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In 2015, we had also visited Italy. While staying just outside of Florence, we decided to take a day trip to Imola, home of the world famous Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari. My husband loved it so much, that this trip he wanted to take a day trip to the city of Maranello, home to the Ferrari Factory and Museum. I think this is where Charlie’s love affair with cars all began.
The trip from our rental property to Maranello was expected to be a 2-hour and 45-minute car ride. With a toddler, that meant we should have expected at least two stops, if not more. To prepare for the trip I made sure to have several essentials to make the ride a little more comfortable. Even with leaving earlier in the day, we knew his nap would mostly likely be in the car, vs. the comfort of a bed. Some parents/guardians may disagree with me, but I don’t worry too much about schedules when we’re not at home. To that extent, I allow for changes to the schedule when at home, too. It all depends on the situation. Each parent knows their kiddo best and should assess their own situation before going out for the day. Especially when a nap is required. But for us, a car nap was perfectly acceptable.
As I mentioned, I wanted to make sure that the car ride was fun for Charlie. So when I usually have healthier fresh whole food snacks, I opted to pack some of the yummy, carby, items that I knew would be a special treat.
Overall, the packing list was essential to ensure we had what we needed. Here’s a comprehensive list of what I packed for the day.
- UPPAbaby CRUZ stroller
- Optional: Ergo 360
- Chicco Cady Travel High Chair
- Diaper Bag, including:
- Diapers (remember 1-2 per hour away)
- Change of clothes
- Toys (Charlie has always loved Hot Wheels or the Melissa and Doug Water Wows, for example)
- Creams (sun screen, Aquaphor Baby, etc.)
- Water/milk bottle(s)
- Snacks (Apple slices, crackers, string cheese, pouches, yogurt melts, etc.)
- Diaper changing pad, i.e. the Patemm round pad.
- Comfort items (two babas (blankets), extra pacifier, stuffed toy, etc.)
- Phone and/or camera
- Don’t forget your house keys!
- Extra water bottles (getting these at the grocery store can save you a Euro or two vs. buying them at a premium at the museum.)
- I personally like shopping at Carrefour whenever I find one. It’s just a good grocery store with familiar brands and lots to offer. Of course other grocers will work, just fine.
- Snacks for the adults
We happened to luck out as Charlie took a good 1.5-hour nap, making for a quicker drive to the museum. We only stopped for fuel (both petrol and food) once and made it to Ferrari fairly close to the 3-hour time frame.
If you want to just visit the Ferrari Museum, tickets will run you about €15/person for a self-guided tour. However, there are other options where you can actually test drive the cars, with a nice lunch included. The museum is great, you can see a replica of Dino Ferrari’s office and of course all the cars that started the Ferrari dynasty. The Museum will take you about an hour to an hour and a half to go through. But the highlight for the guys was the Farrari F1 simulator. For 10 minutes (7 driving), you can get behind the wheel (ish) of a full on F1 car. The cost is about €25.
Getting home was a bit more tedious. Charlie was a one-time a day napper and with that box ticked in the AM, we were due for potentially a horrific car ride with a bored toddler. The best advice I can give is to not beat yourself up for giving in to screen time. If this makes the three-hour car ride easier, I say DO IT. Who cares; is your kiddo happy? More importantly are you happy? Does holding back the phone/tablet and listening to crying (screaming??) really accomplish anything? I’m not saying throw the boundaries out the window. I am saying, however, it’s okay to cave a little when it means more harmony. And, once you’re back into the comforts of your rental or hotel, take back the device and encourage other types of play. Moms – really it’s fine.
So after the long…really long… ride home we walked into our rental and rested for about an hour. Once we pulled ourselves together, it was about time for dinner. One of my husband’s business partners was there for the evening and helped cook dinner. If I wasn’t married to the most amazing husband already, I would have to say I’d marry Mario (name changed to protect the innocent). Mario cooked us the most amazing Italian dinner. The recipe is so easy!
Salmon Pasta Recipe
- Barilla Rotini pasta
- Panna Da Cucina (I’ve only found this online in the states, but some specialty stores may carry it.)
- 2-4 table spoons oil (I use extra virgin)
- 4-6 oz Salmon
- 1 small zucchini
- Parmesan Cheese (grated)
- Cook pasta per package instructions; drain and return to pot.
- Heat 1-2 table spoons oil and add zucchini.
- Cook zucchini for about 3-5 minutes or until tender.
- Separately, in a medium fry pan, heat 1-2 table spoons oil and cook the salmon until opaque. While cooking continue to chop up into small pieces.
- Once the zucchini and salmon are cooked mix in with the pasta.
- Pour in Panna Da Cucina to desired consistency. (I start with a little (1/3 cup or so) and then continue to add until it’s pretty creamy.)
- Stir in Parmesan cheese. (Start with a quarter cup and add to desired taste. I like Parmesan a lot so I tend to add more.)
- Salt and pepper to taste
**The wine is just for you…ENJOY!
Cook time: ~20 min
2-3 (depending on how much pasta you want to cook. )
Learnings and Mommy Brag
Ferrari Museum Entrance
Overall the trip was a huge success. We had our moments with Charlie, but those happen all the time at home. If I were to sum up the big take-aways from the trip over all, it would be as follows:
- Go with the flow. Sometimes, you have to follow your daily schedules and other times, you should allow yourself to bend the rules. You won’t break your kid. In fact, you may learn a new tactic or find that they are a little tougher than you thought.
- Plan as much as you can, but allow for the unknown. I.e. see if your hotel/vacation rental has cribs and other baby necessities. I think Daniel Tiger says it best: “Think about what you’re going to do and pick the clothes that are right for you!” In short, what are you planning on doing and make sure you have the right ‘stuff’ packed. No need to over pack, just be thoughtful.
- I found it helpful to do one bigger outing a day. So pick the AM or the PM and make that your adventure. Then for the other half, stay close to home and play games, swim, have a picnic and keep it easy. Over booking your day WILL wear your kiddo out and especially, you!
Lastly, I like to think about the ‘peaks’ and ‘valley’s of each trip. I.e. what was my favorite moment and what was my least favorite moment.
During our trip, my son took his first steps….and on my husband’s birthday!
Adjusting to the timezone. We do our best to not fall asleep until it’s time to go to bed. Even if it’s slightly earlier than we’d usually fall asleep. This trip, it took Charlie a few nights to adjust to the new timezone, which meant some pretty early mornings (3 AM) and some awkward nap times. Once he adjusted, though, we were business as usual.