Being this pregnant (37 weeks and 5 days), and entering my favorite month of the year has me dreaming of packing up our car and heading towards Mont Blanc and the Italian border. (Let's be honest, I don't need much of an excuse for that kind of daydreaming.) The difference? Next time around we'll not only be packing up supplies for a road trip (or avalanche) picnic, but also to keep a little bub happy. I can't wait to one day show our little bundle of awesome the Mediterranean, and see their face when their little chubby toes hit the chilly water for the first time. If Homekid is anything like their mama it'll probably look a little like the picture above, as this was one of my all-time favorite moments so far of our time living abroad: the first time I put my feet in the Mediterranean Sea. It was about 8:30 am, in the middle of April in 2011, and we were killing time before grabbing breakfast al fresco. Killing time quickly turned into Doc having to coax me out of the water, with promises of beach time later in the day, if I went to breakfast like a good girl. Yes, bribery works well in this house.
Doc knows that there is no keeping me out of a body of salt water, but this holds especially true of the Mediterranean. So clear, so blue, so unlike the green-ish blue water that I grew up swimming in of the Atlantic Ocean. I will say that I was not only surprised by how blue the Mediterranean water is, but also that the sand on the beach surrounding this sea isn't what I had expected - rocky and typically lacking shells. I could deal with the lack of fine grain sand, but the lack of sea shells was a bit of a disappointment to this seasoned shell collector. The sea glass I was able to find helped to quell my disappointment, but I was still a little sad about its absence.
A word of warning for taking a dip in this beautiful stretch of beach and sea in Vernazza, Cinque Terre? We've since been back 3 times, and each time, like clockwork, first dip, I end up stepping on a sea urchin. No matter what. It doesn't matter how careful I am, I WILL step on a sea urchin. And that merde hurts like hell. In fact, it typically takes us about 2 weeks to fully remove the spines from my foot, and typically several sessions of Doc cutting my foot open with a combination of a pair of nail clippers, scissors, and tweezers to pull them out (now that is love right there, am I right?). Next time we return to Vernazza, one of my absolute favorite places on the planet, Homekid and I will BOTH be wearing water socks, despite the fact that they're the dorkiest looking things in the world. Probably the universe even. I suggest you do the same. Otherwise you'll find yourself sending your husband off to try to find the one pharmacy that is open (hopefully) to find tweezers, but what he'll most likely come back with is old wives tale local advice that you should forget about the tweezers, and instead cut a tomato in half, put the flat part to your foot when going to bed, and secure it in place with a sock wrapped around your foot. We didn't try the local Vernazzian advice, so maybe I shouldn't knock it, but I felt that the wine and blunt tweezers that he was able to procure worked well enough until we were able to return home for our own homemade surgery.
What travel tips have you learned the hard way?
A la prochaine friends...