Can’t sleep.

ptr

Missing the sunrise and peeking over the balcony as early workers stroll by, conversing in native tongues over the rooster’s crow. Stretching out my legs and feeling the heat on my skin before daylight has fully broken.

Stirring the perfect cappuccino —

— under the latticed patio roof, flanked by lush vegetation and pretty florals. We pretend it’s all ours. There’s nowhere to be and nothing to accomplish. No one to appease but each other.

Then,

Heading oceanward to plunk down our bodies, laze about and brown deliciously all over. Dunking full selves into the surf when it gets a little too toasty. Hearing the wind, the waves and very little else.

The sun’s gone.

A peaceful respite though the bugs are biting, but we’ve learned not to notice. Sharing a tasty meal, not skimping on dessert, then heading out to where…

…they dance into the night.

Perfectly en pointe, in tune, attuned. Mesmerizing and seemingly without effort, commanding attention and deserving adoration.

Yet sadly,

It’s over almost as soon as it began, when the realization hits that you’re caught up and will do

Whatever
It
Takes

To feel that way again.

the love of travel
— by dianne c.

an ode to hotels

hotels

We love hotels!  It’s hard to imagine who doesn’t, really.  You arrive to a freshly made bed and (assumed) spotless tub. When you leave for the day and come back, everything’s cleaned up for you.  The pillows and covers are like heavenly soft marshmallows, and when you hang a sign on the door, no one bothers you.

We love hotels.

Dani and Stella, as soon as they get in, unplug the phone and start to make pretend calls on it.  It’s hard to pry the Gideons bible out of Stella’s hands before she rips pages out of it.  There’s satellite TV with tons of current movies to watch (though we never, ever end up seeing one), room service (which we’ve never ordered), and wake up calls to be arranged (that never get arranged, because with experience I’ve learned to trust only myself to get up promptly in the mornings).

We love hotels.

You head downstairs in the morning, having freshly rolled out of bed in our pantulog (pajamas), so succinctly our style, and grab some light breakfast. There’s coffee which is mandatory for us parents, oatmeal which is mandatory for Stella, who eats nothing else, and hard-boiled eggs for Dani, who eats only the whites and always asks for more (guess who gets the extra cholesterol hit because I don’t waste yolk).

We love hotels.

When it’s the night before checkout, it’s time to pack up.  We must peek in every drawer, under each nightstand and couch cushion, and in the crevices of the bedposts to make sure the kids haven’t dropped or hidden anything valuable.  There’s hair in the tub, nubs of toothpaste in the sink basin, and scrunched-up covers on the bed and strewn on the floor.  Tomorrow, we must leave this wonderful abode.  Where we’re going, no one is going to clean up our messes, pay for satellite television stations, or have breakfast hot and ready when we decide to wake up.  It’s time to re-welcome reality and it bites!

The end.

Part 2-FCO

Trip Trippin’ Part 2-FCO

When in Rome… be prepared to be tired and stressed out when travelling with small children!!

Day one: arrive Leonardo da Vinci/Fiumicino airport. Baggage pickup and the Leonardo Express train to Termini (Rome’s central train station) were relatively smooth,  except for one incident in which we discovered that elevators in Rome are shoebox-small, slow, and don’t reach every floor you want or need them to.  The rest of our journey was quite stressful and tiring.
After arriving at Termini station, we headed to the TerraCafe (also in the station) to pick up our OMNIA Rome and Vatican cards, which allow unlimited use of public transportation including the hop-on, hop-off bus systems, and, most importantly, entrance to the Vatican, Colosseum, and one other main attraction without having to wait in line. If you’ve ever seen that massive Vatican lineup (I’ve stood in it once before, actually), you’ll know what value this holds.  Waiting to pay regular admission could take two hours or longer.
Back to picking up the OMNIA cards, or lack thereof. Apparently they’d run out completely, and the only other place to get them was at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.  After a long flight with about three hours of sleep (not to mention a 45-minute initial delay, insignificant at this point), each hauling 25-lb. backpacks, carry-on luggage, and pushing an unhappy Dani strapped into her stroller, we decided to just pick up the passes the next day.  We search for the elevator.  After a few attempts on our own and asking a local store clerk (apparently no one knows where the eff it is), a police officer finally points us in the correct direction. Too bad it’s under maintenance and appears to be the only one.  Regretfully, we end up waking up Dani, who is not pleased with us, and yells out her unhappiness as we now balance a stroller, two large backpacks, two heavy carry-ons, and a 24-lb infant down the escalator.  After purchasing two day passes for the Metro, we begin the arduous elevator journey down to Metro Line A- direction Anagnina. It is arduous because, yet again, it is shoebox-sized, and takes three of them to get down to subway level.  Apparently, it is mastermind Roman urban planning that allows such elevators to descend only a few floors each time.  In travel books and on online forums, “they” say that Rome is not child-friendly, but I wasn’t expecting this.  I’ll never complain about the Eaton Centre’s “inefficiencies” ever again.
By this time, around 2.5 hours on foot since exiting the plane, our entire bodies are drenched in sweat in yesterday’s clothes, and our shoulders are caving in and defeated.
We make it to our stop and exit, look around, ask two locals for directions to the hotel, and somehow end up walking in a gigantic extend-a-route square path in the 32+ degree Roman weather with the aforementioned baggage, until we finally find our hotel.
The rest of the day was spent walking around the city, visiting the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and major shopping streets Via Corso and Via Condotti, with a stop for some mango and kinder egg-flavoured gelato along the way, obvi.  I almost fell asleep two or three times while waiting for a meal or just getting a chance to sit.  However, none of those details were as exciting as even getting here, so I’ll leave it at that. ‘Til the next…
Ciao!