"No matter where I've been overseas, the food stinks, except in Italy" ~ Carmen Electra

 I have to agree with Carmen Electra.  I would almost say that it's worth visiting Italy just to sample the food :)!

I decided to break my posts on Florence into a few separate postings.  It seems everyone likes to hear about and see photos of food so I decided to write an entire post on it.  People joke that Italians would be a lot larger than they are if they had places like McDonald's and Burger King in their country which they don't.  As you can see they have plenty of other irresistable temptations! 

  Florence was everything I hoped it would be!  Every day when I walked outside my mouth just fell open with the beauty I saw everywhere.  It's not a very large city - there are a lot of tourists, but it's very clean and it felt very safe.  Everyone was friendly overall. 

I am not a breakfast eater but every morning I got up at six and couldn't wait for the breakfast room to open at seven. I really loved my hotel!  The hotel I stayed at, the hotel Berchielli, is pictured at the very end of this post. The location could not of been better and the service was excellent.  I would definitely stay there again. 

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I didn't even give them my name and they brought me my personalized cappuccino on my first day at the Hotel Berchielli.  They always had some cute little design on my coffee.

Fl (1 of 1)-57 Fl (1 of 1)-12It seems like there are gelato shops on almost every street corner.  Fortunately, I waited until my last day to try this amazing dessert.  If I had not waited until the last day, I probably would've stopped by one of these shops everyday.

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Fl (1 of 1)-16I Can NOT believe I didn't give into the flourless cake which is ONE of my many huge weaknesses.
Fl (1 of 1)-16Something for every taste bud:

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Fl (1 of 1)-15No lack of carbs AT ALL

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Fl1 (3 of 206)They do have lots of healthy food too - if you can resist all of the temptations :)
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Thank you so much for stopping by.  Until next time.

~Michelle

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"Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go." Truman Capote

 During my visit to Florence Italy last week I took the fast train for a day trip to Venice.  This was my first time riding the fast train.  I did like it, but  I'm not sure I like it more than flying.  It was nice seeing the scenery along the way.  The only drawback is it takes a little longer because obviously it doesn't go as fast as a plane and it stops along the way to pick up and drop off people.  We stopped four times between Florence and Venice. 

Getting to see Venice in person was really incredible! it's amazing to see a city in the water. Venice is known to be sinking.  This is not something new.  Venice has been sinking over the years and reinforcements have had to be placed under  the buildings.  Venice is often been referred to as elegant decay.

The Grand Canal is their Highway.  There are no cars only boats of one type or another.  Their ambulances are boats, their police ride around in boats, and the mail is delivered by boats.   Another thing that I was surprised to learn is they speak Venetian in Venice which is nothing like Italian. 

While I was there it did rain for part of the day.  I will say that I recommend to anyone visiting Venice to try and go on a sunny day.  It's a lot more beautiful in the sun in my opinion.  I would like to go back again someday and spend a night!

Below are some photos of the Basilica San Marco which is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen.  It is under construction in these photos which is understandable since it's more than 600 years old :)

You can use any of my photos for free and they are free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0.  They are available in a variety of sizes HERE

 

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Fl (1 of 1)-45  Fl (1 of 1)-52This photo is not crooked.  This is a well known leaning building that was built in 1400.

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   There are streets without water on them, but NO cars.

"I don't want to be in my car all day. I love getting up in the morning in Venice and walking my dogs down to the cafe to get my tea, and then perhaps going to a bookstore and sitting and reading, then walking to the beach"

~Jessica Chastain

Fl (1 of 1)-5 There are many stores that sell some very colorful souvenirs.  I wanted to buy one of the beautful masks, but most of the ones I liked were about 50 euros or $75 USD and I didn't think it would survive the journey home in my typically overweight luggage.

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  No Walmarts in Venice, but many beautiful farmers markets :)

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Fl (1 of 1)-35It takes five years to study and or practice to be a gondolier.  The least expensive gondola costs more than 30,000 euros or about $45,000 USD.

Fl (1 of 1)-60The busiest time in Venice is June through August.  Even though I was there in April, most of the streets were very crowded like in the photo below:

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This would be where people park their cars  boats:

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This is a well known building that belonged to a wealthy family.  There is a spiral stair case going up the tower.

Fl (1 of 1)-51"Venice never quite seems real, but rather an ornate film set suspended on the water."

~Frida Giannini

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 Thank you so much for stopping by.  I will leave you with a very brief video taken while I was watching the traffic in one of the canals.  I hope you all have a wonderful week!

~Michelle

 

 

 

 


Visiting Italy's Five Enchanting Lands: Cinque Terre

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Visiting Italy and especially Cinque Terre were very near the top of my bucket list and I made it there this week!  I visited four out of the five villages.  The only village we did not visit was Corniglia because it requires a fairly lengthy hike and climbing many stairs to get there.  The tour lasted fourteen hours so it was quite a long day already. Cinque means five and terre means land.  I must say that this enchanting area is just as beautiful as I imagined and looked just as magnificent as all of  the photos I've seen! Cinque Terre became a national park in 1998.  Fishing was what sustained their economy until that time and then they needed to find new sources of income.  Cinque Terre's current number one source of income is from tourism and the second is from the incredible white wine they produce.  More than 3 million people visit Cinque Terre each year.

I know many of you have seen some really beautiful and incredible photos of this magnificent place.  Hopefully mine will share a slightly different perspective.  I'm just really happy to have some of my own photos and memories of this experience.

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Fl (1 of 1)I couldn't get enough of the beautiful scenery!

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  A very out of focus shot of a very jet lagged yours truly :)
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This was one of my my favorite areas of the tour:

Fl (1 of 1)-4The beaches were a little rocky but nice and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

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Fl (1 of 1)-24Are the kids on top of that BIG rock crazy or just being kids and having fun?

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Fl (1 of 1)-56The above is a VERY large statue stone carving in the cliffs high above the beach

Flowers everywhere - especially framing the windows.

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Ct44444 (2)  Fl (1 of 1)-46I loved the brightly colored houses perched on the cliffs

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As in most of Italy there were several lovely cathedrals.

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Looking down on the busy town

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The structure which is built into a cliff above was built to help prevent landslides which have been a problem in this area.  It has helped a little.

As you can see the land is terraced for growing crops such as lemon and olive trees.

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Fl (1 of 1)-57 These final three photos were taken in the village of Riomaggiore

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Fl (1 of 1)-52I am debating staying in one of these gorgeous villages for a few days this summer.  Do you think you would enjoy being in such a remote area with so many tourists or would a day trip be enough for you?

 Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you have a nice week!

~Michelle