Monday, November 13, 2017

A Quick Stop in Venice

On to part 3 of our Tour of Italy! After Tuscany, we got rid of our rental car and spent the rest of the trip travelling via train. I was expecting the train travel to be the easiest part of the trip in terms of entertaining Emi - but she was so busy on the train and constantly moving. Luckily the trip from Florence to Venice was only 2 hours, so after a few laps around the train and a couple of movies on the ipad we arrived. 

 When we arrived in Venice it was a lot colder than we expected and it was also night time. Google maps said it was a 20 minute walk to our hotel, which we opted for instead of a ferry, but we soon came to regret. Venice is nothing but bridges, so lugging a large suitcase and stroller with child through the city for 20 minutes was a nightmare. We made the best of it and once we arrived at our hotel we went for a stroll and grabbed some dinner. 

We were pretty tired so had an early one and were up early the following day to get out and explore. Sadly it was again cold and overcast, but we still got out to see the sights.  

First stop was the famous St. Mark's Square. Now we arrived early, and the place was absolutely rammed with tourists. Venice gets a lot of day tourists from the cruise ships, and at times it was a nightmare trying to get around.  

We ditched our stroller and put Emi in the carrier as Venice is not stroller friendly whatsoever. 

 We spent a few hours wandering around exploring the streets and eating food along the way. 












In the afternoon we opted for a ferry cruise through the city. We weren't keen on a $100 30 minute gondola ride, especially as the weather wasn't ideal. We wanted to be inside which the ferry provided and Emi enjoyed being on the boat. 


Touring Venice from the water is a great option. You really don't see much from the tiny alley ways and we enjoyed our cruise the most during our time there.














 The end of the cruise dropped us off at St. Mark's square which was empty and picturesque at night. 




We opted for some street food pizza to end the day, which really was the constant theme of our trip. 


 The next day we grabbed lunch before getting our train to our final destination- Florence.


Overall, we were quite disappointed with Venice. I am glad that we went to see it, as I have always wanted to go, but it was way too touristy and with the weather we were glad to be heading back to the sun in the South. 
 Until next time, I'll see you on the internet. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

"La Dolce Vita" - The Baumann's Do Tuscany


OK - so I know what you are thinking. Did we succumb to the time honored tradition of making ridiculous poses at the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Of course we did - you have to remember who you are talking to: a girl who's parents drove her to the Four Corners Monument so we could all hold hands and be in different states at the same time. But seriously though, we really enjoyed our stop in Pisa. After leaving Cinque Terre we headed towards Tuscany and decided to take a break half way through the drive to let Emi run around and burn off some energy. We arrived at around 10am and I was surprised how crowded it was already. We decided not to climb the tower but enjoyed walking around the grounds. And of course making ridiculous poses along the way! 



I hadn't realized there was more to Pisa than just the tower. The day was absolutely perfect without a cloud in the sky, so we strolled around and checked out a few attractions including the Field of Miracles, The Dome and Baptistery.  






After having lunch with a great view we headed for our hotel in the heart of Tuscany.


The drive was beautiful and exactly what you envision Tuscany to be, rolling hills filled with vineyards. 



We were tired after we arrived and since it was seasonably warm we decided to check out the pool.  

Our hotel was about a 5 minute drive outside the Tuscan village of San Gimignano. It really felt like we were in paradise and I would definitely recommend where we stayed - Hotel Relais La Cappuccina.

 Later that evening we went to explore the town, which was a medieval looking walled city with lots of cute shops to wander around.  



We enjoyed a great dinner that evening and just enjoyed "The Good Life" as they say in Italy. 


 The next day we set off to explore another city in Tuscany, Sienna. It was less than an hour's drive from our hotel and was more of a bustling city than the quiet town of San Gimignano.




We again got there quite early - you don't get to sleep in on Holiday with a toddler. Emi was insistent on bringing her blankey with her everywhere on this trip as you can see below.  





 We spend a few hours just strolling around the city and taking in the sights. 



We then decided to head on to another little village for lunch. We headed towards Montalcino which was only 30 minutes away. 

The small village was pretty much a ghost town. 


 We wandered around looking for a place to eat and stumbled across a great restaurant at the edge of the city walls. 

The views were spectacular. 



I had Lobster Pasta and it was probably one of the best Italian dishes I have had in my life. 


The rest of the day we just relaxed by the pool and went into town for dinner in San Gimignano.







We grabbed pizza to eat on the steps of the church followed by...

the best Ice Cream in the world - literally! 

 Emi's favorite new words are now pizza and ice cream. 

The next day was our last with the car and in Tuscany. We headed off early and stopped in a little walled city called Monteriggioni.  

This was a quaint little village in the Chianti region. We spent about an hour letting Emi run around as we were killing time until we could head to one of the highlights of the trip - Lunch at a popular winery nearby. 






On the way to the winery Christian wanted to stop for a photo opp in Sambuca.  

We arrived at Enoteca Bottega del Chianti Classico - a famous winery in the Chianti region.  


It was so lovely and exactly what you picture a Tuscan winery to look like. 

Emi had a blast running through the vineyards as we waited for our lunch to arrive. 


It was the first time I have had the privilege to eat at a Michelin star restaurant and while the food was fantastic, the portions were tiny! Overall glad to experience it, but The Baumann's all have big appetites so we had to make a pit stop for pizza after lunch.



We loved our time in Tuscany, and it was one of the highlights of our trip without a doubt. Our next stop was Venice and I hope to post about that trip shortly so keep a look out on the blog.

Until next time, I'll see you on the internet.