Visiting Lake Como, The Italian Alps, and Ticino with Kids

Ticino Italy, Lake Como and Swiss Alps Travel with Kids

Spring has sprung, local COVID outbreak numbers are stabilizing, and due to generous vaccination policies in Utah, our family of four is vaccinated. So, it is time to travel again! Of course, just because we have our vaccinations and passports ready for stamping doesn’t mean the world wants our tourism, so we are planning our next European sojourn for June of 2021, and crossing our fingers, tossing salt over our shoulders, and gently tip toeing into travel territory once again.

While our trip will take us from London, to Paris, Venice to Milan it is our stop in Lake Como that needed the most research. On previous trips, we stayed in Wengen, Switzerland and Monterosso on the Cinque Terre and through those trips discovered a must-no tip: Do NOT stay in the town every guide book recommends. So, as we explored Lake Como I knew that Locarno, Lugano, Como, and Bellagio were no go’s for us. We want something more quaint and quiet, but still with enough adventure for two teens who like to get out on their own, and two cousins who are big on outdoor activity, water sports, and sleeping late (aka not next door to the church bells like we chose in Florence).

So, we started our research with articles about the most charming villages in Lake Como, starting with these favorites:

But, then we found this video, and our decision was made:

Three Day Itinerary for a Lake Como trip with teens to Ticino, Morcote.

So, with our village of Morcote, Ticino, Lake Como selected, the travel itinerary has fallen into place almost perfectly. Here is our Perfect Itinerary for Three Days in Lake Como with teens. As we build out these plans, I will update the links, due to current lockdowns in France and Italy, many of these options are not yet open.

  • Day One: Night Train from Paris to Milan
    • Tour the Last Supper in Milan
    • Train to Ticino
    • Dinner in Lake Como
    • Hotel in Ticino – Morcote
  • Day Two: Explore the lakes, trails, and churches of Ticino
  • Day Three: Morning exploring the Lakes of Lake Como, then on to Venice, past Lake Garda

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One Day Itinerary for a Trip to Newcastle from Sydney
One Day Itinerary for Day Trip from Sydney to Newcastle, Australia
Love Is In the Air

Rhine River Ferry: One Day Itinerary with Teens

Our German River Cruise Experience

Five years ago, as an extended family, we took an amazing two-week river trip down the Danube. While we were by far the youngest travelers on the ship we found the relaxed pace and force-fed charm was a perfect way to see the villages of Germany.

So, you can imagine our delight when we learned that DIY single-day River Ferries for the more adventurous set are available as an alternative to the two-week leisure cruise.

About the Rhine a River Ferries

Each morning, starting in Cologne and Mainz KD Ferry operates boats heading up and down the Rhine River. Most people prefer to start their ferry experience in Mainz and head north to Cologne (getting the prettiest portion of the route earlier in the day and taking advantage of the quicker speeds the follow traveling with the current). But, we’ll be traveling from Brussels and Bruges, so beggars can’t be choosers.

Rhine River Cruise Itinerary

We’ll start the day in Cologne and take an early morning train to Boppard, skipping some of the earlier but less high-impact stops so that we can allow our boys a little sleeping in time (to ensure domestic tranquility) and arrive in Boppard at 11:00 AM.

Our day in the Rhine will be made en-route to Switzerland where we’ll spend two nights and three days, so we’ll be traveling with luggage; and although we are a carry-on family, we’ve decided to focus our Rhine stops in cities that offer luggage storage which means St. Goar and Bacharach.

I purchased Ferry Tickets in advance through KD Rhine (I’m a fan of skipping lines wherever possible and tend to get a better conversion rate when I book in the USA.

To cap off our exciting day on the Rhine we’ll spend the evening at the Hotel Lindenwirt of Rudesheim am Rhein.

Hotel Lindenwirt, Rudesheim, Germany
Photo: Courtesy Hotel Lindeniwrt

Cologne to Mainz KD Rhine Ferry Schedule

Favorite Rhine Travel Videoimg_1438-2

 

Prague with Teens: Two Day Itinerary

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Prague Two Day Itinerary for Travelling Europe with Kids

This July, our family of Four will take off for two weeks in Europe (our second Grand Voyage through Europe as a family. We’ll start in London and work our way via ferries, trains, and rental cars to Austria and then on to Prague for a quick two days before flying back to London.

