Europe Trip Part III: Italy love


We took a flight from Frankfort, Germany to Venice, Italy. From the airport we took a bus over the bridge and onto the island of Venice! We were staying at a little apartment but had to wait about an hour until it was time to meet the people we were renting it from. We had our huge backpacks, so we decided to sit down at a cafe. It was only 9am, but I was craving pizza so we ordered a pizza for breakfast. Nate and I had both been sooo excited to eat pizza in Italy, we are huge pizza lovers! Sadly, our 1st pizza in Italy was very disappointing. It was hard and had barely any cheese or sauce on it, it just tasted gross. (Fortunately, we ordered pizza a few hours later for lunch and realized that the pizza in Italy really is amazing, we had just gone to one bad cafe.) Once we were able to drop things off at our apartment, it was already very hot outside! We were only in Venice a few days, but those days were unusually hot and it is very humid being surrounded by water! We realized the best thing to do was take a nap or relax in our apartment for a few hours in the middle of the day and explore Venice in the cooler hours of the day.

I loved exploring Venice. There were so many cute houses and I loved walking along the canals. We walked by a placed called Gino's and saw some people eating a delicious looking pizza, so we decided to get our second pizza of the day. It was soooo good and we ended up getting pizza there the next 2 days! I was so glad that my pizza expectations were met and the pizza kept getting better and better the rest of our trip! We walked all around Venice, looking in old chapels, walking along the canals, and then sitting along the Grand Canal while the sun went down. We found a cute cafe to eat at for dinner and got gelato for dessert. It was so nice not having anything that we needed to do and not having anything planned, we could just wander around and take everything in.

The next day and a half were about the same, wandering the streets exploring and stropping every few hours for delicious food. We got breakfast from an outdoor market and sat along the grand canal enjoying it. We went into St Mark's Basilica at Piazza San Marco & walked around the square. We decided to celebrated our anniversary early since we would be at a family reunion on our actual anniversary a few weeks later. We went on a gondola ride as the sun was setting and then had an amazing dinner at a restaurant next to the Grand Canal. The gondola ride was perfect, it was so beautiful watching the sun go down on the water, going under bridges and through narrow canals, I loved every minute! Dinner was so delicious. We ordered an artisan cheese plate and ate the whole dish with crusty baguettes dipped in balsamic vinegar (it tastes so much richer in Italy). Then we got huge pasta dishes and for once in my life I was too full for dessert! It was the perfect way to celebrate our anniversary!

Gondola Ride!!!

The next day we rode the water taxi down the Grand Canal. It was Nate's idea and he looked sooo happy the whole time. It was really fun to see all of the buildings along the canal. They all looked so much fancier on the water side than when you would see them walking along the road. After the water taxi, we headed to the train station to ride to Milan.

We only spent 1 night in Milan and I enjoyed it there more than I thought I would! We dropped our bags off and then headed to the Duomo (Milan Cathedral). It was breathtaking and the most beautiful building that we saw our entire trip. Pictures and words really can't do it justice. We went inside and I though there was no way that the inside would be as impressive as the outside, but it was. There was a mall next to the cathedral, and we walked through it just to check it out. It was the most beautiful mall I have ever seen! It was seriously a work of art. It was a huge building with beautiful pillars, murals on the walls, and it really looked like a palace! We had dinner at a really cute little place, Re di Coppe & Piatti. We got blood orange sodas that were amazing and Nate had his favorite pasta dish of the trip there! The place we were staying was next to a huge park, Parco Sempione, so we walked around the park and just ended up sitting on a bench and people watching for a few hours. There were sooo many very interesting people there. There was some event with a live band and food trucks and the band sounded really good!

The place that we were staying was the only thing I did not like about Milan. We used airbnb for our entire trip and loved every place that we stayed except the one in Milan. All of the places we stayed at were places where we had a whole apartment or studio to ourselves, except for in Milan and Rome. The places in Milan were all more pricey, so we decided to stay in a place where we would have a section of a house with a bathroom, kitchen, and room in separate area, but it would be inside of someone else's house. The only problem was that when we got to the place, the guy who owned the house looked very creepy and had a suspicious tent in a corner of his living room. We checked in, left our bags in our section of the house and then took off. When we came back later that night, it was dark and we were trying to unlock the front door. The door swung open and the owner was there, but the lights were all off. He was asking us a question but I couldn't understand what he was saying and I kept saying, "The lights, can we turn the lights on". Finally we got the lights turned on and realized he was asking when we would be leaving the next day. We also discovered that the tent in the living room was pot growing tent... I was sooo happy to get out of there!! So lesson learned, spend $20 more and get our own place!!!

