I don’t have thousands of followers yet, I’d like to wish all the best to Everyone, who is reading this…

It doesn’t matter, if you spend this time at home or somewhere on holiday, may these days will be full of joy, peace, delicious meals and especially – people closest to your heart. I’m wishing you to feel satisfaction from your chosen life paths. And this First Star, which will shine in the sky soon, may blaze your trails. If you’re currently somewhere on the way – I wish you to have as fast and convenient vehicle, as the Santa’s sleigh 😀

This Christmas we will spend at home and finally with the whole Family. Althouth Bibi is celebrating already the second time, it is going to be the first X-Mas Eve, she will try some traditional meals (unfortunately, we need to wait a bit for dumplings with mushrooms – but the red borsch, why not? 😉 ). It will be also the first time, when my Daughter breaks the rustling packaging with a small gift. Finally, my Turkish Husband will have an opportunity to see, how Polish X-Mas looks like. I’m looking forward to all of this! It’s just a pity, there won’t be any snow in Poland, but it doesn’t have to be perfect to be magical, right? 🙂

And after Christmas I’m inviting you to see the entry about Malta – the place, where Bibi spent her first Birthday 😉

Polski

Our bitter-sweet flight with UIA

Last weekend I had a look at a post on one Facebook group related to flight tickets. A young woman has found an inexpensive ticket Istanbul-Warsaw led by Ukrainian International Airlines with a short transfer in Kyiv. It caused a big discussion, because many members strongly advised against this travel option. Others, however, said, this flight is pretty fair and they have good memories. They gave other air carriers, which, according to them, are much worse than Ukrainian airlines.

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I reminded myself our last flight from Istanbul to Warsaw, we just experienced with МАУ (ukr. Міжнародні Авіалінії України). The journey wasn’t without adventures 🙂 It took place this year, on Tuesday 19th September. That month, beside urgent flight to Poland, we had plenty of expenses. We had to consider lower prices. Ukrainian Airlines seemed to be the most logical choice for us – one-way ticket for three people (me, Bibi and my Husband) with checked luggages up to 23kg costed us not much above 250 EUR and the waiting wime in Kyiv was less than three hours. Here I will write my thoughts from the young mom’s point of view.

7:30 AM – we are waiting in a big queue for check-in at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul. The customer service is asking how old our daughter is. Bibi was already after her 1st birthday, so the man is informing us, the stroller will be waiting for us in Warsaw and we don’t have to take it in Kyiv. Boarding passes are given to us, label hanged on a seat-stroller… They just didn’t give us the confirmation with the stroller’s number we used to receive on previous journeys.

9:35 AM – we’re departing on time. When we are in the sky, I want to change Bibi’s diaper in the restroom. Unfortunately, I couldn’t wash my hands, because there was no running water at the tap. I needed to use antibacterial gel 🙂 Stewardesses are diverse – mostly kind and helpful  (especially mrs Olena I wanted to send warm greetings to 🙂 ), just one of them was a shrew. Fortunately, Bibi falls sleep straight after toilet, because it’s tight between the seats. She sleeps the whole flight. The only thing from „catering” involved in the price of ticket is a water (my Husband is adding, they’re giving chocolates on Vallentines ). The cup of tea costs 2 euro, and sandwiches 5-6€.

11:50 AM – we’re at the BORYSPIL AIRPORT IN KYIV. Just in case, we had a look at the jet bridge to check if our stroller isn’t there. Probably the staff of Ataturk airport was right and we are really going to receive it in Warsaw. Ukrainian airport made a very good impression on us and I can admit, this place is friendly to parents. There is a playground full of pillows, there’s a TV with cartoons, there are cafes with delicious desserts (in one of them I heated the jar for Bibi), but I liked the most the nursery room 🙂 Look how cozy!

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Furthermore, we took a part in a competition for Ukrainian-speaking passengers organized by Tickets.ua. I needed to answer three questions related to travels (eg. What would you take going to uninhabited island?), take a photo from a machine and then put on FB with a proper hashtag. The main prize was 3000UAH for any flight ticket. We didn’t win anything, but anyway it’s a nice initiative 😉

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More facilities of the airport you can find on their official webpage.

