As I mentioned in my last post, we’ve just returned from a family trip to Italy.

Next week my older daughter starts school and we were happily spending her final weeks of freedom doing summery things in Germany, when the weather took a turn for the worse. We couldn’t accept such an abrupt end to our carefree sunny days so we decided to head south in search of summer.

The view of the mountains from the olive farm we stayed at.
The view of the mountains from the olive farm we stayed at.

When we travel to Italy, we like to stay in agriturismo – Italian farm stays. We’ve had many positive experiences with these over the years and they usually offer warm hospitality and accommodation that’s good value for money. Plus great food and scenery, not to mention, interesting encounters with other farm guests!

Positive encounters for all the kid (even the furry ones!) on the farm.

The only draw back for last-minuters like us, is that for the most part, you need to enquire about availability via email or phone to the farm directly, you can’t just book your accommodation online and go.

cinque terre 2

The farm owners are generally quick to respond, but it’s a time consuming process. Most of the places we contacted were already fully booked because ‘duhh’ it was August and nearly all Italians were holidaying and everywhere where the was sun was shining, especially on the coast, had no room left at the inn!

portovere

We spent a few nail-biting days wondering whether we could go or not.

italian coast

Finally we got a ‘yes’, and were off.

italian beach 2

After so much anticipation and expectation, not to mention, – let’s call it, a ‘character-building’ drive down in the car with the kids and dog for several hours that I don’t want to repeat again anytime soon –

moneglia 2

– we did finally find summer again!

beach

Was it all worth it, you’re wondering?

Sestri Levante

Most definitely, yes!

me on beach

But in very different ways than on our pre-children trips.

cinque terre 4

These days, with kids and a pet, I find we have to grab our moments of joy and happiness where we can!

starfish

Although I can now give you a very detailed report on the location and quality of all of the public conveniences within a ten metre radius of every bus and train stop and car park that we passed through, including every cafe and restaurant.

toilets

Plus a taste comparison of most of the take-away pizza and gelato establishments.

gelato

And most importantly, where you have to stuff your small dog into your day bag to smuggle her onto beaches that she isn’t officially allowed onto.

Italian beach

The Italian northern coast though is beautiful! Full of life and a riot of colour in summer.

cinque

Our trip was hot, exhausting, exhilarating but most of all, a lot of fun!

paradise gulf

I’m glad we made the effort to go, even if it does take me the rest of the year to recover from it!

restaurant

Now it’s back to reality, sewing, blogposts and school days.

I’ll be back soon with some more holiday outfit reviews and a report from Munich Fabric Start.

Wishing you sunny days,

Christine

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