Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Worried about late dinner times in Spain (for our toddler)

Worried about late dinner times in Spain (for our toddler)

Mar 5th, 2007, 01:23 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,091
Since it will be the summer, we'll plan to eat outside at cafes so we'll have a quick escape and also that may give him more room to play around if he gets fidgety.

Too bad it sounds like a fancy restaurant is probably out of the question. However, we love tapas so maybe that will make up for it? As long as we can get paella and sangria then I think we'll be okay (LOL)
bkluvsNola is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 02:02 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 36,506
Mariorosa, I don't get the idea that you say your toddler couldn't adapt to schedule change and you never deviated by more than an hour. Unless your toddler wore a watch and could tell local time, his biological clock WAS making a 5 or 6 hour adjustment to everything, depending on where you live normally. I just don't get this idea that people think because it is 5 PM in Spain but 11 AM at home, the toddler thinks in terms of the 5 PM time as they time he normally eats. You are essentially forcing him to make that major adjustment; it's not one his body or mind does automatically.

Not to beat a dead horse, but you can set whatever schedule you want when you make a major time zone change. The important thing is the same number of hours between each event -- not that the local clocks say it is a certain time.

By the way, as a diabetic I do this myself. When we head to New York or London, I change my daily routine to 2 hours later than at home, so we can eat after the shows, sleep later in the mornings, and have a late lunch. My body really doesn't care what the local clocks say -- rather that my schedule is the same. But no, I don't change my London activities to 5 hours different from home, just a couple for my own convenience.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 02:34 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
if you would go to a "fancy" restaurant in your country with your toddler, because he is so well behaved, then i see no reason why you canīt do it in spain if you feel he is rested enough to sit around for 2-3 hours while you eat there.

you will find plenty of options.. nice you are travelling with him. he will probably do better than you think.

lincasanova is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 02:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 509
Patrick - well, I wan't going to get into this, but since you asked I feel I need to answer. We never travelled to Europe with our son, but I've taken more than 10+ trips with him in the Americas. The biggest time difference we attempted with him was 3 hours, and after a couple of days, he adjusted to the new time. So I didn't keep him on our time from home, just the new time that we had all adjusted to. Often we were visiting family, so our new time was pretty much dictated by the times the family keeps. The poster's child will have adjusted to the time change as well, since they'll be spending some time in Switzerland before going to Spain.

Here is what you may have a hard time understanding: toddlers can only stay awake for a certain amount of time before needing a nap(s) and then for another certain amount of time before they need bedtime. It's just the way it is. Adults, if we wake up at 7 AM, we don't necessarily need a nap 6 or so hours later and then bedtime X number of hours later. But toddlers do, and deviating from that can make a child very cranky, unless they are a very easygoing child (and since I know many kids my son's age, I do know a few that are easygoing. Their parents are very lucky indeed!). So no, my child does not know it's somewhere between 7:30 AM and 8:30 AM, but he will ask at around that time for some type of breakfast item. ANd he doesn't know it's between 12:30 and 1:30 PM, but he will start showing signs of tiredness (or overtiredness) It's just the way internal clocks work. We take cues from our environment - when the sun goes up, down, when we get dressed in the AM, when we have our mid-day meal, etc. These are all cues we take that regulate our internal clocks. And it's a good thing when we can match our internal clock with our environment. Think about when our internal clocks are off: we don't feel great (think about jetlag the day after crossing the pond!).
Mariarosa is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 02:58 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 36,506
I guess I'm having a really difficult time making myself understood and should just give up. But I'll try one more time.
If one gets up at 6 AM, has breakfast at 7AM, has lunch at noon, a nap from 3 to 5, dinner at 6, and to bed at 8 PM -- then it is NOT a change at all or any reason to get cranky if he suddenly is thrust into getting up at 8 AM, has breakfast at 9AM, has lunch at 2 PM, a nap from 5 to 7 PM, and dinner at 8 PM and to bed at 10 PM. Especially since those hours are closer to his "home hours" than making a more radical change from his home hours.

All the times between those things are the same as his normal routine.
And yet some seem to think that if suddenly 6 hours were added to all those times (just to keep him on the same "clock" as at home) that is somehow easier than merely adding 2 hours or 4 hours to the usual times.