2:50 PM – we’re flying from Kyiv to Warsaw. Bibi sleeps the whole journey again. Everything is the same as the flight from Istanbul. The only difference – clogging ears are more and more disturbing me. As we can see, my Husband (who already has an experience with this airline) didn’t exaggerate saying, in case of UIA pressure changes are more acute, than in other airlines. We’re landing in Poland on time.

4:00 PM – Chopin Airport in Warsaw. We want to take stroller and get into passport control as soon as possible. We’re looking at the jet bridge – there’s only navy blue seat stroller which doesn’t belong to us! We’re reporting problem to kind stewardesses, who are asking the baggage officer to check, if the lost item isn’t inside the plane. Unfortunately, he didn’t find. We’re passing through passport control quickly (comparing to previous ones, in an express way ) and we’re going to the luggage belt – as the cabin crew recommended. Luggages came, stroller didn’t. We’re looking at the tape with excess baggage – baby car didn’t appear. When Kyiv disappears from the screen, we’re going to report the problem to the complaint office. The employee, although he’s surprised, doesn’t make problems due to the lack of a trolley order number. He’s giving a form to us – we must write our personal data, weight and a visual description of our Bibi’s vehicle. He’s also saying, it’s been already the third problem, reported by the passengers of  МАУ.  This is the end of search and the journey! We’re coming back home.

Fortunately, our stroller has been found in Kyiv the very next day 🙂 On Thursday morning it came home by courier.

TO SUM UP:

 

Who is Ukrainian International Airlines for?:
+ For Parents, who have at least crawling babies. The airport in Kyiv is very well adapted for infants in this age. Only a few of these facilities are useful for newborns, who are much less tolerant of air pressure changes (in case of babies younger than 6 months old I definitely prefer direct flights).
+ For people living in Ukraine. UIA has a big offer of inexpensive direct flights to many destinations in the world.
+ For passengers, who need to concern on price while booking and they take a checked luggage.

What should you pay attention to?:
– Unfortunately, the opinions of passengers about the frequent loss of luggage is true. The way from airport to car with two suitcases, baby’s bag and infant on your arm is more than challenging.
– Cabin crew from our flights didn’t speak English fluently. There was even one stewardess communicating only in Russian! (sic)
– It’s not the airline for exclusively breastfeeding moms. Firstly, these women need valuable food and at least one hot meal per day (I’m talking about the comments, that they can make sandwiches for themselves before journey). A transfer flight may be inconvenient for them, because brunches and lunches at this airline are small and quite expensive. Secondly, narrow spaces make a childcare (such as breastfeeding in a sling or changing clothes) even more difficult. In this case, I have better experience with Greek or Serbian airlines.

What is your experience with Ukrainian Airlines? Share your thoughts in a comment 🙂

Polski

Preparations for Holiday – packing

Hello again!

As I’ve promised before, now I’m gonna write what to pack into the bag of our Toddler for the best preparation for a flight and not only. Remember, the price of ticket for the child under the age of two often involves the additional checked luggage up to 10 kg.

But now let’s  concern on the hand luggage for our Baby. I will divide its potential content for three cathegories: documents, must have things and additional useful stuffs.

1) DOCUMENTS:
Here the preface is probably unnecessary – if you take your ID card and driving licence with you automatically, the more we need to have the necessary documents during a vacation trip:

a) Passports of you and your Children (or ID cards for EU citizens travelling in Schengen area) – these are the first documents you HAVE TO pack! As I mentioned before, in most of countries we can’t add children in our passports anymore – they need to have their separate travel documents. You can ask your local office about the principles of making toddler’s passport.

b) Multilingual Birth Certificate – as I’ve written in the previous post, border guards don’t have to ask you for this paper, but it’s good to have it anyway. Just in case.

c) Personal Child Health Record and other medical documents – it is also worthy to make International Certificates of Vaccination I mentioned in the previous post. And be sure to print out the confirmation of the insurance you have purchased or (in case of EU countries) take the EHIC card

d) Printed boarding pass – I know, I know… In most cases passport is enough during check in. However, many absurdities already took place in the airport (such as lack of reservation in the electronic database), so have this paper just in case. Maybe you and your Toddler will avoid additional stress because of it.

