A Taste of Venice

Everything they say about Venice is true. It’s a magical place. I as of this day still haven’t seen anything quite like it, and it’s completely overrun by tourists.

I’ve been to Venice when I was a kid and I absolutely loved it. However, as a kid, I was impressed by many things that don’t seem as amazing now. Venice was different. Ever since we thought about going to Venice over Easter and meeting my family there, I was really excited to go back to the city that stole my heart 20 or so (I’d rather not count) years ago.

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

We flew from Brussels to Marco Polo Airport (check out our itinerary here) and took the bus directly into Venice. With hotels in Venice being so expensive, we booked a place off the island but decided to go to Venice first to enjoy the afternoon and evening there before heading to the hotel later that night. (In case you were wondering, we didn’t walk around Venice with our suitcases but were able to store them at the train station.)

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

As we started wandering around the city, crossing canals, and admiring the architecture, I noticed that Kyle was very impressed with what he saw. He doesn’t usually believe in travel destination hypes but had to give in to this one.

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

We usually try to blend in with the locals but something about the Italian cuisine made us fail miserably. No sooner than 30 minutes after touching ground, we already polished off a slice of pizza and two scoops (each!) of gelato.

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

Consistent with our days in Belgium, it was raining on and off. We decided to cure our weather blues with wine and cured meats before at Muro Frari before heading to our hotel.

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

We stayed at the most beautiful Hotel Villa Barbarich where we met my family. A few minutes outside of Venice, the hotel is beautifully secluded, surrounded by trees, and as relaxing as can be. I would have loved to stay there a few days longer to enjoy the hotel grounds and the spa.

 

Hotel Villa Barbarich - A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

Hotel Villa Barbarich - A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

The inside of the hotel was just as stunning. It is a combination of historical Italian architecture with modern elements. We were particularly taken aback by the art on the walls and ceiling.

 

Hotel Villa Barbarich - A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

Hotel Villa Barbarich - A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

We planned to head back into Venice early the next morning. However, these plans were thoroughly ruined by the amazing breakfast spread at the Hotel Villa Barbarich. We ate our body weights in eggs, bacon, pastries, and more, and were ready to explore.

 

Hotel Villa Barbarich - A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

Hotel Villa Barbarich - A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

The city was even more impressive in the sun and we walked through the narrow alleys soaking it all in.

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

The architecture in Venice is truly amazing. I'm in awe every time I walk through the narrow streets.

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

Ready for a coffee break (which is basically always), we followed the promise of some proper coffee time at the oldest café in the world – Café Florian. It is located right on St. Marcus Square, you can't miss it!

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

If you ever visit Venice, I can highly recommend this place. Their hot chocolate (I know, not really a coffee) is out of this world – chocolaty, thick, creamy, and not too sweet.

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

(Note that Café Florian is extremely popular amongst tourists given its location and history so you would want to come here in the morning.)

We wandered around for another couple of hours and had a blast spending time together.

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

Shop My Look

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

It was so precious to be reunited with my family in such a magical place. Kyle and I made a promise to come back but try to stay in the city so that we could explore Venice before all the other tourists make it out of bed.

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

Before we left the island, I picked up a traditional Colomba di Pasqua and we toasted to a great start into our Easter family get-together. (A Colomba di Pasqua is a Panettone in the shape of a dove. It's a typical 'cake' the Italians eat around Easter.)

 

A Taste of Venice - The Next Trip

 

Have you been to Venice? What did you like best? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Easter 2018: Introduction

This year we spent Easter going back to familial roots, and enjoying entirely too much wine and food along the way. How we planned this trip is a pretty good example of the unconventional way we go about our travelling. I would like to say that we were making our life-long dreams come true with a romantic weekend in Venice (which is partially true), though in reality this trip was a spur of the moment booking - seven months in advance.

 

 

Allow me to explain.

