Before too much time passes, I want to get a post up about our fabulous trip to Tuscany in late May (I know I am jumping around a bit, but the important thing is to get the highlights in here…right?). My dad and Joyce came to spend another month with us before we leave Europe. Since it has been a long time dream of my dad’s to spend a vacation at a farmhouse in Tuscany, we figured no time like the present!
We drove down from Stuttgart, while they planned on meeting us at our villa outside of San Gimignano after a couple of days in Rome. Our drive was surprisingly easy (the boys have finally learned to relax in the car) and we arrived mid-afternoon. We headed into San Gim for dinner and expected to see Nana and Pappy when we got back. Unfortunately, some ambiguous directions, a remote location, and a late start rendered them lost and we spent the first night alone. We re-grouped the next morning and met the up for the drive to Siena for the day. It was a beautiful city, but the next time we do a similar trip I think we would choose just one “big” city to reduce the time “touring” and spend more time “experiencing.” In fairness, I might have a different view if we hadn’t spent 90 minutes looking for parking, but I digress…
The rest of the week was a balance of wine country and Tuscan towns. Unfortunately, it rained the first part of the week, which made staying home less appealing. The upside is we saw quite a few of the hill towns in the area and replenished our wine stock with visits to Montepulciano and Chianti.
We had a surpisingly easy day in Florence. We found it less overrun with tourists than Siena and had some fun exploring a bit off the beaten track. Pappy and Nanny took Dominic to see Michaelangelo’s David and then to the Duomo, where he climbed all 463 steps BY HIMSELF. When we met back up, he was so proud and eager to tell us about his accomplishment. Meanwhile, Tony and I took Ali with us to see David. We didn’t expect him to get much out of it, but to our surprise, he talked about it throughout the trip and can still identify it when he sees it in a picture. Moment like that, away from the guilt of multiple moves, changing friends, and struggles with languages, I am able to appreciate the experiences our kids are having as a result of our nomadic lifestyle.
The rest of the week was spent eating, tasting wine, and enjoying the villa (Tony would probably argue there was a good amount of shopping in there, too, but I think it was pretty tame). Once the weather cleared in the latter part of the week, the boys had a ball romping through the olive trees playing hide and seek with Pappy, swimming when I couldn’t talk them out of it, catching lizards and fireflies. All in all a pretty great time.