Our last morning in Milan, we walked around to some markets to get some fruit and croissants and had a little picnic for breakfast. Then we explored around town, found a huge castle with the prettiest wildflowers surrounding it, and had the best caprese sandwiches ever! I loved them so much, I had to order a 2nd one and then felt sick from eating 2 huge sandwiches in 5 minutes. Then we got on the train and headed to Rapallo!


It would be so hard to choose a favorite place on our trip, but if I had to choose one place, it would be Rapallo! We arrived in rapallo in the early afternoon and were picked up at the train station by neighbor of the place we were staying at. He took us to the little home we would be staying at and I fell in love with it at first sight. It had seafoam and white tiles all over & a huge deck with a gorgeous view of the ocean!!!

We dropped out bags off & immediately ran down to the ocean. There was the cutest little beach that was only a 5 minute walk from where we were staying. And there were almost no people there, my kind of beach!!! The beach was rocky instead of sandy, but it was actually nice because there were tons of huge rocks to lay out on to warm up after jumping in the water. The water was the most gorgeous turquoise color! We spent a few hours switching between floating & swimming in the clear water and sunning on the warm rocks. It was a perfect afternoon!! I begged Nate to stay at the beach until dark, so we stayed as long as possible, until the sun went down. Then we walked down into the town center to get some dinner.

We actually ended up eating at the first place we saw & I was so glad we did! It was right on the water and had a beautiful view of the ocean and a castle, Antico Castello Sul Mare! I also got my favorite dish from our whole trip there! I was feeling like a tomato pasta, and they had one with pesto that sounded good, so I asked if they could make it with tomato sauce. The waiter told me they had a special dish, Pasta Portofino, that wasn't on the menu that I would love. It ended up being the most delicious dish ever!!! Trofie pasta with a sauce that was a mix of pesto & tomato sauce, served in a parmesean bowl!!! My mouth is watering just thinking of it!!! After dinner, we walked around on a path by the water. There were little shops selling things and lots of people strolling around. Nate wasn't feeling very good, so we headed back up the hill to our little house. I got a hazelnut & stracciatella gelato on our way up and it ended up being my favorite gelato. So pretty much I just completely loved everything about Rapallo!!!

I woke up early the next morning & let Nate sleep in while I walked down into the town square to look for breakfast. I got some croissants, cookies, and fruit from a few different little shops. On the way back, I found a walkway down to a private beach and swam for a little bit! I loved having my own private little beach!!! Then I headed up to get Nate!! We brought our food down to the beach and swam a little more. Then we went to the beach from the first day. We found a spot that no one else was at, and I was in heaven, having our own little beach again! I had my little "route" where I would jump in the water, swim around to a big rock, climb on the rock, and then jump back in the water, and then get back onto our little beach. Haha, it was awesome though!!! We stayed there all morning & afternoon & then it was sadly time to head to our next destination, Corneglia.

Cinque Terre- Corniglia

Corniglia is one of the 5 towns of Cinque Terre. I was a little nervous about finding the place we were staying there because I realized I hadn't gotten a map or even an exact address of where we were staying... We took the train to the town & then had the option of either paying and taking a bus up to the main part of town or walking up 382 steps into town. We decided to walk. It was an extremely hot day & we had our huge packs on & I was quickly regretting choosing to walk. We went the wrong way first and after seeing locked fences and dogs barking at us, we realized we had gone the wrong way. We headed the right way and sweated to death, climbing up the many, many switchbacks! Once we got into town, we realized how tiny the town was. I asked a waitress at a little restaurant if she knew the lady we were renting from, Stefani, & she did!!! She pointed us in the right direction and we were able to find the lady we were renting from. She was sooo nice & gave us tons of tips & let us know how to get down to the beach!!!

One of my favortite views

We got in our swimsuits and pretty much ran to the water!!! It was a few hundred steps down!! We were so excited to cool down and jump in the ocean that I didn't even think about climbing back up all the steps!!! The ocean was beautiful there!!!! Once again, there were hardly any people, just a few locals. There was a big rock that some kids were jumping off of, so we swam over and jumped off! We spent a few hours rotating between swimming and lying on the warm rocks to dry off. It was such a great day!! When we finished, we walked up the many, many steps & realized that our next few days would be filled with thousands and thousands of steps!!

