Italy take 3; Venice 

The train from Florence to Venice was only two hours and honestly it felt like maybe 30 minutes. I was in second class this time but I got lucky and had an empty seat beside me.

My French mother met me right at the station and since it was raining we took water taxi back to the apartment and caught up on what we had both done in the past few days.

11200769_10206891983761338_5570438201610997984_n

I honestly don’t know if I had ever been so happy to see ma petite fille. Our relationship has gotten so strong and being away from her for only 4 days felt like a long time.. Let’s just say I’m not looking forward to our final goodbyes this summer, well at least until she coma to Canada to visit.

jhbk

She likes to take my things, reminds me of my own sister! 

11209652_10206891987001419_8079898567406824_n

So far into the trip it was clear that:

  • Dogs are everywhere, and not just the little ones that are everywhere in Paris.
  • There are no cars, at all inside the city of Venice.
  • Gelato is cheaper than in Florence. 1.50 for a ball, I think I can do that.

I wandered around the whole morning but then My knee started to hurt extremely bad and I knew that 5 hours of walking wasn’t the best for it so I took the water taxi back to the apartment near the arsenal to rest… And to dry out my purse or attempt to.
Upon arriving back I made myself a coffee with their Italian press and put my feet up for a couple hours. Sadly my passport now resembles a wet tissue and my battery charger is powerless, but surprisingly i kept positive and moved on with it.
I think I stayed for approximately an hour and a half before I got bored and had to get out and see more of Venice. We ate in at the apartment for supper but I had no complainants about that.

Nothing beats fresh pizza ordered next door and spritz.

Spritz is not sprite for my North American followers. It’s the typical Italian mixed alcohol drink comprised of sparkling wine and a bitter tasting alcohol such as Aperol.

Day 3 – Murano

After a sleepless night for all four of us because of endless Mosquitos we started the day a bit later but like always, lots of coffee. We took the water taxi to the small but beautiful island of Milano. Mutant is the island of glass blowing which I was unaware of until coming here. We are at a restaurant apparently for “fishermen” or resembles a seafood restaurant. There weren’t any fish and chips so I can’t say it compared to what I consider a seafood restaurant that’s for sure.

11014915_10206891999681736_2044625168325510305_n After some gelato, and a necklace purchase we made our way back to Venice and we parted our ways. I wandered for the rest of evening which is my favorite thing to do no matter what city I’m in.

11209393_10206891984641360_4414290232568063632_n
I’m truly amazed at how beautiful this city really is. Maybe it’s the similarities to home, being so close to the ocean, but it could possibly be my favorite that I have visited so far in Europe.
I’ve been waking up at 7 in order to make sure I get to go for a morning cappuccino with Perrine and my french dad. One morning we went to by far the coolest Cafe I’ve been to and was run by the kindest Venison I had met yet.

14683_10206892001441780_5303843137488154015_n

After picking out three different grains of coffee we asked where we could find a good espresso thinking he would recommend a typical cafe close by but nope. He invited us into the back woke shop where they turn the coffee beans and offered us each a cappuccino along with focaccia!
11061227_10206892001801789_626544666271423177_n

The week passed by faster than I might have wanted, especially after finding my love for the city of Venice but I was ready to get back to some sort of routine.

Advertisements

Reflecting on Goals

How many people set goals or resolutions for the year and never go back to reflect on them to make sure you’re staying on track? 

Yep, I can say that typically that’s me.

BUT,

I figured there’s no better time than now to change that fact and see exactly where I am with what I plan to accomplish this year and maybe even add more onto the list! 

1. Start and finish a french novel. 

This was the first thing that I completed and surprisingly understood the basis of the story! Now I have moved onto trying to watch french tv series to keep up with the french!

2. Travel to at least 3 new cities

Done and well over 3. I ended up getting stuck in Montreal for a couple days on my way here so that was the first city I was able to see! One weekend I made the spontaneously decision to travel to Ghent, Bruges and Lille adding 3 more new places. I spent a week in Barcelona in February and just got back from Florence, Milan and Venice! 

3. Gain 10 pounds. 

How about 14! I couldn’t be more proud of myself for this accomplishment!

4. Read More.

This I actually didn’t expect to have read as much as I have but gosh, It seems like I’m flying through them lately. 

5. Pay off my student loans. 

Currently I have paid off my current school that I’m enrolled in, but those good old Canadian loans are still hanging around.

6. Take a cooking class in Paris. 

7. Enroll in the Integrative Nutrition Course. 

8. Actually start doing yoga or at least gain more knowledge on the sport. 

I was doing really good with doing yoga on a regular basis in the beginning of the year but since my knee injury I have taken a bit of time off.

9. Attend a language exchange meet up in Paris.

I only went once, but hey I still did it!

10. Go to bed before 11 every night. 

This NEEDS to become a priority. I know what I need to do, but the self control is not happening.

So after a short 4 months I must say, I’m more than impressed with what I have been able to cross off that list and makes me excited for what is yet to come!

Italy, take 2: Florence 

Florence oh Florence..

Upon walking out of the train station I install felt a different vibe than Milan. More welcoming, cultural and touristic and in my opinion better all around.

