Copenhagen

We arrived into Copenhagen on a rainy evening so we checked into the AC hotel and dined at the hotel bar before calling it a night. The next morning, we took the subway to downtown and the kids were delighted to find a toy store where they could play and ‘test drive’ a large majority of the toys. We spent an unanticipated 45 minutes there since the kids have been deprived of their toys for two months now (save for a few favorites that we were able to squeeze into our suitcase). We then strolled to Nyhavn, a picturesque (albeit touristy) harbor with colored homes and restaurants lining the canal. We ate lunch at one of the restaurants overlooking the water and my burger was pretty good (most other places in Europe where I’ve tried a burger haven’t been able to match up to American / SF standards). We decided to take a canal cruise which was a good start to getting a ‘lay of the land’. We then walked to Christiania, which is meant to be a bohemian, eclectic neighborhood. It may have been the rain but we didn’t get what was special about the neighborhood. The rooftop bar at our hotel had just opened so we decided to dine there. The build-out was impressive and the ambiance hip and energetic. However the service left a lot to be desired. We enjoyed several rounds of Japanese-inspired cocktails that were fantastic but didn’t end up getting our entrees well past the kids bedtime, forcing us to leave somewhat hungry. Not entirely surprising for a restaurants first day but a disappointing experience nevertheless.

I was excited the next morning as my Cornell bestie, Bumjoo was flying in from London with her husband Adam to meet us. We spent the day at the Tivoli Gardens, a creative amusement park that was celebrating its 175th year, and from where Walt Disney reportedly got his inspiration. The park was unique in that it was also appealing to adults with nice restaurants and lounge chairs in the grass. It was a perfect way to catch up with Adam and Bumjoo while the kids were well entertained with a live show, trams, the famous carousel and driving cars and boats. Ayaan was thrilled to finally find cotton candy after searching for it through all of Europe. Luckily, by lunch time the kids were exhausted and napped instantly and soundly, allowing us to enjoy lunch with some local Carlsberg beer! We ended up spending the better part of the day at Tivoli and then retreating back to our hotel through another Pride parade (we experienced pride in Lisbon and Madrid as well!). Dinner was perfect at a nice Indian restaurant Rasoi near our hotel where the kids chowed down on butter chicken and saag paneer with rice.

We started the next morning by climbing to the top of the Round Tower, but not before stopping at a Lego store (LEGO is from Denmark) where the kids played and Ayaan bought a little Lego train. We noticed that all the toy stores in Copenhagen have created an experience for the kids, likely allowing them to survive (and thrive!) despite the proliferation of Amazon and other online retailers (Toys R Us couldn’t learned something from here by creating an experience and potentially preventing their downfall!). The kids did great climbing to the top of the Round Tower by themselves (it helped that there was a ramp nearly the entire way) from where we enjoyed a panoramic view of the city. After retreating back down, we headed to the Rossendberg castle and some gardens where the kids played in a unique park. We then met Bumjoo and Adam for lunch at the fresh food market and enjoyed some delicious fresh fish from sushi, sashimi, and a smorgasbord of seafood delights. We strolled to the nearby botanical gardens and a beer garden where they told the history of beer. Next we went to some food trucks in Christiania where we got another small bite with a round of drinks. The Copenhagen Iron Man was inspiring to watch! We bid goodbye to Bumjoo and Adam that evening and enjoyed dinner at a nearby Chinese restaurant before retreating to our hotel. Onto Irelend tomorrow where we’ll meet with Gaurav’s parents!

Budapest

After spending the morning eating a nice breakfast and walking in the gardens surrounding the European Parliament in Brussels, we headed to the airport to catch our flight to Budapest, Hungary – a new country for everyone except me. I’d been there on a road trip from Prague for a day and really enjoyed it. The flight was short and kids napped and did well overall as Brussels airways was very kid friendly. One thing that’s not great about traveling with kids in Europe is that you don’t get the stroller at the gate when you arrive. Anyway our bags came quickly and we took a taxi (no uber here) to our amazingly situated apartment at Molnar utca. The one bed apartment was great with air-conditioning (90 degrees here too) although no crib. It’s great to see the kids adapt as we’ve gone from a 3 bed apartment to sleeping in suites and 1 bed apartments, to a single hotel room and finally to 4 of us on queen bed! That evening we walked along the Danube and ate lunch at a fantastic kid friendly Greek restaurant nearby. The server was extremely nice as he gave Ariana a toy horse and Ayaan some lights that made their night!

