When we originally booked this maternity leave trip (be assured, this is a trip and not a vacation) we knew we wanted to be back in Italy. There’s something about this place that just feels comfortable — you can’t get a bad meal, the cappuccinos runneth over, and they are truly a family-focussed culture making it comfortable and easy to be here with kids.
With an active toddler in tow our needs are different than when we travelled with Henry as an infant; mainly, we require space for him to get out the oodles of energy he has (both in accommodation when possible, and parks/gardens/beach availability). We searched Tuscany and settled on the village of Montaione, really because of how nice the Airbnb was. Located on the main drag of a three street village Henry would have lots of opportunity to run freely without having to worry about traffic, yet all the necessities were in town meaning we didn’t have to load up the kids every time we needed to pop out to the shops. So, we booked six weeks way back in October and were thrilled to have an awesome trip to look forward to.
I’m not sure why we were looking, but we noticed that a cruise we have interest in doing (that only departs once a year) was going to be setting sail four weeks after our return. In my opinion, it is the travel days that are the hardest (and most expensive part) of travel so we started crunching numbers: if we were to do the cruise in the future, we’d have to pay for Tom’s seat as well on the plane (right now we just pay some taxes), so that worked out to about $4400 just in flights. Was it possible to spend an extra four weeks in Europe for the same amount of money or less and just tag the cruise onto the end of the trip. We’d break even financially and save having to live through the hell that is jet lag with two small kids, a second time.
Our travel conversations are almost always along the script of, “Well if we’re there anyway, such-and-such is only (insert distance) away.” We hadn’t been to Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia nor Montenegro, and they are only a ferry ride away from Italy, and are quite inexpensive to stay in so…that seemed like a good fit for our four week inbetweener.
But, how would we get from each country to the next? Train seems trickier with all our “stuff” in tow now compared to when we were a couple, or a couple with just one child, and short haul flights means having to lug our crap through airports and pack properly every few weeks…
So, enter the Defender. That’s a different post. Maybe Thursday!