Our Prague Itinerary

  • Arrive from Vienna by Train on Day One
  • One Full Day Exploring Prague
  • Depart by British Airways on a Direct Flight to London on Day Three
Prague, Czechia – Wenceslas Square Prague, Czechia – Old Town Square

Our Prague Itinerary Philosophy

Yes, this is a city full of culture, history, art, amazing day trips to places like the gorgeous Český Krumlov but on this trip we will be hitting Prague after a fairly aggressive pace of Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria so Prague will provide the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind, and soak up the ambiance – preferable in a cafe, with a cold beer, and view like the stunner above.

With Prague, just wandering the narrow alleys, popping into charming shops and cute little coffee shops, one can love Prague without ever checking a single item off the Prague Family Traveler’s Bucket list.

” Prague isn’t just a city, but an entity of some kind.”

– -Sezin Koehler

Day One:
Arriving in Prague

Day Two:
Prague Itinerary

Classic Sunday Dinner

In my mind Sunday dinner equals family, gathered around a table, for a hearty meal. Ideally, the meal should be eaten at a leisurely pace, with the table cleared between courses, a tablecloth, and linen napkins.

In my mind nobody does hearty, leisurely, cuisine quite like the French.

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My go-to Sunday dinner:

Continue reading “Classic Sunday Dinner”

Exploring Utah: Capitol Reef National Park

imageimageIf you live in Utah you can, and should, explore the multitude of national parks, recreation areas, and monuments within just a few hour’s drive of Salt Lake City … and my favorite is Capitol Reef.

Located just three and a half scenic hours southeast of Salt Lake City with hotels, developed RV facilities, and first-come-first-served national park campsites Capitol Reef is the perfect weekend getaway March – May and October – November. Avoid the summer months where you’ll bake in the dessert heat and hike nose-to-tail with European tourists in their black knee socks and trekking poles.

Instead, pick an April Friday, reserve a hotel room in Torrey on Friday night, head out of town at 3:00, make good time, and enter the park just in time for a beautiful sunset hike. Then, grab a patio table for pizza, live music, a fabulous canyon sunset, and a beer at the Rim Rock Inn.

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Although the in-park campgrounds are some of the best around, they fill up quick and don’t accept reservations. Fortunately, just ten minutes outside the park is the tourist (in a quaint way) town of Torrey and the Red Sands Hotel where for $100-$150 per night you can have two queens, wifi, pool and jacuzzi, and a view of the red rocks while you enjoy the included breakfast (coffee, waffles, eggs, and cereal). Or, you can do it up right at the less conveniently located but more charming Lodge at Red River in Teasdale for $150 – $250 per night.

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Wherever you rest your head will be secondary to the easy and accessible hikes, scenic drives, board-walk petroglyph trails, canyon arches, and the Pioneer Register where pioneers from 1884 to 1962 recorded their passage through the Capitol Gorge.

Head out of town after a delicious brunch at Cafe Diablo, flip your radio to The Splendid Table and enjoy transmission while you can. Arrive home in time for two loads of  laundry and a quick prep for the week ahead.

It’s a vacation without the stress of planning.

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Shallot Carbanara

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Okay, I know, this is not technically a carbonara. Technically, a carbonara should contain pepper, egg, pancetta and a hint of cheese. But, “technically”, in order to get it right you need a perfect pancetta and a homemade noodle – and on a given Tuesday night I have neither. Fortunately pretty good and a willingness to ignore the purists can result in a damn fine dinner.

Ingredients:

Splash of white wine
1/4 stick butter
1 pound sliced portabella mushrooms
1 diced shallot
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 pound cubed pancetta
1 cup milk
1 box angel haired pasta
Parsley
Salt and pepper

30 minutes, serves four

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Brown the pancetta in a medium sized skillet on high heat (or use your Le Creusette if you scored an awesome Christmas pot from the hubbs in 2009) and set aside on a folded paper towel. Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine and turn down the heat.

Sautee the butter, shallots, and mushrooms over low heat while boiling the noodles. Melt cubed cream cheese and parmesan while slowly mixing in milk (carefully adding heat so as not to curdle).

Crack an egg into the cream sauce then spoon in the noodles (do not rinse) and mix to coat noodles. Add pancetta, salt, and pepper to taste, and heat through.

Serve in shallow bowls and sprinkle with fresh parsley.

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Boozey Brunches

Once upon a time there was a lazy Sunday in May, seventy-eight degrees, a carrot-infused  bloody mary, a roasted beet and honey salad, lavender scones, and three perfect hours with my childhood best friend.

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Then there was a closet shelf of just the perfect size to become a shrine to Chanel … the perfect pumps with the baby soft lambskin soles in nearly perfect condition.

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And there were bacon jam samples at the deli where I stopped to pick up frommage D’affinois.

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My family was healthy.

My heart was full.

And for that day, life was better than I even dare to hope for.

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