Next morning we ate breakfast at the apartment and then strolled along the Danube to the magnificent Chain Bridge, crossing it to the Historic buda side. The funicular was closed for maintenance (reminded us of our hillevator!) so we took the open air tram up to the Buda castle. The kids of course enjoyed yet another new form of transportation. The view from the castle of the Pest side is breathtaking, but there’s not much else at the castle. Our next team stop was the Fisherman’s Bastion and Mattheaus’ church which are incredible pieces of architecture in white stone with a great view of the Hungarian parliament and chain bridge. We ate some local Hungarian food at a nearby restaurant before retreating back to our apartment to have a nap. We decided to relax that evening so we took the kids to the nearby park, bought some groceries and a bottle of wine and Anjali cooked us a nice meal.

Next morning we walked across the bridge to the Gellert thermal baths that were 10 mins away. It’s a must-do Hungarian Experience to go spend the day at the baths with its mix of different temperature indoor thermal pools in a historic building, an out door pool, bath and a restaurant. We spent most of the day here as relaxed, drank some Hungarian sparkling wine and the kids enjoyed their pool. A bonus was a live orchestra playing while we chilled poolside. That night Anjali and I celebrated the close of our home by getting a babysitter and dining at the Buddha Bar restaurant. We were very happy with the result although the process had been quite stressful.

We spent our last full day in Budapest, walking the streets. We first visited the Great synagogue, the largest in Europe. We found a great park after that where the kids enjoyed “the swing and the slide” as Ariana says. We then walked down the posh Andrassy Ave to the Heroes square, and it was clear why Budapest is sometimes called the Paris of the East. The Heroes square is situated in the main park that also houses the zoo and the most famous baths. We lost our way a bit as we exited the park in search of Doner kebabs, but eventually caught a bus back to the center – quite stressful with kids. We did eventually get some Doner kebabs that the kids munched down. We were all tired and headed back to the apartment where the kids napped while Anjali and I took turns to get a much needed Thai massage next door. The evening was predictable as we visited the children’s park again and ate some yummy Italian food accompanied with decent a Hungarian red wine. We ended the night by going to one of the open air bars on top of a boat with the kids overlooking the lit up monuments along the Danube river.

On our last morning before catching our flight to Copenhagen, we strolled down to the European Parliament building while stopping for a ride on the Budapest eye overlooking the skyline. Our stay in Budapest was pleasant and quite different that the other places we’d been to! We now traveled for 2 months and to 10 countries.

Belgium

A short 1.5-hour flight from Munich brought us to Brussels. The kids we’re fairly tired by the time we reached our hotel because they were too excited to be on an airline after nearly two months, and skipped their afternoon nap. We walked around in Schuman, the neighborhood where our hotel was located and enjoyed some frites with mayo at the famous Maison Antoine which were delicious! We then enjoyed dinner at an outdoor cafe in the square with some local beer and decided to call it a night.

The next morning, we took the train to Brugge which had he kids thrilled, singing chugga chugga choo choo” and enjoying the sights of numerous cows along the way. The walk from the Brugge station to the Belfry tower and main square was beautiful with ornate small houses lining quaint cobblestone streets. We enjoyed a sumptuous lunch of mussels with garlic, shrimp scampi and frites washed down with leffe blonde. We then strolled to the chocolate museum where we enjoyed some delicious samples, sculptures made of chocolate and learned about the origins and history of this treat! Later, the kids napped while Gaurav enjoyed a drink in the square and I climbed up the Belftry tower for views of the city and canal. While beautiful and quaint, Brugge attracts heavy crowds of tourists which detracts from some of its charm.

The next day, the forecast was rainy so we decided to stay in Brussels. Our first stop was the Royal Palace which was grand. The kids loved the interactive science exhibit at the end where they danced with their illuminated shadows! Next we walked to Grand Place, the city’s main square which is lined on all sides with exquisite buildings. It was absolutely stunning! Soon, the rain forced us into an indoor gallery mall where I enjoyed a massage and Gaurav enjoyed some Belgian chocolate tastings while Ayaan napped. After a brief rest at the hotel, we were excited to dine at Tai Hon, a Taiwanese restaurant that I found in a blog where we had a reservation. The kids devoured the entire platter of appetizers before either of us could get a bite in, and we knew we had a win! The entrees were delightful too and we made a reservation to return in a couple of days.

