And We're Off!

Off on an adventure!

I'm packed. Stevie's packed. Everett's packed. I really hope I'm not forgetting anything.

Today we leave for a 9-day family trip, exploring Madrid and Rome! The last time we were in Madrid, this is what happened. So needless to say, I don't remember a lot of the trip. But what I do remember... isn't great. So we are excited for a do-over! And the last time we were in Rome we toured hardcore, going underneath the Vatican and meandering through ancient Roman ruins. That trip was pretty epic, because we experienced 30 days of travel with just two backpacks and Rick Steves guiding us to and fro.

This time around, with Everett and his mammoth stroller and all the baby paraphernalia ON EARTH, we hope to take a more relaxed approach. Not necessarily touring and hitting tons of museums. Just wandering around, eating in cafes and taking in the deliciousness of the dolce vita. It feels very strange to have such a loose approach to this trip, but we figure if we set the bar pretty low, the trip will feel like a success if we just make it there without a major breakdown. And eat some gelato.

I am leaving my computer at home (gulp). I can't remember the last time I didn't travel with my laptop (it's been years), so I am excited and a little freaked about that. But I really want to detach and just experience this vacation with my family the old-fashioned way. I know I will have my hands full with my son, but I also don't want him to feel like second fiddle while mommy is blogging incessantly. So it's a big decision for me but I feel really good about it. However, my phone will be working and I will be posting to instagram like a crazy person, because, well, I'm a crazy person. So you can follow along our trip there, if you're into drooling over travel pics like I am. Also, I have a few posts ready to go, so there will be some content that I am excited to share even while I am away, so you can hang around the blog next week and there will be some fun recipes and recent travel posts to browse through :)

We are suuuuuper excited to celebrate two of our friends getting hitched in Rome, and anticipating what it will be like to travel abroad with our little baby... who is just shy of 10 months! Stevie's birthday is this weekend, too, so there is more than enough to clink our celebratory wine (or sangria!) glasses to!

For those of you who have been to Rome and Madrid before, do you have any suggestions on places or things to do/see/eat? Leave me a comment and let me know! And also - prayers for the 9+ hour flight with a baby pleeeeeease!

Love love love.

Siena: The Rival.

Siena. Tuscan Hill Town.

So the tale goes like this:

Florence and Siena were rivaling towns. They didn't have established borders between each village, so they decided to make a contest out of it. Obviously. Each village was to send out their fastest rider at the first morning's "cockadoodle-doo!" by the local rooster. Wherever the riders met along their path, that is where the land would be divided between the two villages. Florence, being mischievous, chose to use their town's deranged bird (who was constantly crowing), as their starting pistol. This rooster would crow all through the night, thus giving their rider an incredible head start over Siena.

That is how the cities of Florence and Siena divided the land amongst them.

I have no idea if this story is true. I read it off the back of a menu while sitting outside at a restaurant in Tuscany. It was hilarious to me. Yes. I might have been drinking a vat of wine at the time. But anytime there is a story written on a menu, YOU KNOW YOU HAVE TO READ IT. It's usually some of the best reading you can find. K moving on.

Day Trippin.

Stevie and I drove from our Tuscan abode down to Siena for a day trip and I am so thrilled that we did. Not only did we meet dozens of lovely people and eat even more gelato than I thought humanly possible, we got to experience this ancient city with such an interesting history. The town is surrounded by a gigantic stone wall, which makes it feel like a fortress (Helms Deep, anyone??)

The interior of the village has a humongous stone plaza where children (and greedy birds) can play as they wish. I could imagine myself living in one of the tiny village homes and sending my kids out to play; being able to watch them from the window and knowing that nothing harmful could happen to them, as they would be literally walled in. The setting looked like a movie, but it was even better because it was obviously real. People really lived there a thousand years ago, and people still reside there today. What a special town, set up high in the hills, surrounded by wine country and it's impressive, ancient wall.

// Caught this little fella mid-flight. //

// Gelato faces. A store that made me miss my mom... //

All the best Tuscan wishes to you.