Winter exile – part 8 – Rome to Florence to Lavagna

TLDR – Train ride to Florence then exploring the city. This place is pretty, but DAM is it crowded. Took a train ride down the coast to Lavagna, and it is not crowded. Bonus lots of play grounds and a beach

The full Batch of trip reports

Packing, reading, and the train

We watched Despicable Me well before the sun came up. After the movie and some YouTube we finished packing and proceeded to eating everything left over in the house we were not going to take with us. When Maddex and I left at 0900 to take the trash down someone was outside the door waiting to clean the place; Guess we’re leaving now. We went out to drop the trash off and the magic trash cans that some times appear at our corner were there; score. We dropped our trash at the corner vs taking it three blocks away to the larger bins that don’t vanish.

Last time running through the odd glass phone booth portal

When we walked back up the flat we loaded up and took off. We walked by Trevi for the last time on this trip. It looks like they’d forgotten to pay their water bill because the fountain was not flowing yet. By 1030 we’d made it to the Rome Train station. Always looking to avoid terrorizing everyone around us,  we went up stairs to use the toilet and find a place to sit while we kill a few hours. Michelle read the kids two more chapters in the story she’s been writing. It’s great to watch. Michelle gets animated and exited reading. The kids follow along laughing and screaming at the story.

And Dancer was MISSING!!

We had McDonald’s for lunch in the seated in the same spot. Something about the fries today tasted spectacular. We had 2 large fries and 20 nuggets. Once the nuggets were gone Maddex and I went across the street to buy me a Kebab. On the way back we picked up some more fries for the girls, mostly Mila, to devour.

Our train left from platform 7 and we were in car 8, the last car on the train. Once we loaded onto the train and started moving the kids settled down some toys and iPhones and we had a nice ride to Florence at 275 KPH. From the Train station, it was about 15 minute walk to our flat. No one was there to meet us. Michelle called the contact number and got in touch with the owner.

Girls on a train playing on their phones and dolls
Ok, we are off the train. now what?

Made it to Florence

The owner hand an Irish number and accent. He said we should have received a welcome email with a local contact to provide us with keys. Nope no email. He pinged Michelle a new contact number via whatsap. The local we got in touch with was almost ready to help us out. While Michelle was sorting things out on the phone the kids and I walked across the river and found a playground to play in. Sweet a park right next to our place. We played for about half an hour then walked back to the flat to meet the guy. When we arrived back at the flat Michelle received a text saying there was a problem with our place.

YEAH!!! a playground – With some guys bed under the big toy over there
Maddex checking out a waterfall in the river

They offered us two other places and we picked the first option. The new place is about 20 minutes away by foot and much closer to the center of town. The closer we get walking to the center of town (Tourist zone) the less space there is on the sidewalks to walk. Eventually, we have to walk in the middle of the road and avoid the few cars trying to push their way through the people. We passed four bridges before turning left when we walked two blocks made in to the new flat. Where we waited a few minutes before we were treated with keys and a tour.

The new place is huge compared to places we’ve been staying in. It’s four ~20 x 8 rooms with round-arched ceilings connected by a hallway on one end. 2 bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen dinning room. The kids are most excited about a bathtub. They prefer a bath over a shower. Not bad at all. There is also a large grocery story about 100 meters around the corner. Replacement place is so far is excellent.

Out of Explore with Maddex

The girls set up their spaces and we did some shopping for food. For dinner, we had some random stuff. Carrots, Chips, yogurt, meat stuffed olives, and some brownie. The girls were playing and not interested in leaving after dinner. Plus, while playing, Khaleesi unscrewed the top of a small table and dropped it on her big toe, which promptly swelled up and bruised. I wanted to explore some more. I managed to talk Maddex into going out and walking around with me. Zee from work mentioned the he and his wife put a lock on the Bridge in town last time they were here and offered a reward if we could find it. Maddex was all excited to find it for the reward.

Maddex and I set off holding hands to explore the town. We found a big museum filled with statues with penises we need to show Mila tomorrow. Then we toured a huge church we randomly passed. Next we crossed over the bridge looking for the lock. Bummer, it looks like all of the locks have been removed from the bridge recently. I emailed Zee a picture and told him his love has been removed, and hoped he does not divorce soon.

Look a penis on a statue – Mila will giggle so hard
We found no pad locks with a Z and S on them. Looks like all of the locks were removed recently

While out and about I offered to buy Maddex some Gelato if he could keep a secret from his sisters. He said he could and we purchased him some Peach gelato. He loved it, of course. It took him until we made it back to the store to finish his gelato. At the store, we picked up some ice cream for the girls and brownies and a drink for Michelle. Outside of the store Maddex asked me to help him clean off the ring around his mouth because he needed to remove any evidence of his gelato. – He is learning to be sneaky – good or bad?