We had dinner at a restaurant recommended by Stefani & it was perfect! The restaurant had a big outdoor seating area with the most incredible view of the ocean & cliffs covered in vineyards. I still can't get over how beautiful the view was! We had pesto pizza and pesto lasagna since Corniglia is known for being the birthplace of pesto! Both were delicious & the pesto really was amazing! We ate slowly & it was so nice to just relax & not have anywhere we needed to be! After dinner, we strolled around town, got some fresh lemon gelato, and walked up lots of steps to see some more beautiful views!

The next morning, we woke up early and started our Cinque Terre hike! The 5 towns of Cinque Terre are Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, & Riomaggiore. Sadly, the trails to Manarola and Riomaggiore were closed down (trails are closed often because of damage from weather and so many people hiking on them). We were glad to be in Corniglia though, because we wouldn't have to take a train anywhere to start. We found the trail & began hiking! It started with a lot of flat & downhill & we remarked how easy it was! The views were amazing, you could see all the way down the coast line & could see the bright roofs marking each town.

After a lot of flat and down hill, the steps up began! After hundreds of steps up, we made it to Vernazza! Vernazza was beautiful and had a little swimming area that we realized had thousands of sea urchins!! We carefully swam around in the clear turquoise water. We got some pesto foccaica bread & it was incredibly delicious! We also split a basil gelato, it sounds weird but was really refreshing!

Another favorite view!

It was starting to get hotter, so after checking out a pretty viewpoint, we started on the trail to Monterosso. Once again, the views from the trail were breathtaking and it started out mostly flat & downhill and then ended with hundreds of steps up to Monterosso. It started to rain, which felt great! We saw the ocean & sat on the beach for a little, but were too cold from the rain to swim. We got lunch at a little cafe, pesto pizza & pesto gnocchi! Then we were wanting to take a boat from Monterosso to Riomaggiore to be able to see all of the towns from the water, but because of the rain & wind, they were not running any boats. We took the train back to Corneglia & decided to end the day at the same restaurant, we loved it so much! We were seated at a table next to a European couple & ended up talking with them for a couple hours. They were big travelers & it was fun to hear about their trips & get some tips from them!

We loved Corniglia & Cinque Terre so much, & like every place, we were sad to leave! It is the smallest out of the 5 towns & I loved how quaint it was! Since it's the smallest town, it had way less tourists & seemed more authentic and relaxed.

Doorway to the place we stayed

Positano/ San Lazzaro

The next place on our trip was a small town on the Amalfi Coast, next to Positano, San Lazzaro. I had trouble finding exact information how to get there & just figured it would be easier to find out when we got there. We took a train to Naples, & then from there tried to figure out how to get a bus to Positano. It was not the best part of the trip. We were both starving and were running all around trying to find the bus stop before the 1 bus there left. We ended up finding it just in time & as we tried to get on the bus, were told we needed to have tickets ahead of time & could not get on the bus without them. After some tears (from me), we got an amazing little pizza for 1 euro and took a train to the closest city possible next to Positano, it was still about 45 minutes away from there though, they just don't have any trains right into the city. Once we got into this city, we realized it was actually just a little town and we could not find any buses or even any taxis. We were both tired and discouraged & had no idea how to get where we needed to go. I said a prayer in my head & then right as I looked up, we saw 2 missionaries!! It was such a miracle! They were from the U.S. and were so nice! They walked us to the town center, it was very complicated & we never would have been able to find it on our own. They found us a taxi driver and talked to him for us, and we were able to get a ride with him for $50, which we were more than happy to pay to just get there. We were so thankful for my answered prayer!!

The taxi ride was a little crazy but also very cool. The roads in and around the Amalfi Coast are so sharp and narrow! The whole drive was amazing though, so much greenery on so many cliffs!

Once we got to the town, we found the place we were staying. It was right on the edge of a cliff bordering the ocean & had a beautiful view of the water! I had been told the hotel had beach access & we found out that meant it had access to a path of stairs (thousands of stairs) that led down to the beach. Good thing we already had tons of practice on stairs!! We had dinner at the restaurant (pizza & coke) & then walked around, exploring the small town.

The next morning, we woke up early, had the free breakfast at the hotel (croissants & jam), & went on a hike that began in the town we were in! The hike went along the coast and the views of the ocean, cliffs, & greenery were amazing!! We had the whole hike to ourselves, which was really cool! At one part, there was a swarm of big black bees blocking the path. It was so weird. I am so freaked out of bees & have never been stung before & never want to. Nate casually walked through the swarm of bees and told me to also. I finally ran as fast as I could through them & one hit me on the head, on purpose probably!! But I did not get stung! On the way back I realized I could just walk around the path through a bush! After a few hours of hiking, we headed back so that we could go down to the beach! We decided we would take the stairs down to the beach & then take a bus back up, both ways were supposed to take an hour.

