Tuesday, August 25, 2015

R&R in Ranco - Touring Tuesday

Summer started on 17 July for this expat family.  It seemed to take forever to arrive since our US friends started their holidays at the beginning of June.

Our summer holiday options were dictated by the amount of vacation time Matt accrued, which was zero.  He used all he had on our previous trip to Florence & Rome back in May.  That presented us an interesting situation - How do we go on vacation when there's no vacation time to be had?  

Airbnb to the rescue. 

When not traveling, Matt works from home; the rules never said whose home.  We scoured Airbnb for places in France, Spain, Germany, and Italy that fit our simple vacation home criteria: pool, sunshine, great scenery, good food, and a strong wifi signal.  This was the easiest way to get around the lack of vacation days.

He found a great home for a great price in Ranco, Italy situated on the bank of Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy.  The house was more than we expected.  It had two bedrooms, a huge living/dining room, and a compact yet functional kitchen.  The house had two terraces, one off our bedroom and the other from the living room.

The weather in Ranco was unseasonably hot, so we were very thankful for the air conditioning in the living room.  Although the bedrooms were down the hall, we determined if the kitchen door was closed the cold air would find its way to the bedrooms.  A few nights were a bit uncomfortable, but really no one complained.  

What did we do?  A whole lot of nothing!  The kids played a bit in the morning before breakfast.  We were at the pool by about 10:30 until lunchtime.  Matt would sneak down to the pool between calls and splash at the kids.  On either side of that, this is how much of the day looked.  #thestruggleisreal
Matt took many of his calls from his al fresco office

The complex had quiet hours from 1-3pm so that's when the kids played on their technology and I read.  Sometimes a certain Kiddo had to wait for his time to start.  
Then it was time for dinner.  Yes, I cooked while on vacation, but that made life super easy.  We ate when we wanted to and were not tied to the late, late dining schedule of most Europeans.  We had two grocery stores within a ten minute drive, and the fresh produce and meats were amazing.  Plus, our host provided a basket of Italian staples that got us through until we made our meal plan for the week.  Let's just say, there were a lot of meals that looked like this.  
No one complained.  

We ventured out for gelato and dinner a few times.  Ranco is a pretty sleepy town so the choices were slim.  One night we ate with a former colleague of Matts and the other was for pizza by the water.  

Matt's al fresco work schedule gave us a few opportunities to venture out into town and beyond.  One day we drove north into The Alps and another we explored the area at the south end of Lake Maggiore.  

The bummer of the trip was the mosquitos.  I'll say that's one piece of the food chain we have not missed one bit on our expat adventure.  It was apparent that the mosquitos like American food.  We were bombarded with bites while dining al fresco and within minutes of trying to play ball after dinner.  Oh man did they itch!!!  It took two trips to the pharmacy and a few charades moves to get the right anti-itch cream from the lady.

The kids still talk about the trip almost a month later, which makes us happy.  They are such good kids that we are thrilled that a week of togetherness was plenty enough vacation for them.  


  1. What a delightfully relaxing trip! Sounds perfect!

    1. We still talk about this trip, even almost four months on!