Cathy’s European Whirl – Part Two

Next we were off to Venezia.  This was so exciting.  Venice is a place I’ve wanted to visit since I was a little girl!  Now I had been warned by others that I may be disappointed by Venice – be aware it smells and it’s dirty.  I have to say it lived up to my childhood dreams and much more.  I loved it!

We saw the Bridge of Sighs – so named as it linked the jail to the courts and quite often prisoners would have the last view of their family from the windows of that bridge on their way to prison after being sentenced.

Doge’s Palace was simply beautiful.  We saw a glass blowing demonstration at the Murano glass factory – amazing to watch.  Then we had free time to wander Venice.  Oh I loved it.  We wandered through shops, walked along streets and canals and took oh so many photos.

Next up was a gondola ride through the canals.  It was wonderful to just sit and listen to the gondoliers singing as we waved to people walking and marvelled at buildings and bridges we would not have seen on foot.  What an experience – one I will remember forever.

Gondola ride canals Venice

Gondola ride through the Venice canals

How I wish we could have stayed there for days and I hope to be back again one day.  It is a beautiful place.  I loved wandering and exploring.  Oh and shopping!  There is no way to describe Venice – if you get a chance you HAVE to go.

hot air balloons Venezia

Hot air balloons in Venezia

As we left Venezia we saw hot air balloons taking off over fields.  It was a magnificent sight.

Soon we arrived in Rome, and what a welcome!  The first two things I noticed were a soccer game and a Lamborghini dealer!  We went straight into the city for a walking tour introduction to Rome.  Our first stop was the Pantheon.  The architecture and the detail in the buildings in Italy are just amazing and this is no exception.

lamborghini dealer soccer

Soccer game and Lamborghini dealer in Rome

From there we visited the Piazza Navona.  The piazza is surrounded by gorgeous buildings and is full of the hustle and bustle I have always pictured in Italy.  Sidewalk cafes, locals drinking coffee and chatting, and the artists… artists everywhere selling their work!

We headed down one of the little alleyways and decided “When in Rome…..” So we enjoyed pasta, pizza and gelato for dinner!

pizza pasta gelato

Pizza, pasta and gelato for dinner in Rome!

Sigi is a great Travel Director and a fountain of information.  Her love for the places we visit is infectious. Our Local Guide in Rome, Helena, met us outside St Peters Basilica.  No words can describe this place.  The marble, the sheer size, and the amazing mosaics.  Wow.

The most amazing thing, however, was the fact that we were there on a Sunday morning as mass started.  There was one area roped off for church goers but we could hear the service start.  Also as you walked around there were small services going on in some of the little alcoves.  We couldn’t stay for the whole service but it was such an awesome experience.  Tasha loved the Spanish guards – they have guarded the pope for over 500 years and the poor guys still have to turn up to work in the traditional uniforms!

From there we headed to the Colosseum.  Yet another awesome sight.  Could you imagine a stadium that seats 200,000 people?  It really is mind blowing.  Helena was brilliant and explained the logistics of how the Colosseum worked in great detail.

colosseum

The Colosseum

Ostia Antica is a town on the coast about 30 minutes from Rome.  They liken it to Pompeii because it is an entire Roman town that’s been preserved.  You see the theatre, the forum, the justice area, the homes, the shops. Brilliant.

Dinner that night was amazing.  The food was beautiful – we had 5 courses.  Bruschetta, spaghetti, ravioli, salmon and gelato.  The waiters were so much fun.  They serenaded the ladies, gave out hugs and kisses and even singled some ladies out for special treatment!

I loved the look on Tasha’s face (and yes she did blush… a lot) when the Italian waiter gave her a kiss on each cheek and presented her with a red rose.

Tasha’s special gift

But the night was not over there.  For those of us who still felt like walking we made the trip to the Trevi Fountain.  It was so busy, but it was awesome.  From there we went to the Spanish Steps.  People everywhere!

All in all another brilliant day.  A long and exhausting day but I wouldn’t want to miss a thing!

Read Part Three of Cathy’s European Whirl Travel Tale next week…

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