When I was thinking about traveling through northern Italy with my sister, her daughter, her daughter’s husband, and their son (my nephew), I wondered how we would occupy a 9-year-old. Here’s the answer: feed him gelato every day and let him climb everything in sight, including the dome of St. Peter’s, the Vittorio Emanuelle monument, and the Colosseum in Rome; the bell tower in Florence; the Leaning Tower of Pisa; the bell tower in Verona; and the bell tower in St. Mark’s Square in Venice. When Cade wasn’t climbing buildings, he was climbing hills in Tuscany and Cinque Terre, along with the rest of us. He swam where he could (we had a swimming pool in Tuscany and one in Monterosso in Cinque Terre) and waded in the Ligurian Sea at Monterosso. In Tuscany several Australian families were staying in our compound, and the kids taught Cade the basics of rugby. I feared for the windows but nary a crack.
In an inspired moment, Michael and I gave Cade a camera for his birthday, and he took hundreds of photos and made silly movies. I can’t wait to see them! What will Italy look like through the eyes of a kid?
My family has now returned to the Seattle area, and I miss them. I miss the great breakfasts at our B&B in Monterosso and our hotel in Verona. I miss long walks and waiting for trains in searing heat (it was hot EVERYWHERE, including the high 90s in Rome the week they were here). I miss shopping with my sister in Verona and playing Scrabble on our iPads. I miss wonderful fish dinners at the edge of the sea and near the canals of Venice. But mostly I miss spending time with my family. We had three great weeks together, and I thank them. I hope to see them in Italy again soon.