Happy Henry Easter Birthday

Thank you Fry Lodge faithful for your patience as we’ve taken a little break from the blog since Italy. The Fry Family Trio is finally un-jet-lagged and ready for Spring in Seattle. Henry wasted no time in finding new audiences with whom to hold court. We spent this past weekend reconnecting with the entire Eiting family, who were all gathered in Seattle for the blockbuster combo weekend: Henry’s one-year birthday and Easter Sunday.

H back in the Seattle again Henry doing dishes ... and loving it Easter - Interesting Photo

We gathered at the Fry Lodge on Saturday to celebrate getting through 12 of the most amazing months of our lives. Kristine baked one kick-ass cake, decorated appropriately enough as a bunny. They say that the first birthday is all about the parents. I’m not so sure about that. Anyone in attendance would agree that the H-man knew this was his party, and was ready to (loudly) correct anybody who might think otherwise. In addition to the cake, he got some pretty sweet presents – including his first baby grand piano (pay back is a bitch, Brian and Jesse), some great Dr. Seuss reading material, a basketball hoop (we’re in the middle of March Madness by the way), a put-the-ball-through-the-tower thingy, and some seriously stylish clothes. Thank you to all who sent presents. I’m sure Henry is getting right on those thank you cards. 

1st henry bday - bunny cake by kristine 1st henry bday - fireside chat with mom and dad 1st henry bday - super presents for a super boy

As you might have guessed, Henry needed a good scrubbing after the obligatory full cake immersion. Followed by a panicked quick trip to the drug store to buy Benadryl to deal with whatever allergic reaction we caused with the cake (Henry is fine).

1st henry bday - bunny cake extravaganza 22 1st henry bday - bunny cake extravaganza 23 1st henry bday - bunny cake extravaganza 18

The fun continued with Easter Sunday at the Eitings’ house in Green Lake, where we, as usual, ate and slept the day away. The Easter Bunny somehow knew that’s where we’d be, so that’s where (she?) left Henry’s first Easter basket. I’m so glad the Easter Bunny is so on top of these things.

Easter - 4th step to basket Easter - that finger is yummy grandpa Easter - Eiting Boys Grill

 1st henry bday - he loves aunt katie Easter - Patrick with a knife BE and JE play time

So, there you have it. Our first blog entry since repatriation. Life goes on at Fry Lodge.

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Coming to America

The Fry Family Trio is ready for repatriation. Henry is eating his last croissant and we are gulping our last espressos at the Leonardo da Vinci airport waiting to check in to our flight to London. Tim is looking forward to his bike, mowing the lawn and hanging out in the garage. Kristine is looking forward to her comfortable bed and Hump Club (unrelated to the bed). And Henry can’t wait to have his own room again.

"I thought it was the trash!"

Positano, The First 5 Days

The Fry Family Trio has spent the last five days in Positano, which is on the south side of the Sorrento Peninsula just south of Naples. We rented a car (Ford Focus) in Rome last Thursday and drove 200 miles south, getting just slightly lost when we got off the autostrata to stop for lunch. Despite warnings from every person I spoke to about the dangers of driving in Italy, we made it all the way to Positano without incident. Ironically, I dented the fender of the Focus while parallel parking on the road above our villa.
casa sara in positano from opposing hillsidehenry's first gnocci on road to positanoitalian ford focus rental car

Typically, March is the start of the sunny season on the Sorrento Peninsula. But 2008 is anything but a typical year for weather; it’s rained every day since our arrival. That hasn’t impacted our ability to have a good time, and it certainly hasn’t affected our ability to take lots of much-needed naps. The two-bedroom villa we’ve rented with my parents, Carl and Kaye, is called Casa Sara – named after the owner – and sits half-way up the hillside from the main beach and downtown of Positano. It has an amazing view of both the town and water, and has all the comforts of home with lots of space for Henry to crawl around and make a mess with his toys (he’s acquiring more now that Grandma and Grandpa are in the picture). The villa is 92 steps down from the road, so we’re definitely getting our exercise.

