Saturday, 20 September 2008

Bella Italia

We had an amazing holiday in Italy. After leaving a chilly England at 5:55am, arriving in hot Pisa just after nine was wonderful!! I can't believe how much I missed the heat. It is quite a strange feeling, like I need to savour the heat - instead of fighting it and sweating I relished and felt very comfortable.

We weren't that comfortable driving on the right side road among the crazy italians though!! But the drive from Pisa to Florence was uneventful. Driving in Florence itself was hairraising - dodging people on bikes and scooters and trying to squeeze past parked cars was exciting to say the least. But when we found our apartment where we were spending our first two nights we were amazed - again. You can read about it on my review on Tripadvisor

Needless to say we really loved it. Waking up in the mornings and just experiencing the smells and sounds of Florence when we opened the shutters and took our first steps outside was wonderful. Yes it was hot in the middle of the day, we stood in the queue for the Uffizi Gallery too long because we went too late, we probably could have seen and done more. But it was still wonderful and my two girls were so good and patient and played in the gravel in the Bobbolli Gardens and ate lots of gelato and ran around in the piazza and shopped for Pinnochio at the market and overall also had a great time.

It was also great to have Antoinette (granny) there to help with the girls and to babysit while Werner and I went for a wonderfully romantic meal in Florence.

After Florence we drove to our holiday house in Tuscany, close to Lucca in the village of Massaciucolli. Well now I know what a hairpin bend is!! The house is on the side of the mountain with beautiful views of Lake Massaciucolli, but to get there is eh challenging! But soon enough Werner got the hang of it and we were raring up and down the mountainside, hooting as we go along just like the locals. The house was wonderful, stone built, wonderfully cool inside and a nice outside patio and our own swimming pool between the olive groves with beautiful views. And the pool was great after a hot day of sight seeing - just the right temperature too cool off. We went cycling on the walls of Lucca, visited the spa at Montecatini Terme, went for a quick visit to Pisa to capture the leaning tower, played on the beach and ate ice cream in Viareggio, admired the art of Pietrasanta, birdwatched on the Lake, and had a wonderful time.

Antoinette went back to SA from Italy and a few days after we left Tuscany to drive up north towards Venice. The drive was beautiful - tunnel after tunnel going through lush green mountains with little hilltop towns here and there. The area closer to Venice is definitely not as beautiful as Tuscany, but Venice itself was amazing. We went to Venice for a day, driving from the holiday resort Pra delle Torri where we were staying. We then took a ferry to Venice. It was extremely hot and humid, but once you are inside and walking the little side streets of Venice it is much cooler. We found a mask for Mieke and a merano bead neckglass for me. Then we had lunch where Mieke again enjoyed her 'white spaghetti' which is plain spaghetti with cheese which she loves. We loved looking at the gondolas and strolling on St Mark's square and just walking and getting lost in Venice - amazing. Then when we wanted to get back to the ferry we got onto a waterbus and admired all the buildings next to the grande canal. But then Werner realized we were going the wrong way so we had to get onto another one!! Eventually we got back to the ferry point and bought tickets, Werner said we should get on the ferry so long as he is going to buy the girls a smally toy that they were after. Well the next moment the ferry takes off with us on board and Werner no where to be found (and he did not have any money with him)!! Mieke was crying and I was trying to communicate with an italian who only speaks - italian.

Anyway, we got off at the other side and eventually he also arrived, luckily only cross with himself!!

The rest of the time we just enjoyed the holiday resort - the beach, pools, slides, bouncy castles, kids movies, eating out - wonderful for kids and because they had fun we could also relax and enjoy. The best was having a glass of wine at the beach bar while watching the kids playing in the shallow sea - Bliss....

So that was Italy, the best holiday I've ever been on and since I've been back in England I long for it every day (I know its terrible I should get on with life and get back to reality).

I've attached a few photos and also attached a link to the rest of them - enjoy...

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