Saturday, July 16, 2011

Time out in Tuscany

We have just returned from what was probably our best vacation. Ever. Now with all the travelling we do that is quite a statement, but I'm sticking by it, and will tell you why.

I've wanted to go to Italy ever since I had a crush on an Italian guy in highschool (nice brown eyes....sigh!). While not the most compelling reason to see a country, I'm glad it got us there. La dolce vita is alive and well, and captivated us!

When travelling is practically our job, sometimes you just need a break. We knew we didn't want to see a city (we live in a city). We had no interest in culture (ditto). We were looking for R and R, downtime, and some country clean air. And luckily we found them all. Sometimes, getting your 'best vacation ever' is just knowing what you want your vacation to be.

Now getting there was not so great. We planned the flight time around William's scedule, hoping he would nurse and nap. And he did. But the plane didn't. Go anywhere that is. We sat on the tarmac for and hour and a half as the Florence airport was closed. Why? "We don't know" was the reply. Was this French or Italian bungling at its best? Probably both and not an auspicious start to the trip. And then when we did finally arrive, we waited in line in the hot hot sun for an HOUR for our rental car. And THEN we missed our rendevous to the villa and waited another hour....William coped really well, but Greg and I were about to lose it.

No matter, we were finally collected and installed in the 'Nonno' room and it was a balm to our travel weary souls. Set in the hills about half hour from Florence the eleven room villa was charm itself: beamed ceilings, copper fixtures, stone walls and everything beautifully maintained. The air was cooler in the hills, and the pool was cool and inviting. The manager had put up a shower curtain for us (who knows why there wasn't one before) and bought a baby bath for William. We had our own kitchen so we had a fun shopping expedition to the local grocery store, and ate nothing but pasta and pizza the entire week (when in Rome!).

Every morning the church bells from a nearby village would toll out; the sun quickly burned off the morning mist so we enjoyed swims before anyone else got to the pool. We watched swallows scoop sips of water from the pool in the mornings, and lightening bugs make love in the evening. We saw stars for the first time in a year. On the twisty mountain roads it is necessary to toot your car horn before turning a corner; the result was a charming cacaphony like so many Canada geese honking in the hills. The weather was mostly beautiful, but on the few rainy days we all curled up in the bed for a nap and listened to the rain on the tin roof. Our neighbors were mostly Germans, who were happy to chat or leave you alone as you pleased (or as their English ran out:)

We did do a few things. We visited the incredibly beautiful fishing village of Manarola, on the Mediterranean. We drove through hills terrraced with vineyards to find this colorful village perched on the cliffs above the sea. Greg and I swam, and Willsy dipped his toes in (he was a little afraid of the waves). It was an amazing day. We also went for lunch in the lovely walled city of Lucca. We enjoyed it very much but my shopping was frustrated by the siesta! Finally, the owners of the villa put on a pizza dinner for us one evening; we watched Mama make the dough and Papa whip the pizzas in and out of the brick oven like hotcakes. With what I imagine is an authentic smokey flavor, they were delicious!

All too soon it was time to go home to Paris....back to the city, to culture, to light pollution....but its not so bad. 'Cause we're planning another vacation!!!!


  1. I LOVE the picture of Will in his bath sticking his tongue out at you Megan!!!


  2. Wow! Italy has been on our 'go to' list for some time now, and this just makes me want to put it to the top of the list!