fry boys in the positano rainmore stairs to go before you get to casa sarapositano hillside

The town of Positano is nestled on the cliff bordering the southern coast of the Sorrento Peninsula. It’s connected to other towns along the sea by a two-lane, winding road that hugs and sometimes hangs over the steep hillside. As you enter town, the road does dozens of switchbacks as it takes you down to and then back up from the beach – with shops, cafes, hotels and private residences along the way. All the buildings have domed roofs designed to keep things cool in the summer, when it supposedly gets pretty hot. The heater in Casa Sara has been running non-stop since our arrival.

fry family trio and positano hillsidepositano from casa sarathe sea from casa sara

Our daily routine has consisted of morning espresso, a quick trip to the little grocery up the street, and breakfast prepared  by Carl and Kaye. Casa Sara came equipped with an espresso machine, so I’ve been able to practice my barista skills while satisfying the caffeine addiction that Kristine and I have developed since coming to Italy. Breakfast is usually followed by a nap and an early afternoon walk through the town to explore the shops, walk the shore and eat lunch at one of the little restaurants along the beach.

grandma fry and enrico in casa saragrandma henry tim and carl above positanotim recalling his barista skills in positano

On Sunday, the five of us squeezed into the Focus and drove 30 km north to Pompei, which is just outside of Naples below Mount Vesuvius. We spent three hours walking around the excavated ruins of the Roman city that was 35,000-strong when it was unexpectedly covered by volcanic ash in 79 A.D.  We saw everything from restaurants to parks to the mummified remains of people and dogs as they were going about their business when Vesuvius erupted. Henry got a bird’s eye view of it all, as the trip was the inaugural voyage of the baby backpack we bought in London.

kristine wiping her counter in pompeinice columns in pompeitim pouring carls pompei martini

Grandma and Grandma have been great babysitters in Positano. Last night Kristine and I had our first dinner date of 2008 at a restaurant up the road called Taverna del Leone, which is owned by the brother of the woman who runs the grocery up the street. She arranged for her brother to come pick us up and drive us home after dinner. Just one example of how nice everybody is here. We’ll be back for sure.

give me a doublegive us a double

Today (Tuesday) we’ve hired a car and driver to give us a tour of the towns south of Positano, Amalfi and Ravello.

Our Roman Holiday

We’re nearing the end of our stay in Rome, ready – we think – for our drive to Positano on Thursday morning. Our Roman holiday has been great, with lots of memories, some good lessons, and more girlfriends for Henry.

Our first lesson: Italian taxis don’t have a lot of trunk space, which makes it hard when you’re travelling with two months worth of luggage and baby toys. Our ride into Rome from the airport, we’re hoping, was the low point of our vacation.  We were packed in a tiny Fiat with luggage all around us in stop-and-go traffic for hours when Henry got car sick all over himself, Kristine, our luggage, and the taxi.  The driver was great about it and was prepared with towels to clean up the mess. We thought it couldn’t get any worse, but it did. When we finally made it to the general area of our hotel, the driver got lost. The quick turns, bumpy cobblestone streets and starts and stops caused Henry to get sick all over again. Lovely.   But we finally found the hotel, and Henry’s vomit fest turned out to be a blessing in disguise – the Hotel Raphael felt so bad for us that they upgraded us to a suite for free.  Nice work, Henry! By the time he was in his PJs, his face had returned to it’s normal color and the famous Henry smile was back. We even let him play in the bidet. The Hotel Raphael is excellent, by the way, and we’d recommend it to anybody staying in Rome – with or without carsick baby.

henrus maximusstatue bidet fun 3

After that ordeal, we decided to have an easy day getting oriented in Rome by taking a leisurely walking tour on Monday.  We stopped in a few cafes and learned how to eat a quick breakfast (croissant and espresso) standing at the bar.  We strolled up to the Spanish Steps, past the Villa de Medici, to a viewpoint overlooking the Piazza del Popolo.  Kristine had a small pout because the church she wanted to see had just closed.  But we saw some great stuff – including the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and some amazing views of Rome.

