Italian Romance

Location: Milan & Venice, Italy

Introduction:

We were thrilled to be back in Italy and plan to spend a lot of time here. We started out in Milan for the simple reason that it’s where the cheapest flights could be found from Lisbon. We flew EasyJet, a budget airline that only allows 1 small carry-on bag of any kind as they make money checking bags. So, we had to empty our daypacks of all the goodies they contained and stow them in our backpacks, which were small enough to pass the size restrictions. We’ve amazed ourselves that we’ve been able to travel for so long with so little. We flew in and out of Milan a few years ago without visiting the city. This time, we spent a few days getting a taste of Milan and we enjoyed our short time there. We then moved on to Venice and loved it. It’s a mecca for tourists and no wonder as it’s about as romantic as anyplace could be. We were enthralled by its charm and magnificence.

Sites Visited:

We spent a couple of days wandering the streets of Milan and taking in the sights. The exterior of the Duomo is pretty incredible and vies for the most ornate cathedral we’ve ever seen. There were lots of shops to explore such as those found in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. We couldn’t resist the temptation to do some shopping and replaced a few of the items that we’d lost or worn out. We came across lots of eye-catching churches and buildings and ended up eating out along one of the old canals.
We next took a train to Venice and entered another dimension when we exited the train station to a view of the Grand Canal. We knew instantly that we had arrived in a very special place. We wandered around the maze of alleyways, bridges and canals and continually marveled at the majestic views that unfolded. The main streets were packed with tourists but we didn’t mind, as there were no cars or motorbikes to contend with. We also had fun riding the waterways and taking in the sights.

Accommodations:

We spent our first night at a Crowne Plaza Airport Hotel as our flight got into Milan late. The hotel was conveniently located near the airport and provided a free shuttle. They had adequate wifi, a basic fitness center and met our overall needs just fine.
Milan’s main airport is 30 miles from the city center. So, we took a train from the airport to the edge of the city and stayed 2 nights at the Radisson Blu Hotel. This was the first time that we were able to put our Club Carlson points to work. The hotel was conveniently located offering us the options of a bus, tram or train to get into the city center. We could also walk to a shopping center and supermarket. Our accommodations, the wifi and the gym were all good.
We spent 2 nights in a B&B named Ca’ Pozzo in the “Ghetto” section of Venice. It was hidden down a long alleyway not too distant from the train station. Our room was comfortable, clean and quiet. The breakfast served was good while the wifi was somewhat erratic.

Food & Drink

We couldn’t wait to get a bowl of pasta and made that our first priority when we headed into Milan’s city center. Our room rates didn’t include breakfast in Milan. So, we’d usually catch something at a sidewalk café. Aperitivo (Happy Hour) is popular in Milan where you get a drink of your choice and all you can eat from a buffet for a set price. We turned it into our dinner at Straripa’s. We thoroughly enjoyed the Italian wines we shopped for. But, we couldn’t believe our eyes when we discovered a bottle of Barda Pinot Noir from Argentina in a wine shop in Milan. In Venice, we found a “Bacari” or Wine Bar named Vino-Vero for Happy Hour and had a blast with an entertaining host who introduced us to a copper-colored Pinot Grigio and clued us into a wine and food expo being held the next day that we took advantage of. Venice is also known for its Sprtiz (a cocktail made of Prosecco and Aperol) and cicchetti (tasty snacks), which we couldn’t pass up.

Transportation System:

We relied entirely on mass transportation and walking. Milan makes it easy as you can buy a daily card for about $6 US that provides unlimited use of the local Metro, trains, trams and buses. We did find it a bit challenging to figure out where to pick up the service we wanted and whether or not it was headed where we wanted to go. We also had to work around a train strike one day. We took advantage of a Saturday 2 for 1 special on second-class tickets with assigned seats on a high-speed train to Venice. In addition to lots of walking, we also took some time to cruise the canals by boat.

Shout Out:

We send our thanks to Rich and Toni McCann (Elizabeth’s Parents) for shipping us care package number #2 with some much needed supplies including some new earrings that were a very nice surprise. The logistics worked out perfectly. Thanks Mom & Dad!!

For Your Amusement:

We were surprised to see an ad posted on the side of a church. We noticed it on scaffolding on a corner of the Duomo.
We came across a “refueling station” for electric cars on the streets of Milan.

Highlights:Milan and the Duomo were pretty cool and Venice was exceptional.

Next Up: We’ll begin to explore the wine regions of Italy starting with Friuli in the northeast.

Comments

  1. By Cathi Veach

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  2. By Elizabeth

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