When my parents came with me to Florence to help me move and settle into my new home for the year, it was all about paperwork, luggages and fighting back tears. So when they decided to come again, 10 months later, and bring my baby sister with them, I was ecstatic. I knew I had to plan my days ahead, since they came during my midterm week, but mostly I just wanted them to see all that this town had to offer. Being quite obsessed with Italian culture themselves, I wanted to take them to places they've never been (which was tricky since we've visited Italy together twice before) and introduce my sister to the motherland of her favorite food. We missed Li so much. This was our first family vacation without her and we definitely felt it. But she was off celebrating her one year anniversary with her love, that lucky one.
Our out of town plans consisted in a day trip to Cinque Terre and a weekend getaway to the Tuscan countryside. Since there are way too many photos to fit in one post, I'll get into our Florentine adventures in the next one.
I decided to take them to Cinque Terre, seeing as none of them had visited before and I myself had just been there for the first time this past May. The sun was roaring bright, and made that cold November day feel like spring. Visiting Cinque Terre during low season is such a treat! Sure, almost all restaurants, bars and hotels are closed, and water activities are out of the question, but getting to walk those recently become ghost-towns and getting their beauty all to yourself is worth it.
The highlight of the trip was our road-trip around Tuscany. It has always been a dream of my dad's, wine-lover as he is, to spend time in the Chianti vineyards and waste his days away wine and olive-oil tasting and eating pasta to his heart's content. We found the perfect hotel as our base in San Casciano, Val di Pesa and I planned a little tour visiting the most charming towns of the region. We went to Prato, Lucca, Siena, Montepulciano and Montalcino. Every road we took we were more surprised at how the scenery looked straight out of a painting. Simply put, we wanted to move there.
Can I just say there is no substitute for family? The inside jokes, the eye-rolls, the name calling, the embarrassing photos, the tearful hugs, the support, the love. Nothing ever comes close to the real thing. And leave out the fact that everyday I came home to an impeccably clean apartment and fresh laundry thanks to my amazing mom, or that my dad made me breakfast every single day and didn't let me spend a single euro, or that my sister, on a daily basis, dramatically locked me in her arms, her adorable huge eyes looking straight into mine, just to make me laugh. Leave all that out, there's still no one I'd rather travel with. My people.