Well the skiing is over - we all survived without anything broken. Bear got a really bad black eye - but that is it. We skiied France on the last day and really regretted it. There was a blizzard - freezing cold and snow blowing sideways. We got our crepe and hot chocolate (both not that great (and 28 euro) and headed back to sunny Italy, vowing to never return to the cold, windy depths of France again.
It really was quite hairy. Thought one of the kids was going to pack up and just sit there and freeze. Not sure what the plan was if they did. The two girls were howling with tears. So cold, there neck warmers were frozen in position and even with toe and hand warmers I couldn't feel my face, fingers or toes. But to their credit they continued on, uphill for 300m (to avoid going down a 2km run and then back up another really long chairlift. When we got back to sunny, calm Italy, the temptation was to go straight back to the apartment and watch a movie. To their credit, they let us drag them to a warm restuarant (that required going up another chairlift) and we thawed out while drinking hot chocolate (and gluwein) and eating some pretty great pasta.
We left La Thuille very happy, vowing to come back to Italy next year for another shot at skiing, this time the Dolomites. Love the combination of skiing and great food. With Switzerland we skiied and ate what was put in front of us - here - we ski, we look forward to lunch, we ski, we look forward to dinner. Food is as much a part of life here as breathing (or if I was Italian I would say smoking).
Let me rewind - C girls birthday was pretty great. She loves her Ipod Touch and hasn't stopped finding all the extras that it does. Xmas eve included a really lame snowboarding santa - the kids sobbing themselves to sleep (he only gave the italian kids presents on xmas eve) and waking up to discover that there was a total of 1 present waiting for them. They were okay about those presents (a local doll for the girls and pinochio for bear) from Santa, plus a La Thuille t shirt - wow you say. But a mountain bike (with gears) each (from us, and a pair of rollerblades, a lego cargo train and strawberry shortcake doll, plus a popcorn machine is waiting at home for them - so they can keep the xmas spirit alive for 2 more weeks and know that it is all in the waiting.
Yesterday we went from La Thuille to Florence. Went via Milan - then a high speed train for 1 3/4 hours. Spent way to much time in line waiting for the train, which was booked out - so we had to go 1st class (still had to wait for the 3rd train after we got there). Have already booked for tomorrow's trip to Rome, got it at the same time as our tickets to Pisa, so maybe we learnt something.
Oh - that's right - we went to Pisa today......Pisa, walk through very italian streets from the train station. Walk for 1/2 hour - very pretty - in the light rain - then you turn a corner and - it takes your breath away. Very beautiful, very angled, very amazing that your children are experiencing this world spectacular sight at the ages of 6,8 and 11 when you have to wait 39 years to see it, okay, 31 since I heard of Pisa, but still - that's a long time.
We got back to Florence (Firenze) at 3. Went straight to the Duomo - so we could climb the 463 steps to the top of the dome. It was pretty spectacular - got there at 5. Just enough light to take some spectacular photos of Florence. After which we grabbed an ice cream, walked the christmas lit streets and wandered to a resturant. All 3 kids tasted all of the antipasto - even liking the chicken liver (even after they found out what it was), then having something different for main. C girl had Risotto (with blue cheese) and salmon gnochi last night - calamari tonight. She is trying food without any argument. It is so unusual that we may not know what to do with ourselves by the end of this holiday.
Obviously she has been milking the whole"I don't like this......." for way too long.
Tomorrow we are going to see Michaelangelo's David - also hopefully the main museum. Got a train to Rome at 1:10. Not long enough to see everything - but as they say - you don't DO Florence, it is a place you can come back to again and again and discover new things every time.
We are just trying to not kill the magic. A lot of nutella is being consumed on this trips in the way of crepes (energy food).
PS - I am having champagne for breakfast - not because I need it, or even want it at 8 in the morning - but because it is part of the buffet breakfast - and hey, why would I knock back champagne????