This is the 2nd installment of our First European Experience in Italy.  Assisi is the holy city where St. Francis was born.  We chose to go to this wonderful place for a few reasons; St. Francis Basilica and Rocca Maggiore Castle.  Now what possibly could happen out of the ordinary here?

Assisi Here We Come…

Our trip began leaving Rome (read first of this series) in our now HUGE mini bus.  Believe it or not the ride to Assisi was uneventful.  Just a lovely drive to the Umbria region and enjoying the wonderful views.  The kids were good, normal conversation and Kevin was more relaxed driving.

Funny, how things can change so quickly.  Two hours and thirty minutes later we met with our next, lets just call it, obstacle.  Please remember, we were not seasoned travelers back in 1996 so we might of missed this little bit of important information.  The streets of Assisi are only so wide, which is not wide at all.  Here we go again, poor Kevin trying to squeeze (and I mean literally) this huge mini bus up the steep hills of Assisi to our hotel.  I could touch the walls of the buildings as we passed them heading to our destination.

We made it without a scratch, not sure how, but we did.  Our hotel was beautiful with amazing views from our balconies.  We spent a good amount of time enjoying watching the birds dive up and down.  You truly did feel like this was a holy city.

It’s Dinner Time

Soon it was time for dinner, which we decided to eat in the restaurant located at our hotel.  I’m not going to mention the hotel’s name, because they probably are still making jokes about that American family who…  Okay, so the first little blooper in Assisi, dinner.

Very nice, waiters in white jackets restaurant and here come the Allbritten’s.  Menu’s are handed to each of us.  Not a word in English.  My husband and I can make out some of the items, I am half Italian after all.  We have a little bit of discussion and then decide to try all the appetizers.  I believe there were like 10 of them.  Being that there were  6 of us, we figured everyone could try a little of everything.  Everyone continued to put in their order for dinner too, which of course was mostly gnocchi, a word my kids knew very well.

..and then some

Here come the apps…wait a minute, this can’t be right…each of us has a plate of the same bruschetta in front of us.  Okay well I guess they misunderstood our order.  No problem.  That is until the next plate was put in front of each of us.  All the same appetizers.  And again, and again and so on.  All 10 appetizers were brought out to each of us.  Thats 60 plates of appetizers for 6 people!!!

Too embarrassed to say anything, we started to make Kevin eat as much as he could. The kids had started to push the plates wherever they could find a spot free.  All I could do was say a prayer that the dinner part of the order was not misunderstood! Could you imagine?!  We made it through dinner, but again I am too embarrassed even to mention what the bill came to.  Hence, I’m sure they are still laughing about the funny American Family.

Rocca Maggiore Castle walls in Assisi Italy
Rocca Maggiore Castle
View from up high in Assisi

To Castle or not to Castle

The next morning we took a taxi up to the Rocca Maggiore Castle.  Seriously, did you really think Kevin was even going to try to drive anymore than he had to? We told the taxi driver to come back for us in a few hours.  We had the Rocca Maggiore Castle to ourselves pretty much.  I have no idea how that happened, but the kids had a great time running around and discovering things.  All except for one.  Yes, you know how it is, there is always one.  How many times can you tell kids “Make sure you go to the bathroom before we leave” ? Of course there are no toilets in a castle built in 1316.   Till this day we tease (him/her- names are protected so they don’t disown their Mother), “Do you have to do a Castle?”

Family walking down the road that led from the castle

Hope you enjoyed this installment of Our First European Experience.  

Up next is Venice…

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