Italy Trip (Days 5-7)

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On Wednesday we started our day early with Jamie making the 20 minute hike up the side of a mountain to retrieve our car (free parking…will do anything to save some money).  He then returned to pick up Sophie and me and we were off on a two and half hour journey from Monterosso to Milan.  We didn’t set aside a lot of time in Milan, basically just a one night stop over on our way to Venice.  We did make a point to hop on the metro and visit the city center.  The highlights were the Duomo and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.  Milan’s Duomo (cathedral) is not as well-known as other sites in Italy, however it is one of the most, if not the most, impressive structures we have ever seen.  Its gothic exterior design is breathtaking and with a seating capacity of 40,000 the interior is equally captivating.  The Galleria Vittorio sits next to the Duomo.  It is also an amazing architectural structure.  It was originally intended to serve as a display of modern Milan, but seemed to just be an extremely opulent, high-end shopping mall at this point.  It does however have McDonald’s so we partook…$19 later we were filled with greasy processed food and regret (food here is beyond expensive, but that is for another blog). 

The next morning we loaded up our beautiful yellow Fiat Panda and headed towards Venice. Our first view of Venice came from the deck of a Vaporetto (water taxi) as we floated down the Grand Canal.  We have been fascinated by Venice for years due to the Bond films and many other movies that use the city as a back drop, but no film can prepare you for how stunning it is really is.  Venice isn’t like any other place in the world.  The canals and the cobblestone alley ways that make up the city give such a unique look and feel.  The last two days we have aimlessly wandered through hundreds of alleyways, crossing dozens of canals, and not once have we been confronted with a disappointing scene.  We, of course, visited Piazza San Marco, Basilica di San Marco (the most gaudy church we have ever seen), Chiesa di Santa Maria della Salute (much more beautiful), and several other churches and art galleries, but the highlight of Venice for us was simply exploring the alleys of the city off the beaten path.  There is something incredible about being in a plaza with thousands of people then turning down a couple of alleys and being alone on a quiet bridge overlooking a canal.  We are very thankful to our good friend Kirsten Krymusa for suggesting that we make a point to wander these lesser travelled areas.  There are a few things we have not enjoyed about Venice (price of food, price of public toilet use…wish we were kidding,  and pretty much the price of everything), but this is a topic for another day.  Venice is a beautiful and romantic place…even when you are carrying around a one year old.

Tomorrow we make the long journey south back to Rome where we will meet up with my parents and sister for a week.

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