Italy: Part III

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For an adventure, during the final days of our trip to Italy we made our way to the Lake Como region and stayed at an Agriturismo (Agricultural Tourism).   It was great!  

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According to Rick Steves:  “By renting rooms to travelers, farmers can make ends meet, remain on their land, and continue to produce food. A peaceful home base for exploring the region, these rural Italian B&Bs are ideal for those traveling by car — especially families.”

Except, we didn’t rent a car.  Actually I tried to find a car, but there weren’t any big enough for us all to fit into, so instead the owners of the inn gave us a lift to and from town.

That was its own adventure!

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First we all piled into a late ’80’s Fiat.  Seven people.  This car:

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Then, after a very bumpy (and scary) drive up a steep mountainside, we transferred to the back of an old tractor.

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At a point everyone had to make sure their hands were safely inside the tractor to avoid having them clipped off by the narrow stone walls the tractor passed through.  

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For some perspective on size, this is me with the stroller.  

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But once we were at the inn, we settled into a peaceful day.  The farm produces honey, meats and cheese.  The meals were outrageous and delicious.  The mother and grandmother made cakes for breakfast.  Quinn was in heaven.  🙂

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Except for the nail-biting, jaw-clenching trip up and down the mountain, the trip to the Como region was relaxing.  A beautiful way to end the trip to Italy.

 

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Italy: Part II

We found a charming old apartment on AirBnB.  The stairs (there was no elevator, of course!) were totally wonky and crooked from hundreds of years of settling soil.  To get inside the flat we climbed four stories of narrow stone stairs, crossed a rickety-feeling terrace/balcony, and then to a massive doorway.

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The apartment was light-filled with massive wooden beams and plaster walls.  And best of all, big enough for the six of us!

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Brera neighborhood:  Great for some authentic Italian shopping.  If I had a dollar for everytime some classic looking Italian woman rode by on a bicycle with charming wicker basket, I’d be…many dollars richer.  However, despite the high heels, they move pretty quickly and I couldn’t get the camera out fast enough to catch one.  🙂

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And gelato!

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Be-bop Pizzaria

And, I couldn’t believe it!  A fantastic GLUTEN-FREE pizza place!

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202 The Grill

And, even more beyond belief — the BEST hamburger and french fries.  Ever.  (How is that possible?  In Italy???)

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Fantastic pasta and pizza, gelato, burgers and a random sushi lunch.

Everyone left Milan very happy.

Viva l’Italia!

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We are officially halfway through the summer holiday!  

The weather has been beautiful and (so far) completely cooperative with our plans.  We have been making our acquaintance with the Swiss ‘Bad’ / beach system, swimming in the cool lake water whenever possible.  It is the kind of summer that I remember as a kid — sun-kissed noses and freckles, occasional scabbed knees, lots of ice cream, and drop-dead fatigue at the end of the day!  Perfection.

But first:  The kids finished up school on a Friday, and by Monday morning we were on a train for our first trip to Italy!  Because the little ones can handle travel in smaller doses, we set our sights on Northern Italy.  First Milan for a few days and then onto the Lake Como region.  

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I have to admit, when we first arrived and missed our train stop, found our cell phone service not working, discovered that we would be lugging a double-stroller and bags, up every (insert profanity) step, and found ourselves unable to use the pay phones and over an hour late to meet our AirBnB host…I was ready to throw in the towel and head directly back home.

But, that would have been a huge mistake.  The city is lively and urban, and, be still my heart, there must have been a shoe store in every other storefront!

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So we window-shopped and ate pizza and gelato EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.

I’ll put some more pictures up soon when I’ve had a chance to go through them all.  A city so rich in culture and beautiful things — it was easy to get snap-happy with the camera!

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