The whole time we were in Italy, I was posting pictures and stories about our weekends. It occurred to me that I didn’t get to give you insight as to what our normal weekdays look like. The weekends there were extraordinary. The weekdays, on the other hand, were fairly run-of-the-mill. Well, with the exception that I had to speak Italian to get anything done and we usually ended the day with a fantastic meal at a local trattoria.
Some days in Italy seemed longer than others. When the sun was shining, parks were a very popular destination for us. Towards the end of our stay, however, the weather turned cold and rainy so we were relegated to indoor play and activities. This drove both of the kids and I a little nuts. I exhausted my parental resources with forts, play dough, blocks, trains, coloring, books, and the iPad. There came a point towards the end when I would just let Vance go outside anyways, regardless of the weather, while Caroline and I watched him from inside. It is a good thing we hail from Chicago, where the wind, cold, and rain have thickened our skin.
We also had to run a fair amount of errands, usually in the morning hours when shops were open. We Americans have it so easy with the one-stop-shopping (which, by the way, I am certain was invented by a mother with multiple children to get in and out of the car). In Europe, the kids and I had to walk or drive to a few different vendors in order to get all of the things we needed. The macelleria for meat, the fruit and veggie stands, farmacias for diapers, etc. We also had to outsource our laundry at a local laundromat which ALWAYS made it a fun afternoon…
Lunch in Italy occurs around 12:30 or 1:00 followed by a risposare or rest time. During risposare the city center seems like a ghost town. All shops are closed, all restaurants are closed, and only a few bars and cafes remain open. Around 4:00, everything reopens and the city comes to life. Most use this time to grab an afternoon meal, usually consisting of gelato, erbazzone, gnoccho, pastries, and/or a coffee. Then, everyone goes about their business until dinner time. Restaurants open for dinner around 7:30 but most don’t even eat until 9. We ate “early” most nights, and usually got home around 9 or 9:30 to get the kids into bed by 10.
If you ask Vance what his favorite part of Italy is, he will most definitely say gelato. It is amazing…and its everywhere. And everyone eats it all the time. And every shop has different flavors! The insanity! My favorite thing was that the “downtown” or centro area of almost every city was for pedestrians only. No cars or limited traffic. It is something we cannot even replicate here in the auto-dependent U.S. I also miss the language. Even the word for refrigerator sounds romantic.
I need to work a little bit on my vocabulary while I am home…unfortunately I can’t go around asking where the refrigerator is all the time. There are many things to learn and plan before we head back in February!