Scenes from Saturday + A Villa on a Hill

If you think elementary school body humor has peaked in your house just try introducing an Italian bidet to the equation. It opens up whole new avenues of humor. 

After a whirlwind 36 hours in Rome, we have now made it to Sicily. This is the first long plane/travel trip since Ally was about 18 months old and we’ve found that the rules have changed slightly, or at least no longer involve diapers. Here are our six rules of engagement for this trip:

  1. Avoid boredom. They are mostly old enough to entertain themselves but having random shiny objects they’ve never seen before doesn’t hurt. 
  2. Anticipation is half the fun. We got the kids involved in the planning. Ce is also keeping a travel journal. Also, start packing a week out by putting things in piles to avoid last minute stress.
  3. Avoid hunger. Snacks in a strange land work just as well as at home.
  4. Always be bribing. In Italy, gelato works really well for this.
  5. Energy is infectious. This is Michelle’s speciality. Her mantra is “It’s an adventure.” She is very going at spinning anything.
  6. There are mostly no rules. My mantra? I’m on vacation and I don’t care.

Of course, tantrums and meltdowns happen on vacation as well as in your own living room but it’s worth it for the great moments, right? Cecilia has now had a “memorable” moment in the Roman forum. Daddy has had one in the Hertz line in Palmero. It’s the cost of doing business and if the kids (and Dad) are ever to learn how to master these behaviors, it may as well be on the go.

Just because we started Saturday in Rome, doesn’t mean we didn’t start it on a couch. Ally really liked this hotel. She wrote them a note that ended up on their Instagram feed.


We also started the day with a very, very rare (and blessedly brief) thunderstorm in Rome. I’ve never actually seen someone agog in real life but pretty sure the desk clerk at the hotel qualified. Not sure he’d ever heard thunder before.


Have to say, it was very early, but I was impressed with Italian airport security. It might just have been that they really didn’t appear to give a f*ck and kept the line moving.


Nothing wakes you up at 6 a.m. like a muffin stuffed with lots of nutella.


The adult equivalent of a nutella muffin.


We made it to Palermo on time but then ran into a very long line at the Hertz counter to get our car. As much as I was impressed with Italian airport security, less impressed with rental car counter efficiency. Oddly, I think it was the same attitude that led to both.

After waiting in line for 90 minutes, we learned that we’d mistakenly rented from Palermo Center, not Palermo Airport. The visit to St. Peter’s the day before must have paid off (or we looked sufficiently pathetic) as they were able to find us a car.


We made it to Termini Imerese only a little behind schedule. This is the town were Michelle’s Dad grew up and most of the family still lives. He was excited the show the grandkids.


He was also excited that Cecilia really likes the panelle (thin strips of fried chickpea dough on soft bread) sandwiches. 


And of course, there was more gelato. 


Next we drove a little further down the road to Cefalu and because it had already been almost an hour since we ate, we had lunch.


The kids aren’t quite used to the long, lingering Italian meals, so we went for a walk through the old streets of the city center.


And made our way down to the beach.


Finally, after a long day of travel, it was time to wind our way up into the hills (the Hertz car just made it if I put it in first gear), to the house.

The kids immediately jumped in the pool.


I immediately explored the indoor wood-burning pizza oven.


Then there was more food. Traveling with Italians is tough.


And then back in the pool. 


It’s been an incredible trip so far and we’re only three days in. Can’t wait to see what adventures we get up to this week. Good, bad, strange. I’m sure it will all be memorable. Can’t ask for more than that.