Vicenza & Venezia

Since we got 7 free nights of hotel in Vicenza, that’s where we made our base for a chunk of our trip. It’s a lovely town! Most of it was designed by Palladio and it showed. Well, I should specify that the center is lovely. Like most towns, the outskirts were quite less so and that’s where we stayed. However, the hotel was really nice and only a quick 5 minute drive away so we were happy.

We had a lot of gelato on this trip and are all the better for it.

Oh, and Italian Fanta is the bomb!! It has the highest percentage of orange juice concentrate that we’ve encountered and we couldn’t get enough. We had multiple bottles every day, and this from people who aren’t big soda drinkers.

This is where Rob found a century-old cappellari where he bought his alpaca wool fedora. When Rob entered the shop, the owner locked the door behind him and took him upstairs to the “Fedora Room” where hundreds lay stacked on top of one another. The shop owner knew Rob’s head size just by looking at him, and gave him the best service. Rob left a happy customer, feeling well taken care of and oh, so stylish.

One thing to note is that Italian men are quite the peacocks. They dress superbly, even just when out shopping or sitting at the airport. Rob felt under dressed everywhere we went (other than at the beach…but that’s a story for another post). There were high-end men’s shoe stores, clothing stores, and glasses shops everywhere. Many of the men we saw all over Italy wore $400 shoes, $400 shirts, and $800 glasses. Even every single factory worker on the Lamborghini assembly line looked like they had come straight from a fitness magazine photo shoot.

Anyway, Rob’s hat helped dress up his puffer jacket and sneakers nicely 😉

This park was beautiful. The pond was full of fish and turtles. I did have to use my umbrella to constantly swat away giant mosquitoes, which really were the biggest mosquitoes we’ve seen to date. Luckily they didn’t actually eat us too much, even though they were maliciously dive bombing my face.

We also took most of a day to just unwind and relax at the hotel. Sometimes some sleeping in, taking it slow, and getting some laundry and grocery shopping done is a must.

Now, there aren’t very many places I’d like to revisit…mostly because there are too many other places to visit! However, Venezia is another story. I mean, look at it!!

It’s SOOOO dreamy!! We felt like we were in the middle of a romantic movie at every glance.

What is it about hanging laundry anyway? It doesn’t make sense that we find it picturesque, but we do!

I can’t even explain how much we enjoyed walking all over, exploring every nook and cranny we could find. The winding, narrow alleyways that led to nowhere, and the ones that did… We tried to tread very lightly in the neighborhoods where people actually live. We know tourists can be a huge issue for locals, so we really try to be quiet, polite, and respectful.

I was worried Venice would be nothing but shoulder-to-shoulder crowds and over touristed. While I’m sure some people have had that experience, we did not.

For one, we went in October which is much less busy compared to the summer.

For two, I checked the cruise ship schedule well ahead of time and made our days in Venice coincide accordingly. See, some days unload 8 cruise ships worth of passengers. Some days unload one. Those are the days we chose to visit. Genius, if I do say so myself!

For three, we walked all over into the neighborhoods away from Saint Mark’s Square. For the couple of hours while we were in the most central area, yes there were a lot of people, but all we had to do was turn into a tiny side alley and we were once again all alone.

Nate is a budding foodie. He doesn’t love everything he tries, but he is more than willing to try anything. He is also really realizing the worth of quality ingredients and technical cooking. This is a big hunk of strong parmigiano-reggiano. He ate the entire thing straight up, within an hour.

Cara was disappointed with Italy’s croissants. They’re all filled, mostly with marmalade, not “empty” the way she likes them.

One of the days we took a busy water bus around the lagoon and got off on the very far end. We loved this area’s serenity, parks, and views. Rob called Venice “Perfectly Imperfect.”

We were surprised at how clean the city is kept. I mean, I’m sure it has its hidden secrets, but compared to any other city it looked spotless.

We hung out here for a while chasing pigeons and listening to a concert-worthy violin concerto. My girls recognized the clock tower from the Olivia book.

‘Til next time, Venice (because there will be a next time)! You are too AMAZE-ING to not return.

PS. I forgot to tell the story about Cara getting herself locked in the McDonald’s bathroom. The lock was stuck from the inside and a whole line of women were waiting to use the toilet. Everyone tried to help, but it took at least 5 minutes of work to get her out. That was her least favorite thing about Venice and I can’t blame her.

PPS. I also need to tell the story about the confuzzlement and getting lost on the way back to our car in the giant parking garage our second day in Venice. We followed signs to the people mover and got on the only train in sight. We ended up on a train that went way outside of Venice so we hopped off at the first stop, in the middle of nowhere, on a busy street, at night. There wasn’t even another train track heading in the other direction in the vicinity so we had to wander around and find one across a field and across the street. We waited at the deserted stop in the emptiness and scariness next to the curb only a few inches from speeding drivers for 10 minutes before our return train finally picked us up. We got back off the train where we had originally embarked and had to wander around a few blocks to find the actual people mover that went back to the parking garage. It was across a couple of streets and inside what looked like a mall and we still couldn’t find any signs that pointed the way. I haven’t heard of anyone else having this problem so I suppose it was just us. Oh, well.

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