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. Anna Aspnes says…

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

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  2. Anna Aspnes says…

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

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Just B says…

    Oh my goodness Ali, looks like you and the whole family had a wonderful trip. Needing to get my husband & I a passport for our trip in November, and has me recalling my trip to Guatemala 20 years ago; something I had never even thought about scrapping, but now I'm thinking maybe I should. Amazing how long something like this can stay with you, what wonderful memories for Simon and Anna to share in the years to come. Wonderful, simply wonderful!!!

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  4. alsn says…

    Wow, Ali I feel like I've been on my own Italian vacation just reading your post, today. Thank you for that! How beautiful your captured imagery is!

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  5. Melanie Hughes says…

    I love how you've written this post. Kudos to you for doing the trip from the West Coast of USA to Italy. We just took the kids (3yr and 1yr) from the UK to NZ (30hrs) and I'm pregnant so we can appreciate the trip.

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  6. Linda says…

    Love seeing your photos and the snapshots of your life that you so kindly share. To me the most inspiring part is the statement - I want to remember! I am going to make this my starting point for future pages, not what do I want to scrapbook but what do I want to remember. Thank you so much!

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  7. Leslie says…

    While I loved seeing your pics and remembering Rome, my favorite pic is the last one of Simon...PRECIOUS! Tks for sharing (and inspiring me to scrap our pre-children European vacation pics)!

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  8. Jenni Hufford says…

    i love the way you documented this portion of your italy trip. Recording vacations and travels can be so overwhelming in my opinion! (BTW, I am going on the Cocoa Daisy Greece trip-- can't wait to take your class!!!!)

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  9. Francesca says…

    looking at my country trough your eyes makes it even more beautiful! I blessed to live here :-))

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  10. Iara says…

    It has been already 6 years since I was in italy for the last time, I went once to Rome, our honeymoon was in the Tuscany and also visited friends in Milano. so nice to see your pictures and remember my own feelings when I was in these same places. I never scrapped the pictures of the Rome trip. Really something to start to think about. last year we also had a big adventure trip from Germany to Brazil with our three little kids. It was crazy but really worth of it.

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  11. Angela Williams says…

    I don't know why, but the close up picture of Simon in the red pin stiped shirt brought tears to my eyes. Just beautiful!

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  12. Leora says…

    Beautiful, just beautiful!

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  13. alexa says…

    Delighted you've all had such a wonderful and memorable time over here in Europe!

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  14. Laurie says…

    Thank you for sharing this. I love, love, love the "I want to remember" way that you organized your photos. What a fabulous idea. I will definitely use this approach. Thanks again for sharing.

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  15. Nina says…

    Beautiful. Your family, the photos, the insights, the memories. Everything is just beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing. =)

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  16. Amy D says…

    A wonderful glimpse of your trip Ali. I loved every photo - every memory. I have wanted to go for a long time and now I want to go even more!!! Thank you for sharing.

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  17. Design Editor says…

    What a fun treat in my inbox! Loved getting transported. Sitting in one of those Monterosso chairs looks like heaven right about now.
    The kids are just as cute as they can be. I really love the shots of them together. Looks like they really get a kick out of each other!

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  18. erika says…

    oh my ali - it sounds like you had a fabulous trip by choosing to make it fabulous. :)

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  19. Narelle says…

    Ali, thank you so much for sharing these darling photos and your memories, I love the concept of "i want to remember". The photo of Anna in the vineyard in that little white hoodie dress took my breath away. She has adorable such a super cute wardropbe and I really loved the photos of Simon with his sword and shield - a true knight!

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  20. katell says…

    I love family trip ( i travel always with my kids since my little daughter had 3). Thanks for sharing!

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  21. Keesha says…

    Stunning.... And very touching post.

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  22. Cindy Sowell says…

    Ali I loved seeing all of your photos! I took my 75 year old Dad to Europe for 3 weeks this year and we LOVED it! The food, wine, people and sites were amazing! Monterossa was so beautiful! I took 20,000 photos and I still haven't looked through all of them yet! LOL! My Dad kept saying it was the trip of a lifetime. For me, it will be a lifetime of great memories!

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  23. Teresa says…

    Hey Ali, I found this interesting article about funny/crazy/interesting laws in Italy. You may need it for your next trip there :)
    Thanks for sharing pictures!

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  24. Kristal Jones says…

    Thank you for sharing. It's all about the "I want to remember..." That's all we need as our prompt to pull the story out of us, don't ya think? I use that prompt alot. :)

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  25. Amy P. says…

    Love the photos!! I have always wanted to go to Italy. Thanks for sharing!

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