The next morning, we took a train to Gent, a beautiful university town with a river running through the old town. We stopped for lunch at a pizzeria and then made our away to the old town. A ‘bubble man’ in one of the squares had the kids entertained for a while! Next we saw the church and the castle and once the kids napped, we stopped at a riverfront bar for a glass or rose. A few more cafes and drinks later, we made our way back to Brussels and enjoyed sushi at a restaurant near our hotel. Gent was a charming town without the crowds of Brugge which made it very desirable.

Our last day in Brussels was fairly relaxing with no real agenda. We strolled to Parc du Cinquantenaire where we found a large park and sand pit for the kids. We walked past Autoworld, a museum of vintage cars, to a beautiful fountain where we caught a rainbow! We then took the train to the Notre Damn du Sablon, a spendid church and then walked to the famous Mannekin Pis which was somewhat underwhelming. We enjoyed a local lunch and then it was Gaurav’s turn to get a massage while I did a bit of shopping while the kids napped. We returned to Tai Hon for another memorable dinner! We’re off to Budapest tomorrow.

Salzburg & Munich

We drove early this morning to Salzburg, a return visit for me after 20 years, on our way to Munich. The city seems to have developed considerably since I last visited, but maintained its charm. Our first stop was the Mira bell palace and gardens where I reminisced about the songs from Sound of Music. Next, we headed to see the Salzburg Cathedral but it was closed for Sunday service. We strolled around the beautiful baroque quarter, and stopped in a beer garden for a tall mug of beer while the kids played in the fountains and sand pit nearby. After a satiating Indian meal, we continued our journey to Munich while the kids napped.

Gaurav and Ayaan were thrilled to be checking in to the Westin Grand, a hotel with air conditioning after several nights of apartment living. Gaurav’s insights and love for hotels while traveling (and lack of appreciation for apartments) should give us lodging real estaters some comfort in the midst of the sharp rise in shared lodging establishments. After some rest, we headed to the famous Hofbrauhaus for some mugs of beer with sausages, roast chicken and pretzels. The kids enjoyed the live music and the meal. We then strolled around the various squares and made our way to Marien platz where the sounds of beautiful live music at every corner had us stopping several times to appreciate the beats. Later that evening, Gaurav and I enjoyed the remainder of our Tignanello after putting the kids to bed.

The next morning, it appeared that Gaurav was more excited than either of the kids as we planned to visit Legoland! A first for me, it was pretty incredible to see miniature cities replicated entirely in LEGO – Venice was particularly impressive due to our recent visit. The kids enjoyed riding in the LEGO train, boat, car, helicopter, and following the boats and trains in the miniature models.

Today is our last day with a car; we return it at Munich airport tomorrow and fly to Brussels. The past seven weeks have been incredible! Ariana has blossomed into a lively toddler that loves to sing – she awakens singing and often sings during the car rides. Her favorites are “baa baa black sheep”, “how far I’ll go” from Moana and “Five Little Monkeys” complete with the act of jumping on the bed! She’s also extremely talkative and expressive and her comments often leave Gaurav and I looking at each other in wonder going “did you hear what she just said”. Keep that going, Ariana. Ayaan continues to be very caring particularly about his little sister which is also very gratifying to see. Nearly 7,500 kilometers later, Au Revoir to our white Puegot, you served as well.

Austria

After a 3 hour drive we arrived in Bad Goisern, Austria – Ariana’s 15th country. It continues to be brutally hot in Europe this summer with the heat wave with temperatures in the 90s in places like Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland. We checked in to our apartment in a hotel which was great with a wrap around balcony. We took it light since it was a travel day and went to nearby Bad Ischl, Austria’s original capital, and to a local children’s park which the kids really enjoyed with a train, zip line and jungle gym. Ayaan “drove” us in the train to Porto – that place and name is ingrained in him since we kept telling him about the trip when were in Sausalito and how we’re flying to Porto.

