Pizza, Beaches, & Gondolas, Oh My!

Now, I know this post was supposed to be about Germany, but I just spent a week in Italy, and frankly, I’ve got Italian on the brain. So, here goes my European adventure in Italy!

My best friend Leah is currently au-pairing in Italy, in a small coastal town called Grado that’s right on the sea. Of course, I had to go see her, so I hopped on a 14 hour overnight Flixbus headed to Italy. I had a brief layover in Verona, so I had to leave the bus station and snap some pictures! From Verona, WI to Verona, Italy!

I got to Grado early afternoon, and Leah was running a tad late, so I decided to leave the bus stop in search for her and her hotel. I found her on the street headed towards me, and almost forgot to obey traffic laws as we ran into the street to hug. Her host family owned a hotel, so we got to stay there.

Grado is the absolute cutest town and Leah is the most interesting of guides. From showing me her favorite wall to a historical monument she knew nothing about, I’d say I got the grand tour. We went to the beach nearly every day, walked through gardens, and ate lots of yummy Italian pizza (and way too much gelato, our goal was 3 scoops a day!)

For the weekend, we went to Venice. It was amazingly beautiful, but very crowded at this time of year. It was also much bigger than I had envisioned, so realized we’d have to buy boat-bus tickets to get anywhere, so we just ended up getting a 24 hour pass. We stayed at a cute AirBnB away from the city center, but next to the prettiest park. 

We took a boat to the island of Lido for dinner, where we got amazing vegan food and accidentally ordered a whole bottle of Prosecco. Afterwards, we walked around a bit, and Venice after dark is so beautiful. I’m especially in love with all the bridges in the city! It was also the night of the lunar eclipse, so we got to enjoy that spectacular view!

On Saturday, we went to the Venice city center, where we enjoyed gelato, more pizza, and eventually headed to St. Mark’s Square. We tried to get into the Basilica, but our backpacks and bare shoulders were a big no no, so we ended up just walking around and taking in the historical buildings.

After a bit of convincing from both of our parental units, we decided we just HAD to go on a gondola ride. We did a group ride with 4 others, but we got there early enough to get the best seats (in the back, right by the gondolier). Even though it is a bit of a tourist trap (an expensive one, at that), I would say it was well worth it. It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and there’s no one else I’d have rather gone with. The tiny canals are beautiful, and you get to see everything up close. It is a bit bittersweet though, because you also get to see a lot of the destruction and water damage from the sinking city in the water. 

Overall, Italy was a dream. I loved everything about it, and I know I’ll be back someday!

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Love, Leonie

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