Well it's been over 2 months since we've been back, but I promised myself I would post about our trip, so here it is! Better late than never :) I shared the story behind how this trip came to be here and I would love to document this special memory on my blog as well. The first mother/daughter trip we've ever taken and it happened to be to one of my very favorite places in the world. We had to keep pinching ourselves that this trip was actually happening and we'll never stop being grateful to my Dad for helping to make this a reality (we love you!). Without further ado, here are some of the highlights, recommendations, and lessons learned from Mama/Daughter Italy trip 2016:
- Make sure you are very clear on the difference between Military and Standard time. For some reason we didn't triple check our departure time and 17:00 became 7pm in our heads rather than 5pm. Our flight literally left two hours earlier than we were anticipating but thank you sweet baby Jesus we still made it somehow.
- Wine is acceptable at every meal when you're in Italy.
- It helped to not have too many set expectations for this trip because it allowed us to go with the flow as things came up. We decided to take a boat to track down this one hotel I wanted to see and got to see several of the other towns around Lake Garda which were all so gorgeous and charming. We ended up in Gargnano which was absolutely amazing.
- Being spontaneous is good but planning ahead is also good if you have your heart set on something. One of the main reasons we chose Lake Garda as one of our destinations was because I saw Julia of Gal Meets Glam's post on Lake Garda and decided I needed to visit this magical land. She stayed at Villa Feltrinelli and all I wanted to do was walk around the property and take some pictures. We learned the hard way that it's not open to the public and if you're not staying there you would need a reservation at their nice restaurant to be able to enter the grounds :( We were still so happy we got to experience Gargnano because of that excursion, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little disappointed. Just means I'll have to come back ;)
- I realized it's possible to love a place similarly to how you love a person. Knowing I was returning to Rome (where I spent 4 months in college), actually made me nervous and excited and like I was going to see someone I've loved but haven't seen in a long time. I miss that place so much it hurts sometimes, and was so very excited to spend some much needed time together :)
- Sometimes tears are inevitable, but choosing to have grace and learning to let go of expectations can make all the difference. Looking back, we realized that we tried to pack a little too much into this 9 day trip (I'll take responsibility for that one), and all the traveling and moving around led to moments of exhaustion and feeling overwhelmed by all we were trying to do. It took some intentional slowing down, and allowing ourselves space (with some extra sides of pasta and wine) to get us back into a good place.
- My heart was so, so happy being back in Rome. I love this pic my Mom took of me (below) because I feel like it so wonderfully captures my joy being in the middle of my favorite city on such a beautiful day (thank you Mama for being my fantastic, and patient, photographer).
- We have friends whose family owns the Ristorante Di Rienzo in front of the Pantheon so we went there for lunch one day and loved it. Feels so surreal to be staring at the Pantheon while eating lunch. Also, my Mom and I became big fans of Campari and Aperol Spritzes while we were there (the orange drinks you see everyone drinking). So perfectly tart and refreshing.
- Getting to show my Mom where I lived when I studied abroad (that's me in front of my apartment in Trastevere below) and where I went to school (view from outside my school in the pic on the right) was so special.
- I was grateful to my Mama for being fine with me doing some solo exploring of my own. On our last night in Rome I ventured out to see one of my favorite monuments - the Victor Emmanuel - and made a stop by Trevi Fountain to throw a coin in. That way I made sure I'll come back ;)
- After Rome it was onto our most anticipated city of the trip - Positano! This charming town on the Amalfi Coast is so incredibly beautiful and romantic, and it felt wonderful to be able to rest and relax a little bit more since there's not as much exploring or sightseeing to do there. Here are some pics and recommendations from our favorite places we went to:
- We stayed at the Hotel L'Ancora and I would highly recommend it. It's right next to Le Sirenuse (one of the most famous hotels in Positano) so the views are basically the same, but the price is much more do-able (it's a 4 star as opposed to a 5 star). We also loved the restaurant at our hotel and ended up eating there multiple times. I think we squealed every single time we looked at the view from our balcony.
- Another amazing benefit of Hotel L'Ancora was the fact that they were connected to a couple other hotels in Positano, meaning we had access to their facilities and you could charge meals to your room from any of the restaurants there as well. The absolutely incredible Hotel Covo Dei Saraceni was one of those hotels (I'll pause while you go Google image search that place) and we went there for lunch one day and to their pool and were in Heaven. It was so, so beautiful and it's my dream to stay there someday. So here are a few pics from that place:
- Franco's Bar (connected to Le Sirenuse and right next to our hotel as well) was amazing. I would definitely recommend getting there early for a drink while you watch the sunset.
- We went to Le Sirenuse's Champagne and Oyster Bar for drinks one night before dinner and that was incredibly magical as well.
I'm so grateful my Mama and I had this experience together and know it's one we'll treasure forever. We don't take for granted that we have the kind of relationship where we actually enjoy being around each other, and that we get to add sweet times like this to our memory bank together. Love you Mommy, so grateful to you and Dad for making this possible - this trip will always occupy a special place in my heart.