The trip seemed like forever to arrive was now here. We were off to Sicily for 3 weeks. Keith would be photographing a wedding the last Saturday of our trip – so technically we could qualify this trip as business with pleasure – 2+ weeks of pleasure with a little business thrown in!
So the itinerary is as follows. Keith, myself and the kids set off from PHX – MXP (Milan Malpensa) with a 3 hour layover in JFK. When the alarm went of at 3:45am PST I knew it was going to be a long day. I was mentally prepared for the huge trip that we had in front of us. The flight time had been moved up by 2 hours, which meant doing this trip on 2 hours less sleep. Yikes, we didn’t finish packing till about midnight, so less than 4 hours of sleep! At least the kids were asleep by 10pm – so they would be starting the trip on 6+ hours, so they would sleep on the plane for sure I was assuming (or really hoping!!!).
The 3 hour stop at JFK allowed time to grab a delicious stuffed portobello sandwich from Shake Shack (an old NYC favorite), grab a Tiger Beat (Isabella is growing up so fast, I remember when I loved this magazine and Leif Garrett was on the cover) and Gabby grabbed a National Geographic Kids to help the 8+ hour ride to Milan.
Oh but the ride went so well. A little late taking off didn’t matter since we had a million hours to kill between our flight from Milan to Catania. But the in-seat televisions are a god send for sure. We all watched shows, movies, did some trivia, played some games, before you know it 5 hours have flown by. Gabby fell asleep with about 2 hours to go and Bella the trooper stayed awake the whole flight. The flight couldn’t have been more enjoyable – I had packed lots of snacks, games and all sorts of things to do and we didn’t even need to tap into my emergency reserves! I even give the kids a small little wrapped “gift” for each flight we take, it is always something not very expensive that will entertain them on the flight. I didn’t even have to give them gift #2!
Getting off the plane in Milan we were facing a 4 1/2 hour layover. That hurt. We couldn’t check in for our connecting flight till 2 hours before so we were stuck in the airport check in lobby. Gabby laid down in the middle of the floor. Luckily I had grabbed a blanket and pillow from the plane and she literally slept soundly on the hard floor for 2 hours. Oh to be young and light again! An espresso or two later and we were off to Catania.
The above photos are taken on that flight, we apparently all fell asleep finally except for Keith! It was a bumpy flight, so I’m glad the kids slept through most of it. When that flight touched down, we had been traveling for over 28 hours. Now we had to find our shuttle driver to take us from the Catania airport to Milazzo to catch the ferry to Lipari. The good news was that everyone had a second wind at the airport. So a little gelato and a few laughs and we were on the bus.
A nearly 2 hour ride took us to the Port at Milazzo, everyone cat napping along the way. One ferry already cancelled, we were lucky there was one that was willing to make the trip. Lots of bouncing, but the kids really enjoyed the ride. We were getting pretty tired at this point but knew the end was in site. A little over an hour later and we were grabbing a taxi towards Hotel Villa Enrica – the Lipari port looked beautiful at night. We checked into the hotel at about 9pm (or noon PST). A total of 32 hours door to door.
The journey was long but I have to say I don’t have much to complain about. The kids were in good humor most of the day – Keith and I were too!! We event went out for a good dinner when we arrived. A delicious Risotto Pesto, some local Sicilian wine and a handsome Cannoli. The food, the wine and 30+ hours of travel made us really good sleepers that evening.
I think we conquered our jet lag by just missing a whole night’s sleep. Not sure I would have planned it that way, but it worked!