kristine in front of fontana delle Naiadi kristine and henry at roman cafe lunch tim throwing coin into trevi fountain

Tuesday morning we awoke refreshed and ready to tackle the Vatican City.  By 9 we were on our way, stopping for quick shots of espresso at three different cafes and fruit from a vendor along the way.  We crossed the bridge d Saint Angelo, and headed straight to the Vatican Museums, winding our way to the Sistine Chapel. 

fresh roman fruit bridge over tiber tim and henry

After refuelling with wine and pizza at a nearby tratorria, we headed to St. Peter’s Basilica.  Naturally, Henry made many friends.  A few Japanese girls chased us down to take his picture.  After touring the main level, we paid to climb up to the Cupola.  What the hell is a cupola?  We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  551 stairs later, we had managed to wind our way through the narrow, low ceilinged passageway snaking around the dome of St. Peters to a tiny walkway at the top, where we inched along with our backs to the wall, snapping one quick picture before quickly heading for the stairs back down.  At the bottom we were both shaking, and Henry was strangely quiet.  We needed to take the edge off so we headed home to get drinks on the rooftop terrace of our hotel – with an equally good view at a much more manageable height.

front of st peters henry look at the camera - we're at top of st peters happy to be coming down from the cuppola

kristine buying souvenirs at st peters we went all the way up there - st peters H and T at Fry Family Trio at roof top terrace of hotel raphael

It rained today, Wednesday, our last day in Rome, so our adventures were tempered a bit. We still managed to make it to the coliseum, though. And, what would a day of the Fry Family European vacation be without a cafe for Henry to make more girl friends. Seriously, thank God for Henry. I can’t think of a better way to make up for poor language skills, vomit or general parent cluelessness.

long day rainy colliseum teatro cafe girl friend #1 teatro cafe girl friend #2

Tomorrow Tim will attempt to drive the family to Positano in the rental car. We’re taking lots of towels.

Our Italian Itinerary

flag_italy

Our bags are packed and we’re ready to go!  We are truly shocked we were able to fit everything in our suitcases.  For those of you tracking our movements, here’s the Fry Family Trio itinerary for the next two weeks.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

9:00 am Car service transport to Heathrow

Alitalia flight 205, London (LHR) to Rome (FCO)                                                                           Depart 12:05 pm, Arrive 3:35 pm

Lodging:                                                                                                                                Raphael Hotel                                                                                                                            Largo Febo, 2 (Piazza Navona)                                                                                                       Tel: +39 06 682831

Hotel Raphael

Thursday, 6 March 2008

10:00 am pick up rental car, drive to Positano

Lodging:                                                                                                                                        Casa Sara                                                                                                                                   Via dei Gladioli 14

Casa Sara

Friday, 14 March 2008

Drop off rental car at Rome (FCO)

Lodging:                                                                                                                                    Mach 2 Hotel                                                                                                                                 Via Portuense 2465                                                                                                                         Tel: +39 (66) 506394

Mach 2 Hotel

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Alitalia flight 202, Rome (FCO) to London (LHR)                                                                           Depart 9:25 am, Arrive 11:25 am

British Airways flight 49, London (LHR) to Seattle (SEA)                                                                 Depart 2:05 pm, Arrive 4:50

Goodbye, London

On our final day in London we were busy with a few last-minute chores:  picking up souvenirs from Harrod’s and hats from a fabulous haberdashery we stumbled upon, buying Tim a new jacket and a jacket of a different sort for Kristine – one last jacket potato with a cider to wash it down.

Strongbow, oh how I will miss you.

Last day in London 005 

And of course, one final trip to the Sainsbury’s.  So hard to say goodbye.

Last day in London 006

Goodbye Pimlico tube station with your broken escalator.  Goodbye bells of St. George’s across the street.  Goodbye Dolphin Square. 

Last day in London 004 Last day in London 002 Last day in London 001