For the past couple of weeks we have been in Italy. This was the third summer we have spent time there (see our Amalfi Coast trip here and our Tuscany trip here), and the country continues to impress us. I thought you might be interested in seeing some photos and a bit of wisdom gained from experience while traveling with a now almost “threenager” who has cochlear implants.
It’s funny, I used to be a nervous flyer. I tried wine, Benadryl, meditation, you name it. Funny enough, traveling with a toddler cured me. When you travel with a toddler, you must be so present it is nearly impossible for anxious thoughts to take over. You are surviving the current moment, be it pulling Sonya down from the arm rest where she is yelling at the people behind us to “wake up guys — it’s morning!” to playing pretend animals with her, to finding her milk that hasn’t expired after sitting for eight hours in your thermos, so that she can go to sleep. On the flight over, Sonya actually did sleep! And then I had wine. And it was a great flight 🙂
We spent the first part of our trip in Venice. If you are afraid to visit this city with kids, please don’t be. It is wonderful. As in previous summers, we traveled with Yan’s parents, and alternated between days with Sonya and days where we traveled alone. Sonya loved San Marco square. We had talked about visiting it often before our trip. We read Olivia Goes to Venice at least fifty times before our trip.
The square didn’t disappoint. Sonya LOVED watching the people, the thousands of pigeons, listening and dancing to the music played by live bands at some of the restaurants, and most of all, eating the gelato every night after dinner. So much so that she had a full on tantrum one night and threw off her cochlear implants. The hook on one of the processors broke off. We spent the next morning trying to find it.
Of course we didn’t find it. We could have contacted Cochlear and ordered new hooks to be overnighted to Italy (they cost about $15 for a set of two not including shipping), but ultimately decided it wasn’t worth the hassle. Sonya wore her Ruby Band headbands for the duration of the trip and it wasn’t a big deal.
Since we had Yan’s parents Lillian and Eugene with us, we took turns watching Sonya and touring areas of the city. Highlights included seeing the Giotto frescos in Padua; the Scuola San Giorgio Degli Schiavoni (for Carpaccio) and the Scuola Rocco (for Tintoretto), Prosecco tasting in the Venetian countryside and of course, the food 🙂 Above all, Yan and I felt very lucky we had some time alone together. Thank you Baba and Deda so much for everything!!! <3
My favorite memories, however, are of buying fresh foods in the Rialto market and making dinners at home for the entire family. It was so special to be together in such a beautiful place.
LAKE COMO – BELLAGIO
From Venice, we rented a car and drove to Bellagio. The drive begins on a boring highway but after two hours, the road narrows and winds through small hills that eventually merge into the Italian Alps. Lake Como is extraordinary. People say it is impossible to take pictures there – the photos do not do the place justice – and they are right. At least my photos 🙂
We stayed at the Belvedere Hotel in Bellagio, which overlooks the lake. We didn’t swim in the lake, but the views are incredibly serene and the weather is cooler than Venice this time of year. Our hotel pool was a wonderful respite for the entire family, above all Sonya, who loved to wade in the shallow water and play with her boat. She wore her Ruby Band swim headband and we had no issues with the processors being impacted from water.
During the day, we took the ferry to see different villages in Lake Como. Varenna was an amazing town with a beautiful villa – Villa Monastero – which had gorgeous gardens and views. Sonya – was a bit tired by this point and luckily we had brought her iPad and Mini Mic. She watched “Mickey the Mouse” while we enjoyed a glass of wine. I felt a bit guilty but only a little bit. We all deserve a break sometimes 🙂
On days when we stayed in Bellagio, we enjoyed taking long walks down the boardwalk where we would drink espresso, do some shopping, eat gelato (fig was our favorite – but Sonya is partial to “chocolick” (we are still working on word endings in speech therapy).
One day, Yan and I took a drive north to Lugano Switzerland. A beautiful place with amazing pizza! We had the best Napoli pizza since Amalfi at Ristorante l’Argentino.
My favorite meal, however, was in the hilltops next to the farm, Trattoria Baita Belvedere. With breathtaking views of Lake Como, this quaint and casual restaurant offered traditional rustic fare sourced from neighboring farms. We ordered way too much and somehow finished everything. I even bought a couple jars of lavender and linden-infused honey that complemented our cheese plate. My mouth is watering as I write this. : )
We had such an incredible trip. Yesterday Sonya told me “I rewy miss Itawy mama! Can we go again soon?”
I hope so!
P.s. Because I was in denial about coming back to the states (especially with everything going on here..) I created a 14 minute movie about our trip. Yes, it’s super cheesy. I think it’s a fun escape though 🙂