We have been to many parts of Italy – Rome, Florence, Positano, Portofino, Venice…all the biggies in the middle and southern part of the country. So we when we decided to go to Italy again, I knew I wanted to do the Northern region. And Milan had to be our first stop! Full disclosure, being that it is one of the best cities for shopping in the world, I strategically planned to be there on my birthday. 😉
We spent 3 days there, recovering from travel, and just enjoying the sights. I had very little expectation (outside of shopping) but I was pleasantly surprised to find what a vibrant city it was. A bustling metropolis like Rome, and filled with gorgeous, trendy people like Paris. And the restaurants amazing too. I had the best pasta of my life at a little restaurant called Santa Lucia on our first night there.
Again, we have little expectation of the city since we were traveling with a toddler, but the weather ended up to be pretty nice (high 50s degrees) so we enjoying walking around the city taking in the piazzas and the beauty of the Duomo. We were VERY surprised how crowded with tourists the city was for the season so opted out of the lines to get into the Duomo and Santa Maria della Grazie to see Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, The Last Supper. We were a little disappointed about missing Da Vinci’s exhibition, but the thought of standing in line for over an hour with Jaxson was enough to kick me out of regret. I get super anxious with Jaxson running wild in such an unknown crowded place.
Jaxson is obsessed with birds, so we could not pull him away from all the pigeons (I think they were pigeons) around the Duomo. They were everywhere because people feed them all the time to get them in photos, which seemed strange to me (not much of a bird fan) but I guess that is the Italian tourist thing to do. Street vendors were selling kernels to feed but I lucky for us, I had a bunch of crackers and snacks packed for Jax so we were set. We did find out that Italian pigeons do not like Goldfish crackers. ha! So random. We tried basically throwing the whole bag and not one of would bit. But they ate up the granola fruit bar.
Speaking of Jaxson, he did so good on your travels. We found the place we he is most well behaved….the airplane! Literally not a peep from him. He slept, watched movies and flirted a bit with neighboring passengers. The flight attendants were commenting how they barely noticed there was a child there. I was so relived, and felt so glad we got him on airplanes early in his life!
I try to learn from our past travel mistakes, and the one I really wanted to minimize (or avoid all together) was jetlag! So I planned and strategized optimal flight times for a few days before we booked (crazy mom party of 1!!). Not to bore with you some type A details, I’ll keep it short. When planning flights, I considered 4 things:
1) Outgoing, I ensure we break up fights into 2 long stretches to give Jaxson time exhaust himself during a layover, and sleep most of the way to our destination.
2) I also planned for us to arrive in the morning; excitement will undoubtedly kick in being at a new place, so we’ll want to explore when we arrive, but arriving early also gives us time to nap and automatically get us back into schedule like we were home.
3) Home bound, I planned for a non-stop/long flight to arrive home in the evening. The sheer exhaustion of travel definitely worked to put him to sleep once we got home for his normal 12-14 stretch, getting us back on schedule immediately.
I know a lot of it was luck of a good little traveler, but gettng him on a normal schedule (according to time zone) immediately off the airplane was a major help!