Bridge with the pad locks and diamond shops on it

As soon as we got home he took his mom to the side and told her his secret like I told him he could. His favorite part of the day was of course the gelato. – The kids all went to sleep without much fight then Michelle and I sat on the couch writing and cross stitching to watching friends on Netflix before going to bed. It was Sad Doctor Drake Remore fell down an elevator shaft and died. Tomorrow we explore the town.

Off to Explore in the cold – Saturday

The Watch tells me it is 4 degrees out. We’re having the girls wear tights and pants over the top of them to make sure they are warm enough. We had cereal and yogurt for breakfast then set off to explore the town for a few hours while our laundry finished. Hoping it is not as crowded in the morning as it was last night. Heard people stumbling around at 3am this morning. Maybe people are still sleeping it off. Wonder if they have a last call. Come to think of it the guy I bought Michelle’s drink from last night at the off license offered to open it for me.

The wager for the day, Mila’s idea, how many penises will we see on statues. The girls sure are into penises right now.

Dad – 20 // Mila – 22 // Roxi – 6 // Maddex  – 30 // Khaleesi –  15  //  Mom – 10

We took a similar route to the route Maddex and I took last night towards a square with a statue garden filled with marble people. Mila and Khaleesi ran up to each statue to look for a penis then giggled if they found one. Maddex asked me “dad, did anyone wear clothing back in the olden days?” – fair question based on the statues. From there we ended up on the bridge with the jeweler shops on it. Only the shops were closed. They had ornate wood and metal doors closing up their shops. Looked like treasure chests. Walking onto the bridge it’s hard to tell you are on a bridge until you make it to the middle where it’s open not lined with shops and you can see the river.

Girls in front of a David statue with penis

Across the river momma finds the MichaelAngelo square she wants to walk to using my phone and I start leading us there. We walked along the water for two bridges then turned right up the hill. When I say hill, that’s a understatement. The route we took was steep. It had slanted 1 meter deep stairs we climbed up. Atleast 100 most likely 500 stairs.

You can’t even see the end of the stairs

When we made it to the top of the deep stairs we had another 30 normal stairs to climb before we made it to the top. The view from up on top of the hill was worth the climb. We explored a bit and slowly made it over to the Bronze David statue in the middle of the square. From up here you can tell how MASSIVE the two big churches are in town. It’s still only a bit past 9 and the crowds are not nuts yet.

View from up on the hill
Bronze David statue

Off we go to tour some big Churches before the lines are too long. The church with the tall tower on it in the picture above is the first one we come too and they want 8 Euro a head for a tour with a tiny line. I would rather pay to tour the church with the massive dome if we are paying to tour so we book it across town to the other church. By the time we get there at 0940 the lines wrapped around the building. Guess we are not going to tour – Lame. We can walk around the outside and look around or free. We’ll enjoy that for the day

Big huge mega massive church with a line wrapping around the building
This is where the line starts to climb the bell town

By now the kids need to warm up so we head into a flying tiger for snacks and soap. We walked away with snacks and no soap. A short walk away we made it home for lunch and a warm up. The current Penis count is 8 for the morning. Roxi is the closest without going over, but the day is not over.

Roxi with a big grin eating some lunch

Exploring some more

We went out to Explore Florence two more times today. First time during the daylight, the second time at night with the city all light up. Not sure if the lights are year-round or just for xmas or both with some extras for xmas either way the lights tremendous and should be year round, I’ve spoken. First time out we took a random route around the city starting with how Maddex and I walked the night before. We ended up at the three major churches in town, walked over the bridge with diamond shops again, and found all kinds of street vendors. Checking later, according to a few internet how to walk Florence maps we hit everything with random luck following shined objects – we’re the best squirrels.


Michelle was starting to feel an urge for a leather purse. On some street in front of a bottomless wine glass she finally went into a shop to check out the leather goods. I waited outside with stroller and a few kids while she received a lesson in Italian leather goods. Not being convinced yet we left the store without a new purse. Back at home, we had bath time. The kids were so excited to have a bathtub again and not have to shower.

They all took nice long baths. Clean smelling kids, how long has it been? Out of the bath the kids put on their PJs thinking they were done for the day. Little did they know that once they consumed dinner we’d be headed back out. For dinner we had a bagget cut into pieces with stuff on top. Butter, Cheese, Cheese and meat, cheese and butter, ETC with a side of apples, peanuts, chicken patty, and carrots. I kept bringing out more things and putting them on a table until the kids stopped eating things.

