Posts Tagged ‘Italy’


part three of three

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Istanbul  •  Part 1  •  Part II

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I drew the most joy from Venice during my early morning runs. Passing by rows of sleeping gondolas while hearing the San Marco Campanile chime made me feel like I had the whole city to myself. This place starts its daily hustle fairly early bringing in boat loads of visitors from every corner. While Venice is clearly a huge tourist trap, it is definitely one worth experiencing.

Thank you for reliving all 4 parts of this adventure with Kinjal and me! I did make a conscious effort on this trip to disassociate myself from the camera and truly enjoy the moment.  I also gave myself no guilt in my carb cravings or gelato binges. It was hard to let go of old habits at first- but then it became so freeing. L’amore tutto intorno!

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part two of three

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Istanbul  •  Part I

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Lake Como was worth the detour. We did a tour from Milan and spent the day in the town of Como & Bellagio. As a Las Vegan, I can see where our Bellagio hotel drew inspiration from this quaint Lombardy town. I’ll have you know that the real town is so much better than the desert version! On our ferry ride from Como to Bellagio, we passed by dreamy villas by the lake. For all Star Wars fans, the villa pictured above is where Skywalker and Amidala got married. Since we’re talking Hollywood, I’ll also throw out the fact that we zoomed past Clooney’s villa as well.

Once our boat hit the docks of Bellagio, we followed our hunger to a restaurant situated at the best waterfront spot in town. We spent the best of the day soaking in Italian pasta, wine, and sunshine.

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 The past came to life in Rome. The ruins, the pick pockets, and the crowds were some of Rome’s signature experiences. Though neither of us fell victim to Rome’s skilled thieves, a woman on our Vatican tour got her camera stolen right in front of St. Peter. Apart from clutching our belongings till our knuckles went white, we were able to stuff our faces with plenty of cheesy pizzas. We also hit up a handful of the must-see, overly-crowded touristy spots!

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part one of three

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Istanbul

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Our Italy travels started in Venice and ended in Naples with a progression of the following cities: Venice, Milan, Cinque Terre, Lake Como {Bellagio}, Florence, Rome, and Naples. Logistically, it made sense to start from the north and work our way south, but allow me to start our Italian adventures out of order with 2 of my favorite cities.

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Let me also preface this post by thanking some very important people:

1. My butt-buddy, Kinjal- for being my spectacular friend and travel partner. We spent countless hours making this trip seamless and I really could not imagine doing this adventure with anyone else!
2. My dad- for letting us use his hard earned reward points on some of our hotels. My dad is wonderful!
3. My husband, Phil- for joyfully letting me satisfy some serious restlessness and for always supporting my need to ‘go on an adventure’.
4. Friends & friends of friends- who wrote us novels via email giving us their suggestion and sharing their experiences. We found everything you wrote helpful and referenced your advice often throughout the trip.

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Cinque Terre is a beauty to behold. A force to be reckoned with. A coast that can launch 1,000 ships! The 5 towns, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, are linked together by the Ligurian Sea (an arm of the Mediterranean Sea). We arrived just a couple of minutes before midnight at the Margherita Hotel in Monterosso. Since we had less than 19 hours here, we woke up an hour before sunrise to find elevation. The hiking was difficult but rewarding. We passed by vineyards, rows of lemon trees, bubbling brooks, unending stone steps and a lot of other unspeakable, beautiful visions. We almost made it to Vernazza before we realized that 19 hours would not be enough time to hike and explore all 5 town; so we opted for the train instead.

We adopted the laid back, local attitude of these 5 towns and ate lot of pasta, drank lots of local wine, lounged on their beaches, inhaled countless gelato cones, and, my absolute favorite, people watched. It was hard to leave this town and every daydream I have now brings me back to their coasts.

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Florence is another favorite because it was small enough to walk through but large enough to keep you captivated. Maybe it was our short stay that made this city so much sweeter? Nevertheless, this place completely redefined ‘romance’.

We opted for a homestay right by the Arno river. While the address indicated that we were on the 3rd floor, we had to scale 8 flights of narrow stairs. I’m still amazed we didn’t fall backwards and to our doom! Our hostess was kind and left us with city recommendations and cake. Kinjal and I then walked into the sunset, hand-in-hand (really- we did).

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