This past Thursday, four of my friends and I left for one of our more intensive trips. My friend Zoë’s mom has a friend (Brenda) who lives in Vicenza, Italy, which is about an hour train ride outside of Venice. We decided a while back to go stay with her and hit a few cities while we were at it!
We flew into Venice on late on Thursday and stayed in a lovely little bed and breakfast that Brenda had set up for us. It was the most precious place and had an absolutely wonderful breakfast. Breakfast is hardly a thing in Spain, so anytime I get more than a banana, it’s kind of a big deal! After gorging ourselves on breakfast, we met Brenda at the train station. From there, we went to Venice by train. We had the most lovely day just exploring and walking around the city. It is beautiful and canals are just insane. It is crazy to think that everything that comes in or out of the city does so through those tiny canals! The highlight of the day was definitely our gondola ride. That is something that I have always dreamed of doing! We ate lunch in a little cafe by the canal; I had pesto pasta. It was delicious – I had forgotten how much I enjoyed real Italian food! That night, we went back to Brenda’s house in Vicenza and ate some delicious Indian food. It was the first truly spicy thing I’ve had to eat in 2+ months!
On Saturday, we slept in a little but were *again* treated to the most lovely breakfast by our hosts. They made us cinnamon roll french toast, eggs, bacon, sausage, and all the works. Again, finding breakfast is a big deal because we never get it in Spain. It’s funny because I don’t really like breakfast foods when I am in the states, but here it’s almost something that I crave (???). After breakfast, we decided to head to Verona. We had originally intended to go to Florence for the day (about three hours away by train), but that would involve an early manning, a late night, and lots of running around. Even then, we would hardly be able to do the city justice. We decided to stick a little closer to Vicenza and check our Verona instead.
“In fair Verona, where we lay our scene. From ancient grudge break to new mutiny. Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.” Sound familiar? Yes, Verona is the setting of Romeo and Juliet! The city was beautiful and we had a lovely afternoon exploring. We popped in lots of shops and, of course, saw Juliet’s balcony. We found a “International Food Festival” online and decided to stop in to find some dinner. We ended up stopping at every stand and trying a bunch of different foods. Some interesting highlights were the caciocavallo spread on bread as well as the three different cannolis. We also had a calzone, a burger, some curry, these little meat skewers, etc. After that, we headed back to Vicenza for the night. Brenda had bought us some Oreos, which were definitely a treat! They have access to the army base commissary which has many American foods, so they found us some treats that are harder to find in Spain (yay!).
Flights out of Milan were much cheaper than those our of Venice, so three of us decided to take the opportunity to spend Sunday in Milan as well. We got up at 6:30 and made our way to the train station for a three hour ride. As soon as we got there, we hit the town! We first went to the Starbucks Reserve for some coffee and breakfast. This Starbucks is incredibly opulent and impressive. You should Google it, it is definitely a sight to see! We then did some shopping (as is customary in the “Fashion Capital of the World”), saw the Duomo, and played with the birds outside of the cathedral. My friends are really into getting the birds to jump on them (as our most tourists, haha) but I can’t stand them! I’m not the biggest bird fan, I must say! After a lovely day exploring Milan, we headed to the airport and returned to Sevilla.
Overall, this weekend was absolutely lovely. I especially enjoyed getting to know our hosts for the weekend, Brenda and Craig. The US Army has taken them all over the world. They have lived in Vicenza for almost four years and they love hosting guests. Brenda keeps count on how many people come stay in their house – I was #115! They are truly the most incredible hosts ever and I cannot thank them enough or begin to repay them for the hospitality that they displayed for our group this weekend. I went to Vicenza thinking we would have a free place to stay, but they offered us so much more than that! I hope to run into them in the future.