We had a total of 8 days to travel to Italy and back. We visited Venice first for one night, Rome for 3 nights, and Venice again for another 3 nights. With the time change, it took over 24 hours to travel there. We left Sunday morning and arrived in Venice on their Monday morning. Our trip did not start off right. I was ready to cry before we ever got to SeaTac airport. I forgot the all-important birth control. So smart. Of course, we could handle that, but a change nonetheless. Once at the Venice airport, we realized they lost my bag. Thank goodness I had an extra pair of underwear in my carry-on as well as my makeup. I wanted to cry though. I had nothing else. AND we were in a place where we did not speak the language. Luckily, many people speak English there and the lost luggage lady did. We then had to buy a bus ticket to get to the main area of Venice...it took awhile, but we finally got er done.
Once in Venice, we thought we were heading toward our hotel, but we were going the wrong way. It took us about a half an hour walking in the muggy weather, but fortunately I didn't have to lug my bag around :) Just Matt. Once at the hotel, the room wasn't ready as expected, so we hit the bathroom before we went out to walk the streets. Problem this time was after I had sat on the toilet to pee, I discovered there was no toilet paper. Seriously? Seriously. I managed to hobble over to the next stall with a garbage bag between my legs. Hey, it worked.
So we walked the maze of Venice in my heels and ruined the crap out of them...down to the metal on each heel. I needed new shoes. Luckily, the next morning we met up with Matt's brother and his fiance, so I could borrow some much-needed tennis shoes. But before that, I took a long-awaited shower at the hotel and used their toiletries. Little did I know, I had used lotion instead of conditioner. By this time, anything that happened was just funny. I was tired, annoyed, and crabby, but at least I could laugh about it.
Meeting up with Bryan and Amanda (B&A) was awesome. It was so good to talk to someone else! They also had had their travel moments while in Rome, so they had already worked out the train/subway kinks. I was so ready for someone to just take care of us. :) We love them. Rome was great! Taking the subway was really fun and a great way to make your way across the city. We bought unlimited all-day passes and rode several times a day. We saw pretty much everything in Rome there is to see: The Colloseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Forum, the Vatican Museum, St. Peter's Basilica, and much much more. Pictures at the end of my novel.
We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast in Rome that was a little north of the main part of Rome. This was PERFECT. It was reasonably priced, the owners spoke very little English and were very cute, it was safe, and it was easy to get to. We would absolutely stay there again if in Rome! Plus, B & A stayed there also, so it was like a slumber party with wine each night!
Every place to eat seemed spendy, especially with the value of the U.S. dollar so low right now. They do not "have" tap water, and you pay the same for bottled water as you do pop: about $5-6. We had cappuccinos and gelato almost every day, and took over 500 pictures. We had WAY too many carbs. We were craving some good protein, but you usually have to pay for that separately as it was already expensive. And or course, knowing me, you would know that we were not about to pay more. Besides, I needed money for my gelato and new Italian leather boots... One night, Matt and I went to Burger King for a late dinner. We were in heaven. I have never loved a burger more.
All of the crazy old buildings and statues in Rome are incredible! Pictures do not even do it justice. the magnitude of each is incredible. It was really fun to walk through each with the guide book and learn about the history. Mostly B would read the book and we would follow along listening. My own personal tour guide!
We finally booked our last hotel in Venice while we were in Rome and naturally, there was slim pickings. We ended up with a "4 star" hotel that looked more like a 1 star. I started to think I was just picky when Matt reminded me how crappy the hotel really was...and how much we paid for it...more than my life is worth I think! Beyond that, we did like Venice and it was a beautiful unique place. The city is built on water. Canals run through most of the city, with bridges everywhere. There are no cars, mopeds or anything. They bring their produce, supplies, etc in and out by boat. They have water taxis, buses and gondolas.
This is a map of Venice. The Grand Canal runs through the city, and there are 3 main bridges where you can cross it. Otherwise, you can take the water bus or taxi to get around. All of the white lines are walkable streets and the little blue lines are small waterways. We stayed up North near the train station so we didn't have to use the bus.
Ok, I'm tired of typing, so here are the pictures!