Friday, November 9, 2012

Tuscany Part 1

leaving venice,
we drove for about 3 1/2 hours
into tuscany.
during that drive
steve and i talked about how different
it was when we traveled through europe
all those years ago.

17 years ago,
there were no iphones, ipods, ipads
to keep my kids quiet and busy in the car.
we didn't have the garmin AND the gps
on our phone. 
we used an old fashioned map
to travel throughout europe.
there was no google
to research hotels and "what to do"
when we got to our destination.
and we had NO money.
we didn't even have a credit card.
yet, during the 3 years that we lived in germany,
we traveled all over europe.
and we have such wonderful memories
of those trips.
i would pack picnic lunches/dinners.
we would fill gas tanks
and store them in the trunk of the car
because we couldn't afford the european gas.
the military gave us gas ration cards
to use at certain ESSO stations throughout europe.
and we would drive.
stephen propped in his car seat
in the middle of the non-back seat of steve's
old two seater.
me in the front navigating
with maps and guide books.
we drove to italy, france, denmark,
amsterdam, poland, prague,
austria, switzerland, england.
we would drive to our destination
and then started looking for a place to stay.
sometimes we lucked out
and found a cheap, clean, comfy place
to sleep.
sometimes i slept with one eye open.

it's so different now
traveling through europe.
we don't have to exchange the deutsche mark
for italian lire or the french franc.
we can afford to fly and stay in a decent hotel.
i no longer pack picnic lunches.
we didn't even use a map in italy!

i'm not saying it's any better.
just different.

the first 3 nights in tuscany
we spent at a marriott in barga, italy.
we arrived after dark,
and when we woke the next morning,
the view was beautiful.

we relaxed at the hotel
in the morning and let the kids
swim in the pool.

later we drove about 45 minutes
to lucca,
a beautiful walled city.
it was pouring rain
that afternoon
so we didn't get to 
really see too much of the town.

we had a great lunch
and then drove around lucca
in search of a bookstore.
(the entire trip i was a bit obsessed
with finding books from each place we visited :)

the next day we headed to pisa.
about an hour away from our hotel.
i was surprised by how much i liked pisa!
we had a nice little lunch and walked 
around the town for a few hours
buying the kids "leaning eiffey towey's" 
as griffin calls it.

after a great day in pisa,
we headed back to the hotel
and sat downstairs in front of
the fire.
the kids read books, played games
and we ordered dinner right there.

instagram pics..
club sandwiches and french fries
for the kids..
(a nice break from our daily pizza/pasta)

steve tending to the fire
while i eat my tuscan beans with 
olive oil, sage and 
a piece of tuscan bread.
and wine of course.

the next day we packed up
and headed out.
the kids loved the hotel here
and didn't want to leave.
originally we were supposed 
to be driving to rome from there.
steve and i talked a lot about 
it being not only too much of a drive,
but we loved tuscany so much
and wanted to see more of it.

we would drive past this very old bridge
in barga each day.
as we left barga..
we pulled over to take pictures 
and to take a walk across it.
unfortunately for us, the town was having 
a celebration that night and the bridge 
was being prepared with fireworks.

i loved that bridge!

off to the chianti region
deep in tuscany! 


  1. What a trip, and how fun and well behaved your children look. It must be a joy to travel with them (I would be daunted by the sheer NUMBER of them as the mom of "an only!" :-) Enjoyed your remarks about traveling around Europe then and now. I guess things are more efficient now, but were definitely more charming and adventuresome (ie exciting) back then. I have not visited this part of Italy yet, so looking forward to reading more of your adventures. -- Veronique, a new reader.

  2. You make traveling with kids look so easy!
    Keep up the adventures--and that hotel would make me abandon plans for Rome!

  3. Hi Pam, I'm loving your blog! We lived overseas (Denmark) for three years with 3 young kids. It was the best experience of our life. We traveled a ton and made memories and friends that will last a lifetime. Last summer we returned to Italy and Denmark for an amazing vacation. Our Italy trip is very similar to yours. Your kids will remember this forever!

  4. I love that bridge too! Trying to figure out if those were fava beans you were eating? They are well loved in Tuscany...anyway they looked good :)My husband and I rented a whole castle near Siena with eight other couples just a few years ago. We fell in love with Tuscany.
    Thanks for the visit today! Janey

  5. Amazing Pam! I can't even imagine. Someday!!

  6. I love how you searched for a bookstore to mark the occasion!