It sounds fancy but it was right in the middle of the GFC and airlines were literally giving longhaul seats away from Australia. So, when a Kids Fly Free offer hit the market, we grabbed it with both hands.
Travelling with kids can be tricky. We're lucky that ours are good flyers, and they're reasonably well-behaved (although occasionally capable of great hideousness) in public. When it comes to food, we have a picky one, and an adventurous one who'll more or less try anything. Regardless, at every meal in a foreign place, like most parents, we tread the I'm not eating that tightrope.
Not so in Italy. The food's superb and familiar, and the people tend to be louder than our kids can ever be. So, we more or less breezed through this fabulous country wallowing in the dolce vita.
At the end of our not-quite-three-weeks Italian immersion, there were signs that our three year old son, Spencer, had, well, sampled heartily from the trough of Italian deliciousness.
The little fellow went from this:
To this...yes, he's the chubby one in the InterMilan shirt.
Want to know the secret to those fabulous cheeks?
1. A splash of yoghurt
2. A good helping of carbs
3. A pinch of gelato
5. More gelato
6. The occasional baked treat
7. A bowl of something chocolatey
8. Something good from the pizza man
9. A selection from the Menu per i Bambini
11. A cheeky biscuit every now and then
12. Did I mention gelato already?
13. And some gelato?
Spencer deftly tackled every edible thing Italy threw at him. And there were plenty.
And those fabulous cheeks?
Well, they were pulled and pinched by a dozen Nonas in our final Italian days, and caused us a short delay at immigration as the officials debated whether or not he was the same boy as the one in his passport photo.
I'm sad to say that he no longer sports them.
But that's nothing another trip to Italy couldn't fix.