Day 7: We said goodbye to our sweet villa by 7AM to drive back to Florence, found the rental car drop off (that took a bit…but now I know exactly how to direct you!), walked to the train station and waited for our train. Three of us dozed on and off and caught up on news a.k.a. the election! We traveled during the election to escape yet Europe’s media is just as crazy about it the media in the states is. Brett spent most of his time doing a paper for school – he’s so good. Twoish hours later we were in Venezia, specifically Venice St. Lucia station, not the Mestre station. We stayed at the Hotel Carlton Grand Canal, which is right across the water from the train station. We had arrival transfers though so a sweet lady met us as we came off the train and a porter transported our bags – talk about service! We were all feeling exhausted by this day so we wandered around, found a great lunch and gelato as we walked back, of course and we all crashed for a few hours before pre-dinner drinks. We had dinner not too far from the hotel and found a cool little sports bar that offered a variety of beers = happy husband!
Day 8: This was our only full day in Venice, so of course, we had a private guide waiting for us at 9:30AM in the lobby to begin our half day tour. Sabrina was amazing! She was well-versed in all things Venice – having been born and raised there – and easily read how we were each feeling to know when it was time to move on from a subject, when we needed more time, catered to our focus – we were all totally enthralled with her and she complimented us for our attention span at our young age, hahah! We spent time just getting “lost” with her in the alleyways, as she walked us to St. Mark’s Square, which was about a 30-45 minute walk depending on your pace from the hotel. Doges Palace was the first place we went and I wasn’t educated on the purpose of the palace at all until that day – fascinating! We also stepped inside St. Mark’s Basilica and were fortunate to see it with the lights on (apparently they turn the lights off most of the time?). If you have been to the Hagia Sophia or the Blue Mosque, the decor reminded me so much of those two. After lunch at our first restaurant that didn’t have even a small bit of English on it…bless the waiter who came over and said “No worries guys, I’ll translate” as we were quickly trying to make Google Translate do all of the work! We decided to take the ‘long’ way back to our hotel and were really proud that we didn’t get too lost. We had dinner at the “clock restaurant” as I refered to it…a really cute and contemporary restaurant not even 10 minutes from the train station. I’m so sorry guys, I completely failed at writing down restaurants outside of Rome! I could give you direction thoughts =) We called it a night pretty early so we could pack and be ready to start our journey home the next day.
Day 9: Ciao Italia – you were so good to us. We ended on a high note, taking a water taxi to the airport – the city is so unique and seeing how people live their day to day lives with water coming in their first floor doors is amazing. Uneventful flight home on Delta from VCE-JFK-IAD! And a dead car battery greeting us in the parking lot…but on a high note, God Bless Chick-Fil-A, tastes so good after 9 days of pizza 😉
The highlight tours was just that – a perfect way to see the highlights of Italy for our first trip! I cannot wait to go back and explore so many other areas, but feel like my grasp on the country is extremely solid now. Also, no one makes cappuccino like the Italians.
If this sounds like a great trip to you or you have another destination in Italy you’d like to see, start filling out my form here and we’ll get that countdown started!
Also, I recently was featured on Travel Talk Live with Vanessa McGovern of Gifted Travel Network talking about my trip to Italy and working with a travel advisor – if you have (an hour) take a look 🙂