Ciao! This is my final recap from our 2018 Europe trip. I've hope you've enjoyed a glimpse into our three week trip — I can't wait to see where we end up next! Venice was my only repeat stop because I visited the city for a few days while studying abroad in college. We arrived on Wednesday June 6th (our three year wedding anniversary!) after a long train ride from Lake Como to Milan and Milan to Venice. To celebrate our anniversary we had dinner at a restaurant with a beautiful little terrace right on one of the canals followed by mini prosecco bottles from a nearby grocery store. Before we ate I bought my favorite souvineer of the trip, a white and gold teacup. It was the perfect way to celebrate three years of marriage and our arrival in Venice!
Our first full day in Venice started with our trip to the islands of Burano and Murano. I already recapped our time in Burano, but in Murano we enjoyed watching all of the beautiful Murano glass items being made and I bought a new pen. After our time on the islands we made a stop for gelato before visiting the San Marco church. I had been in when I previously visited so we just wandered through the square and took a few photos. Because we had bought full day tickets for the vaporetto we then decided to ride the water taxi all the way around its route to end up at the Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore for a view of the city. When we reached the top of the tower we were able to watch a cruise ship take off before heading back to the main part of Venice. For dinner that night we had takeaway pizza and decided to relax back at our Airbnb.
On our last real day of the trip we slept in a little bit and then had breakfast at a cafe near our Airbnb. Our wifi had gone out where we were staying so the cafe was a convenient place to check into our flight, but I wouldn't recommend sitting down for breakfast in Venice because it was much pricer than our take away croissants and coffee had been the rest of the trip. The highlight of our final day was visiting the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, one of my favorite museums in the world. Afterwards we had an amazing lunch at the Teamo Wine Bar, their pasta was amazing. The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering around taking pictures, visiting the Jewish Ghetto and one of the last bridges in Venice without parapets. I once again ordered pasta at our last dinner and of course one last lemon gelato as we walked around that evening. In total this trip (according to my iPhone) we walked 126.5 miles and 603 flights of stairs and it was all worth it. It's only ciao for now, Italy!
Hello, friends! I can't believe I'm already beginning to recap our last stop of our European adventure, Venice! This post really mostly covers our trip to Burano, but I will do one final post with everything else we explored in Venice. I visited Burano when I studied abroad in college but it was a rainy day and couldn't wait to go back! It was a little tricky figuring out how to get water taxi tickets to the islands but once we were on board everything went really smoothly. I would recommend visiting Burano before Murano just because it is smaller and can get crowded later in the day. After taking a few photos were had an early lunch and continued exploring!
The colorful buildings are really the best part of Burano. The island is also known for their lace so we wandered through a few shops as well. Before getting back on the water taxi to head to Murano we sat at a bar and had a spritz. If you have more than a day in Venice I would recommended heading out to the islands! The souvineers are also much cheaper there, everything in Venice seems to have been marked up. Enjoy!
Our last day in Lake Como we had originally planned to visit the town of Como. After doing some research once we arrived we realized it was just going to take way too long to actually get to Como from where we were staying on the lake, and instead we decided to take the ferry to Menaggio! During our ride over we talked to a nice couple from Scotland and enjoyed the sunny weather. When we arrived we walked along the waterfront, bought some pasta to take home, and then got gelato before taking the ferry back to Bellano.
That afternoon we decided to take advantage of our pool and hung out at our Airbnb before visiting the Orrido di Bellano. The gorge is over 15 million years old and really worth visiting if you are visiting the lake! Inside it felt like the rainforest filled with ferns. After our visit we took the train back to Varenna for dinner. When we arrived in town we spent a long time watching a family of swans before eating. After a long dinner we took the train back to Bellano and packed up for our last stop, Venice!
Today I'm sharing part two of our first full day in Lake Como! After exploring Bellagio Dale and I took a ferry to Varenna and started exploring. This was one of my favorite towns we visited, it was a little less crowded than Bellagio but just as charming. First up we got gelato and then walked through the town. We knew we wanted to hike back to Bellano so right before leaving we stopped at a grocery store to get some pasta and bread to cook back at our Airbnb and then we started along the path to Castello di Vezio.
