As you may have seen from our social media feeds we have been traveling around Europe for the past few weeks. It has been fun, exciting, and EXHAUSTING. Because of a few big projects at work I was not able to take a proper maternity leave when Pepper was born so I instead planned a get away (only 14 months late!). My husband and I have both had a big year and we were both very ready to get away for a little while. What we discovered was that when traveling with a toddler you can no longer go on a vacation, it is now only a trip. (A fun one though!)
I’m not sure the best format for this blog so bear with me if I start to ramble on. So to put the chaos in context, 3 days before we left I had the official launch party for BioSci Labs, my newest project. BioSci labs in a STEAM incubator and coworking space (read about it more here and here). So all week my husband and I were running around like maniacs getting everything ready for the launch party. The party was a huge success and before it had even sunk in I was packing for Europe (Yes I didn’t pack until the night before). I had booked an overnight flight with the hope that Pepper would sleep on the plane. I would not recommend this. Unless your kiddo can go into a deep hibernation on command, this is not the way to go. We took off around 7 pm and the captain didn't dim the lights until 10:30 so Pepper was so over tired she had a really hard time falling asleep. Lucky everyone sitting around us was understanding and played with her. An elderly couple sitting behind us even picked her up and kept her entertained for 45 minutes despite not speaking any english. We finally arrived in Venice, found our airbnb, and all took a long nap. Because of the time difference when we woke up it was 11 PM local time so we wandered the streets of Venice under the stars looking for a restaurant that was still serving dinner. Venice is breath-taking and every bit as beautiful as the photos. Its is virtually impossible to take a bad picture there. On the second night as we walked around after dinner we heard faint music coming from a narrow alley. We followed the alley to a small cobblestone square with a full band giving a free outdoor concert complete with a grand piano! We danced until P was so tired she could hardly keep her balance.
Next day we took a train to Florence and stayed in a beautiful Airbnb, apartment with a lush backyard filled with citrus trees. We walked around Florence all day and by the time we get back to our apartment my fitbit said we had walked over 12 miles! The Airbnb was great with a toddler she had room to run around and we could make dinner in instead of going out.
Next we went to Rome and explored all over the city. Along with all of the usual tourist spot I would highly recommend the botanical gardens. I had such an amazing caesar salad after exploring the gardens, I seriously considered ordering a second. The public transit in Rome was very easy to use and really made the whole city accessible. I really enjoyed Italy. Everyone we met was warm and friendly and Pepper made so many friends. I found that people in Europe were very good with kids and would randomly pick up Pepper and hug her and pinch her cheeks. Pepper didn’t mind but it took me some getting used to (after all, I’m from the Northeast).
Greece was the next stop. Our first day in Greece was cloudy so we spent some time in the spa (my husband and I had to take turns, they did offer babysitting services but I was to nervous to leave Pepper) and found some very friendly stray dogs on the beach. Next, we went to Santorini which was my favorite stop of the trip. Our hotel had a view beyond gorgeous. It was perched on a sheer volcanic cliff a couple hundred feet above the water and looked out over the sunken caldera of the live volcano. I didn’t realize when booking but the hotel actually had a no kids policy….oops. We hiked up a part of the volcano with huge plumes of sulfur gasses coming out of cracks dark basalt rocks. Next we stopped at a hot spring. The look on the captain's face was priceless when I put Pepper on my back and swam the couple hundred meters to the hot springs. Pepper was so excited she couldn't stop giggling. Next we rode donkey’s up 600 stairs from the dock to the town center. Well we were suppose to ride the donkey 600 steps but the donkeys got so distracted at about 200 so we got off and climbed the rest.
On our way to mykonos we impulsively decided to get off the ferry early and explore another island, Paros. It was very quiet and peaceful and Pepper and I got matching dresses and made friends with a stray cat that followed us around all day. After the afternoon in Paros we headed to have dinner and watch the sunset from the pool in Mykonos. Mykonos was so beautiful the second day I went for a run during sunset but man was it hilly!!
The trip home maybe we should leave out lol!! 22 hour of traveling but Pepper somehow did much better than Spike and I despite not sleeping much and getting stuck in two middle seats.
If you would like anymore information on the places we visited feel free to messages me! If iI wrote it all down this blog post would be SOOOOO LONG!!
Things i learned on this trip:
Gelato is life (We maybe had it everyday)
Traveling with a toddler is a little more difficult but not at all impossible.
People love babies all around the world.
Pepper is a rock star.
Umbrella strollers are terrible on cobblestone.
A good hiking backpack baby carrier is a solid investment.
Google maps doesn’t work in Greece
Salt water heals all