It would have been a shame to be so close to Italy without stepping foot in Italy. So after sitting in some toll traffic and driving through the longest – about 11 km – and highest – about 1,300 meters – tunnel we’ve ever been in, we arrived in Italia, on the other side of Mont Blanc.
We decided not to venture too far into the country, since poor little Sophie was battling some intense motion sickness (those hairpin turns are enough to make anyone want to puke), and instead spent the afternoon in Courmayeur, the Italian ski resort equivalent of Chamonix.
We arrived just in time for all of the stores to close for the typical three-hour lunch. I totally forgot to factor that cultural difference into the timing of today’s excursion; nevertheless, we found ourselves a restaurant and indulged in pizza, pasta and gelato before Papa decided to take a nap on a park bench in a square overlooking the mountains (I actually have a photo of him snoozing away, but promised him I would refrain from posting it to the blog). Grammy, the girls and I eagerly awaited the reopening of the boutiques and spent some time in a cafe watching the hikers return from their adventures in the mountains.
The stores finally opened again – at 3:30 pm! – and I bought myself a lovely Piero Guidi handbag, which reminds me of my father who, before he died and with his boss at the time, explored licensing the designer’s products for importation to the States about 11 years ago.
I’ve really enjoyed spending time with the girls – real quality time, without the constant interruption of work. And the feeling seems to be mutual. Sophie holds my hand constantly – we’ve developed hand squeezing codes. One squeeze means “go.” Two squeezes means “I love you.” Three squeezes means “stop.” And four squeezes means “there’s a poodle!” Chloe even allows me to hold her hand occasionally, although she usually rolls her eyes when I ask. Needless to say, I feel more relaxed than I have in a long time and let’s face it, the scenery helps.