travel bug: europe, part i

Brian and I had been talking about taking a big trip before we even talked about talking about starting a family (we hear traveling with babies is harder than traveling without them). We had been talking about this trip basically since we got married. Where would we go? What would we do?

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We decided on Italy because neither of us had ever been. And we decided to do as much as we could without spreading ourselves too thin. Oh, and I made him go to Paris. I know that’s not in Italy, but it’s my favorite city. Ever. And I wanted to show it to my favorite boy. Ever.

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But I’m getting ahead of myself. First we went to Italy. To Venice, Florence, and Manarola, to be precise. And I want to tell you (and me, for posterity) all about it.

First: Venice.

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We arrived in Venice after a red-eye flight and a well-timed Ambien. We took the bus to the train station (after figuring out that it costs extra to do the bus+water bus combo ticket and learning that the ticket machine only likes Eurostar Mastercards… just FYI) and then took the water bus/vaporetto to our hotel’s stop (Ca d’Oro).

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After we checked in (loved our hotel/b&b Hotel Bernardi Semenzato), we wandered around until we met up with the sister of the work study student in my office for lunch (she’s studying in Venice – love the small-world-amazingness of that). We chatted with her and got the scoop on what to do while we were in town. After lunch, we wandered back over the Rialto bridge to the Doge’s Palace.

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We wandered through all the beautiful rooms and took in all the opulence of the palace. After meandering through the swarms of tourists in Piazza San Marco, we hopped back on the vaporetto and took a tour of the city on the grand canal (loved these trips on the vaporetto – like an impersonal, but equally fabulous gondola ride).

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Then we headed to dinner (after a quick nap, of course!) at Antiche Carampagne, which was delicious. I ordered a dish that was certainly on the top of my list for favorite meals in Italy, and I have no idea what it was (something about baby octopuses and tagiolini). We had prosecco and (of course) gelato. We wandered back to the hotel the long way, through Piazza San Marco, which was lovely, despite the men selling flying toys.

The next morning, after breakfast (and an earthquake), we decided to just wander semi-aimlessly through the city, enjoying getting lost and finding our way again.

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And we saw this little kid who was shooting passing gondolas with a water gun. Love, love, love.

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After a great lunch at a little pizza place, we headed to the station to catch the train to our next destination. It was a short, but great, visit to Venice.

Up next: Florence!

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