I'm sorry I just don't get why it is easier for a toddler to adjust to ALL 6 hour changes than it is to adjust to ALL 3 or 4 hours changes. After crossing the Atlantic, the biological clock must be reset -- I'm just saying why struggle to reset it 6 hours if you can reset it 3 or 4?
NeoPatrick is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 03:47 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 509
LOL, Patrick, I think we are saying the same thing in different ways. Yes, that's what I'm saying. However, the one factor which is most difficult to control, and which does determine the rest of the day's flow is wake-up time. Maybe her son will be able to wake up at 9 - 10:30 AM to make that 8-9 PM dinner possible and a 10:30 PM bedtime. Our son seemed to wake-up with sunlight and morning street/house noise easily (cues, remember?). It's a lot easier to control environment at home than it is when you're staying at hotels and with other family members.
Mariarosa is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 03:31 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 66
I traveled through Spain when my daughter was 2 and my son was 1. It was easy to make tapas our main meal in the early evening, so we were able to keep the kids on a reasonable schedule. We ended up getting an "aparthotel" with a small kitchen, so we could make some food ourselves, which also made it easier. Check out familytravelforum.com, which has loads of info on traveling with babies and toddlers, and tips to make it easier.
familytravelforum is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 05:46 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,201
This is a bit off the topic of toddlers, but I have to say that the situation with meal times is enough to cause me to not want to revisit Spain.

The last time we were there, we simply weren't able to stay up late enough to have a real dinner. Our dinners were always tapas, which are pretty high-fat. It would have been nice to shift to a later schedule, but it's not so easy to get up late. The sun rises, and you start to hear the noises of activities in the hotel.

As a result, we felt we didn't eat very well in Spain, and that was the main reason I'd much rather visit France or Italy. Food is important to us on vacation.

The best meals I had were shellfish, and I love paella. But many restaurants serve paella to a minimum of two people, and my wife is allergic to shellfish. Thus I could seldom have it, and my wife's choices were very limited.

I've thus mostly ruled out Spain as a destination due to the dinner issue. We'll make one more trip there because we want to visit Barcelona, but mostly we'll choose other destinations.

Unless I can learn to take an afternoon siesta.

- Larry
justretired is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 06:05 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 3,227
Larry, what did you visit in Spain ? Out of Madrid and Andalucia...we don't have dinner sooo late. Certainly, not at 6 PM, but most restaurants here where I live open at 8 PM. As an anecdote, I was trying to have dinner after a concert in Barcelona (11'30 PM)and only found opened a pizza hut..The restaurant of my hotel was closed too. I saw the manager of the singer I went to see coming to the hotel with a bunch of sandwiches from an OpenCor shop (24 hours shop), it was funny to see !!!
kenderina is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 06:11 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 3,227
And, by the way, Paella Valenciana has no shellfish at all or any other kind of fish , it's only rice, chicken, rabbit and vegetables
kenderina is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 07:16 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,844
I would like to avoid high-fat foods too. Will have some tapas but not every day.

I found a directory of restaurants in the Salamanca area where I'll be staying. Curiously, a lot of Asian restos there. Director is at descubremadrid.com, IIRC.

Not a big foodie unfortunately. Had a pretty good Italian meal in Barcelona.
scrb is offline  
Mar 7th, 2007, 04:46 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,901
Someone asked about takeaway stuff in El Corte Ingles. They have a fabulous array of stuff, and good thing, because many times it saved our bacon, so to speak, while travelling in Spain (Andalucia). Like justretired, we had problems. In fairness to that country, we weren't there all that long, but for once, we failed to find suitable eateries by simply following our nose when the spirit (and stomachs) moved us. It's the one country I'd research places in advance at which to eat, and where I'd plan meals carefully. As it was, our heads wanted to follow local customs, but our stomachs just wouldn't cooperate.

bkluvsNola, pay a visit to El Corte Ingles, and load up on nourishing snacks for your toddler and yes, yourselves. (I strongly suggest you include a Swiss army knife in your checked luggage, and possibly a few other eating implements, so as to make it easier to make a picnic supper in your room for him and again, possibly yourselves.) Enoy your trip.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Mar 7th, 2007, 07:33 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,091

We won't have the same problem you had. Both of us are seafood lovers and not allergic to shellfish. Glad to hear they serve it for two. Can't wait for the paella.
bkluvsNola is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:32 PM.