Roxi helping her self to some of dinner

We only made it about 25 minutes walking, well it was not really walking as much as it was slow moving pushing through the herd. The lights were great, but the streets were so filled with people it was stressing us out. – Annoying. We snuck down a few allies to leave the stream of people and ran home where it was nice and quiet for a show and some bedtime.

We are about to hit the slow-moving wall of people
Mila in the backpack – she is way over the limit but she loves it so small journies

Total penis count was 10 – Mom is the winner of the penis game // that’s what she said ……..

Getting to Lavagna

Maddex was the first up by a long shot. He and I ate all of the one-off goodies not easily divided by 4. He had 2 ice cream cones and a cookie. Khaleesi woke up an hour later, she and Maddex split a moon pie and some plum cakes. Everyone else woke up and we ate the rest of the food, packed up and cleaned up the house. Maddex and I took the trash a few blocks down the street to the underground trash can things then walked around the block to look for butter before we give the flat one more look over making sure we did not miss anything like REI bags.

Around 0910 we left the place and walked through town towards the train station. On the way, near the Apple store, we stopped in at a leather vendor setting up and everyone got a new leather purse. A nice yellow one for mom, animal purses for the girls and a leather wallet for Maddex. Next stop on the way to the train station was a shop for snacks where we found and had to buy Mila brand yogurt drinks.



We made it to the train station about 45 minutes early. Lucky for us the train was already at the platform providing us with a warm place to sit and wait for the train to leave. Being early also ensured we all had seats next to each other. The first few hours of the train ride the kids were great. Randomly snacking and playing games on their phones. About 20 minutes before the end of the first leg they started to get restless. We transferred to the next train by tunneling under the track from track 2 to track 4 then waited about 25 minutes before the train left

The second train was right along the coast in tunnels with glimpses of the ocean and cliff cities. Wow it’s starting to look amazing. Next transfer we had about 3 minutes to switch trains and it was not super duper obvious which train to switch too. We took the tunnel from track 2 to track 5 and hoped on a nice double-decker train for a five-minute ride – momma guessed right/ great work momma.


We made it let’s check it

From the train station, we walked through a big Sunday market on the pier. Wow, what a great looking beach. After taking in the view for like 8 seconds we walked about three blocks down the road until we met a gal outside of the door to our flat. She showed us into the flat and lead us up the stairs. I climbed 3 floors with Khaleesi on my back, Roxi on one arm and a suitcase in the other hand. When we made it to the top it took a sec to catch my breath.


While Michelle was doing paperwork the kids claimed their rooms and started moving in. Maddex and Mila both folded and put away or hung their clothes then they set up desks. Maddex and Khaleesi get double beds. Roxi and Mila are sharing a big bed. Michelle and I get the pull out bed. – as far as pull outs go this one is not bad.

Maddex showing off his desk setup
Mila trying to unmake her side of the bed, while Roxi is setting her side up

Everyone but me fought over who needed to poop the most until everyone had gone. We escaped the smell and headed out to check the market and the beach. Market was super crowded and hard to move in. We escaped towards the sand before we’d seen it all. Sand!! And look over there a play ground. We’re slowly falling in love with this place. A bit further down the pier we found another play ground !

Climbing thing over looking the beach

We’ve now matched the number of play grounds we found in Rome and beaten the number in Florence. At the play ground with rings the kids play on and fight over. It’s getting later so we walk through a tunnel under the train track and find a shop to buy some food in. Tremendous, a shop with Pepsi max again; miss that stuff. Back at home Michelle and I step over each other in the tiny kitchen to make food and feed the kids.

Dinner time !!

After dinner we watch Ralph wrecks the internet and put the kids to bed. The internet is meh unbalanced here. It’s 2 down 14 up. I want to reboot the router buts it’s in a locked closet we don’t have the key too. No one stops us from getting better internet. It dawns on me we have access to the breakers and have no clock on the VCR to worry about – I turned off all of the breakers, listened to everyone say “where are the lights “, counted to 7 then flipped them back on. Internet is much better now !

The rest of the pictures

I said, Maddex look at the stripes, and Maddex says, why should I care? – wow!







Daddie, these have penises too !!
You better take out picture in front of this one


Michelle standing way way out there to get us and a church in the picture


How do you get in the store with the frosty in the way
We wanted to see this tree lite up at night but it was too far of a walk with all of the people on the streets
Oh snap. penis statue in coming
Dont even need a flash at night
Roxi after some ice cream

Lavagna pictures start here

Mila showing off her MILA yogurt drink to mom
Maddex and Khaleesi playing coin dozer on their phones
Chris has something to do with this town, his statue overlooking the ocean
Baby you brought me to a beach again
Roxi and Khaleesi jumped on and went to town rocking on these things
More things to climb


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