Hulings Adventure Summer

Follow us on our adventure to Europe!!
We will add photos and some journal entries so you can keep up with our travels :)

Hudson, Qc

Quick stop at Jasmines house

Swimming pools,
Hot tubs,
BBQs

Arrival

We made it to the airport with plenty of time. The security line was terrifyingly long but it only took us 25 minutes to get through. Seriously, there were thousands of people in line.
But it was actually very smooth.
Once we got to the gate, we got some candy and snacks and settled in. The kids watched planes land and take off. Our flight was delayed until 8:40pm. And we didn’t end up taking off until 10PM! It was fine because the kids were totally entertained by their individual in-flight entertainment consoles. We got a hot dinner (chicken or pasta?) and we all fell asleep. Except Casey. He played Angry Birds all night. Breakfast was yogurt and a croissant. Landing was smooth. Luggage claim was smooth. Taxi ride to the hotel was smooth! Now it’s time to relax and decompress before we go walking around on Piazza Navona.

First night in Rome

Meet up with cousins

Our first evening in Rome was very special. I got to see some Italian relatives!!

The man with the white hair is my moms First cousin, Stefano. His dad and my grand mother were brother and sister. The woman taking the selfie is his daughter Francesca. She’s about my age. The woman at the far right is her mother Laura and the little girl is Francesca’s daughter Alice. My heart was so totally full after our visit together. We had apperitivos at Bar del Fico, a walk around Piazza Navona, and dinner at Caesar’s. Stefano gave us a little walking tour and showed us where he works. He chose the dinner place because it’s his favorite spot.

I wish there was a word in English that means the same as « Comblé ». It means to be joyful from feeling satisfied… happy from being fulfilled.

Anyway. That’s how I felt.

Day 2

We were still very jet lagged today. But we pushed through! We got breakfast in our rooms and just sort of enjoyed our rooms for a while. Then we walked around in the scorching Roman heat looking for some lunch. We found an incredible pizza place with the most amazing pizzas and sandwiches and other treats! We ate picnic style in the street, and walked back to the hotel for a break from the heat. Then, we went and saw the Coloseum! And the ruins! We walked and walked and the heat was so intense but it was super incredible to see the coloseum. It felt surreal, even. Of course there were a bejillion people. But it wasn’t really that bad. All of us just sort of stood in amazement for a while taking it in. After that- and the walk in the forum - we were so hot and tired so we hopped on an Uber and went back to our neighborhood. Perfect time for gelato!
Casey and I went to a bar right next to our hotel while the kids played Nintendo in their room. Then I had an hour to myself to walk around and see the shops 😏
Finally it was time for our highly anticipated dinner at Remesstra Roscioli.
It was so dang good!!! Everything from cured meats, to pasta, to carne, to tiramisu and an amaro! And our server was super sweet. Charlie fell asleep on my lap for a while, but when he woke up, he was ready to join the party.
We are so happy and full and in awe of this incredible city.

Rome

Another super hot day!! But the Hulings kids rallied like champs.

We started our day at St-Peters Basilica. It was incredible to be standing on/near one of the worlds architectural marvels. The renaissance in a nutshell. We were too hot to wait in line to go inside so we enjoyed it from the Piazza.

Next, we had a typical Italian lunch with Antipasti of prosciutto e melone. Then, for the primi, we had tortellini con carne, cacio e Pepe, carbonara. The Secundi was fried anchovies and sautéed muscles. It was perfect!!

After an afternoon nap at the hotel, we ventured into the super Vegas-y area to see the Trevi Fountain. Even with the mobs of tourists, it was super impressive. So humbling. It ruined us for all other fountains. A lot of things in Rome have ruined us! Then we walked back to Piazza Navona to sit and chill at a restaurant and people-watch and have drinks. The kids played and ran around the piazza. We watched street performers. And then we came back to the hotel for more of that amazing Roscioli Pizza.
Another amazing day. Our hearts are full.

Florence  —

July 1st - July 6th

Today, we saw the pantheon in the morning and then we hoped on a train to Florence!!
The train tide was very cool. It was a high speed train! Rome to Florence in 1:15 hours.
We decided to walk to our Air BnB and that was an -interesting- choice. 20 minute walk with suitcases and backpacks through narrow streets of Florence in the super heat wave of 2022 was not the most fun.
But our host was there when we arrived and he was super nice. Our place is awesome. We are super close to everything. No need for trains or buses or rentals of any kind. While the kids decompressed in the flat, I went and found the grocery store near by. I got some coffee and cereal and other fun Italian foods to stock up our place.
We are here for 4 nights.
Then my friend Al and her new husband came over to our place for a drink and it was awesome! So fun to meet with friends in a far away place.
We made a simple dinner at home and are going to get an early bedtime for our big, big sightseeing day tomorrow:)

Cioa!

Our Air Bnb

Day 2 in Florence

Florence — day 2

We started the day early with a walking tour of the city. We had a tour guide for three hours and we saw lots, and lots of cool stuff. We spent lots of time at the Academia Galleria and around the David. It was incredible to see it in person. He is so big and beautiful. Our tour guide was super nice and super informative. I was so so grateful to have a tour guide to point out all the cool things about this marvel, and to tell us fun stories.
We then got a great explanation of the Duomo, and the Uffici and the Ponte Vecchio.

