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Italy 2010 : I Want To Remember



Italy was an adventure.

A beautiful, not-too-stressful, family-centered, very hot, trek from Oregon to Italy.

We traveled to Italy because it was something that Chris' Dad & Mom have always wanted to do and the time was now (trips like these seem to be easily put off for any number of reasons...too many "somedays"). We took the kids. We also took our friend Katie with us as an extra pair of hands (and a whole lot of heart).

We spent our first five days in Rome, then moved on to a villa outside
Siena, then on to Monterosso in the Cinque Terra for two nights,
and then to Milan for our flight home.

Traveling to Europe from the west coast of America is definitely a trek - with kids in tow it's even more interesting. The things we had on our side: Simon loves to travel (loves airplanes, buses, etc - really any sort of transportation is exciting to him at least initially) and Anna is a very go-with-the-flow toddler. All that said, I think Chris and I did a really good job at setting our expectations for this trip. We knew we weren't going to see everything (and had no intention of trying). We knew we were going to be on modified schedules based on how the kids were doing, how much we wanted to push it, and how we all felt.

We were going for the overall life experience and for the chance to spend time with Chris' parents & sister.

I found the best way to share some of our trip with you is to write out some of the things I want to remember and pair them photos. Some of the thoughts were prompted by the photos themselves (a good way to organize your writing after a trip) and some came about through the process of sitting down and making myself write some of these things out. Others came to mind by the use of the very simple I want to remember prompt. 

Here's a look at our Italy adventure in words + photos:

I want to remember Simon and the gladiators. He saw
them and wanted to do battle with each one. This worked ok the first few
times but each one of these guys is out there doing a job - they want
money for each interaction and photo.



I want to remember the green umbrella that was picked up from a street vendor that soothed and protected the non-sun loving 8 year old.


I want to remember the artfully decorated cows that greeted us around different corners and that Anna immediately ran to and would have stayed and looked at for hours if we weren't headed somewhere else.



I want to remember how amazingly, almost incomprehensibly old everything is there. I simply have no concept of time that goes back that far. 



I want to remember how Katie and I maneuvered our way through the Vatican after realizing that our tour guide was going to make it way too long for two little kids (conducting the tour in both English and Russian). We created our own abbreviated tour and still got to see the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's.



I want to remember how everyday was punctuated with gelato (sometimes more than once).





I want to remember how the purchase of a sword and a shield brought days of entertainment.




I want to remember the two of them, at their individual ages, interacting throughout this adventure.






I want to remember how great piazza's are for getting the wiggles out while waiting for dinner (feeding pigeons is a bonus).


I want to remember how much he loves travel by plane, by taxi, and by train (so much more so than by car).



I want to remember staying outside of Siena and taking in the beauty of the vineyards.



I want to remember the simplicity of the mornings without being in a hurry.


I want to remember the light.



I want to remember the connections and the laughter and the hand-holding and the "Simon, get over here" and the naps and just being outside of usual day to day.






I want to remember how much Simon loved going into the churches and lighting candles and saying prayers for loved ones.


I want to remember looking up and seeing the churches and other buildings reaching up and touching the blue sky.




I want to remember the colors and the pride in the neighborhoods in Siena.





I want to remember the crazy experience of attending il Palio - a very famous horse race around the Piazza del Campo in Siena. Thousands of people packed in to the center, thousands more along the edges in seats put up just for this event, thousands more standing in balconies and even more hanging out of windows in the buildings above.


I want to remember how I said all along that I would just stay back with the kids because large crowds are not my favorite thing.


I want to remember how I went anyway and loved it.


I want to remember arriving in our final destination of Monterosso and taking a deep breath at the chance to relax in a beach town for a couple days before beginning our adventure home.



I want to remember renting a paddle boat with a slide and peddling our way out into the Mediterranean and each of us taking turns going on the slide (even Anna riding in Chris' lap).



I want to remember how so very much he loves the ocean.



I want to remember how much I love to see other parts of the world and how very thankful I am to return home.


I'm looking forward to heading back again next year (without the kids) and seeing a few different parts of Tuscany for an entirely different adventure on a tour with ScrapMap. You can learn more about that trip here.

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163 thoughts

  1. Karin Podolski says…

    Excellent post - love the "I want to remember...." Beautiful pics, very inspiring....Thanks!

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. annettte says…

    thanks for sharing Ali... You all looked like you had an amazing time.... Simon is getting so grown up.....

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  3. debbie McIntyre says…

    I'm going away for a week, and have my book, pen and few stamps ready to journal my trip each day...leaving room for the photos that I'll add the day I get home. I am forever grateful for your advise on keeping it simple so it gets done while fresh in my mind. I've done this for two years and these are my favorite books. Loved reading about your trip to Italy, and enjoyed every photo. Thanks for everything.

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  4. Jennifer W. says…

    I was struck by how "old" Simon looks in these photos. I've been following you and your pages for years and I recall him as a such a tiny little guy. He's such a big boy now!
    What a wonderful adventure your family embarked upon! Kudos to you and Chris for attempting it and succeding!

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  5. Kareen says…

    Beautiful pictures, you're a lucky girl!

