The Great Italian Outdoors

sullivan family villa zadra


Coming back to a place we are already familiar with has its advantages. We know the area, the local shops, the closest hospital thanks to needing to have my wedding ring cut off after an insect bite caused major swelling during last year’s trip, and the local dentist thanks to experiencing my first ever toothache in my entire life during our first few days of last year’s trip. Oh yes, last year’s trip was full of surprises!

We pulled up to the place that would be our home for the next few months late on Tuesday evening. The weather was still hot and sunny despite it being past seven and we all were in need of a little relaxation after a long drive from Germany.

The children tumbled out of the minibus and were like jumping beans set free of their box. They scattered in various directions across the grounds keen to explore the gardens they already knew so well.

A later than usual bedtime that evening still gave way to a typically early morning. A much needed day of rest was on the cards so staying at our base was called for.

Discovering that the cherry tree was abundant with fruit ripe for the picking was exciting in itself.


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It wasn’t too long at all before everyone made a beeline for the bounty. In fact, if you want to round a number of children up there are two surefire ways of doing so: i) disconnecting the wifi during Kindle time and standing by the router waiting for them to gather or ii) planting a fruit tree or two.

Sadly, the cherries on the tree are now past their best already. We made the most of them while they were good but now, we wait for the plums and apples which are well on their way to readiness.


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Walking around the grounds is one of my favourite ways to relax. Mike and I take a few minutes each evening where we simply walk through them, strolling down the winding driveway to the iron gates and back again. In such a busy household it is nice to have even the smallest amount of time together. The exercise is good for us too – I counted that it takes me 650 steps from the trees at the top of the drive to the gate at the bottom. Okay, so I won’t be running any half marathons in nj any time soon but it’s better than no excercise at all.

Having the space we don’t have at home continues to be a bonus for all of us. Frisbee games where the whole family ends up joining in are always a favourite, as is a classic game of Swingball.


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Honing basketball skills is another great way for the younger ones to burn off their excess energy…


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…while others might opt for enjoying the sunshine in a hammock with a good book. Always a great option in my eyes!


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Of course, we have had the obligatory water fights…


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…and water fun.


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And with the hot summer days giving way to balmy, thundery nights, what better way to end the day with a good old storm watch?


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And all without leaving the comfort of our home from home.






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