 

2) MUST HAVE!!!
Some time ago we could hear about mom-celebrities, who complained on their blogs and Instagram profiles, that one totally expensive airline didn’t give them wipes/diapers/sleepers, while another one (as expensive as previous airline) already gave them that. Well, I confirm, that AEGEAN provides pocket wipes for toddlers and Turkish Airlines used to give baby meals or coloring books. However, they’re bonuses, not top-down guidelines 🙂 Must have in the hand-bag of Baby:

a) Diapers – quantity depends on the duration. For three-hour flight I used to pack around 10 pieces.

b) Wipes – I don’t know what about you, but I always take one-two packs of pocket handkerchiefs (up to 15 pieces) and standard one (between 60 and 90 pieces) into checked luggage – they will be useful for the first days as well. It’s a good idea to buy a package with a plastic closure – wipes will stay wet for longer 😉

c) Baby Changing Pads and diaper bags – usually you can buy them in popular drugstores.

d) First aid kit – with bandages and currently needed medicines (eg. against teething or colics) if they don’t cross 100ml. Note: to take syringes and prescription medicines into hand luggage you will need a certificate from a doctor.

e) Water bottle – drinking water from bottle brings relief to baby during takeoff and landing (air pressure increase). YOU CAN take on board: bottles with water, milk or baby porridge and also jars with soups / purées. Moreover, you can ask stewardess for pouring water into the bottle.

f) Food (if you aren’t exclusively breastfeeding)  – depending on the current baby’s nutrition, it’s good to take baby porridge, modified milk or baby jars. You can take those stuffs on board – I had 190g meal a’la Gerber in my hand-luggage and I crossed the control without any problems 🙂 You can ask cabin crew for heating a jar for your Toddler. I also recommend to hide some favorite baby soups into checked-luggage. Firstly, on holiday you won’t be always in a mood for cooking 😉 Secondly, the choice of flavors abroad may be different than in your homeland. I realized it during my stay in Turkey, but I’ll write about it in separate post.

g) A set of clothes for a change

 

3) USEFUL THINGS: 

a) Toys – they’re useful, when a child needs to divert attention from pressure changes during takeoff and landing. Furthermore, wouldn’t you get bored sitting a few hours in the same place? However, don’t be surprised when your Toddler will consider booklets as more interesting 🙂

b) Pacifier and pendant – pacifier works here like a chewing gum – helps to unclog baby’s ears. However, I added it to „useful things” list, because not all parents use this type of sedatives. I recommend to buy pendant – pacifier won’t fall down with this.

c) Nursing sling – it was often useful for me. Nursery rooms may be occupated while your Baby is hungry/has clogged ears/ needs closeness and immediately wants your breast. I don’t think, any of you would like to show your  bust in public place 😉 This item will provide you the minimum discretion (doesn’t concern infants after the 7th month – then sling gives the opposite result 😉 ).

d) Bibs – preferably cotton ones, with a foil cover underneath. Then the food won’t leak and won’t stain the clothes 🙂

e) Measuring spoon and a baby teaspoon

What would you like to add? Share your experiences in a comment 🙂

Polski

 

Preparations for Holiday – formal part :)

Hello Dears!

Today I am gonna write what every travel portal should start with, I mean the proper preparation for journey with Baby. Before you go to exotic countries, you get vaccinated, you buy the proper insurance, you read how to behave in the specific place or you pack everything according to the weather forecast. Baby is exactly like a journey into the unknown. You never know what can happen, that’s why we have to prepare ourselves for any eventuality. I realize, during my voyages with Bibi many things will surprise me. Then I will say what I already know 🙂 I am going to start with (important) formalities and in the next post I will write about packing Baby’s suitcase.

