9/2/15

Places to Go (Vacation) - LAKE COMO, ITALY (Days 8 & 9) - Dragging Our Kids Through Europe, Part VI

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So this was the view from the balcony of our rental house in Sala Comacina, Italy, a tiny town on Lake Como.

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But to get there we had to take a train to a crazy bus (so. many. cliffs). Oh well, nobody ever said travel was easy.

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Luckily, upon arrival, we quickly discovered we were (possibly) in paradise. When I planned this vacation, Dan and I would agree on a destination and then I would look for a local place to stay, but when I found Rosie's house on airbnb, I decided we NEEDED to spend sometime there, even though I'd never heard of Sala Comacina (has anyone?). And a small town ended up feeling wonderful after a week of big cities.

The house was literally right next to the beach, so we could wave at Dan on the balcony while swimming. Of course, my kids couldn't decide on when to swim, P insisted on diving right in; whereas T had to watch P before he entered the water as well.

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Seriously, does the world get more beautiful then this? (I'm assuming the answer is yes, I just haven't seen it yet).

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For dinner, we walked to this wonderful pizzeria/restaurant right on the beach. F and I decided to be adventurous and order the local specialty of salted sardine-sized fish. I was not very impressed, but F ate them all (even the heads). T continued to live on pizza margarita.

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For our first full day at the lake, we rode the ferry to Varenna and hiked up to a castle overlooking the lake. The day was crazy hot (which was sort of unfortunate as we traveled to the lake to escape the heat) and the girls complained most of the way, but T was so excited about seeing a "real castle" that he kept our momentum up (even I might have just turned around). And the castle did not disappoint, it had "real" weapons and armor that we could try on and play with. Possibly the happiest I've ever seen T.

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We had planned on stopping in Bellagio on the boat ride home, but everyone was exhausted, so we chilled on the ferry and after a quick swim, walked to our (now) favorite restaurant for another dinner on the lake.

Paradise, seriously, paradise. Even in the heat.

8/31/15

Places to Go - Katy Perry's Portrait & Kids in a Box at the Smithsonian American Art Museum & National Portrait Gallery (Washington D.C.)

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Happy Monday everyone!! I felt like we/I needed a break from the vacation posts. Plus, after almost a month touring Europe, I'm even more in awe of how truly awesome DC really is. The first week after we came back from Europe I had a hard time readjusting - first of all, I had a pretty steady stream of photography work for the first few days (which was wonderful, but exhausting), plus after 3.5 weeks alone together the kids could not stop fighting, and a revolving door of playdates kept circulating through my living room (so. many. kids).

Anyways, when KidFriendly DC posted a picture of Katy Perry's portrait at the Smithsonian Portrait museum I realized how much I needed a non-pool outing. Luckily, all I had to do was mention the Firework singer and the girls were all in (like moths to a flame).

While I hate the parking situation, I love the Smithsonian art museums (the Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum share a building, though, somewhat oddly, not a website), they are rarely crowded and the modern art gallery on the top floor is one of my favorite places in DC. Lots of empty space. Cool couches. Amazing large scale installations. If you ever need a place to relax in the big city, this is the place to be.

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A new way to read the Constitution.

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We also checked out the museum's Watch This: Revelations in Media Art exhibit (only open until September 7, GO NOW!!), where the girls could have spent hours playing with the video camera that films you in a box.

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And then we randomly wandered into the Luce Foundation Center for American Art. And this is when I realized the true amazingness of DC. I had no idea this place even existed. Basically, several of the collections that the museum previously housed in storage are now available to the public in Luce's three floored gallery, which looks like the secret garden of libraries. The Luce Foundation also has scavenger hunts and audio tours, which the kids and I cannot wait to try out on our next visit. But, as our time was limited, we spent our first visit perusing aisle after aisle of hidden treasures, the girls especially loved the crazy jewelry collection, where drawers open up so you can explore more.

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