Sleeping in a hallway in Venice?

You have NO idea how many hours I spent looking for “the perfect” hotel/ bed and breakfasts/ apartments/and/ or possibly hostels for us to stay in on this trip. We had 4 cities we were staying in, and 100’s of options for each city= you try to count the hours! And of course those were just the hours I spent, not to mention how many hours Kathy spent too.

First you start with what is a ‘good location’ in each city- central to sights, restaurants, close the metro (obviously not in Venice) or transportation, and of course a safe area. AND, within your budget!  UGh! Then you read ALL of the review on EVERY travel sight. Personally I like using Tripadvisor to start the comparisons, and also they usually have a lot of reviews on this site.

So, then I had my short list, and Kathy had hers, and we spent more time looking at looking at each others and explaining why we liked the ones on our lists, then we decided which one to book, email the hotel, and wait for a reply, and confirmation, then FINALLY you can relax about having a place to sleep in that city.

So, when we opened the door to our room, which we paid 70 Euros/night- with a shared bathroom down the hallway we LAUGHED our heads off! It was more of a hallway with beds in it, than a room.  THIS is what we spent hours and hours deciding on? YUP!  BUT, the BEST part about our room was the VIEW! OMG, was it Wonderful! We were on a canal, and a main route for the gondolas, and we had a very small balcony that we could both stand on (at the same time), have 1 or more glasses of wine and watch the gondolas go by. “OYYYYYY” is what would wake us up each morning, and throughout the day, when we were in our room. As the gondolier came up to the corner they say Oyyyy (in their deep voices), to warn anyone around the corner that they were approaching. It made us giggle at first, but it did not take us long to start playing games by responding with our own Oyyy from inside our room.

We, also soon, became something to look at also, as when the gondoliers would go by, they would tip their hats, say,”Buon Journo”, “Ciao”, and sometimes they would hold their hands on their hearts and wave to us. One even went by several times, and on the last time we saw him that day he held up his cell phone with his phone number on it!  It was definitely a good ego rub for us both…

Like any trip, this was a learning experience for us. We were on a budget, as we not only were in Italy to sight see, but also to shop, so we wanted to spend a minimum amount on our rooms. And also unfortunately the week we chose to be in Italy was right before, and during Holy Week, so this room that we paid 70Euros for would go for 35Euros during other times.

We were not unhappy, but were very much looking forward to being in a room with our own toilet and shower by the end of our 3 nights in our hallway room. But, we did get what we asked for:                                                                               “Una camera con vista”      “A room with a view”

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Getting lost in Venice..

Ok, so I have NO sense of direction. So when I discovered in November that Kathy (my fabulous traveling partner) was the opposite to me in this regard, when we were in Italy in November, I was tickled to not have to worry about where I was and how to get to where we were going.  BUT, then we went to Venice. We were told to not worry about getting lost because Venice is an island, and technically you can not get lost on an island. Well that meant NOTHING to me, when I was dead tired from traveling all day, walking endlessly, and really needing to go pee, and for the life of us, could not find our hotel. If you look at an aerial view of the streets of Venice you will see that NOTHING is parallel.  It actually took us 1.5 hours to find our hotel, to which should have taken us only 5 minutes. At one point, we were on a bridge, and could see not only our hotel, but our room, and that was the point we started our 1.5 hour journey… OH MY!

The picture you see to the left is the view from our room (errr, hallway/ room) in Venice. THAT is how close we were, when we were on THAT bridge, and saw our room, and tried to back track and find our hotel, and it took us 1.5 hours!!!

Despite the daily, and hourly adventures with the both of us getting constantly lost, we ABSOLUTELY LOVED Venice! We did not realize until we were in Milan how nice it was to be in a city with no cars, and how wonderfully quiet the inner part of Venice is, especially at night. BUT, not quiet on Friday mornings, where just outside our room on Friday morning (our first morning in Venice) was a main route for the garbage boats ROARING their engines to make a sharp turn backwards ERRRRRRRRRRR at 7am. In the picture you can see one of the garbage boats beside the gondola. I know that I sound like I am complaining, but really it was most annoying at 7am, and I have honestly laughed my head off thinking about it ever since.

Venice is a city where I could see myself coming back regularly as everything was within reach. Everywhere you go, there are many kinds of stores for Fabulous shopping, restaurants, deli’s, bakeries, wine stores, bars, and everything you want/ need.  AND, there are even homemade wine stores that you can buy many varieties of red and white wines that they fill empty pop bottles of all sizes for dirt CHEAP! That was quite a find! Only around 2Euros for a small bottle of yummy wine? Salute!

One piece of advice that I must offer you is that if you see something yummy that you want, BUY IT! Don’t wait until you are in Milan, or Florence to get it, because every city offers something different, including the yummy treats. This advice also goes for clothing stores, as each city may have the same stores, but not necessarily carry the same items.

All in all, it took us a good 2 days to sort of get our bearings for only an extremely small piece of Venice, and I was the one who actually found her way on her own more than once sometimes because of remembering the name of the landmark church our hotel was just around a real corner from. Right Kathy??? LOL!

Ahhhhh, Italy!!!

Just landed, and already out exploring!

Yes, we are lucky, lucky girls! Yes, we were just in Italy only 5 months earlier, and here we find ourselves here again, and already!

The first stop on this adventure is Venice!

Now, I have to explain why this is the first picture I am posting. After returning home after this latest trip, I was looking at a photo album I bought just after our November Italy trip, and the picture that came with album on the front cover was of the Rialto Bridge! I understand that there are no coincidences, but WOW, how great to understand that I had just experienced something truly Amazing, yet completely a part of my destiny!

BUT, let’s score Destiny 1, Determination 4. Why Determination 4? Because we not only travelled to Venice, but to Milan, Cinque Terre, and Florence (again).  AND, because we made it to Italy twice in less than 1 year!

What you can expect from this blog is information on how and why to travel. How to travel on a budget and not on a budget. When, and where, and where not to travel.  I will give you recommendations on where to eat, drink, and be merry. I will give you some Amazing shopping tips, like where the deals are, what to buy, and who to NOT buy from.  And, scams, scumbags, and walking taxi drivers…

Balance is the game of life, and I am living it!

Ciao Bellas!