After a little winter hibernation, we finally decided to get back on the horse! Our last plane flight to Germany for the Christmas markets was very tough for the baby. She had trouble popping her ears and screamed bloody murder for the entire descent. We did everything you are supposed to do to help babies and nothing worked so we were very hesitant to put her through that again. We decided we would take a direct flight somewhere and then take the train back so we could test her ears and use the trains for the first time. We picked a location based on the flights and train schedule from a short list (Nice, Verona, & Torino). I even researched things to do in Torino before we left!! We asked four or five doctors for suggestions on helping the baby. We asked FB for suggestions and had a long list of ideas. We picked the things we thought were appropriate for our child (I am not giving my 18 month old bubble gum, gummy bears, or lollipops!) and felt that we were as prepared as we could be!
The flight was in the morning so we had to get the baby up early so we could get to the airport 2 hours in advance (yes, I am a travel nerd). She was super excited to pack her suitcase with stuffed animals and blankets! We had packed all three of us in one suitcase! My carry-on was packed with all the different things to try for the baby’s ears.
We had a wonderfully smooth experience in the airport. We had no trouble getting checked in and no line at Alitalia (very rare!) and got to use the express security line. We had time for a cappuccino and muffin and for the baby to run up and down a ramp a thousand times!
When we boarded the plane, Matt asked the flights attendants (at least two different ones) if they would be able to notify us a few minutes before the descent so we could make sure the baby was doing one of the many things we had up our sleeves! She was excited to be climbing back and forth between our laps and looking at all the people on the plane. Right before take-off, we had to put her seatbelt on which she was not excited about but she almost immediately fell asleep on her daddy’s chest! She slept through take-off (which has never been an issue for her) and she slept the ENTIRE flight! Matt kept trying to get her to clear her ears while she was sleeping and put in the special earplugs a friend found us. But she slept through it all. He kept pulling on her pacifier to get her to continue to suck and she still continued to sleep! The flight attendants let us know a few minutes before descent and we had the special treats ready. But she slept through it! When we landed, she woke up! Matt declared the trip a success because she didn’t scream bloody murder. I felt that we were lucky but that we didn’t figure out what would work if she got upset during the next landing. I guess the results are the same…we can try to fly again!
We arrived early enough to explore the city after we settled into our apartment. The weather was supposed to be terrible the entire weekend (rainy and cold) but it was beautiful the day we arrived. We loaded the baby in the stroller and took off exploring. Torino has miles and miles of archways, tons of piazzas, beautiful churches, and beautiful views almost everywhere. The first day, we walked around experiencing everything. We got some lunch and had a picnic in the park, where the baby convinced her daddy to buy her a mini soccer ball. After our lunch, we continued to wander around but I got a terrible headache so Matt walked me back so I could rest. On the way back, we found a wonderful park for the baby to play. We played for about an hour. She found a friend with toys; he had one exactly like her puppy!! She did not quite understand that it was not her toy! When we got back, Matt played with the baby while I took a little nap and then we decided to venture back out to find food. Tips for any travelers-Torino does not caterer to tourists. None of the restaurants open until 7:30 for dinner and 12:30 for lunch. This is tough for us with a toddler that goes to bed at 7:00. Finding food was a continuous struggle for us during the trip.
On Friday, we went to local market. Matt bought all the meat, cheese, wine, and bread he could carry! Instead of eating our wonderful meat and cheese (since I can’t eat salami!) we decided we would have a big lunch since we knew we would never have a big dinner! We went to the piazza with all the archways and tried to go to a restaurant that got great reviews online. The restaurant didn’t open for about thirty minutes so we went to a café to have coffee. We ended up eating at the little café instead of going to the first restaurant. After lunch, we walked to the castle and palace. We walked into the castle to find out it was an art museum. Instead of going to this museum, we decided to go to the Egyptian museum. It was AWESOME. We saw a 1500 BC mummy and lots of other really cool things. The baby enjoyed walking around the museum and looking at all the different things. After the museum, it was finally raining, so we decided to wander back towards the house. And get gelato! As we got to the gelato place, the baby fell asleep. In an attempt to wake her up (we were three minutes from home and wanted to keep her up so she could go to sleep in her bed!!), I stuck a spoonful of gelato into her mouth. She barely even woke up to lick her lips!! The people in the store thought I was nuts trying to wake her up!
The next morning, the baby got up early but decided after a few hours that she wanted to take a nap. She took a really good long nap. Saturday we decided to have the big lunch we didn’t have on Friday. It was an awful experience. The baby was not in the mood to sit in the weird Italian high chair, she didn’t want to eat any of the snacks we brought, and she didn’t want to sit with either of us. She doesn’t have a lot of experience in restaurants since they always are closed! After tag teaming, we finished our lunch. Mine was not satisfying but Matt enjoyed his. It was rainy and cold so we bundled up the baby and started to walk to the Mole. It was the tallest building for a while and currently the tallest building in Italy. It was originally meant to be a synagogue but now is the Cinema Museum and has an elevator up to the spire. We decided to not go to the museum since we don’t know much about Italian cinema! We waited for an hour and a half to ride the elevator up! My fear of heights has definitely improved since Matt keeps making me go up tall tall buildings and cliffs! The baby LOVED it!! She was looking over the edge and screaming her name. I was terrified! The building is featured on the back of the 2 cents coin.
After the museum, I had a special surprise for Matt. I looked up a wine tasting room and double checked all the hours so that we could go to the tasting. He really wanted to get some wine from this region. We walked for a while to find the place and when we got there, IT WAS CLOSED!! I was so upset. In typical Italian fashion, the website was wrong! We ended up right next to a church which we explored and on the same street as the museum with the shroud of Christ. We decided to go to the museum. Two museums in one day!! We were like real tourists! After the second museum, we started to walk back towards the house and dinner at the Irish pub. Dinner was slightly better than lunch because we were able to block off an area for her to run around but still be very close (there were no high chairs!) We also had a nice family sitting with us that she loved! After dinner, we got gelato again (I think it was the four trip and really the best gelato we have had!). We got home and put the baby to bed.
We spent the night packing up so that we could leave in the morning for the train. We had to walk to the metro and get a train to the station we wanted. This was our first real train trip so we did not know how much time you needed to allow. We were at least an hour early…and this was not necessary. You can arrive 15 minutes before if you want! You can’t actually board the train until 5 minutes before departure. The train arrives 5 minutes before departure!! The baby LOVED the trains. She was watching each train leave, saying “choo-choo!” One of conductors did the whistle for the baby! The train ride was 5 hours and she loved every minute!! She looked out the window watching for the trains. She kept saying “choo-choo, more choo-choo!” Finally with 45 minutes left, she passed out!
We had a wonderful successful trip! One of the smoothest trips we have had in a long time!!