I started walking toward my hostel because my shoulders were killing from lugging my backpack around when I heard “Alexa?! Alexa?!” And I didn’t think anything of it because I mean, what were the chances that someone who knew was name was here.
Little did I realize my american au pair friend Katie was standing right in front of me.
I was literally in SHOCK. It goes to show how small the world really is.
I walked around with her for a while until I realized that I was extremely tired, hungry and had wandered an extra hour away from my hostel, so decided to say a quick goodbye and get on my way.

The Hostel I stayed at was Plus Florence which was conveniently located pretty close to everything actually on the same street as the train station!
I was skeptical because the reviews were extremely mixed but it was the cheapest and most central of all of the hostels I checked at a steep 20 euros a night without breakfast included. Check in was fast, and was told my room number and to choose any bed which was a bit different than what I’m used to , typically being assigned one. One I made it to my room I grabbed the bottom bunk which happened to be a double.. I haven’t slept in my own double bed since last April… It was like a dream come true or so I thought. I ended up being roommates with a group of Americans who were there simply to party. To each their own but I just wanted sleep to be honest. When I hit the sheets for bed, they were on their way out. Fast forward to 5 am they all came back.. Let’s just say I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep, but that’s what you get when staying in an 8 person mixed dorm.

Oh and did I mention, there was a pool, sauna and thermal bath!

They next morning I ended up leaving around 9am to set out for the day to try and see as much as I could before the rain came down.

First stop was Piazzale Michelangelo which as you can see below gave an amazing view of the city!

Then the bridge Ponte Vecchio which is the oldest bridge in Florence and is the only bridge that during WWII the germans didn`t destroy.

The next day my knee was killing me so I took a bit extra time to find the motivation to get up and going. I ended up staying at the hostel way past check out time. I mean 1 euro coffee and free wifi, why not.

Once my stomach got past the point of hungry I figured it was time to make a trip to the mercado centrale for some pastries and more coffee of course.

I don’t think I made it 5 minutes without being drawn into the market goodies that I walked pat everytime I went into the central square. I came across a black hat I wanted and started talking to the vendor and managed to get the price down to 18 euros so I made a little purchase. He asked where I was from and I said Canada , not thinking he would proceed further to what province.. But come to find out he knew every single province and had to show off his skills by naming them all in order across his imaginary map. To say I was impressed in an understatement, which made the fact that I bought my hat from him that much more satisfying.

After a long rainy end to Florence I hopped on the train to my next stop Venice!

Italy , take one : Milan 

This was my first time flying with easy jet and to be honest I didn’t even check before I bought the flight what company i would be flying with.

Note to self: don’t show up at the airport without a clue who you’re flying with.

My trip didn’t start out the best which seems to be the way the majority of my trips have been going. Upon checking in at the baggage drop I was told I didn’t have a seat on the plane even though I had booked my flight two months prior.

you must check in online in order to insure you have a seat. Oops silly me.

I was put on the stand by list and had to wait until everyone else was on board in hopes there would be someone that didn’t Tahoe up. Thankfully I was lucky and got the last seat!

I noted a couple things that were instantly different abroad this flight then the rest I was on:

  • Cabin crew didn’t check seat belts
  • Completely in English
  • The safety demonstration was only said over the announcements

Having no wifi and this being my first time at this airport I was a bit nervous on how to find the bus but it ended up being as easy as walking out the exit and finding the big sign with the “bus to Milan central station”.. And the fee of 16 euros for a return trip. This was by far the easiest transport to city I’ve ever experienced but more expensive.

When I first was looking at coming to Milan I checked hostels to see the price and availability and didn’t come a crossed a lot to be honest. Instead of paying for a very expensive and crappy hostel I  put on my big girl panties and decided to couchsurf for the first time. I found my way to my hosts house with only the directions she had given me , and no gps signal. Let’s just say I was pretty proud of myself.

I was instantly Greeted by my host along with green tea and Belgium chocolate. You can’t go wrong with that

After chatting for a bit I decided to wander around why she finished some studying.

Later when I returned she took me out for a typical a Italian aperitif with her friends.

Apertivo is probably my favorite thing about Italy. Essentially it’s a happy hour where you buy any drink at the price of 7-10 euros on average and you get an all you can eat buffet along side it. There was pasta, pizza, meats, cheese, bread, chips, chicken wings, fruit and dessert! I will say that waiting 1 1/2 hours to be seated was a bit of a pain, especially when you’re starving.

The next morning I awoke to a table full of biscuits, bread, cereal, and hot coffee waiting for me. I can’t explain how grateful I was to have come across such a great host. Her and her friend even made a list of things I needed to see before I left and showed me the exact way to get there which was much appreciated.

After saying goodbye I made my way back to the center of Milan to check out what I had missed the day before.

It wasn’t the best day weather wise and with the tendinitis in my knee acting up I made a couple coffee breaks along the way, which allowed me to rest and grab some free wifi.

I was extremely early for my train but if you know me well enough that’s typical for me, after growing up with a mother that was always, and really emphasize ALWAYS late. Now looking back, maybe it was a good thing because it’s made me more aware of my own time.

20 minutes before the train was set to leave we were told the platform number and I followed the pack to my car. I paid the extra to be business class first class to get a free coffee… What can I say, priorities.