Saturday, June 25, 2011

Overnight trip to Italy






Yesterday we went in search of boulders to climb. we were unsuccessful though we managed to convince the kids that a few big rocks were boulders..They were underwhelmed. Then we went out for a fantastic French lunch in Fontainebleau at an old house called el Patton. we had three courses and it took two hours. We ate on the terrace and the kids played In the garden.
After lunch we packed up the car and drove to the Fontainebleau train station where we dropped off the car and took a train to Paris. there we rook a taxi to a different train station and after a forty minute delay, boarded our overnight train to Florence, Italy. we had our own little compartment with sliding door, Harry Potter style. We ate a yucky sandwich and pringles washed down by a nice rose we smuggled in. then we converted our seats to bunk beds and tried to convince the kids to sleep. this took a couple of hours but eventually we all slept until about 7AM. This was the hard part of the trip. Michael has made great progress in rolling with the punches and dealing with the unknown with grace, but yesterday was a bit of a struggle for him. all in all though, we got through it and our night went very smoothly.
We switched trains to Arezzo after a bit of confusion and eventually found a place for all of us and our luggage. At the train station on Arezzo we got our rental car (an Ibiza) and made the 30minute drive to Lippiano and the place where we are staying, Villa Pia. if you have a minute, stop and go to trip advisor and look up Villa Pia. It is amazing.
we drove up a winding road, over a bridge marking the border between tuscany and umbria, past a small piazza and fountain until we came through the gates of our villa sitting under a castle. The courtyard was full of children. It is so beautiful here. So bright and warm and clear. It is just like that movie Stealing Beauty. we are over looking a valley full of grape vines. when we arrived we helped ourselves to home grown wine and then explored Villa Pia. the kids rode ikes and jumped on the trampoline and made friends and played on the swing set. then we checked out the pool, tennis court and treehouse. everyone here has children and almost everyone is British. It is so nice to speak English. Then they rang the dinner bell. all the families made their way to a building opening into the courtyard where there was a massive buffet lined up with over twenty dishes including my ultimate Italian favorite, fried zucchini blossoms.
when lunch was over most of the people left since your stay here is Saturday to Saturday and official check in time isn't until four. we were shown our fabulous little two bedroom apartment on the far side of the courtyard called the annex. We love it here.
I'm curled on the couch with a glass of wine writing this while Michael is up with the boys in the game room teaching our costumed boys how to play foosball.
Children's dinner is at six and then we put the kids down and have communal dinner at eight. I wish so much that I could share pictures with you on face ook, but we are traveling separately from my parents now and so I am separated from the doohicky which allows me to download pictures to the iPod. I'll add pictures later.
Let me know what you'd like to hear more about. wishing our friends were here to share this. XO!

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