Nick helped me accomplish one of my life long dreams! Seeing Venice or Venezia as the locals would say! It was beautiful and surreal. I had no idea Venice was composed of so many islands! I also didn’t believe that you really can’t get around without a pair of good walking shoe and a boat! Seriously I thought maybe they had little cars to get through certain parts of the city… but nope! You need a water taxi for that!
What can I tell you about Venice? It is a city on the sea that remains captured in the past. Depending on the rain, the city may be flooded and the locals are prepared for this frequent occurrence. I love old Italian architecture and I love the sea. This blends my affinity for both. There is nowhere else in the world like Venice.
They eat lots of seafood, eel is a specialty (personally I couldn’t get past the first bite! I had eels as pets for a very brief period of time and I just could not stomach them). There was good wine and food that I have never seen before (which is one of the things about traveling I love!!) such as these little fried shrimps that were given to us before dinner instead of bread. I was so confused by them and how to eat them I had to watch other people eat them first! (You just pop the whole thing into your mouth!)
We went to Venice during their Carnival! What a treat! Our hotel had dance lessons and everyone, I mean everyone in the entire city was dressed like they came out of The Renaissance! Venice’s carnival is famous for the beautiful masks that people adorn and there were several shops that sold handmade masks. I had to get one of course! I wore it the entire time I was there!
The next stop was the Dolomites. I thought Heidi was going to come out of the mountains at any moment and say, “yodelayeeooo!!!” The north of Italy is interesting to me. The very touristy areas like Lake Garda, where I went last summer, are filled with Austrians and Germans. In Lake Garda I felt like I spoke more German than I did Italian! The Dolomites were beautiful though. They were pristine white and so big… when I think about how big they were I get the terrified feeling of being stuck at the top of them with no other way down but to ski.
I told Nick that I went skiing in New Jersey once and that I really liked it. Mind you, it was New Jersey and I was on a bunny slope. He then assumed that he could put me on a ski lift to the top of The Dolomites and I would have a great time skiing down with him. Well, after the eighth fall I had had it! I wanted off of that mountain. Nick then told me the only way down was to ski down. After two and a half hours of sinking in snow, tears, fears that I just might actually die or seriously break a limb, the frustration of my own continued yelling, “when will this mountain ever end!? I finally figured out how to ski.
Now on to the city of Trento. Trento was beautiful and full of history.
Perugia was next, we met up with Nick’s friend Sara and her fiancé Matteo. Perugia was beautiful and I can not wait to return. We did not stay long, just enough time to have dinner and walk around the city. We also had an amazing meal there. Sara runs a winery in Perugia. Her wines are exceptional. Hopefully we will return to Perugia for their wedding. Sara and her fiancé were just as beautiful on the outside as they were on the inside.
We kept driving South to get to Frosinone, the town where Nick’s grandfather is from. On the way we again made a quick stop, this time in Pisa.
And of course we couldn’t miss mass, so when Sunday came Nick drove an hour out of the way to go to Monte Cassino. He promised it would be beautiful and worth it. And it was. The history behind Monte Cassino and its war torn past is beautiful and almost haunting. One day I will go back. I don’t think I have ever seen a more beautiful monastery.
It was an amazing Winter Italian adventure!