In 2011 my boyfriend and I interrailed around Italy. It was an amazing holiday, but was tainted by one experience. Unfortunately due to this, I lost all my photos of the holiday up to that point. The holiday was for three weeks and to explain all the amazing things we saw and did it will take more than one post.
Thus, you will have to hold out till the last to get the full story. I have been meaning to put it all into words for sometime but always been too busy or prioritized other things before it. However, now is the time for sharing.
This was one of the many adventures that my boyfriend and I have found ourselves on. It started in Milan. A place where we were introduced to the wonder that is Lemon soda. Love is definitely not too strong word for this. We were besotted at first sip! The thing is we have no drink that compares in England, there is no cloudy lemonade with the exact sweet, bitter balance; the correct pulp to liquid ratio; the taste of natural lemons, not fake processed stuff!
I remember it clearly, at a little outdoor ristorante off Buenos Aires, close to here was the Chinese we went to on our first night, with the sweetest wine I had ever drunk for only €4 for a litre!!! Basically my point is its true what they say the Italians do know a thing or two about food and drink!!!
We got back to our little hotel room and a thunderstorm rolled in with torrential rain, however once it was morning you would have never guessed that there was a drop of rain throughout the night. There was blazing heat, the sun was shining and the ground was bone dry.
Our days were filled with sight seeing, the beautiful Rosie H-W plastered over the building work on the cathedral for Burberry (yes she manages to creep in everywhere!). After a quick twirl on the bulls ball for good luck in Galleria Vittoria Emmauele II it was back outside to soak up the weather. Parco Siempe was beautiful with hundreds of those tiny lizards running around (I think they are adorable) and Castello Sforesco was a must see! – Almost like a shell of a castle, but still the prestige was there! Milan is a bit of a mish-mashed city, with old and new buildings with in a few feet of each other and the beautiful church housing the Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci is hidden amongst offices and other such like. This seemed a bit of a shame to me. It was a bit of a whirl wind visit here with only 2 days spent in Milan, but I would like to go back, maybe explore a bit outside of the city.
Next stop was Venice, with a scenic rail trip to boot. cross country, by Lake Garda and through Verona (Somewhere that is definitely on the bucket list). Once we arrived in Venice we lugged our suitcases to the bus stops and went to our accomodation to drop our stuff of. Then back into Venice for a great dinner beside the San Polo church. We both had pizzas, of good portins, good quality and equally good for our purse strings! After dinner we strolled down to San Marcs square and hopped on the vaporetti back to the buses.
Our first full day in Venice was filled to the brim. We took a vaporetti to the island where San Giorgio Maggiore is one and climbed the bell tower, there were stunning views from here all over venice, skimming the roof tops of the nearby islands of murano, burano and torcello; as well as the lido. The stairs were quite a feat and the weather was impressively hot so a trip to Rialto to feast on Watermelon was in order! Unfortunately my sandals broke on the journey – much like St. Mark when he was in Venice! So I had to buy a new pair, which I am pleased to say are still as good now, as they were when I bought them three years ago. For a touch of Culture we had a walk round L’Academia seeing lots of beautiful renaissance Italian art. All this walking and the cool temperature of the evening built up quite the appetite, so we popped over to the restaurant that we had visited on the first night. This was closed, so we went to one at the front of San Polo, this was pricier, not great quality, but a nice venue right infront of the church. As a pick-me-up we went back to piazza San Marco to sip on Aperol Spritz – if you like gin and tonic I’m sure you will like this dry cocktail, however I am more of a sweet drink – when in Venice. There was live band and a few couples dancing – of course P does not dance, so we did not join in but it was lovely to watch.
The next day again was jam packed, we took a trip to murano, where the Venetian glass is made and beautifully crafted – watching the craftsmen making glass horses was truly amazing. Once back on mainland Venice the Storica Regetta was moments away from starting. We bustled along in front of Harry’s Bar to gain a good view point. Old and new boats decked the waterways of Venice. The crews were dressed in flamboyant outfits, some in brightly coloured garments of days gone by. The crowds grew and grew and once we had, had our fix of the boats we wandered down to Giardini/Arsenale, seeing two huge Yachts, one called Mary Jean II and the other Dilbur. These were larger than the average house, let alone the average yacht. In the giardini we took a quick sit down on the benchs in the shade, where I swore I saw Owen Wilson, this wouldn’t be impossible as this was very close to the days of the Venice Film Festival – and Midnight in Paris had been released that year! After all the excitement we went to Via Guiseppe Garibaldi, the street at this end of Venice brimming with restaurants. We stopped at a little ristorante lined with seats under a marquee, this was one of the only ones with no pictures of food on their menu, so P took to it immediately. The waiter was slightly overly attentive trying to show off his skills to any tourist passing in their native tongue. But the food was good and I couldn’t beat the company!
The following morning we left our accomodation to hop-on the train continuing our travels. But ofcourse snappy happy me ran off to San Geremia, the resting place of S. Lucia which has a special place in my heart and I could not miss!
Luckily since 2011 we have re-visited Venice. It is one of my favourite Italian cities, it feels safe, in its own little bubble cut off from the world. The winding streets miming the winding canals and the tiny islands dotted around Venice mainland, all with their own character.
The train chugged away and we were off onto the next stop of interrailing Italy…