It turns out that reliving our vacation through sharing all the nitty-gritty with you is pretty unpleasant. Let's just suffice it to say that going on a massive road trip with a baby is a seriously bad idea. It seems so obvious now, but it's funny as a parent. You have one camp telling you your life as you know it will be over once you've had a baby and you'll never do anything fun ever again. Yikes! Then there is the other camp telling you not to listen to the naysayers, that you can do whatever you want (and more!) with that baby in tow. Of course we wanted to be part of the cool, easygoing, second "beat-the-odds" camp! Alas, we are not. :(
I was discussing it last night with my friend Sam and she pointed out the revealing crux to the whole thing: It's completely personal. One couple's idea of okay isn't necessarily another's. For us, having Coco get fussy and seeing her feel completely alone in the backseat facing the rear windshield, frustrated and crying, was awful. Maybe another couple might say, "It wasn't so bad! She only cried and fussed every couple of hours. What a trooper!" In the end, the only way you'll ever know what works for you and your family, is to try.
Corsica is absolutely gorgeous. It's also way way bigger than I thought it was before driving around it.
Everything was much better once we got a hotel on the third night.
We had lovely views.
We relaxed on the sun porch while Coco played in the travel cot the hotel provided.
After a few nights, we bid Corsica goodbye and went to Tuscany. (Yes! As if the trip up until that point hadn't been overkill already. ;)
We spent about 10 minutes in Pisa.
We walked around a bit and had coffee in Piazza del Campo in Siena.
Coco seemed to like it. Then we had a nice woman, who also had a Canon DSLR, take some family photos for us.
At first Coco continued to smile and wave at passersby as she had done in her stroller the entire time we drank our coffees.
Then she gave the lovely lady the stink eye! (I guess she'd had enough with the photo taking. ;) We continued on to our hotel for the night, which was most certainly haunted. Shudder! We had dinner that night in Monteriggioni and then next day, after we had survived the night in the scary hotel, we did a whirlwind Tuscan tour. You know, just to finish with a bang.
We drove on the famous white gravel roads which host the vintage bike race, L'Eroica.
Then we stopped at a little place on the side of the road and had an amazing meal.
Coco sat in a hundred-year-old high chair and used it as a teether.
When we had finished, Miranda, the owner who had made our lunch, came out to meet Coco.
She was so lovely and she loved Coco so much, she cried. My God, I love Italians!
Coco happily showed her all of her toys.
And I shamelessly took photos. That was such a wonderful experience. Coco loved Miranda and Miranda reminded me of my own Grandma, Marie my dad's mom, who died when I was in college. She was a very sweet, loving grandma like Miranda.
After that, I called to extend the rental car for a day and we drove to Milan to stay the night. It turns out that it's a really long drive from wherever we were in Tuscany to Milan. En route, Coco had a complete dehydration freak out, which we were able to recognize immediately thanks to the experience we had gained in Corsica. We forced water down her throat by pouring it into the bottle cap first and then tipping it back into her mouth. Poor baby! Once the water entered her little system, she stopped crying and slept the rest of the way. Milan is super hot and uncomfortably humid so in order to sleep, we had to have the air conditioning on all night long. In the morning, we went to go see The Last Supper, trying to eek one last bit of enjoyment out of the failed trip. But it didn't work out as the only available time slot was at 4 pm. So up and over the Alps we drove back to Zurich. Once we'd crossed over the Gotthard Pass, Coco started crying and was inconsolable. We stopped for a bit and she was happy, but then started crying again once we got back in the car. :( When we got home, it felt like our vacation had finally begun. We swore we'd never go on vacation ever again.
So, now we know. ;) For the foreseeable future, our family vacations will include one single destination with a hotel or apartment so that we can settle into a routine away from home. We will not drive all day to get there. Instead, we will travel comfortably. Perhaps an overnight train in a private sleeping compartment with a full bathroom if we're feeling adventurous, or a direct flight, maybe even a drive that is two hours or less each way. We will stay at our destination for a few nights or a week and then we'll go back the way we came. We will not, under any circumstances sleep in a tent! :) How does your family travel? Or do you just embrace the "stay-cation"?
Also - Road Trip Days 1 & 2