Living in Cannobio was a dream. Every morning I would go for a short walk to the local baker where I bought freshly baked bread for breakfast. There are a few bakers along the main road, but I talked to someone at the hotel to hear where they would buy their bread and I was directed to a small narrow street behind the church. In September the town was no longer crowded by tourists and it was nice to see where the Italians themselves went to buy their food.
The outline of the 2014 summer vacation has been sketched little by little this year, before Husband suddenly took out the magic marker and drew with bold lines. The vacation is consequently now planned, booked, and waiting to happen.
We’re going by car again this year. Our own car, but using a bit of Deutsche Bahn’s (German railway company’s) fuel from Hamburg to Munich. We, and our Skoda, are spending a night each way on the Autozug (cartrain) reducing the mileage and the number of days we would need to travel to Italy.
This year we’re planning a week by the coast with a group of friends, some nights in Tuscany with our extended family, about a week near the beautiful Garda lake, and a few nights in culinary heaven at the foot of the Alps. I can’t wait!
I dream of warmer, brighter days. I’m a bit ill, sneezing, a bit of a fever, a gentle flu that hasn’t completely run me over, just a tad bit. Oh, I dream of days in Cannobio where we spent four nights at Residenza Patrizia and enjoyed our days thoroughly. Yes, I dream of Cannobio…
… where a small walk in the morning takes me to that narrow little street next to the church where the local baker is. The baker who answers me back in Italian no matter how incoherently I mumble, and still understands my order and smiles.
… where the breeze from the lake and the large mountains makes sure no days are ever too warm, but also never cold during the summer.
… where Italians live, work and go to school.
… where Pippi Longstocking has her summer house. It’s not wooden like her house in Sweden, but it has the same colours. And she has grown a little tired of the policemen chasing her on the rooftop so she set up a great wall around her garden with a huge green gate keeping out all who are not friendly.
… where tourists never completely take over.
… where old and new exist side by side, on top of one another and in line. The oldest buildings are almost 800 years old and they’re still there!
… where lizards need to have bubble-magic shrinking spells cast on them for them not to grow to the size of dinosaurs and take over the world
… where people have lived and worked for hundreds of years
…where the narrow streets are paved with magical round stones that give you bubble-power that can capture bad guys inside magical bubbles that transfers them out onto the lake and to the nearest prison.
Some of the above mentioned things might need a bit of imagination for you to enjoy them as much as we did. Go to Cannobio some day!
I have spent many summer on the ‘autobahn’ in Germany, the ‘autostrada’ in Italy and the motorways of countries connecting these two countries to Norway. I was about a year old on my first roadtrip – with a caravan to the Netherlands. When I was three we drove to Spain in an old VW caravelle t3. At five I went to Italy for the first time, then again at seven, and since I’ve been at least ten times.
It’s all about the habit, I assume. But I do love driving to my summer holiday destination. I get to see more, experience more, and I get a sense of how far away I am from home. Life’s more than airports and duty free shops. And the languages change, you can’t go from Norwegian to Italian in a few hours, you have to go through at least Danish and German before reaching the latin languages.
I have tried my best having Husband adopt my preferences for travelling, and he’s been tolerant! We drove to Italy for our honeymoon in 2008. Norway, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Italy going south, Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Norway on the way north. I loved it, and I think he really learned to like it.
Last year we went to Italy by plane. We rented a car to travel a bit and with that a car seat for Son, then three. After waiting in the heat for a car, then hoping for a good seat for Son, (about which a flirty Scot get my hopes up only to crush them to pieces) I was left with a seat that I would never trust his life with in Norway. Here I was left with no choice on roads on which people drive much faster and more aggressively than I’ve ever witnessed in Norway. Going back this year with two children I wanted a good car, safe seats, and I wanted to drive through Europe to reach my destination. I managed to convince Husband. Now he says he’d like to do it again.
This year’s summer vacation happened rather late. We left home in the middle of September and went away for about three weeks, not returning before the first days of October. Temperatures at home started to drop the days before we left and the air smelled of autumn. We packed our bathing gear, shorts, t-shirt, summerdresses and short skirts and headed south.
