Oh beautiful Florence! This city is such a gem. So many big cities are overwhelming, busy, fast but Florence feels like a pace I can keep up with. I once had a friend tell me that Rome is like a man and Florence is like a woman and I think there’s something to that summary. Florence is a bit more feminine, artistic, calmer. Rome is busy, hectic, crazy. What am I saying about men and women? Draw your own conclusions! (Love you, Steve!) Also, I really do love Rome. I just don’t think I could live there (at least not with children).
It’s that time of year. Summer’s here and so are the strawberries. I can tell time based on the fruit that’s ripe for picking. Summer’s here, ready to be devoured and so are the strawberries. I bring them home, and now know full well that nothing more will ever come of them. Just a good rinsing and then we eat ’em up. Jam? Pie? No. They’re eaten raw in this house, and gone within a few hours of being picked. I get nervous when blueberries are out. That means summer’s coming to a close. But then I’m usually embracing fall by the time the apples arrive. What’s my option?
I’m way behind in my blogging. It’s been nice getting home after long days spent on my feet and reading a few pages of Diary of Anne Frank before I’m completely knocked out asleep. But there’s lots of great pictures and stories to put in this space too. Two weeks ago, the week we first arrived, Steve had an early morning class trip to Rome. We decided to join him to get some time spent in that magical, crazy city.
Leaving Orvieto in the morning and heading to Amsterdam for the final week of our time here! Please give me all your (kid-friendly!) tips here or on my latest Instagram! It’ll be a first for both of us!
Some weekend reading…
Yesterday on the way home from Siena, we took the long way to return to Orvieto. The sun was still on our side, the boys were in good spirits after a relaxing day in Siena, so we hoped that an extra hour in the car wouldn’t be a big mistake, in order to drive through the Val D’Orcia area of Tuscany. This was my first time really seeing Tuscany. Though Florence is in Tuscany, it’s a city, so you don’t get that Tuscan rolling-hills-as-far-as-the-eye-can-see flavor that you imagine when you picture the place. (As a reader pointed out, it looks like that scene in the movie Gladiator–and upon further googling I discovered that indeed it is!).
Don’t judge a book by its cover and, similarly, don’t judge traveling with children by an Instagram feed. It’s not glamorous, it’s not easy. It’s sort of like your own life at home, but harder. That was a foreboding start, but I think anyone who has traveled with their little ones would agree. You’re out of your routine, often hungry, tired, you’ve rented an Airbnb and it’s not childproofed so you’re constantly on guard, your noise machine broke as soon as you tried to plug it into the converter (just us? We didn’t even bother with one this trip!) and motorcycles go loudly buzzing by right outside your window, you have a lot of unanswered questions (where’s the grocery store? how do you say bathroom? why are all the restaurants closed right now? is there an ATM close by?), kids are strapped in strollers, car seats, needing to stay (somewhat) still on trains or planes… you get the picture!! When Steve and I first came to Italy, just the two of us, these questions never entered our mind. It’s a whole new ballgame when you’re traveling with kids. So let’s dive in.
The Duomo in Orvieto is so magnificent and standing in front of it, in the biggest piazza in town, feels so quintessential Italy. Add to that, not too many cars come through, so it’s the perfect place for kids to run around. We hung out there before gelato the other night while they ran up and down the steps, and fiercely defended… what, well, I’m not sure but something given the look on Anders’ face below.
we’ve been here for just over 24 hours and it’s so wonderful to be back. these smells–the air (this isn’t one of those travel exaggerations, i promise) actually smells like jasmine because there’s so much of it blooming in town, the way the stroller bumps along the cobblestone, the loud buzzing of the motorcycles going past, the crunchy chocolate pieces in my (favorite) straciatella gelato, the “un cappuccino per favore!” and then it comes in a pretty little foam topped cup. these things are my favorite things and it’s so nice to be here again.
Since Steve’s been gone, I’ve been sleeping right in between these two. It was simplest for getting them to bed, and for no night wake ups since I’m right there. I’ve loved it! Aside from the occasional knee to my back. Cuddles a-plenty. What are you guys doing this weekend?
Some weekend reading…
Steve’s been in Italy almost two weeks already. He left the Saturday before last, graduation day. The whole weekend was chaotic. We had the kids’ grandmother here, commencement, and then–whoosh!–Jordan, Steve, and Jan all flew out Saturday night (and at different times). Our bustling house fell silent. Well, no. There’s still five of us here, but it was bustling, and then it was much less bustling. Jordan is in Italy with Steve. A sort of last minute decision (plus a good airfare) to fill some of this gap before his job-job begins later this month. When else will they get this sort of dad-son time together? Reports via Facebook messenger video (proving to be a bit more reliable than Facetime) are that all is well. Plus, their weather is gorgeous. Emphasis on their. Weather here is still cloudy with a chance of rain, rain, and more rain.