A Little More Italia

Our last couple of days were more of the same as the first three…in other words, wonderful.

I think this holiday was so great because it was unexpected. Before Annie and I left for Canada we talked about going somewhere together as a family in September, but hasn’t defined our plans. And we didn’t book the hotel until about a week before we left, so I really hadn’t had time to form expectations or focus on an itinerary. It all just unfolded as a series of lovely events and surprises.

My favourite part of the trip was enjoying being with Annie and Markus so much. It is just so different being together as a family without having to rush around visiting relatives and friends (not that I don’t love and miss you all!) I think it was a good lesson in that we will have to balance our vacation time between connecting with all of the other people we love in the world, and connecting just with our little family. Even though we do spend a lot of time together every day, being on vacation isn’t the same as sitting around the dinner table with all of the daily life stresses hovering in the air.

Here are a few more highlights:

Flying fun in the salty sea.

Flying fun in the salty sea.

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Lacona, another beach on Elba, where we spent a blissful day

Lacona, another beach on Elba, where we spent a blissful day

One of the greatest times on this trip actually was on the drive home. I am so lucky to be experiencing Europe with someone who grew up here, because Markus has all kinds of ideas of how to enhance our travels.  He suggested that we take a bit of a longer drive home so we could detour to the town of San Gimignano, Tuscany. I fell in love. Markus suggested it would be a great place to get married, and I actually contemplated that for a few hours, temporarily abandoning my commitment to an NA ceremony so my friends and family could attend. I loved it that much.

It was raining when we arrived, so we decided to have lunch first and explore later. We found a place with a covered terrace (it wasn’t cold, even in the rain) and had an amazing meal. I started with garlicky bruschetta and then had broad noodles in a light saffron cream sauce with roasted yellow peppers.  Markus started with a salad of walnut, olives and lettuce topped with chucks of flavourful Parmesan, and then had spinach ravioli stuffed with artichokes and truffles. To. Die. For. Annie had…wait for it…plain pasta sprinkled with Parmesan. Shocker.

Here is the terrace with a couple shots of Annie standing in the garden beside the seating:

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*Note: I in no way influenced this pose. Pure Annie show(wo)manship.

Now am I ever, ever, ever going to have the nerve to cut that hair?

How am I ever, ever, ever going to have the nerve to cut that hair?

I’m swiping this shot of the centuries old San Gimignano town center, as mine didn’t turn out:

From www.aboutromania.com/tuscany28.html

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Detail of one of the buildings in the town center.

Narrow stone streets that are, thankfully, car-free.

Narrow stone streets that are, thankfully, car-free.

I wish I could truly capture the beauty of the Tuscan countryside, but neither my camera nor my photography skill seem to be up to it. Here are a few shots I took to at least give you an idea:

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Italy, oh how I will miss thee. We will, without a doubt, be back.

One Response to “A Little More Italia”

  1. Lori says:

    What a fabulous experience, Hils. The Tuscan countryside looks so beautiful. We just returned from a week-end in western Manitoba, which – believe it or not – was as beautiful as Italy. My mom, my sister, Matheson and I went for two nights to where my mom grew up. It was a good time and important for my mom to get out of the house for a couple of days as my dad is full on drinking again (lovely).

    I’m so glad for you to have an unexpected and wonderful holiday. Will get your Christmas package off in the mail in the next week. It should arrive on time this year. Love you, Lori