Exploring Italy 1/8 – Introduction

1 – Introduction
2 – Food
3 – Hotels
4 – Public Transportation
5 – Attractions of Venice
6 – Venice
7 – Genoa
8 – Milan

Last month, we checked off Northern Italy from our long list of vacation destinations.  We brought the kids and went with Hong’s parents.  It was a blast: the logistics went smoothly, things were cool to look at, weather was better than even California, and our pockets didn’t get picked.

Happy family (plus a grumpy toddler) at Castello Sforzesco

In eight days, we visited Milan, Venice, and Genoa.  What fascinates me most was that, unlike France and England that had always had fairly consistent national identities, these three cities did not share a common destiny until that French bad ass named Napoleon came along – and conquered them all.  And this happened 70 years before they all became, for the first time, part of the Kingdom of Italy.  Even though the individual cities had vast amounts of history, the country as we know it today did not exist until after Abraham Lincoln was gone.

In order to hop on and off a lot of trains, we packed light.  With Hong’s parents’ help bringing some supplies (diapers) from Jersey, we managed to bring only the following.

Since we bought four seats, this was half of our carry-on allowance on the flights

We stressed over some last-minute flight changes to fail-proof our connection in JFK, and it went well.

Landing in JFK

Xuan was now mature enough to be glued to the TV

Ting was a hot mess, but occasionally she took a break from the tantrums and acted cute.  The lavatory worked every time.

We got more Emirates-branded swag.
Before even landing in Italy, these creatures took up half of the luggage space we reserved for souvenirs

I have not experienced any material amount of jet lag in years.  Despite the 9-hour time difference, this trip was no exception.  It’s a real blessing when you travel with little kids and operate at the edge of exhaustion at all times, because at no point would your body refuse to sleep.  The kids didn’t have the same luxury of carrying around another human being, so they suffered from some rather irregular sleep schedules.  And of course dealing with that was part of the fun.

I think that was a cheek bone grinding on my skull

This was a nap…

… and this was sleeping at night.  Can’t you tell the difference?

When we weren’t sleeping or dealing with drama involving someone’s sleep deprivation, we were out and about and did a bunch of things.  For example:

We ate

We took pictures with animals

We window shopped

And we rocked made-in-Italy fashion accessories

Stay tuned!



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