On our first day, we woke up early and drove to Hallstatt. We took the funicular up to the viewpoint overlooking Halstatt and the lake, which the kids loved since it reminded them of the hillevator in Sausalito. The view was stunning and we were lucky to get up there early. Ayaan then said “let’s walk around the lake” so we strolled through the beautiful but touristy Halstatt. We then decided to drive to Dachstein Krippenstein and take the cable car up to the top of the mountain at 2100m. Kids once again loved it as expected and we were all delighted to find the temperature to be much cooler at noon. We ate a nice lunch overlooking the glaciers and mountains, after which Ariana fell asleep in the stroller. Anjali and Ayaan went and played in the snow – it was Ayaan’s first time and he loved making snow balls. That tired him and he napped as well. We pushed the stroller on a short hike to 5 fingers which is a lookout over the stunning lake and Halstatt. Enough activities for the day and we headed back to the apartment, visited the same park again, did some laundry and called it a night. Putting Ariana to sleep has gotten more difficult as she’s gotten used to hanging out and playing with Ayaan.

On our last full day in the area, we decided to spend time visiting the smaller, lesser known towns and lakes in the breathtaking Salzkammergut area. We first visited St. Gilgen on Wolfgangsee which was quaint and absolutely stunning. Halstatt is the most famous, but the other towns are equally great and less touristy. We had a cup of coffee lakeside and then visited the children’s park in the center. The kids were thrilled to visit the fire station that had a open house and push the baby stroller in the town. We then drove along turquoise and deep blue lakes to Mondsee, which is a charming. colonial town with a nice square. Ariana saw a church and said “Lets go see the church” and so we did. We learned later that it was the same church where Captain Vontrapp and Maria had been married decades earlier. We saw an Austrian folk band play live for a wedding in the square which was cool. We had lunch in one of the Italian restaurants in the square and devoured some delicious risotto and pizza – ironically now that we were out of Italy Ayaan loved it. The kids napped and we took the opportunity to take a longer scenic route driving past a few more lakes including Traunsee and the relatively uninspiring time of Ebensee. Our evening was fairly predictable as we took the kids to the park again, took the kids to a Chinese restaurant, and opened our bottle of Tignanello. Off on our final drive tomorrow to Munich.

Slovenia

A quick 3 hour drive in the morning from Venice brought us to Lake Bled in Slovenia, a new country for all of us! We were disappointed to learn that the weather here too was sweltering and unfortunately our room didn’t have air conditioning. Fortunately it got fairly pleasant at night and we had a balcony to enjoy after the kids slept. The lake is stunning and very hard to capture in pictures with its bright turquoise, warm, crystal clear waters filled with row boats and a tear drop island. We particularly liked that it felt like a really small town. The first evening we walked around the lake, sat by the shore and dipped our toes in the lake, and ate some Chinese food nearby since it’s the kids’ favorite. Anjali and I finally got to spend some time in the balcony after the kids slept and sip on our Antinori chianti.

The next morning we ate some yummy breakfast overlooking the lake and visited the bled castle with its breathtaking view of the lake and the island. The kids did great as they climbed up themselves and appreciated the view (Ariana said “so pretty” and Ayaan said “we should get a house like this”). We then took the row boat to the island. The ride was beautiful but the island church and tower were disappointing. After our boat ride, we ate a nice lunch lakeside at the Hotel Jezero while the kids were busy playing with the baby stroller. Ayaan has become quite European – before drinking water he always asks if it’s sparkling now. The kids had a late nap after which we decided to go visit the Castle beach for a dip in the lake and some fun for the kids with a sand pit. It’s a must do in Lake bled as the water is warm and it’s a great way to experience the lake with family.

On our last day in Bled, we woke up early and made our way to Vintgar Gorge – a beautiful stroll along a crystal clear river with waterfalls among narrow rock cliffs. It reminded us a bit of Plitvice in Croatia, but not as emphatic. The kids did fantastic again as they walked about 80% of the way appreciating the beauty and saying hi to all the doggies on the way. I’m glad we got there early since we missed the crowds and the sun. We were all a bit tired after the hike, so we drove to Lake Bohinj about 45 mins away for lunch. Beautiful but not really worth a visit after Lake Bled. Our final evening in Bled was spent strolling along the lake and capping the night off with some local Bled cream cake and a glass of muscat. Slovenia has been relaxing although hot, and we’re off to Austria tomorrow!

Venice

After 5 days in Tuscany (including Florence), we drove 3.5 hours to the Venice area. We arrived at our agriturismo in the scorching heat of the afternoon and decided to make it a rest day. We bought some groceries and Anjali cooked us a nice dinner that we accompanied with our Chianti Classico from Antinori. We could see the kids really enjoy munching down on pizza, broccolis and chicken nuggets in a safe environment, rather than another dinner in a restaurant. They also really enjoyed playing with the baby tractors, swing, trampoline, slides and toy house, all while pushing their stroller around. We traveled fairly light so we took this time to do some laundry and Anjali and I got to spend some time together alone after the kids slept early. Oh and we finally got to wash our car which got pretty disgusting after 6 weeks!