We hiked down the stairs for a little over an hour and finally got down to flat ground! Once we got to the road, we walked along the narrow road, trying not to get hit by cars & buses zooming by! We finally made it to the beach & it was completely worth it!!! The water felt amazing and it was so hot & sunny, a perfect beach day! The sand was incredibly hot & we had to run as fast as we could anytime we wanted to go from our towels to the water! There was a man renting umbrellas, which most people had, but we were fine without one. After spending a few hours in the water & on the beach, we looked in some of the shops in Positano & had some coke & pizza. Italy has Coke with real cane sugar. I don't like Coke normally but it is so good with cane sugar & with a fresh pizza!!! Also, it was the same price or cheaper than getting water most places! After eating and exploring, we went back to the beach. I loved the views from the water, the huge cliffs were breathtaking!!! I couldn't stop looking at them!!! As we were walking in on the beach I realized there was lots of seaglass in the sand! Nate helped me to collect a bag of it to keep as a souvenir! It ended up being my favorite souvenir of our trip! We loved Positano & the Amalfi Coast! It was so fun to go hiking and see the views from above in the morning & then swim in the ocean and enjoy the views from below!


We took the bus back to our hotel & that was quite an experience! We had noticed the narrow roads when walking down them to the beach, & riding in a huge bus through the tiny lanes was insane!!! The bus driver drove so fast and the road turned so sharply that you could never really tell if anyone was coming from the other end. The driver would honk the horn to warn in case there was. There were so many times I thought we would hit a car or another bus head-on! There were a few times that a bus would be coming from the other way and both buses would have to slam on their brakes and back up or wait while the other bus went through! We had dinner at the hotel restaurant again, pizza and coca cola. The perfect way to end an amazing day!


We took a train to Naples & had a few hours until our next train would take us to Rome. Just enough time to explore a little & get some Napolini pizza! We walked around the main area & saw a castle & a view of the ocean. Nate bought me a necklace & bracelet from a cute little jewelry shop. Then we found a little restaurant in the middle of an alley. We ordered pizza and coke (the usual, I never got sick of this the whole time we were there). People always rave about Naples having the best pizza & they are right. It was the most amazing pizza I have ever had & probably will ever have. I am still dreaming about that pizza. Pizza in Naples is really cheap too, a whole pizza is only $6 and to get a mini pizza it is only $1. (We had gotten a mini one to split when waiting for the bus on our way to San Lazzaro. After our 10am lunch we headed to Rome!


Rome was great and a fun way to end our Europe trip! We spent the few days were were there walking everywhere and trying to see everything we could. We saw the Colosseum our first day there and it did not disappoint! It was crazy walking through and picturing what went on their so long ago. We loved seeing the architecture of so many ancient buildings. At one point, we were so tired of walking, we sat outside the Pantheon and just people watched. There was this carriage with a horse in the middle of the square. We noticed people kept going up to it to pet it, it would act nice at first and would then neigh and try to bite the people. For some reason, it was sooo funny to us to see how everyone reacted! We seriously saw the same thing happen to like 8 people! We saw the Colosseum both in the day time & at night the first day. We paid to walk around inside during the day & it was incredible to see & picture what it was like when they had fights & performances there. We had dinner at a little place on the river that had delicious local food.

On our second day, we went to the Vatican and saw the Sistine Chapel. Both were incredible, I especially loved the Sistine Chapel! Everyone had to be silent in there, and even though it was completely crammed with people, it was a really cool experience! The mural on the ceiling is gorgeous & it is crazy to think of Michelangelo painting such detailed paintings on a ceiling. On our last evening, we had dinner at a cute outdoor cafe. It was cold and starting to rain, but our food was warm, so it felt nice to be in the rain. I had homeade ravioli for the first time & loved it, & we shared a hot chocolate cake for dessert. We were sad to head back to our hotel, so we walked around some more, looking at buildings, cathedrals, & walking by the Colosseum once more to see it at night.

Vatican City

St. Peter's Cathedral- it was designed by Michelangelo, Bramante, Maderno, & Bernini & is the most renowned work of Renaiisance architecture & one of the largest churches in the world. It was so beautiful inside & Nate was so excited to see St. Peter's Baldachin since he had seen it in some of his history books growing up.

Overall, our Europe trip was incredible and even more amazing then I imagined it would be. We were both so excited for the trip & it was something we had both always dreamed of doing and we loved every place we were able to go! We felt so blessed to be able to go on such an amazing trip that we will always remember!!!

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