So, travelling alone with three kids is something I’m used to. People often give me a look of sympathy, and say, “three boys…!!” which I think they believe helps me in some way. It doesn’t – it just makes me feel like there should be something wrong even when there isn’t. I’m happy to travel with them as they are pretty good travellers most of the time, and Son no. 1 helps out as best he can nowadays. (Although, I would be lying if I didn’t sometimes dream about heading off on my own now and again.)
Even so, I might have found things a bit easier if I hadn’t arrived at Leonardo Da Vinci Airport to find no lifts or escalators working. This meant moving very slowly with luggage across the airport and over to the train station with three children who had been up since 3am. Then because there was no power we were unable to buy tickets directly to our destination, but instead had to go into Rome and change there. The train from the airport arrives at platform 26 and the train to where we were heading goes from Platform 1. Which would be fine on my own, I’m sure – a five-minute stroll perhaps. But by then Son no. 2 was so tired that every two or three meters he kept lying down with his pillow-pet on the floor and Son no 3 needed to be carried much of the time. So it took about 30 minutes or more. Nevertheless, I resolutely kept smiling and refused point-blank to be beaten by the vagaries of Italian electricity.
And I owe Son no. 1 a huge thank you who made that possible by being just brilliant and made the whole journey more than bearable by staying cheery and helping with the luggage and the younger ones the whole time (he’s being a right pain the arse right now though!) The other fabulous thing was how many people helped us upstairs, and on and off trains, and I also got chatting to two lovely and fascinating people on the train into Rome, which certainly made up for the discomfort and additional travelling time.
Once we’d arrived at our destination things ran much more smoothly and when we visited a regular spot for lunch in the mountains half way through our holiday we were greeted with the most beautiful scenery as it was covered in gorgeous snow. I was so excited and it was for me the highlight of our holiday, which perhaps seems a bit odd as my friends who stayed back in the UK all got sun-burned noses while we froze in the Mediterranean!
Here are some landscape images of the snowy mountains in Piano Grande and the hilltop village of Castelluccio, Umbria. If you’re ever over there, do make the effort to head in that direction. Although I always feel quite sick on the curvy drive up, it’s so worth it. A stunning magical place up in the clouds!
We ate at a terrific place called Ristorante Il Fienile where my loud brood were made to feel very welcome and the lentil and sausage stew was, as always, absolutely delicious. You should call beforehand and book as I think they are doing very well indeed since opening a couple of years ago – we were lucky to get in.
The Easter hols, I have to say, were much-needed by all of us and it was a little sad to say goodbye to Italy and my mother who is staying out there for now. But I’m very much looking forward to the kids going back to school tomorrow as I have a lot of work to catch up on. Hope everyone else had a good break and is raring and ready for summer.
All photographs were taken in or near Castelluccio, Umbria, Italy. Although the colours up there can be beautiful and they were that afternoon, I chose to convert these to black & white as it seemed to suit the dramatic sky and atmosphere.
All images (c)Sarah-Jane Field 2015