1) Birth Certificate of Baby (preferably multilingual) – Although, during journey, no one has asked me about this document yet, every border guard will confirm, you should have this paper with you. For example, if mom has different surname than father and their child, and she’s travelling with baby by herself, birth certificate can help her dispel any potential doubts of men in uniforms. This document whereas helped me in Greece, when I wanted my Husband to go with us through the passport control in the Schengen queue. 🙂

2) Vaccinations, medical examinations etc. – We can pack everything what needed is, but we all know, that sudden flu or toothache can spoil the best planned trip. The more so with the baby. First thing to do is checking the toddler’s health book, if there aren’t any vaccinations or examinations awaiting. In case you travel out of Europe, it’s good to pay attention, if you have to get vaccinated for diseases in specific country. I can recommend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpage. You can choose your destination and optionally the purpose of your journey (here you can obviously select: Traveling with Children). Furthermore, there’s information about medical preparations and the diseases bothering people such as Zika. On the official website of the World Health Organization you can additionally get to know about International Certificates of Vaccination. Except English version, WHO provides info in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish. Visit your doctor approximately one-two months before your holiday.

3) Insurance – If we get the mentioned toothache, we wouldn’t like to spend the rest of holiday with an empty wallet, right? (we need to save some money for diapers) 😉 If you’re a citizen of European Union or EFTA country going to another EU state, usually European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is enough for you and your Children – don’t forget to mention them during application. The official webpage of the European Commission explains very well how to receive the card in every member country and the conditions of use . If you visit non-EU and non-EFTA country, you will need to buy private medical insurance in one insurance- or travel agency in your state of residence. The non-EU citizens travelling to member countries can obtain EHIC only if they’re covered  by  a  state  social  security  scheme  in  any  Member  State of the European Union (for example by employer or spouse).

4) PASSPORTS AND VISAS – I remember, in my very first passport there was a page, where you could add your children under the age of 16 travelling with you (my Friend used to go on holiday with her father on this principle). Nowadays, in most European countries children have to receive their separate travel document (and even babies must be given their own biometric photo). Ask your local passport office about the required documents, but for sure you will need to prepare the Birth Certificate of your Child, their biometric photo, ID documents of both parents and fulfilled application form. If you apply for infant’s travel document, note that their appearance changes very fast. Even though their passport is valid up to 5 years, you will need to make a new one after one-two years.

Note: If you need to apply for visa of the destination country, your Child must receive the separate one – even if the policy of your homeland allows you to add kids into your passport.

5) Pack the suitcase of you and your Toddler properly! This topic deserves a separate entry which will appear soon. See you later! 🙂

Polski

Just to say “Hi”…

Hello!

Do you remember, while learning for exam  period you were able to find so many “responsibilities” which effectively distract you from opening your notes? Cleaning the whole apartment? Cooking for the next week? Watching missed seasons of „The Bold and the Beautiful”? 😉 I also know those little excuses making me postpone the most of my plans “for tomorrow”.

After giving birth to my Daughter the bad habit from my student times returned with a vengence. Bibi was my excuse for everything. For leaving a huge mess in my house (Bibi will wake up soon), for giving up the journalistic course I didn’t even start (I don’t have time because of Bibi), for extending our first flight abroad (isn’t it too early for Bibi?), and finally to start this blog (Bibi made me tired, I will have some rest)…

Comparing to exam period, travelling and blog aren’t obviously a bad obligation 🙂 However, just like learning, they are a challenge. Challenge showing if you’re able to overcome your internal blockades and give some effort to change your life, achieve something great and move forward. And no, my Dears, your children aren’t the blockade. The blockade are all the fears coming from your imagination. This is  the storm of advices from people “who know everything”. And finally, this is getting used to your current situation. Switching from childless mode to parent mode takes a lot of time and effort. Sometimes you just don’t have enough power to make those first steps again (but with your Baby this time). However I needed to cure my Baby Blues and plenty of conversations with my beloved people to realize it…

This time it’s the end of excuses! Thanks to my Husband I’ve finally moved my bum. When Bibi was three months old, I took her passport, we went to Turkey (the motherland of my Spouse) and… We stayed there longer 😉 And then another flights began. Now it’s time for blog! My Husband is currently playing with Bibi and I am writing.

What will be this blog about? About children and travelling. About shopping, nice places to see, airlines, and sometimes just about the thoughts of a young Mom 🙂 I hope, I’ll convince you, with a little effort your Baby can become a great travel companion. I warmly invite everyone to my blog – also childless people 😉 I am sure, everyone will find something for themselves.

 

Finally, I have started it! Now it’s gonna be only better 😉

Polski