Saturday, August 1, 2015

Italian Summer, Part #2: Sardegna!

We just returned from 9 days on Sardegna/Sardinia.  It was heaven, as always.  This time we changed things up a bit and spent the last 3 nights at a resort on Costa Smeralda.  I did not take as many photos as I would have liked mostly due to the fact that Maria, sand and ocean water do not mix very well with an iPhone.

Enzo always gets nervous when he sees suitcases.  His comfort Berner helps him.  Luckily for him we had arranged for Paolo's nephew Giacomo and a friend to come stay with him while we were away.  Enzo loved that!  Pepper, as always, was indifferent. 
Before we left we scouted out some places for my family to stay at Christmas when they all come for a visit.  We finally picked this agriturismo that is just across the valley from our house (about 12 minute's drive).  We think they will love it!
La Scuderia.
It even comes with a resident dog and her brand new puppies!
And then we were off....scheduling a drive to Pisa during Maria's nap
time worked out well!
An attempt at a photo in front of the tower.
Gio was not cooperating....
....nor was the lighting...
Maria enjoys selfies.
More than touring world wonders.

Maria's primary focus these days is anything.
She spent a full hour jumping from the first step of this statue.

Her favorite pose.
A small break from jumping for a lollipop.

After a night in Pisa we boarded a ferry the next day for a LONG journey to Sardegna.  We had accidentally booked ourselves on a slow boat (what normally takes 6 hours took us over 10!).  It was a very long day.  I guess good practice for our 10 hour flight FRA to JOBURG in September.  

Finally off the boat and ready for pizza!
A toast (proscuitto and cheese) sandwich break after our first morning on the beach....
...and a lemon popsicle break after the second day.
 Maria enjoyed the snacks more than the beach itself for the first few days.
Sunset on our 3rd day.  By this time Maria was really enjoying the sand and the water.  
Snacks helped.
For as long as I can remember I have loved the Fiat 500 (the original, not the new ones).  Perhaps I married an Italian just so I had more chance of getting one?  Anyway, I introduced Gio to my dream car this summer and we have had fun trying to spot them.  This is the first one we got to get up close to.  Gio was surprised to find he is taller than they are.  I was not.
I am sorry I did not get a picture of it but there was actually a SMART car parked directly behind this one.  It looked huge in comparison to the 500!
We spent an evening enjoying an outdoor dinner at a local agriturismo.  4 playgrounds, a soccer pitch and an outdoor cinema kept the children entertained!
And then we arrived at our resort in Baja Sardegna.  A huge pool built around this natural rock formation was heaven for Gio, especially because there were lots of other kids staying there. We barely saw Gio for the 4 days we were there!
Jumping from the rock formation was a highlight.  This would have NEVER been allowed in the USA!
Exploring ants.
This cool cart was a huge hit with Maria, so much so that she refused to leave it once we were finished shopping.
 Cue a toddler tamtrum.  Sigh.

Gio's legs are a sign of an active summer!
And then just like that it was time to get back on the boat (luckily the fast one this time!).
Someone loves her brother a LOT!
I was a bit nervous about this trip as it was predicted to be a rough crossing due to high winds and rough seas.
  Turns out we all had our sea legs and no one was ill!
While Maria napped in our cabin with Papa, Gio and I explored the ship and said goodbye to Sardegna until next summer. 
Yes, there was a pool on the ship.  And, yes, due to the high seas no one went swimming.
No one, that is, except for Gio.  Sigh.

And now we are back home.  We are enjoying a few days of cooler temps and fog.
The heat returns soon, but for now we are enjoying layers and rain boots!
We finally figured out what has been happening to the sand in our sandbox!

Maria continues to perfect her jumping skills....

Next week has some big events:  Maria's 2nd birthday and then Gio and I travel to South Africa to find a house!

Meanwhile, happy August to all!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Italian Summer, Part 1

We have been in Italy now for about 3 weeks....well, all but poor Paolo who finally arrived last night.  What have we been up to while Paolo has been working hard in Ukraine?  Lots of swimming, camping and enjoying a (blazing) hot Italian summer....

Gio has attended two different camps so far.  His language skills are improving rapidly!
Tonight he is actually camping overnight with his group.
A full moon stroll.  Enzo prefers to take walks after 8 when the heat finally fades a bit.
Maria does like her berries!
Especially when I add blueberries (it was the 4th of July, after all!)
A "conversation" with Maria.....

When Gio came back from his first day of camp complaining about his feet I realized his shoes were much too small.
Here is one of the new ones I bought next to my own.  Yikes!  he will pass me by very soon (and I do not
exactly have small feet myself!)
This girl knows how to pull off a swim diaper.

Maria got new shoes, too!
She really likes them!

Our local pool really helps us get through the hot hot days.  

Gio is close to being entirely toothless....or so it seems.
Luckily there is plenty of gelato around here!
A view of our backyard on a typical evening...

Gio has become really excited about practicing his reading skills.
We are so proud of him!
One evening at the grocery store we ran into this family.
This boy and Maria were born within an hour of each other.  We shared a hospital room for 3 days!
Gio is really mastering the photo bomb....

Sitting on her big brother is a new favorite activity.

Hitting him is also fun.....
Maria thinks Enzo's water bowl is a LOT of fun!

Some more Gio-harassment.  
Checking out some live chickens at a local market.
A Masha balloon for Masha (Maria's name in Russian)
If you have never seen this cartoon try to find it on YouTube (Masha and the Bear).  It is terrific.  
...perfecting her right hook
My idea of a bath these days....
Of course, not to miss out on the fun....
And then this....
All is well.
Somebody LOVES focaccia.  
Something I find so funny about Italy- gym hours (at least in our part of the country).
My USA friends- can you imagine if a gym opened at 8:50 in the morning???
PS- I do not go to the gym.  It just happens to be the local pool place!
An evening stroll.  Yes, that is actual scenery behind our house. 
Our house from the top of the hill.

Later this weekend we catch a boat to head to Sardegna.  We will be hanging out on the beach for about 10 days.  Meanwhile Enzo and Pepperoni will stay at home with our nephew Giacomo who will keep them well fed and (hopefully) a bit cool.
Here's to a happy midsummer to all!