Italy – Part 2: I Don’t Want Your Friendship Bracelet

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Read PART 1

After screaming at 100km/hr on Italy’s first dive coaster, Oblivion, Doran and I headed toward Milan for our next stop in our Italy adventure. This was our first hotel stay and major city of the trip so I was excited to have someone make my bed everyday and seeing city life in Italy.

Other than being the “fashion capital” of Italy, Milan was a city I knew very little of.

The Duomo was something notable through out my research and so we thought we would see that. The subway station exit, of the same name, leads you directly to the front of the Duomo di Milano and what a reveal it was! Imagine the grandeur, crawling out of the depths of the underworld and seeing the bright blue sky and this amazing cathedral appear before your very eyes!

Yes, we were impressed.

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Other than shopping, one of the few interesting things worth visiting is the Teatro alla Scala museum. If you are lucky, you could witness a dress rehearsal and enjoy a nice view of the theatre.

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Sadly, one of the things I will remember most of Milan was the time I almost got in a fight with one of those guys who force friendship bracelets on you claiming they are “free”. At every tourist location you are presented with a handful of corn, so that you can take pictures of a pigeon attack, or a beaded bracelet because you just plain showed up. If you politely decline their generous offer, they will proceed to ask why. You know they’re free right? If you still say no, they put it on your shoulder. If you then raise your hand to say no, they will put it on your wrist.

These guys are EVERYWHERE and by the end of the day, I was not having it. I was getting really annoyed and was starting to avoid anyone that looked like they were walking towards me strings in hand. While window shopping, I turn around and see this man tying a bracelet on Doran. I reached out politely said no while trying push the man’s arms away. Then to my surprise, the man snapped and shouted: “Don’t Touch ME! I’ll f*** you up!” to which I retorted: “Go ahead, try it!” With my arms out wide ready in fight or flight mode, the man turned away continuing to shout expletives at me.

Having avoided an international crisis, we decided it was best to end the day and go back to the hotel. After some gelato of course.

On a positive note, Milan did provide some retail therapy. Although, all we could afford was Zara. Italian Zara.

Then it was off to La Spezia.

This port town was chosen as the place for us to sleep and store our things while we went hiking along the Liguria coast of Italy. The famous “Cinque Terre” (Five Lands) is a string of picturesque costal villages known for it’s beautiful hikes along the coast and inland. It only takes 30mins to 2 hours to hike between the cities so Doran and I thought it would be fun to do a morning hike from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza then to Corniglia then to Manarola, and end at Riomaggiore for their delicious pesto. However…. with the heat wave, narrow paths and steep inclines, we barely made it to Vernazza alive. Needless to say, once we arrived at Vernazza we decided it was in our best interest to take the trains if we still wanted to make it to Riomaggiore before sunset.

Despite the crazy hikes, the five villages and La Spezia are wonderful places to put on your itinerary on your next Italy trip. We had the best gelato at Gelateria Stella Marina and got some amazing pictures of the villages.

 

Italy – Part 3: When in Rome…

Italy – Part 1: Taking the Long Way

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This past June, I took my first ever three week vacation and it was an amazing adventure around the world!

My first stop circling the world was Canada to attend a friend’s wedding and visit the family. It’s always nice to go back home and see that absolutely nothing has changed since the last time I returned. This trip was especially fun since I was able to convince my parents to go do an escape room with my brother and I. Lucky for us, Escape Hour has the option to get as many hints as required since I felt we probably would be needing hints. Little did I know, we would be asking for hints for EVERY SINGLE PUZZLE. It was comical. However, with all the help one could possibly ever receive, my family “escaped” with just a minute to spare.

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We did it! (Sort of…)

After a week in Calgary, I whisked off to Toronto, giving my cousins the usual 48-hour notice that they’re so fond of. Many heartfelt thanks to Kitty and Mike for hosting me on such short notice and allowing me to have so many Canadian favourites: Costco poutine, Swiss Chalet, Timbits and HK style milk tea (Australia, you still need to get it together on HK style milk tea!!! COME ON!)

Then it was off to ITALY! I flew straight from Toronto to Venice where I met up with Doran. It only took a cruisy 9 hours for me, while Doran flew to Venice through Dubai from Melbourne on a crazy 24 hour journey. Poor thing. Once we found each other, we started our crazy Italian adventure. And what a city Venice is to start our trip with!

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This historic city’s main mode of transportation was via boats; especially on the islands of Venice, so we hopped on a vaporetto and headed straight to our first Airbnb of the trip.

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It’s an apartment in the centre of the island right above shops selling tourist junk! Amazing!

 

 

 

Here are some of the most memorable things for us in Venice:

  • This place is so picturesque, you could probably sell postcards with the pictures we took.
  • Our favourite dishes from the ENTIRE trip was surprising at this chain called Rossopomodoro
  • We had a really fun Doge’s Palace super secret tour where we got to go through some of the secret passages and prison cells this palace had. Even learned about how Casanova “Casanova-ed” his escape from this very place!
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Spoiler alert. The secret door is in the corner.

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We both really liked Venice and would absolutely recommend seeing it.

After Venice we headed off to Milan on Italy’s high speed train; a Fecciarossa. But before arriving in Milan, we decided to spend the afternoon at one of the top 10 amusement parks in the world: Gardaland.

Part 2… Italy – Part 2: I Don’t Want Your Friendship Bracelets