Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Travel Diary: Venice, Italy

I'm excited to start sharing our recent trip to Europe. It will take some time, but I don't mind because that just means I get to relive each moment over again. I told myself I wanted to create a diary of this vacation. And while I will create another Chatbook this year, I also want to write things down so I don't forget any moment from our favorite adventure yet!

Outside of the caribbean, I have only traveled within the US. So last November when John and I had the travel bug and we started looking up tickets to Europe, imagine my surprise when we jumped on the opportunity within an hour of our search. Less than $500 roundtrip? Our tickets to San Francisco last year weren't much less than that. So we booked our flights and told ourselves that we'd save over the next 7 months.

I've never been more proud [or relieved] that I stuck to it and saved more than enough for my share of the expenses. I can't even count how many times I've heard, "you're a teacher! How can/did you afford that?" While I think finances are an extremely private matter, I do want to share how I was able to contribute 50% of the cost. But that's a post for a later day- today is all about our time in Venice!


We were extremely lucky that all of our flights were on time and we had a smooth day of travel. Our flight out of Miami (MIA airport) left on June 3rd at 5:05pm (EDT). We arrived in London (LHR airport) on June 4th at 6:40am (GMT +1). We had, roughly, a 3 hour layover [which was actually perfect because it allowed for time to eat and go through security again - security & connecting to our new terminal took longer than planned, so I was thankful for the extended amount of time]. We left London at 9:20am (GMT +1) and arrived in Milan (LIN airport) at 12:20pm (GMT +2). After gathering our bags, we took the Malpensa Shuttle bus from the airport to Malpensa Stazione Centrale [the Milan Central Train Station]. From Central Station, we took a direct train to Venice and got off at the Venezia Mestre station.

We stayed right off the island in an AirBnB that was located in a quaint little neighborhood. Our apartment was only about an 8 minute walk from the train station and a 3 minute walk from the bus stop that took you directly to the island. And the size of the place? If you've ever stayed in hotels abroad, you know that they are TINY. Well, we had a full apartment. Queen size bed, full bathroom, and a living room/kitchen combination. High-five to John, because this was the only place that he booked. With this being our first experience booking an AirBnB, we were quite nervous about how it would turn out. But I can now say with confidence that we wouldn't change one thing about using them for our accommodations. Especially abroad. It was SO nice having a local's opinion on where to eat, how to get around, the best places to visit, etc. I'm so, so bummed that we didn't get to leave Paolo a review. Because we were new to the whole AirBnB thing, we didn't realize there was a time limit. I wanted to write all reviews once we returned home and I JUST missed the window. But his 5 star, Super Host status should say enough. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

We got to Paolo's apartment around 5:00pm local time, so we dropped our bags, freshened up, and headed right out for the evening. We walked around Venice for a bit before stopping at one of the many local restaurants.

Although overpriced, taking a gondola ride in Venice is a must. However, our AirBnB host highly suggested taking a boat taxi tour as well. We didn't do a boat tour, but we walked 12+ miles on day two, so we definitely saw a good portion of this beautiful city. John created a list of things to do in each city and, "get lost in the streets," was on it for Venice. It's safe to say that we successfully crossed that item off the list! 

Venice in a nutshell for us: Eating delicious food & gelato, drinking beer & wine, sight-seeing until our legs went numb, taking a gondola ride, and sitting on the canal edge just taking it all in. Venice, you were the perfect welcome to Italy.

Be kind. Choose love.


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