Adios Spain, Buongiorno Italy!
Barcelona was a great place to start. The kids were wowed by the quirks of Gaudi’s architecture, the down and out zaniness of the Dali museum in Figueres, the piles of octopus and squid at the Mercat de la Boqueria. (Can I tell you how grateful I am when my kids respond with excitement to the things we drag them to see?) We got over our jet lag, played frisbee at the beach and the park, and got into the rhythm of a few hours of school work in the afternoon. Three out of four of us were pretty excited by Spanish food, and ate some excellent tapas and paella.
After a week, though, we were ready to move on. Miles was ready to fast forward to the promised Italian meal plan of pizza, pasta and gelato, and we had started our reading about the Roman Empire. We took a very long ferry ride from Barcelona to Cittavecchia, about 80 km north of Rome. You would think that we had plenty of time to spare when the ferry was supposed to dock at 6:45 and the last train to Rome was at 10:44, wouldn’t you? So did we, but we found ourselves running for that last train (thanks Grimaldi ferry lines!) and then were threatened with a 50 Euro per person fine for getting on without a ticket, even though, if we had stopped to buy tickets, we would have missed the train. The conductor was swayed by our bambini looking all innocent and confused, and we were a grateful, tired, sweaty bunch to stumble up the long, curvy stairs to our apartment here in the Campo di Fiori neighborhood in Rome around midnight.
We have a week in Rome, a week in Florence, and almost a week in Venice, maybe with a few side trips. Today was a quiet day to celebrate our 17th anniversary, have a nice lunch and walk around, stopping at Giolitti’s for gelato (kids) and Tazza D’Oro for granita di caffè con panna (adults!) We meandered through the Pantheon, but won’t start the heavy duty sightseeing until tomorrow, when we’ll prod the kids out of bed to get an early start at the Colosseum. Ciao!