The last time I dared post about an upcoming vacation (starting in the same city, no less) we couldn't make it due to the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption. We sadly drove home from Dulles after our flight was cancelled, and when I showed up at my friend Reid's yard sale she was all like, "What are you doing here?!" I'm thrilled to report that we finally got to see Venice and have much more time to explore it than the half-day we would have had before that cruise.
Plus, Reid is still our dear friend and it worked out for her to meet us for a week in Italy! Honestly I was just as excited about catching up with Reid as seeing beautiful sights. The kids adore her, having another kid-friendly adult along was tremendously helpful, and she brought us a heck ton of candy corn which we used for bribes all week.
|San Marco Campanile... with candy corn|
We started in Venice, just wandering around the back streets. I realize this is cliché, but Venice is impossibly gorgeous and just around every corner was yet another quaint waterway lined by slowly decaying houses and colorful boats. Laundry was drying on clotheslines, gondoliers were taking passengers to and fro, and I couldn't get enough of the doors, ironwork, verdigris patina, and bridges.
We're used to having playgrounds all over Gothenburg so the kids were disappointed not to find one in Venice, but they made their own fun and many candy corns were eaten.
|Bowen driving a Lamborghini|
|Capturing a butterfly|
Next we hopped on the high-speed train for Florence. I had to admit I didn't know that much about Florence (spinach=Florentine?) but the map told me it's close to other places I've pinned so I included it when planning the Venice trip. Highlights from the second half of our week...
|Outdoor market in Florence|
|Piazzale Michelangelo, overlooking Florence|
Cinque Terre. It was every bit as charming and beautiful as I expected, and we had the most incredible fried calamari in Riomaggiore. Don't try to see it all in one day, especially if you're staying in Florence. Buy yourself some limoncino.
|Vernazza, looking toward Monterosso|
|Riomaggiore at Sunset|
|Yellow shirt day|
|Well, we have to buy something if we want to use the potty, right?|
|Siena's Piazza del Campo|
|Lunch at an organic farm/winery|
|Olives on the tree|
|Saffron grappa with contucci|
|Chasing pigeons in San Gimignano|
|Field of Miracles, Pisa|
|Obligatory forced perspective photo|
We had a great time! Nobody fell in a canal or got run over by a Florentine, so I consider it a successful trip. The weather was gorgeous (6os F, sunny) but it took me until about Thursday to realize I didn't need to wear my rain jacket like in Sweden. Breakfast was incredible, with the typical Euro deli meats and yogurt, fresh fruit, unlimited cappuccinos, pastries, and even bruschetta and tiramisu in Florence.
|Cream filled croissants and a barista in Venice|
|The savory table, just part of the buffet in Florence|
Our dinners were good, but not mind-blowing. I was more focused on getting things the kids would eat instead of being adventuresome, and they did eat pizza or pasta for every meal, so to them that was the best thing ever.
Now where do we go?!