Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Italian Babymoon 2016: Tuscany

Tuscany, where to begin.  This was our favorite part of the Italy trip.  Trip Tip: When going to Tuscany rent a car and make sure that it is a manual and that it is somewhat sporty.  It is very hilly area and the "well maintained roads" are very scary, gravel/washboard, one lane, death traps.  I was happy and relieved to have a travel buddy who was confident driving as I would have just curled up and cried.  

We stayed at a quaint Agritourismo near Castellina in Chianti.  This little video is the tour of out private apartment in a rustic Italian Farmhouse.  Click here to see the property on AirBnB ;). 



Something we love about staying in our own apartment is that we can cook ourselves.  We went to a local grocer.  Grabbed some items and made our own breakfasts.  It was perfect.

Porter cooking on the custom kitchen that was built into a large wardrobe.



Breakfast on our patio.

We went to an organic farm that let us sample all of their products.  It was amazing!!!  Tenuta Casanova is the name of the farm.  If you are ever in this area, do yourself a favor and go here.  


The red rooster is the symbol for the Chianti wine that the region is known for.


The gorgeous vineyards. 



This is the balsamic vinegar cellar.  Real balsamic is the best thing ever.  


Our tasting menu.





Balsamic on ice cream?  Yep, the most delicious topping ever.  This balsamic reduction was the same age as me, 30 years old.




The drive back to our agritourismo.  It looks like Happy Valley from Mickey and the Beanstalk.


In Castellina in Chianti there is a covered walkway that is full of little shops and restaurants, it opened up to this little area full of flowers.  One of my favorite parts of Italy was the meandering streets that would open up to little piazzas or a flower oasis like this. 


There was a small keep in the middle of the village.



This little village had delicious food!


Something Porter and I have a hard time doing on vacation is relaxing.  Tuscany is a perfect place to slow down, smell the flowers, and swim in the pool.  Our agritourismo had it's own pool, and once I got over the crisp water, I was in heaven.




I loved my maternity swimsuit.  I actually felt cute, which at 7 months preggo, is a huge feat.


I was a human submarine!!!





Sunset after fantastic dinner out.


We used one of our days to visit a small hilltop fort town of Volterra.  This town was right on top of the hill and you could see everything from the vantage point.  We used the Rick Steve's walking guide to tour the city.  It was really interesting and a fun way to spend the afternoon.









The baby needed gelato, who was I to stand in the way?


There was also an old Roman theatre on the other side of the city. 



Cheers Tuscany, you were our favorite part of Italy.  We will definitely be back for a longer stay. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Italian Babymoon 2016: Rome

Babymoon
like a honeymoon, but more of the calm before the storm instead of the relaxation after.  

Porter and I were trying to decided where to go for our summer holiday.  Originally we had planned to go a Scandinavian Cruise.  However, before booking, Porter called the cruise line to make sure we would have a king bed instead of 2 singles.  In passing he mentioned that I was pregnant.  It's so good he did.  As it turns out, you can't go on a cruise if you are more that 26 weeks preggo.  Right?!  Who would have guessed?  So if we had just booked it, we would have shown up and not been able to get on the boat.  

So this put a kink into our plans.  We talked about a lot of destinations and in the end landed on Italy.  We had never been and everyone would rave about it.  So we got to planning:

Rome
Tuscany
Florence
Venice

We are very ambitious travelers when we put our mind to it.  But I told Porter we would have to take it easy as I was 7 months pregnant.  Our strategy was to get out in the cool morning, see a bunch of stuff then relax in the afternoons.



Let the Babymoon commence!!!  Tropical drinks and lots of Italian pizza.



Our first day we visited Vatican City.  St. Peter's Basilica was amazing!  It was huge and very ornate.




The Sistine Chapel was gorgeous, however, a lot smaller than we had imagined.  We listened to a great audio guide that took us through the symbology of the ceiling.  There was so much more there than I even knew.  The down side of the chapel was it's size and how many people were crowded in it.  Being 7 months pregnant, I felt the heat a lot more which made it a bit uncomfortable.  


Vatican Gardens


 This shot was taken near our hotel.  We stayed in the north west part of Rome up near a University.  If you've been there, we were near the Bologna metro stop.  I really liked staying in that area.  It felt really nice.


Dinner at a delicious little Italian pasta joint. 


Day Two: Porter took us on Rick Steve's walking tour of Rome.  Our first stop was the Fountain of Four Rivers. "Collectively, they represent four major rivers the four continents through which papal authority had spread: the Nile representing Africa, the Danube representing Europe, the Ganges representing Asia, and the Rio de la Plata representing the Americas." - Wikipedia

I loved this fountain!  My favorite statue was the Nile.  It is of a man with his head veiled.  The reason for this is they didn't (at the time) know where the head waters for the Nile were located.




We sat down to enjoy the piazza with an Italian Cappuccino.


Next stop: The Parthenon 
We couldn't go in as there was a very fancy funeral happening in it.  But we enjoyed walking around.


And then....The Trevi Fountain! 


Of course we threw coins in, and smooched a little.  It is a gorgeous landmark.



We walked around a bit more, and finally meandered our way down to Trastevere, the Medieval Quarter.  It feels like the greener, more bohemian part of the city.


 And we found the world's best Tiramisu there!  

 P.S. Did you know you shouldn't eat Tirimisu when you're preggo?!  Ya, me neither.  But hey, I'm still alive and baby is great!


I think Trastevere was one of our favorite areas of Rome. 


Day Three:  It was a killer, so hot and dusty, but the Roman Ruins made it all worth it, even the blister on my little toe.


I can't believe I hauled little miss all over Rome with me! 

Porter is always a fantastic tour guide.  He reads everything and then gives me a condensed version, usually with a dramatic flair.



This little pink fan was a life saver for me.  I paid 3 Euro for it and I definitely got my money's worth.






Behold, the Colosseum!  I was so hot and uncomfortable I almost didn't want to go inside it.  We went to France a few years ago and saw the second largest Roman arena and it was actually in better shape, so I didn't feel the need.  However, Porter really wanted to go in and I'm glad we did.  We got to skip the huge line, thanks to Little Miss.  I didn't realize that they would let preggo ladies through a secret way.  Also, we could use the elevator and not walk as much!  This made the heat and trekking around a little more bearable. 


I really hope that Aria thinks it's cool that I took her all over Italy.



 Inside the Colosseum. 


After this epically long day we headed back to the hotel where I soaked my feet.  This was the beginning of the swollen preggo feet phase.  We had to get ready to leave in the morning for Tuscany.