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  6. Tarren Young says…

    Ali, I can't wait to see how you document this wonderful time of your life! It makes me long to go back to Italy. I went to Italy in March of 2001 and the art and culture, even if I didn't like some of it, was amazing! I chose going to Italy my senior year instead of going on the actual senior trip. I went with the art and culture club, and have never had any regrets about that trip whatsoever! Isn't it a wonderful place? My first favorite place was a little town called San Gimignano, and secondly was Florence! You have a beautiful pictures, and a beautiful family! Thanks for bringing back my memories! It makes me want to pull out my scrap album from that trip! It also makes me want to go back through and dig out all my doubles from that trip, and scrap that trip now, almost ten years later! Craziness! Wow! Ten years since I have been! I am so thankful that you include your children not just in your scrapbooking and memories, but your life! Thank you for sharing, and the wonderful memories!

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  7. Amanda McGregor says…

    ooh ooh ooh Cow Parade...we have just had Cow Parade in our town for the last 3 months - the first time ever it has been out of a capital city...awesome stuff so I was mighty excited to see cows on your blog from Cow Parade Paris - love that Anna loved them. My 20 month old had his favourite cow that was in our local shopping centre. He insisted on patting it for AGES each time we went past it!
    Thank you!!!

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  8. Angela C. says…

    Ali, thank you so much for sharing your photos and stories. Got me reminisced about our honeymoon around Italy almost 8 years ago. We probably won't be able to go again so that was the trip of our lifetime.

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  9. Wirda says…

    Your life experiences are beautifully documented... an amazing, and inspirational post.

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Lydia W. says…

    I really was touched by this post. Beautiful pictures and such a beautiful way to remember. I think I'm going to follow your lead and make a 'I remember' album. Thank you Ali.

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Peggy says…

    Oh, Ali...the one of Simon and Anna sitting in the plaza, him hugging her, choked me up. What a loving picture!! Just beautiful. Thanks for sharing what you want to remember

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. amy says…

    beautiful!!!! love all of it! it makes me wonder how my kids(and husband) would be on a trip like that? not sure :O)
    thank you for teaching us that documenting a trip, or a summer, or anything, is as simple as finishing that sentence "i want to remember...." sometimes scrapbooking seems too much about the papers and the clever placement of embelishments. because of this i can't always get started. i'm a photo focused scrapbooker and the pictures most important to me. you remind me that this would make a great photobook and memories preserved. !!! wonderful!!

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  13. Ellie says…

    He is really a handsome lad - looks as if you had a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Beth Smith says…

    What a great, great post! I love that your style is so applicable to so many other things. This not only gave me ideas about our family vacation to Disney last month, but also about what I want to remember about my oldest son before he starts high school this fall. You are so very talented and your drive to record your family's travels through life inspire me. Thank you so much.
    And thank you, too, for getting me so much more excited about taking my students to Italy in the Spring! We have a trip scheduled for April and I cannot wait! Thank you for sharing.

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  15. nicole says…

    Ali you were very to not set high expectations when traveling with kids and other couples as well. No one moves at the same pace whether they are young or old:) We have been to Italy twice and I would go back a hundred times with our daughter. In Europe, it is one of my favorite countries. Germany is right up there as well. Beautiful picutes! I am actually working on mine in a week at a scrap retreat. I am exicited to pull them all out! I just have a feeling that may book may be huge!! Thank you for sharing:)

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  16. Lisa W. says…

    Oh my...those photos are beautiful, heartfelt, adorable. Goodness thanks for sharing. You just see Simons and Anna's little personalities shine. Thank you so much for sharing. Just breathtaking.

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Mindy Miller says…

    These pictures take my breath away and make me immediately want to pack my bags!

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. NancyLee says…

    I love your post. I felt like I travelled with you.... The way "I want to remember" just put me in transient. Thank you for sharing. Your boy is so beautiful, those lashes are a tease and his smile makes my day.....

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Lisanna says…

    wow!!!!!! you were in Italy last week!?!?!?
    I'm living in Rome!!!! I read on scrap map, when you will be in Rome in 2011, if it's possible I would like meet you!!!!
    you my MITO!!! you are fantastic!!!!

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  20. Lorna says…

    My family and I travel to the same villa in Umbria, Italy every year and I totally identify with many of your comments but most of all wanting to remember the light. My favourite time of day is when the sun is getting low and everything is so warm and bathed in gold. We have so many fantastic photos in that light, it truly is magical.

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  21. Sandi says…

    The journaling inspired me to write what I want to remember about a day trip with my elderly parents--like melted chocolate on my Mom's nose and my father's endearing remarks. Now I truly have the story...Thank you!

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  22. JillT says…

    I am actually trying to scrap a trip to Italy--for my daughter and that is hard!--so I'm loving YOUR pics, comparing with hers, etc. But I so much love the interaction between S & A. That is something beautiful that happens in Italy and Oregon and elsewhere. Those are the REALLY beautiful pictures.

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  23. annie says…

    Oh Ali, these photographs are absolutely wonderful at capturing the beauty that is Italy. All of the places you visited are favorites of mine. How lucky that you got to see the Palio! Did you get to hike any of the Cinque Terre? It would be really hard with kids, but maybe something you and Chris could return to. If you ever want to know some tiny tucked away jewels in Tuscany, let me know. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  24. Anna Aspnes says…

    Brings back memories of my travels around Italy...Totally relate on the crowds

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Anna Aspnes says…

    Brings back memories of my travels around Italy...Totally relate on the crowds

    Reply 0 Replies

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