The next morning we woke up late and the kids enjoyed mamas breakfast and the outdoors. We parked the car in a lot and took the bus into the main city of Venice with its grand canals. It was convenient and after seeing the long line for the parking at the entrance of the city (of course no cars inside), it was definitely the right decision. It was my first time in Venice and it is as unique as you would imagine it to be. With over 100 islands, 400 bridges, and buildings up against the canal, it’s majestic and romantic. However the heat along with the heavy tourists really take away from it. The other thing we realized is that it’s probably one of the worst places to visit with young kids since people aren’t super nice (since it’s crowded and touristy), it’s extremely hot and humid, not very stroller friendly as most bridges have stairs, and lastly and most importantly not too safe with toddlers running around as there’s water everywhere!

We, however, made the best of our time there taking the vaporetto (water bus), walking in Realto and in the San Marco square. The kids were fascinated with the gondolas and with canals everywhere and no cars. We found a nice air conditioned restaurant where for once we allowed the kids to enjoy ice cream for lunch since it was too hot. We made our way back to the agriturismo via vaporetto-bus-car and took a well deserved nap in the afternoon. Italy 🇮🇹 has been great overall and we’ll definitely be back (thought probably not again to Venice, once is sufficient). Off to a new country tomorrow!

Tuscany

Tuscany was the only place in our entire trip that Gaurav and I had been to together, but had always wanted to return, and so we decided to repeat! A short drive from Florence, and we entered the beautiful town of San Gimignano. The heat was oppressive though, and the kids weren’t cooperating. Surprisingly and much to our dismay, Ayaan has developed somewhat of an aversion to pizza which made meal time challenging. And then, when we asked Ayaan to stop being on the phone once lunch was served, he uttered the dreaded bad word. And for that moment, the heat combined with the tantrum made me wonder whether coming to Tuscany (and the entire trip in general) was a good idea. We retreated to our agriturismo and after an unsuccessful attempt at getting the kids to nap, spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool overlooking the sprawling vineyards. The kids eventually had a late nap and Gaurav and I decided to leverage the opportunity to enjoy dinner without the kids at a beautiful restaurant back in the town of San Gimignano. We tried the pici – a simple spaghetti with garlic and the dessert Ive long craved since I left Italy – a chocolate panna cotta…that first bite, and it made me feel for that moment, that coming back to Tuscany (and the trip in general) was all worth it!

The next morning, we were off to a better start. We drove to Chianti for our appointment at Antinori, extremely excited to be visiting the ‘alma mater’ of one of our favorites – Tignanello. The winery was exceptionally stunning – founded back in the 14th century, it underwent a 100 million upgrade in 2012. From the wine making process and equipment to the tasting rooms and experience and of course, the wines itself, we were blown away! Following the tour and tasting, we enjoyed a fantastic lunch overlooking the vineyards and left several bottles of wine later.

Our next stop was Amorelli where a very friendly server talked us through a wine, olive oil and balsamic tasting paired with cheese, prosciutto and olives. We were surprised to learn that balsamic was the most expensive item on their menu (the best, and what Italians consider only real balsamic) is made only from grapes and aged for 10-36 years. Wow! That evening, in anticipation of Ariana’s second birthday, we went to a toy store to buy her gifts. We were pleased to find a wonderful kids play area above, complete with bouncy houses, water play, slides, ball houses and much more! The kids spent a fantastic hour there playing with each other and local kids. It’s fascinating to see that kids don’t really need to speak the same language to have a blast.

The next morning, Ariana opened her gifts and was thrilled with her new walking/talking (albeit in Italian) doggie and baby stroller. We then drove to Montalcino because we love Brunellos! We started at Altesino and then headed to Barbi for lunch where the kids enjoyed playing outdoors with their new toys. Our last stop was Banfi where I was excited to see the association with Cornell’s Hotel School #hotelieforlife. That evening, Gaurav had reserved a table at a wonderful terrace overlooking he vineyards to celebrate Ariana’s birthday. We started off by allowing her to open her bubbles and entertain herself until the food arrived. After a dinner of chicken and French fries, she devoured a panna cotta while we all sang to her. Later that evening, the kids enjoyed coconut gelato in the square before calling it a night. happy Birthday Ariana – we love you!

