The last few days have been completely different from our stay in Denmark (in a good way). We left a bustling metropolis for a piece of small town Italy. We are staying in a ski resort town that has few inhabitants during the summer. We are appreciating the inexpensive food, wine, and entertainment.
On Sunday we had one of the most fabolous meals of our lives! There is a hotel next to our flat so we decided to check out the restaurant for dinner. There were a few locals at the bar, but we literally had the dining room to ourselves. The waitress asked us if we wanted to do “family style” and try lots of different types of food. She started out by bringing us an antipasto plate and a basket of bread. Next came a huge platter of spaghetti bologanase. It was the best spaghetti we have ever eaten. Next came ravioli in a cream sauuce and then gnocchi. By this time we were pretty full! Imagine our surprise when she clears our plates and bring new ones out. She then brought a huge salad and a tray of delicious meats!!! Finally, the kids asked for dessert and were brought out a sample. We could not get over that 12 of us ate a 9 course meal, the kids all had cokes, the adults shared 3 bottles of wine and the tab was only $250.00 Euro!
Yesterday we decided to drive to Lake Garda for the day. It was only about 30 miles away, but took over an hour to get there because you are traveling up a steep mountain the entire time. Will and I are not fond of heights and spent most of the drive to and from nervous wrecks. The scenery was beautiful if you could get over the height and narrow roads. Once we arrived, the kids jaws all dropped because of how beautiful Lake Garda is. It is so fun watching their expressions as they grasp what the world looks like outside of Texas.
Here are a few of our observations
- Europe has the best playgrounds! The equipment is more diverse and even small town ones are much better than those we have in the states. Dave joked that in the suburbs we all have the same equipment that has numbers for the kids to do math problems. He said kids don’t want to do math while they are on the playground.
- We are eating and drinking way too many calories and have that tiny guilt…but not enough to make us stop.
- Nobody really speaks English where we are now, but we are still managing to communicate.
- It is fun to go to the grocery store and check out their goods.
Throwing away the garbage is quite the task. We have deputized
- Brad as the trash leader because he figured out the complicated sorting system. If you do not throw away your trash properly, there is a hefty fine.
- Washing clothes is kind of an ordeal in Europe (not that I am complaining). The size of inside of the washer is less than a half the size of ours. In Denmark you could not use the washer and dryer at the same time or the fuse would overload. We don’t have a dryer at our current location so we hang everything out to dry. I believe we will never take our huge washers and dryers for granted again!
- When traveling with kids, make sure to bring activities. Christa was brilliant and brought small craft bags for the little ones. They have come in so handy during down times when the kids are getting antsy. The older kids are having fun playing card games.
- You don’t have to have huge spaces to have quality. We have been in two smaller spaces (flats) and have been perfectly fine. The kids have played lots of games and have just enjoyed this opportunity.
My kids don’t understand that they really don’t have drive through restaurants here.
- Don’t ever take wifi for granted! Italy is number one for food, but not for wifi.
One of the things we are enjoying most is the authentic experiences. We met the nicest couple on our first day that owned a coffee shop that was a bar and also sold food and other goods. Mario and Sylvia were the nicest people ever. We didn’t speak each other’s language, but we figured out a way to communicate. On our last night there they presented us with going away presents. We can’t wait to send them a Texas beer to add to their bar. They have an open invite to come visits Houston anytime they wish!
Things we are missing from home:
Our dogs (Molly and Lily). We have the BEST dog/house sitters (Albright Pet Sitting) who are taking care of them while we are away. They are the nicest people and have been sending us lots of updates. We will definitely be using and recommending them!
High Speed Internet
Watching any type of TV (we found a bookstore that had a few English books).
Our hair straighteners
Poor Sophia got car sick and the only extra clothes we had were Finley’s!