Earlier this month we went away for our family vacation. It might seem like we go away a lot, but usually it is related to work. For example, this family vacation had two reasons for being: hubby's conference, my birthday present.
Before leaving, I wasn't really in the mood for a trip. August had been wonderful but busy, with visitors, a little traveling and not much time for myself. September had just begun and I was loving the return to some routine and a chance to get to several deadlines that had suddenly seemed to come out of nowhere. My inner self kept saying this is no time for a trip! Or maybe I was just grumpy because I knew that in a few days I would be one year older...and in another year that number will begin with a '4'.
But when we arrived to our destination.....
..... and I had this view to gaze at for a whole week--you could say I somehow forced myself to get into the trip. Okay, it wasn't so hard after all, just look at how beautiful the foothills of the Dolomites are! And I did have fun. We all did. Traveling with a toddler is never relaxing, but we filled our week in Trentino with a mixture of exploration, spending time in the village we were staying in and planning long afternoon drives to get toddler to nap (he outright refused to nap in his bed the entire stay!).
And in that week I fell in love with Trentino, which really couldn't be more opposite than Mediterranean Sicily. Mountain culture. Clean air. Grazing cows and the fresh dairy products to go with it. The apples, pears, and potatoes were in season and growing all around us, and the walnuts were dropping off the trees, giving us something to hunt for on our walks. Pristine and untouched. In our valley it was all rolling green, but further up it is dense with woods and made dramatic by the incredible jutting rock formations of the Dolomites.
Our village on a sunny day....
...and our view on a cloudy evening
The communities are so well cared for--every single village and town, no matter how small, has the most beautiful playground.
One of dozens of fabulous playgrounds
Much wood is used in the construction of the houses, and each and every one has flowers overflowing from the balconies and doorways.
One of the sweetest houses in our village
Walking paths crisscross the entire region. Romanesque churches are stark and lovely. Medieval castles abound--some are museums and can be visited, others are private or have been converted into restaurants.
View of the Dolomites from the castle in Drena
And the lakes! Emerald green water. If only it wasn't so chilly. I put my toes in Lago di Garda and was immediately numbed by the experience. The coastal villages along the lake have another feel entirely, each worthy of a visit (but all I could do was keep driving...let the little guy sleep!).
Lago di Garda
The bigger cities are elegant and alive. Our visit to Trento was all too brief, and the rain was pouring down. But we did get to the cathedral, dried off in the quaint Natural Science Museum which had the most impressive and fun kids corner, and rewarded ourselves with the best meal of the trip, and toddler's most elaborate one of his little life. He did surprisingly well, no angry looks from the patrons,...and boy did he love that white chocolate mousse.
Rovereto is home to MART, a modern art museum which has an excellent collection of paintings and sculptures by Italian artists from the mid 19th century to the present and is an important work of architecture in itself. To visit the museum's Casa Depero you will wind your way through the beautiful historic center wishing you had time for shopping, until you find yourself in the wonderful world of this designer's unique and flamboyant creative vision. I found his style to be very appealing. I wish we had spent a full day in Rovereto, but we had decided to stop here on our last day on the way to the airport in Verona and cut it so close as it was...don't even ask how fast we were driving as we sped off to catch our plane!
And that is the story of our trip. And it hasn't even dawned on me that I am one year older.