Italy 2015 Wrap Up

[So uhh…Disclaimer.  This post is long.  Like makes previous posts that I’ve had a disclaimer on look short.  It’s just shy of 20,000 words.  A professional typist typing at 80 wpm would take 4 hours just to retype this post.  I don’t blame anyone if you don’t want to read through it entirely.  You can search the area/town you might be interested in or skip down to the concluding thoughts where I give more opinions/advice based on our experience.  The day by day portion is more of a travel journal.  Also, Alyce has a talent for saying more than I do in much fewer words, so you can read her posts too.  Good luck.]


Italy…Finally.  This one had been on both of our wish lists for a while.

Me – I’ve always been fascinated with Roman history.  The Romans were an incredible society and were more advanced than any other that would show up for quite some time.  My engineering side has always been impressed by what they were able to accomplish 2000 years ago.  My law side is similarly impressed with Rome.  The Louisiana Civil Code that we use today is a direct descendant from Roman law – one of the few things I took from the Legal Traditions class we had to take at LSU.  It equally influenced just about all of the Western legal systems.

Alyce – She has a strong Italian heritage on her mom’s side.  Her Nonna (the Italian word for grandmother) cooked all sorts of delicious Italian meals, many of which I was fortunate enough to get eat too.  Pasta, Pizza, Italian meats and cheeses are many of her favorite foods.  She loves the history too, just as I enjoy the food, markets, etc. as well.

As is usually the case, Alyce had to rein me in on the planning/scope of the trip.  I wanted 3 weeks.  Alyce shut that down being as we had never even traveled with James when she was submitting her vacation request.  Also, she had only been at her new job a couple weeks when vacation requests were due.  Going right for a 3 weeker would have been a little bold.  In fact, she just submitted her vacation requests for 2016, and the same situation played out.  I wanted three weeks; she settled at two.  I’ll get the three weeker in 2017… [Editors note: Since writing this, we have changed our 2016 fall vacation to 3 weeks.  Persistence pays off.]

Two weeks sounds like a lot – and it is for US vacations – but it really isn’t that long to see a country.  You lose one night to travel, so you’re down to 13 nights before you even get started.  Plus, we had a 15 month old with us.  We don’t quite see/do as much as we used to…

Speaking of which, I planned about half of what I usually would (in terms of meals/activities/wine/etc.), and we still ended up skipping half of what we had planned.  And that is fine and somewhat expected.  No one wins if we wake up a baby and have him scream through a lunch because we wanted to go to a particular place.  That’s not enjoyable for us or the others around us.

Similarly, I probably planned our stops a little differently in the past.  I definitely would have stopped a lot more along the way during our transits.  We drove right through the heart of the Chianti wine region and didn’t stop at a single place.  As it was, we stayed at 5 different spots over the 13 days…That’s moving when travelling with a one year old.

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Last Day

For our last day in Italy, we got up and moving pretty early.  We grabbed a couple of cappuccinos to go and walked around the big square.  It was pretty quiet, and we let James run around and chase the pigeons.  He really loved it! Our plan was to wear him out early so that he could take an early nap and we could actually make our 1:00 lunch reservations.


And that’s just what happened.  James took a 2 hour nap and we were able to have a pretty enjoyable last meal in Italy.  The restaurant, Osteria Alle Testiere, was wonderful.  Venice is know for their seafood, and we had lots of it: spaghetti with clams, octopus with gazpacho, mussels, and mixed grilled fish.  James enjoyed the gazpacho and spaghetti.  He had a few periods where he was very quiet, and I got to have a brief minute of peace.

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For the rest of the afternoon, we are just hung out and started packing up.

As a “last night of vacation treat” we had cookies and gelato for dinner! Back to reality tomorrow, but we are savoring every minute that we have left.

Tomorrow is going to be a long day.  We fly from Venice to Philidelphia to Charlotte to New Orleans.  I’m hoping that everything goes smoothly, unlike the flight over here!

I think we are all ready to get home, but we really enjoyed our time over here and especially our time together as a family.  Life gets pretty crazy at home between, work, daycare, etc.  It was nice to slow down and just chill out.


Of course we had our highs and lows, but we are happy with the way things went.

See you back home


Venice Bound

Today, we are leaving Barolo and heading for Venice.  The drive is about 3 hrs and 45 minutes.  Not as bad as the drive from Montalcino to Barolo, but it’s anyones guess how James is going to handle it.

He woke up in a great mood around 8:00, but it seems like he is just having an “off” day.  He’s pretty congested and his teeth may be bothering him.  We gave him some Tylenol and hit the road around 11:00.  He was asleep almost immediately.  To our surprise, he took a good nap then woke up in a good mood about an hour and a half before we got to Venice.

We turned in the rental car then caught a water taxi to our apartment.  We were quite a sight hauling all of our luggage across the busy street and onto a boat! There are water buses in Venice that are much much cheaper than the private taxis but we thought that it would just be easier with James and all of our stuff.

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James loved the boat ride! Venice is much different from the other places that we have been.  There’s a lot of action on the water and lots to look at for James.

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Our apartment in Venice is nice.  It is very close to the main square, so it will be really easy to get around.

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There are so many narrow walkways, bridges, and steps that we decided that we weren’t even going to attempt the stroller.  The Ergo baby carrier has worked out great for these types of situations.

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That evening we just walked around and took some pictures.  I’m surprised that I like Venice as much as I do.  It is so unique!  I think that I also like that there are no cars, scooters, bikes etc.  There are still a good bit of people, but it seems a little more relaxed than Rome and Florence.

We grabbed some bites to eat at a little bar and ate outside by the water.  It was all very good, but a seagull swooped in and snatched some crostini off of the plate while we were eating!

For dinner, we just stopped in a little pizza place to get something quick.  The pizza really wasn’t anything special, but James likes pizza.  He was good sitting on my lap quietly eating his cheese pizza and waving to the people at the next table.

One more full day before we head home!  I hope that this hurricane doesn’t give us any issues traveling!

See you soon