Leaving home late at night with only a short drive in front of us to catch a ferry to take us to Denmark over night. Drive through Denmark the next day, get on a train in Hamburg, Germany the next day which, during the night, would take us to the German-Swiss border and the city of Lörrach (still in Germany). We had a three-hour-drive to our first main stop: Cannobio, Italy. We would relax there for four nights before driving four hours to Nice, where we would be accompanied by MiL (Mother in Law) and OBiL (Oldest Brother in Law). France would be our home for a full week. Returning home we planned for two nights on the Italian-Swiss border in the town of Ponte Tresa before taking the same route home as we took going south. A perfect road trip with young children aboard.
It’s been the perfect summer holiday, and we are very likely to travel similarly in future summers. We do have room for improvement: family holidays have their ups and down and minor hiccups, but all in all we’ve had a wonderful time together. Stories and pictures will follow soon first I have an exam…
Imagine being three. The most exciting thing in life is pirates and swords. Several times a day you sing sea-shanties and talk about pirates. Your parentes have been talking quite a lot about Italy. They say something about going on holiday there. It’s supposed to be warm and there are pools in which you can swim, and you can also swim in the ocean. It all sounds a bit odd, you’re not sure if you like it being warm, and swimming in the sea or in a big pool sounds a little scary. It’s been two years since last time you were by the Mediterranean, and although you remember some things about visiting family in Spain, most of it is at best a blur.
Italy is supposedly quite far away. You can only get there by plane, or by driving for days. We are flying this time. You have flown before, but that too is quite some time ago. It feels like it’s the first time. Before the first flight mom and dad are quite nervous. They’re not sure how you will react. Your calm nature surely have them amazed. You’re a little excited when the planes takes off, but by the time the plane reaches travel height, you are so calm and quiet it seems like flying is something you do every day. You’re a perfect little gentleman for the entire flight, and also for the second flight, and the third. During the second flight nobody understands what you’re saying, so you pick up a few foreign words. “Danke” and “tschüss” makes the flight attendants smile. During the third flight they speak another foreign language, you quickly pick up “grazie” and “ciao” and end up getting extra service and the double amount of snacks from the flight attendants.
It’s midnight by the time we get to the hotel. Since the south of Germany you’ve only seen large airports and dark skies. You wake up in a strange room. It’s cool and quiet and rather dark, but as soon as the door opens you’re blinded by the bright light. Outside terra cotta red, dry earth dominate the picture before you. It’s warm and a t-shirt and shorts are perfect. Downstairs someone has made breakfast for us. Much of the food is quite similar to that at home, but yet slightly different. A couple of women hustle back and forth out of the kitchen, both smiling, touching your hair and talking to you every time they pass. You smile back, say “grazie” and smile. The attention is fun, but there’s very little else to see and do at the hotel. Mom and dad find a car, not at all like the one at home. You prefer the one at home. The car seat is too small and you can’t see anything out the window. You quickly fall asleep.
The next thing you know you’re outside a big, lemon coloured building. After a bit of waiting while dad talks to some people a man carries all out luggage onto a golf cart. He talks to you, but you don’t understand anything. You smile and say “ciao”, that always make them friendly. Sitting between mom and dad the man drives to a different part of the big building. Carries all the suitcases into a lift, pushes a button and leaves us there with a quick wave with the hand, a smile and a friendly “ciao”. The lift moves and takes us to a floor higher up. Dad unlocks a door using a card and opens the door for you. You don’t expect much and walk in with calmness and quiet curiosity. Mom and dad wait by the door, looking at you, waiting for a reaction. You stop in the middle of the room. Your gaze travels from one corner to the next, until you have taken in every detail of the room. “Oi!” you say, suddenly and turn around to look at us. “It’s a ship”, you gasp, “we’re living in a ship!”. “There are pirates in Italy too!”
We have returned home to where we all fluently speak the language after having spent two weeks in Italy. Husband’s been here once before, I’ve been there about 15 times, while Son has his heart set on returning for a second time. We return home with a suitcase full of memories, a slight tan, and an improved Italian vocabulary.
We spent a week by the Garda Lake (Lago di Garda) and then a week in Bibione; a small town some kilometres from Venice. The first week we spent alone, just the three of us. The second we were joined by my entire family. My father just turned 60 and invited all children and grandchildren to spend a week in Italy.
We have had tons of fun, eaten well, and spent the most part of every day outside in the sun. Perfect temperatures of between 25 and 30 degrees have truly set the mood. More to be told in the days to come. Enjoy the summer!