We just returned from one of our favorite spots in Zakopane, entry point to Poland's stunning Tatra mountains. On the first night of our four-day stay, my 7-year old asked, "can we stay for two months?" My kids absolutely adore the Tatras, not only for all for all of the beauty and fun winter and summer-time activities it has to offer, but also because of our choice of lodging - the Tatra Chalet. With multiple trips to the Tatras under our belts over the last few years, I want to shout from the mountaintops (and I could, literally, if I was there right.now) what makes our vacation time there so fantastic, so that others can find the same joy and respite in this spectacular place.
I'm guilty of it.
Whenever a long weekend comes around, I check Google Flights for cheap tickets from Krakow to another close-by European destination. After all, you can get from Krakow to Stockholm direct in under 2 hours for under $50/person round-trip. And when we were looking for a place to spend our fall break, we settled on Italy because flights to Bologna were only $75/person round-trip. Stupid cheap airfares, short flights - and just like that, you are in eating the most amazing kannelbular (cinnamon rolls) in Sweden or dancing in the medieval squares of Tuscan hill-top towns. We did this for our first two years in Krakow - nearly every break the kids had, we jetted off to another country. And it was fantastic.
Back to Tuscany . . .
After the first part of our week which included visiting the picturesque, tall-towered town of San Gimignano, biking the medieval city walls of Lucca, and running free on the lawn in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, we geared up for another three fabulous Italian towns: Siena, Florence, and Pienza.
Romantic hilltop towns. Medieval town squares. Vineyards as far as the eye can see. Farm-to-table restaurants. Italian wine. Pecorino cheese. Olive groves. Ahh, Tuscany.
We just returned from a wonderful week in this paradise. We explored seven towns in seven days, ate fabulous food, and ran free in the most beautiful town squares. We visited family farms, saw saffron-picking and cheese-making in progress. We explored old fortresses and cycled along ancient city walls. We ate gelato every.single.day. The kids filled their pockets with olives, wine corks, acorns, and fall leaves. After all, it's the simple memories that are sometimes the most treasured ones.
After a perfect family beach vacation to Mallorca in 2016, we found it hard to consider anything else but going back in 2017. Hundreds of stunning beaches, beautiful landscapes, crystal clear water . . . you can read all about that here.
And then my husband threw a wrench in things, "how about we try some place new?"
What? Did I just hear that right? I was so set on going back to Mallorcan perfection, that I hadn't even given thought to some other beach locale. We looked at our options, and ultimately we decided to throw caution to the wind and try some place new.