When our eldest was five months old, we took a five week holiday to Italy. We were living in the UAE at the time and it was summer holidays which meant 50ºC unrelenting heat, the absence of most of our friends and neighbours, and the month of Ramadan which, while we didn’t observe the religious aspect of it, did mean that life was a bit restricted. In other words, staying home despite the young age of our little girl, was not a desirable option. Apart from that, rather than being twenty hours of flights away from the magic of Italy, like we are when we’re at home in NZ, we were only five hours from Milan. Too close to resist, so off we went.
The whole holiday was amazing. We saw some absolutely beautiful places – Como, Venice, Milan, Florence, Sienna, Pisa, Luca – and all of the museums and cathedrals and stunning architecture that we could ever need. The countryside in Tuscany was a welcome relief after the red sand of the desert that we were living in, although there is beauty in the desert, too. The one thing that was a bit tricky was negotiating public transport, not because of the schedules or ticketing or finding the correct train stop, but because of the luggage. We had a lot of it. A lot. Baby essentials made up a lot of it. Plus the baby of course. Getting it all on and off the trains was a bit of a procedure. I would get on with the baby, and my husband would throw bags on after me. We learned very quickly that trains do not wait and that people on trains have little patience for excess luggage so it was best to just heft it all on and organise it afterwards. Sometimes that meant that our luggage was in a different carriage to the one we ended up collapsing in. Which made getting off the train even more tricky than getting on.
Luckily, when we did finally emerge from the train it was to explore yet another magnificent place on our itinerary and so it was all worth it.