Thursday, August 27, 2009

Part 1: Traveling to Roma and Milano

One thing we have been dying to do for the past 2.5 years (other than move abroad) is plan a trip to Italy to visit our dear friends that live in Rome. We arrived in Zurich on a Tuesday morning, by Friday night, John had spent countless hours on the computer searching for the best way to get our family to Rome: trains, planes, renting a car, we had to research everything! He finally settled on buying a Eurorail pass, had it shipped to our house, and we called our friends to tell them we were coming their way in a few days! The great thing about the train system in Europe is that you don’t always have to make reservations on a train (but we did anyway because we were traveling with a two year old) you can just hop on the train and away you go- it’s wonderful! Within 6 days of arriving in Zurich, we were already planning to our first traveling adventure. Why stay in one place too long, eh? We packed Ella’s bag of tricks, packed the dvd player, the hiking backpack and one bag for us and away we went. We were a sight to see walking to the station- Ella was riding on John’s back, while he’s carrying a small tent and a pink bag full of toys and goodies. I have a big backpack on my back, pulling a suitcase and carrying a small tent. All while walking downhill for a mile to the station.  Finding our train in the station was easy, getting settled in the first class cars brought us many sour looks from other passengers as they realized they’d be traveling with a toddler. While the other passengers may not appreciate it, I would definitely recommend traveling in first class with children. The seats are wider, the cabins are not as full, and there is much more room for the family to move around. The trip to Rome was a long 8 hours on a high speed train (side note: if you take the high speed train, bring Dramamine, we could have both used it) Throughout the whole week long adventure we used the SBB trains and the CIS trains- everything is always on time, and so easy to find! It’s nearly stress free traveling, I love it!
The other tool that made our trip a success was the hiking backpack to carry Ella in, no stroller! We did see many families with strollers at the tourist sites, but in my opinion, it’s way too difficult to navigate with them, and much easier to throw the kid on your back. Now, that’s easy for me to say, because John carried our 30 pound toddler through most of the trip – what a way to work off that delicious Italian food and gelato!
The other must have travel tool is a Phil&Teds travel crib, it weighs 6 pounds and is small enough to take anywhere! We couldn’t live with out it, Ella calls it her tent, and sleeps so well in it. If you’re traveling to Europe with a child, this is a must have. The only downside is the setup and take down, but do it a few times, and you’ll get the hang of it.
Where did we go while in Italy... read Part 2: Touring Roma and Milano

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