It all started when I was groggily waking up one weekend in late August and was mindlessly scrolling through my news feed on my phone. I came across a flight deal on @TheFlightDeal that had just been posted for Air Canada business class from select cities in the US to select cities in Europe starting at around $1,000USD roundtrip. That is business class at near economy prices, and too good of a deal to pass up. I quite literally jumped out of bed to grab my laptop and begin the search to see if the deal was still live (deals like this one disappear very quickly as everyone wants to take advantage of it) and if I could find an itinerary that we could fit into our schedule. Unfortunately, there were no deals out of Chicago, but they were plentiful out of Boston. We weren’t really planning to book any long trips that morning, but the thing is when you find a deal this good you have to book it fast. We settled on booking flights for late March, which would coincide with Easter where we could potentially meet up with Bettina’s family while in Europe. I began my search around those dates and found a few itineraries that might work to Amsterdam, Rome, and a few other cities in Europe. All options were restricted by having to leave on a Tuesday, and with a minimum 7 day stay in Europe. Once we found flights that worked I typed all of our information in as quickly as I could and we were able to successfully book business class from Boston to Amsterdam, return, with a short layover in Toronto both ways. At $1,020 each for a lieflat seat and as much as we could eat and drink, we were not complaining.

It wasn’t until a few months later that we solidified the rest of the trip and coordinated with Bettina’s family. We were going to meet them in Venice for two days before driving to the Dolomite mountain range, which is about 2 hours north, to spend Easter relaxing in the town where Bettina’s mom spent every summer of her childhood. As we were arriving in Europe a few days before they were able to meet us in Italy, we decided to add on a short side-trip to Belgium, which believe it or not, Bettina had never been to. We were able to secure pretty good flight prices this far in advance flying from Brussels to Venice and returning to Amsterdam.

We still had one problem to solve though. How would we possibly get to Boston? Given that it’s a U.S. destination and a major city, it was the perfect use of our Southwest Companion Pass. We again were able to get a reasonable price on flights by booking far in advance. We also planned to head there a few days before our international flights and tagged on a New England road trip for good measure. Here is what our final itinerary looked like:

 

 

Late in January, we received an update from Air Canada. Updates usually mean the flight itinerary changed and we were worried this change would disrupt our complicated trip. The good news was our flights from Toronto to Amsterdam had been updated from an older Airbus A330 to their brand new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The bad news: Our originally booked flights had been cancelled and the auto-booked itinerary was completely messed up and illogical. With a call to Air Canada to resolve, we learned that our originally scheduled flight from Toronto to Amsterdam was cancelled on Tuesday, but we could alternatively fly the same itinerary, just one day earlier. An extra day in Europe for no charge? Yes please!

What we ended up flying:

 

 

Not for the faint hearted if you don’t enjoy flying – but that’s not a problem for us. As our return connection in Boston was unprotected (i.e. two separate tickets on two separate airlines – if the first flight is delayed and you miss the second, you don’t get reimbursed for your flight or rescheduled, tough luck) we had booked a fairly comfortable 4 hours buffer. However, Southwest decided to add a little fun to the mix in late February by rescheduling their last flight of the day from Boston to Chicago two hours earlier, and giving us just 2 hours to make our unprotected connection, at the mercy of weather delays, normal delays, running time between terminals, and security lines. Despite 45 minutes of weather delays on the actual flight day, we made our connection without issue! If we were travelling with checked luggage, it might have been another story, but we always try to travel with carry-ons only (see Bettina’s post here on making it work).

In March, a few weeks before the trip, when people inevitably began asking us where our next trip was it was a bit difficult to decide how to respond. “Venice” was the go-to answer. Sometimes that’s just easier to say, and also helps to avoid the looks we get when saying “Boston, Burlington, Portland, Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruges, Venice, and the Dolomites.”

 

 

 

 

 

We felt like we really lucked out being able to book these flights! We were not only looking forward to the destination but the entire journey as well. Bettina usually dreads the flight back home, however she can’t wait to get on the plane if our flight home is in business class.


 

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