I haven´t been reading (so sad) but on a good note 2015 ended in the most superb way. Husband and I took child 2 on holiday, because child 1´s words were, and I quote “Europe in the winter? I hate the cold! I´ll go next year in June when it´s warm.” Roll eyes, yes my child because nine months of summer and three of autumn are just not enough for you.
After an eleven hour flight we landed in Lisbon and took child 2 sight seeing. Lisbon is beautiful even in winter, the weather was kind to us and the temperatures were warm enough during the day to get away with wearing jeans and a t-shirt. If you happen to visit that corner of the world pop in at Sintra, absolutely gorgeous. At the Ruinas do Convento do Carmo I discovered that child 2 has a weird sense of humour when we caught her taking selfies with all the tombs and mummies……… she takes after her father. Week one goes by too fast and before we know it we´re at the airport on the way to Barcelona.
Barcelona is almost a perfect city, there are magnificent buildings on every street one next to the other. We tried really hard not to look like tourists but the constant `ooh´ and `aah´ with our heads tilted up looking at the unique and beautiful architecture of that city might have given us away. The squares with the cafés, restaurantes and the tabaco shops are filled with life for what felt like 24/7 and the people are really nice. I loved the dog culture in Barcelona, dogs in the subway, on the busses, restaurants and shops. People take their dogs to play and socialise in the squares while they sit down for coffee and chat. As soon as we stepped in to the Sagrada Familia Cathedral no one would mistake us for locals, yes, we did the tourist thing and gaped like idiots at the sheer beauty and magnificence of the Cathedral. Five days later when we had to leave child 2 was refusing to leave and demanding that we have all our things brought over and live in Barcelona.
One more airport another flight and a few hours later we land in Milano. That is just weird because Malpensa is not Milano, to get to Milano Centrale requires a train and forty-five minutes later you arrive in Milano…. Anyway, freezing cold we run to the next train on our way for a quick stop in Modena. If you´re wondering what there was in Modena, well not much except for the Enzo Ferrari Museum, we took a shuttle to the Ferrari Museum in Maranello and hubby got to drive a Ferrari, I still see him smile and a twinkle in his eyes when he talks about it. He has converted child 2 to a Ferrari fan, because it was´t enough to know the name, now she knows which model she wants to buy when she grows up.
The train service in Italy is really good and on schedule we took the train to Firenze. My absolutely favourite city. I fell in love with Firenze, the historical city is just amazing and just to think about the people that have stepped on those same stones and touched the same walls that I did… wow, just wow! After that to Siena, the medieval town is lovely and the fact that you can see all of it in two days is great.
There is something great about travelling in winter, we avoided the ten thousand tourists and actually got to see everything we wanted to see in the museums without having to shove people out of our way to do it.
Time to return to Lisbon and visit our family which we didn´t do in the first week and back home from the cold to the scorching heat of south east Africa.
On a sad note, we had initially intended to visit Istanbul but when the situation there seemed a little unstable we changed our plans and extended our time in Italy instead. I hope that Turkey will soon be safe again .
So all that is left to say is I hope you have a wonderful 2016!