The Vezio Castle is almost 1,000 years old and it was quite the trek to get there from Varenna. Before we started the hike we thought it was mostly downhill back to Bellano, but it was exactly the opposite! But the views from the top of the tower were definitely worth it. After a quick beer on the castle grounds we started the long (but beautiful) trek back to our Airbnb. We saw waterfalls, vineyards, slugs, and truly stunning views of the lake. There were also lots of olive and cherry trees along the path. When we finally made it home (our Airbnb was directly on the Sentiero del Viandante) we immediately started cooking our dinner! It was nice to have a meal at "home," after having had so many meals at restaurants during the trip. After dinner we had some wine and researched the strange bird we had seen all over the lake, the eurasian coot. While our hike was a much longer route than we were expecting it really was beautiful, and one of our favorite days of our entire trip!
Sunday morning (June 3rd) we were up early to grab breakfast before taking the train from Milan to Lake Como. (I had some amazing focaccia bread with tomatoes which was the perfect start to the day!) After a one hour train ride we were at the lake! Our Airbnb host picked us up from the train station to drive us to our BEAUTIFUL place for the next few days. We were grateful for the ride because it was basically straight uphill from the station. After a tour of the apartment we decided to just spend the rest of the day relaxing by the pool. That night we ventured down the hill into the town of Bellano and ended up having pizza at a restaurant right by the lake. It started to rain a little bit but we luckily made it back to the house before it really started!
The next morning we took the ferry to Bellagio after a quick croissant at the same restaurant we ate at the night before! The rain from the night before and also continued into the next day but it cleared up right as we made it to the gardens at Villa Melzi. The gardens were stunning, I especially loved the water lilies. After visiting the gardens we headed into the town to wander around and had the best pasta at Far Out. I tried the pappardelle noodles and Dale had the gnocchi. Next we did some shopping before taking a ferry to Varenna. I took so many photos that day I decided to split our afternoon into its very own post, be on the lookout for that soon!
Ciao! On June 1st we arrived in Italy, possibly my favorite country in the world. We took the train from Nice and headed straight to our next Airbnb to drop off our bags. First up was pizza (Dale's favorite food, so I was especially excited for him to experience this first pizza in Italy!). After eating we took a short nap before heading out to explore. We saw the Columns of San Lorenzo and then got coffee (and a lemon soda for me). We were lucky to be very centrally located so the Duomo was only a short walk from our Airbnb. That night we had dinner at a restaurant near the canals designed by Leonardo da Vinci before heading to bed.
The next morning we headed straight for the Duomo! On our way we grabbed coffee and croissants at a restaurant right by where we were staying and then got our tickets. The line moved pretty quickly, especially since we had chosen to take the stairs to the roof. We enjoyed the beautiful views of the city before entering the cathedral (the marble floor was my favorite part of the interior). By this point we were really hungry and found a restaurant a few blocks from the duomo for lunch. I ordered the pesto pasta and Dale of course had pizza. We had to get gelato for dessert, too. Next up we walked to the Francesco Sforza Castle before buying our train tickets to Lake Como for the next day. We had dinner at a different restaurant near the canals, and stopped by the Duomo so I could feed the pigeons! Milan is the perfect quick stop on the way to Lake Como, especially if you are in the mood for shopping. I can't wait to share our dreamy few days in Lake Como next!
Our second full day in Southern France began with kayaking through part of the Gorges du Verdon! When Dale and I started planning our Europe trip visiting the gorge was at the top of our list and I have to say it exceeded our expectations! That morning was a little rainy and the part of the gorge we were kayaking on was pretty quiet (near Montpezat) and really beautiful. The trip to the dam and back took around two hours and then we went back to our Airbnb to change before heading on to the town of La Palud-sur-Verdon!
Seeing the bright blue part of the gorge was possibly my favorite moment of our entire trip. It's stunning! We took lots of photos before heading to the Route des Crêtes. I don't know why we hadn't realized it before our trip, but the part of the gorge seen most often in pictures is really the end point of a river flowing through a huge canyon, not too different from the Grand Canyon! Our drive through the mountains gave us the best views, even if the road was a little terrifying. The river in the gorge empties into Lake Sainte-Croix, which I was surprised to learn is a man-made lake. I'm really grateful to our Airbnb host for sharing the directions for our drive, it's a must-see part of the area. After exploring the gorge we headed back to Moustiers-Sainte-Marie because we didn't have too much time to explore when we ate dinner there the first night.
I went a bit crazy on our walk through Moustiers-Sainte-Marie taking pictures of all the roses! I couldn't help it. Dale and I also hiked up to the church in the mountain above the town, the view was amazing. Our last stop of the day was Ste. Croix du Verdon, a small village right on the lake. The town was oddly quiet, and there were lots of cats, but it was also one of the prettiest villages we had visited. We had one last dinner in Riez, Italian this time, and then headed back to the Airbnb to pack for our drive back to Nice the next day!