Buon giorno, Venezia!
When David and I were planning our wedding five years ago, one of the honeymoon ideas we threw around was an Italy trip as I had never been and always wanted to go to Italy. We realized it would probably cost us too much to do an Italy honeymoon, but David promised me that someday we would have a chance to take an Italy vacation.
Now that we live in Oberbayern (Upper Bavaria – that is, the mountainous part of Bavaria), Italy is astonishingly close, as the border is within a four-hour drive from our home. Needless to say, this makes Italy a tempting and affordable travel destination for us. And especially with Baby Budlet on the way, we figured Italy would be a great trip for Rosebud and us, before we become a family of four.
When we were looking at maps of northern Italy, we eventually settled on making Venice our primary destination. In February, we went online and found a vacation apartment in a near suburb of Venice, in the town of Oriago/Mira. Our little apartment is comfortable, and although the town of Oriago is not much to write home about, we have been very comfortable and Venice has been extremely accessible via the bus.
Our drive to Venice was breathtaking, as we crossed the Alps. We headed due South, as we drove through Innsbruck, Austria; then through the Germanic Italian province of Bolzano (all signs there are bilingual), through Trentino and finally on toward coastal Venice.
We arrived on Easter Sunday, and then spent Easter Monday exploring Oriago, mainly walking along the canal. As in Germany, most shops were closed on both Sunday and Monday, meaning I had to pack a few days’ worth of food with us. We did, however, find a pizzeria that was open on Monday.
On Tuesday morning, we arrived in Venice fairly early and David purchased seven-day Venice cards for us. They have more than paid for themselves, as the cards include such advantages unlimited valporetti usage (these are the water buses), free or reduced admission to many museums, admission to a group of well-known churches excepting the Basilica of San Marco and even free public toilet usage (usually one must pay between € 0.50 cents and € 1.50).
Venice itself is a beautiful and fascinating city, as it is built on a series of islands that Venetians say look like fish. Although I would have loved to take a gondola ride, they’re expensive and I wouldn’t want to risk it with an active toddler who is prone to throwing her Bitty (blanket) on the ground. We brought our hiking backpack with us instead of a stroller, and that has been an excellent way to explore Venice with Rosebud. A stroller would have been a challenge because of the boats and the many stepped bridges. Additionally, I think Rosebud has been able to see a lot more riding around in the backpack instead of in a stroller.
What I’ve enjoyed most about Venice is that there is something interesting around every corner, and I’d say the best way to see Venice is to simply walk around (or travel by boat). We’ve visited the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace), Correr Museum, the Glass Museum on Murano Island, the Jewish Museum and several of the chorus churches. We also went to the Accademia art museum, which wasn’t included in our Venice card. And of course, it’s been delightful simply walking around, discovering little shops, cafés and restaurants.
In Venice itself, we have been able to communicate in English, but in Oriago, most people assume we’re German. I imagine that most vacationers who stay in Oriago are probably German. However, when I bought some bread in a local bakery, the shopkeeper said she thought I sounded German and seemed surprised to learn I’m American.
With most of the local shopkeepers in Oriago, we’ve been able to communicate in a smattering of German or mostly through pointing and talking with our hands. I have never formally studied Italian, but because I’m fluent in French and have a very basic knowledge of Spanish, I’ve been able to read and understand most of the signs, menus and even some basic newspaper articles. I have been able to decipher basic conversations, too. But anything more complicated than that, and I’m at a loss! Don’t ask me to speak any Italian, either – but this trip has inspired me to consider learning Italian at some point, because I think I could easily pick it up given that I already know so many basic words.
Tomorrow we plan on a day trip to the city of Parma, home of Prosciutto and Parmaggiano-Reggiano cheese. Perhaps later this week we will travel to Modena, which is known for balsamic vinegar and maybe to Trieste in the opposite direction. The city of Bologna is also not too far away; nor is Verona so perhaps we’ll see one of those cities as well.
And of course we’ve been taking lots and lots of photographs! I unfortunately forgot the cable to sync the pictures with my computer, but I promise to post them later on so all of you can vicariously travel along to Italy with us.
Rosebud has especially enjoyed the food. This isn’t too terribly surprising, as she loves pizza, risotto and pasta! But the food has been quite good. I’m especially looking forward to eating out in Parma tomorrow, which is certainly known for its cuisine.
Another lovely benefit to traveling in Italy in early April is we’ve been enjoying the lovely spring weather! While spring has arrived in Upper Bavaria, it’s further along here in the Venice region. While we have been here, we’ve been enjoying the budding trees and spring flowers, not to mention the slightly warmer temperatures.
On a personal note, I’m feeling well (apart from the occasional pregnancy woes). I do get more easily tired, and for that reason we have been taking our time at lunch, for example. I’ve been sporadically feeling Baby Budlet, which is both exciting and reassuring.