A day in Venice (with the whole crew) and a day in Verona (minus Jen and kids)
It has been been almost 3 years since Nick has seen his family, and a little less for me and Jonah. And of course for Declan it was “nice to meet you!” Grandma, Grandpa and uncle Paul flew in to Germany, where Nick met up with them. Then they took a few days to sight see and make their way to us. We were SO excited to have them here. Jonah got presents from Grandma pretty much every day and she always had treats in her purse (Grandma’s love to spoil!). Declan was more than happy to have more arms to hold him.
Ah the joys of having a child with asthma. When Jonah gets a little cold, he often gets a flare up. We are hoping it is just the air quality in Italy or that it is just a childhood thing. While Nick was on his way out the door to fly to Germany and meet up with his family, Jonah and I were hanging out in the emergency room trying to get his oxygen levels up. Then while Daddy was driving down from Germany with his family, we had fun doing “breathing” every few hours. Good thing he’s a good sport about it all.
We wrapped up our last few days with Taylor with some rock climbing, some relaxing and some good food. Even Jonah got to rock climb (his first time ever!), he was fearless. We were very sad to say goodbye to Taylor. He won’t be in the states when we get back as he is headed to Brazil in August. ta-ta for now tater! We really enjoyed spending some quality time with you before you leave!
Our first stop on our super road trip was Croatia. Pula to be exact. We did some snorkeling and then hung out at the coolest tiki bar around where there is some good cliff jumping and some super silly toys.
Next stop was Plitvice falls. It was an interesting drive getting there as it is about an hour off the main road and we got to see some very interesting little towns and people. Everything was really run down. But when we got to the falls, we found TONS of tourists. And for good reason, it was BEAUTIFUL. There were so many waterfalls that we walked around for hours going “oh, another waterfall”. We pretty much got “waterfalled out”, which is hard to do in my opinion.
Next stop was Lake Bled Slovenia. Where we were supposed to do some cool stuff, but it was pouring the whole time. So we stayed in awesome “glamping huts” then went to a bee museum and headed home a bit early.
Before Taylor had made his plans to come here, we had booked tickets to Sicily (because we got them for FREE, just had to pay the taxes and fees). So when Taylor made plans we let him choose if he wanted to go to Sicily or not. He decided to go, which was good because it ended up being his favorite thing. Having Taylor along we changed our plans and instead of hanging out on Sicily, we took a ferry out to an island known for scuba diving (we figured we better take advantage of a babysitter! And Taylor likes to scuba dive too, win, win). Upon arriving in Palermo, we found out that we had missed all the morning ferries (which are cheaper) and that we would have to pay double and wait until 5 pm, ah the joys of travel. So we lugged our luggage all around Palermo. Which was not so fun. Palermo is a dirty southern Italian city, with lot’s of sketchy charm.
Jonah loved this guy at the scuba company, his name was Dario. He didn’t speak English but he was SO good with kids. And he was a great dive master. When I had some trouble with my ears he very patiently took my hands and held me steady and waited for me. He showed Jonah a sea rabbit (like a sea slug but it moves faster).
Above is a photo of Ustica’s main square. There are benches on either side that are always occupied by the elderly locals. Cars can drive through one way in the morning and the other way in the evening.
We had to spend one more night in Palermo before flying out. It was a Sunday evening and they did this awesome thing that I have heard of some Italian cities doing (they also do it in Ukraine). They closed down the main road from traffic so that everyone could stroll. Too fun.
Venice. Beautiful, unique and filthy dirty. Spend a day getting lost. Or in Taylor’s case, not getting lost. Still not sure how he managed to find his way around. I’ve been there at least ten times and I still get lost. Taylor was our fearless leader and led us right back to the best gelato in Venice.
Not many tourists know about Vicenza (where we live 🙂 But it really is beautiful. Hometown of one of the greatest architects, Palladio (and therefore also home to a lot of his beautiful works including the rotundo and teatro olimpico). Palladio’s basilica in the main square just reopened (they fixed the damage from WWII bombs) and they had a cool bike display going on so we went and had a gander.
Uncle Tater came to visit us and he asked for adventure. We tried our best to come through on his request. The day after he got here we headed up to Lake Garda. Taylor got to demo sweet mountain bikes at an expo. Then after a taste of “European camping” ( =not nearly as cool as american camping) the boys did a “via ferrata” = “iron way”. Which is a cross between rock climbing and hiking. Super steep hiking where you wear a harness and clip in to steel cables, or sometimes ladders.
I hung out with the kiddos, enjoying the view from the bottom of the via ferratta.
Nick was SUPER excited (above). Taylor is pointing to the top of the via ferratta in the below photo. It is the little spire or chimney there on the right side all the way at the top!
Poor Taylor did a lot of this while he was here. He was a good sport though.
May 2, 2013. Jonah turns FOUR! Can you believe it?? To celebrate we had a pirate party. Jonah had a very specific vision for his cake…I think it turned out alright, I am no professional but it does look like a pirate ship at least. All the presents were pirate theme (thanks Grandma! the presents from Mom and Dad didn’t arrive until a week after the party, oops!) The party was even complete with a real live pirate who we flew in from the states just to complete the party.
We have some friends who own a pastry shop here in town and we try to support them when we can, so we ordered cupcakes for Jonah’s class at school. Jonah’s teacher was pretty excited when she saw where we got the cupcakes, they are pretty good!