Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Adventures in Italy

I must apologize for my not posting for a while. I have been very busy, mostly with a 3 week vacation to Italy.

We left for Italy on May 28th and returned on June 20th. We had a great 3 week visit to a country that I love dearly. I love most everything about Italy. The landscape, architecture, food and the language. For years I have been obsessed with traveling to the country and learning what I can about the culture and enjoying La Dolce Vita.

I looked forward to this trip. Hubby and I had great plans to visit wonderful cities, shop, eat, drink and absorb as much of the Italian lifestyle as we could. The only problem, we have 2 children. Under normal circumstances, having kids is  not a problem at all, it is a joy, but on vacation it challenging (and that is the only polite way that I can put it).

We are fortunate to travel with my husbands parents to Italy and have family to stay with, so our costs stay down. We stayed just over a week on the Amalfi Coast (which I love) and enjoyed our time there (mostly). We visited such great cities as Positano, Naples, Avellino, Cava di Tirreni, Sorrento and Caserta. All great cities with wonderful things to see and an abundance of food to enjoy. We had plans from the offset to venture to most of these places on our own and bring the kids to only a few places. That was mistake number one! We should have NEVER brought the kids on excursions. From the minute they left the comfort of Zia's apartment they whined  non stop, "I want to go home", "I'm hungry", "I'm hot!", " I want to ruin your vacation". For a year I looked forward to visiting Sorrento. I thought it would be a good place to bring the kids. NOT! Even though we brought reinforcements with us, Zia, Nonna and a cousin they adore, they still bitched and moaned until I was in tears. I have no idea what Sorrento looked like. I did not get more that 5 photos from that whole trip....I spent the whole time at war with the kids.

When our time in Salerno (Amalfi Coast) we drove down to Sicily, where my husbands family is from. We were looking forward to the great Sicilian beaches, food, markets and seeing family. The bonus part was that Hubby's uncle let us stay at his daughters Villa as it is unoccupied most of the time because she lives in Milan full time. What a wonderful property. A large house with marble floors, 3 bedrooms, 2 bath, large kitchen, sun room and formal living and dining room. The house also offered great ourdoor living space complete with covered porches and a gated property to keep the kids nice and safe. There were even a few lemon trees, orange and olive trees too! There were an abundance of lizards flitting about to entertain the kids for hours. The place was perfect. Only a five minute drive from the sea, a shopping mall and other family members. It truely could not have been better.

While I say that I then am reminded that we were traveling with the kids, so like clockwork, just a day after settling into our accomodations the kids started to act up again. "I want to go to the beach", "I want Nonna", "I want gelato", "I want to make  your life miserable". We tried our best to keep them entertained by taking them to the beach or going our for gelato, but the moment we would step out into the burning sun (or Sicilian furnace as I call it) my daughter would throw a fit screaming that the sun hurt her, my son would cry that he was melting.

After having just spent the week before fighting with the kids on excursions, we chose to do most of the stuff on our own. We visited Siracusa, Ortigia, Catania, Palermo, NotoRagusa, Enna and some other small towns near where we were staying.  This of course was wonderful. It was like a second honeymoon for the Hubby and myself. We only took the evil minion  to one town for a visit (and as expected they were miserable) and they enjoyed beach days and a day at a water park.

I don't like to bitch and moan. I am a fortunate person to have had the luxury to visit Italy 3 times in the last 5 years. I love the country from where my husbands family immigrated. If I won the lottery I would surely buy a vacation home there if not live there full time (if I could handle the driving, littering and general rudeness of people...but that is for another post). But I do not see myself returning for a long time...not until the kids can be left alone and we could be on our own completely. Here is my word of advice, if you can, vacation WITHOUT your kids when visiting Europe. Leave family vacations for Disney, Florida or a resort in Mexico.

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