Being a part of Ariana’s exponential growth over the past six weeks has been particularly gratifying for us. Traveling with kids isn’t always easy but, for us, it’s been so worth it!

Firenze (or Florence)

Our second stop in our favorite Italy was in the city of Florence. After a straightforward 4 hour drive, we arrived at the riverfront Westin Excelsior. At this point we’ve driven more then 5,000km on the journey and I am so proud of Ayaan and Ariana for being fantastic on the drives. It was my first time in Florence and it was quite different than what I had expected. It was quaint, sleepy, romantic and historic with an incredible skyline and amazing food (which I expected). The hotel was majestic and smelt really nice and most importantly the staff were super nice to the kids unlike in France or Switzerland.

After checking in, I first got a much needed haircut at a local barber. We then walked along the river passing the famous bridges until we came upon the Ponte Vecchio – initially we weren’t blown away by this bridge but only after looking at it for sometime did the beauty sink in – and the amazing architecture where they actually have houses and shops on a bridge! We then strolled to the nearby Piazza degli Uffizi, after getting some tiramisu gelato. We spent ample time in the Piazza della Signoria with the open air sculptures, the over arching Palazzo Vecchio and the buzzing square. Ariana loved her time saying Hi Horsey to the horse carriages and looking at the lion sculptures. We then walked to the Cathedral di Santa Maria with its tile outdoors. The kids had done enough sightseeing so we treated them to the carousel in one of the squares, before they were too tired and threw tantrums that required us to call it a night.

We woke up late the second morning and took a taxi to Piazza Michealangelo that offered sweeping views of Firenze and it’s skyline. We relaxed with a glass of Prosseco as Ayaan played with the stroller and Ariana was amused by the birdies. We then took a bus to Mercato San Lorenzo – a huge marketplace with the freshest ingredients and restaurants to devour. We had a simple Spagehtti Carbonara with our Brunello followed up with a Tiramisu. We were too tired from the food and heat, and we decided to nap back in our hotel.

When we woke up, we went to the rooftop bar of the hotel with amazing views of the main monuments. Anjali and I were excited since it was date night and we had a babysitter coming! After getting the kids set with some Indian food in the room, we walked over to a rooftop bar about 10 mins from the hotel. The weather got really nice in the evening and it was a perfect setting. We wrapped up the night with a delicious meal at Caffe dell’Oro. Starting with a tempura style fried vegetables along with a Brunello, followed by a yummy pasta and risotto, and ending with a local Tiramisu with hot coffee poured over it and a Moscato. Perfect end to a romantic couple of days in Firenze!

Como / Bellagio

After a long journey from Switzerland, we were thrilled to cross the border into Italy where we knew we’d be greeted with amazing food (the only country in Europe we all have been to)! The kid-friendly attitude of the Italians was a welcome respite after several days in France and Switzerland! We ate at a Pizzeria in Como where Gaurav and I were delighted to dig in to our favorite marina pizza which we’ve seen only in Italy. The kids played in the lakeside park and Ayaan jumped through the water fountains, becoming drenched for our short car ride to Lezzeno, a small town bordering Bellagio. We stayed in a lovely apartment with a 180 degree view of the lake which was perfect after the smaller rooms in Switzerland.

The next morning, the rainy weather, combined with a long and grueling journey the previous day convinced us to relax in our house and enjoy the beautiful vistas of Lake Como. Once the kids awoke, we drove to a park near Bellagio where Ayaan enjoyed a mini zip line! We spent the evening strolling in the beautiful town of Bellagio with its mansions and amazing views.

The next morning, we hit the Lido di Bellagio beach club where the kids enjoyed playing in the outdoor showers and with their sand toys, while Gaurav and I relaxed with a bottle of Prosecco. After a few hours of sun, we took a dip in the cool lake.

That evening, we rented a boat from Lezzeno and passed the beautiful palaces and gardens of Bellagio. Although we were worried about being on the boat with both kids, they were fairly cooperative with Ayaan serving as co-pilot with his daddy while Ariana enjoyed the thrill of the boat and the beautiful view! We enjoyed dinner at Pizzeria Aurora before retreating to our home for a nightcap of Brunello di Montalcino from Banfi. Our time in Como / Bellagio was relaxing and filled with a lot of fantastic food and wine – just what we needed!! Italy is one of our favorite countries so we weren’t surprised that both of us wanted to return back to the area someday.