After our three hours of walking and listening, (the kids did great by the way— very minimal whining) we got to try a sandwich from the most awesome place. (Link bellow) we started following them on Instagram a while back so you can imagine the hype of getting to try it!
We were all very happy with our choices and ate while sitting on the curve of a Florentine street.
People walking by would notice all of us eating a sandwich from this one place and those who knew, knew. Others were very curious. (It’s a genius marketing strategy.)Of course the line was super long, and we saw a few people bail, but not us! We are hard core eaters. 😏

After a nice long break, it was time to climb the Duomo. I cannot stress how surreal it was to be climbing an architectural marvel from the Gothic and Renaissance overlap. We took the steps from the ground all the way to the cupola and back down. The steps were part of the original design, so we were climbing up some pretty crazy steep steps which are wedged between the two domes. (The Duomo has an inner dome and an outter dome. 🤯 The kids loved everything about it. The parents got a little freaked by the claustrophobic stairwell and the dizzying height of the cupola. But it was so totally cool none the less.

It was a hot and sweaty climb up and down, so we headed back to the Airbnb to crash for a while.

After our long break at home, we strolled casually to our dinner spot: Tratoria Cibreo
It was amazing. It’s a lovely little trattoria with only 6 tables inside. They were super passionate about their food and they loved our kids!

Then, more gelato and walk home to unwind and go to bed!
Phew what a day!!

I have to say: seeing Michelangelo’s David was a highlight of my life. No question. I got goosebumps and tears. It was perfect.

Florence Part 3

We started the day at Gilli. Thanks dad for the recommendation;) it was super delicious. We thought we would only get coffee and a pastry, but turns out they have a full menu - complete with pancakes and eggs Benedict and croque monsieurs. So we had brunch! The best parts were the caffe latte and the freshly squeezed orange juice. The food was excellent, too. That’s just how good the coffee was.

Then the The Climb Du Jour was the bell tower next to the Duomo. Another fun adventure in late medieval architecture! The kids was a great time climbing the steps. And today was the hottest day so far. 101 degrees! The top of the tower was so hot and bright that we couldn’t stay long there either. My face was dripping in sweat. Everything was sticky and hot and just …wow…hot. We went back to the apt for a break. Then Cecilia and I ventured out into the Leather Market in the center of town. It was 90% hustle. If we made eye contact with any merchant, they would follow was for a few yards telling me to try on their jackets. Some of it was good stuff. But way too overwhelming.

Then it was time for the Gelato! It was The best of the best. The tour guide from yesterday suggested this place and she was right. It was amazing. Better than Morano Gelato. Then Ceels and I went shopping a little more while the boys went to the grocery store. Then we came home and crashed. They are some tired kids….. amazing, tired kids. We are in. Another simple dinner and some serious down time.

Geneva

July 6th-July 11th

We’ll be staying with our friends Pat and Chantal and their four kids!!

Goals:
—See two stages of the Tour de France
—Eat a lot of raclette, Gruyère, and chocolate
—See Alps up close

We made it!
The trip from Florence to Geneva was intense! Our train was delayed from Florence to Milan where we needed to catch another train to Geneva. We arrived in Milan with 2 minutes to get from track 17 to track 5 so we ran like crazy and we made it! If we had missed it, we would have had to wait 4 long hours in Milan!!!

The train ride was so beautiful. We saw some incredible landscapes that would have made Bob Ross so happy with the happy little trees and cabins in the mountains.

We took an Uber to Pat and Chantal’s house, met the dogs, played with the kids, had beer and wine on the patio and went to bed happy!

Paris

July 11th-16th

Gonna be doing some people watching here.

Chamonix - Mont-Blanc —

Switzerland

Our first full day in Nyon was for chilling. Everyone was pretty burnt out from so many days of non stop site seeing and heat and walking and train rides. Chantal took us to a huge park with a cafeteria and picnic area. The food was awesome. There was a salad bar which included pate, a cheese plate, and meats. There was the hot lunch which included rotisserie chicken and rostie (a delicious tater tot type thing). Then we explored the large park with water features, climbing games, big slides. There were farm animals fenced in, a peacock, some goats, ducks and geese, and piglets. Father up there were little rides for the kids like mini go-karts and power boats on a pool. That was a huge hit. Then the kids all did a bungee trampoline thing where they could do flips and jump super high while tethered.

We then went home for some dinner and patio time.

The next day, we headed to Chamonix-Mont Blanc. The little town at foot of Mont Blanc. We actually went over to France! The border was just a check point and we did not have to stop at all. We just went through a bunch of speed bumps and some guards were there looking. I’m guessing there are random e stops but we did not get selected.
The town of Chamonix was absolutely charming. All around us were gorgeous hills and mountains. The Rivière De Glace is little blue grey and flows down from the mountains. It’s very surreal. We stopped at a brasserie for lunch. The food was it was typical alpine food. I had a baked dish of potatoes, cheese, bacon and onions. Casey had a hanger steak, Lucca had baked cheese ravioli, Cecilia had Chèvre Chaud and salad and Charlie had hamburger steak and fries. But the most exciting moment of the meal for me was when I discovered that the Mayo here is WAY tastier than our hellmans. This Mayo has Dijon mustard in it so it’s zippy and tangy! And it makes for a perfect dipping sauce for fries.

After lunch, we walked around the town, tied macarons, and climbed aboard a cog train to a super high elevation. The train ride alone was worth it, but the top was also exactly what we hoped for! It was breathtaking at first, but then we got very comfortable and we just enjoyed being among the birds. We even saw helicopters from above!

Gotta go- will add more later

OH HEY, FOR BEST VIEWING, YOU'LL NEED TO TURN YOUR PHONE