The Adventure of Travel
I’m one of those travellers who books a last minute fight and accommodation on the go and this summer it had to be a trip to Venice. My husband Richard has developed the skills of going with the flow and no longer pines for a villa and pool which is great news. We don’t like driving abroad so it’s public transport all the way. It’s part of the experience.
The early starts and a small hand cabin bag equipped with essentials and we are ready to go.
A flight to Venice from Bristol with Ryan air cost £70pp and with priority boarding we sat in the middle isle seat to find nobody next to us. Result. The views of the spectacular dramatic Italian Dolomites along the way was Amazing and an ariel view of Venice as we flew in. Feeling excited. So far so good.
Our first job is to find a way into Venice without costing the earth.
The travel into the city wasn’t as bad as the reviews make out. As you leave the passport control and come to baggage collection there are ticket machines where you can purchase a single or return ticket and it’s only 8 euros pp single. You can pay by card or cash. Go out of the airport, take a right and along there you’ll find the bus stops and helpful attendant to guide you. You will be told to validate your ticket. It’s a stamp machine and they’ll do it for you or they’ll tell you what to do.
The trip is 20 mins.
Once we arrived into Venice it was a walk into the city and you’ll see the grand canal and it’s impressive bridges. I’d recommend a small bag or case with wheels as there are lots of bridges to walk over as well as the crowds to contend with.
For me it’s about the food. There are lots of places to dine out to suit your budget. I didn’t fancy fine dining I wanted honest local food and dishes to try.
There are two places to try which were both brilliant and lovely service.
Catch a water taxi to the island of Murano it 7.50 euros one way. Use the gps and search for la Perla it is popular with locals and you’ll be sitting with the local glass blowers having their lunch break. I scanned the food what others were eating.
We enjoyed the simple choices and were given Butter beans in oil and vinegar and raw onion. Bread basket and we opted for simple spaghetti with tomato and ham, mushroom risotto and a bowl of vegetables. I saw a group dipping a biscuit into their wine! Had to have a go at that. Superb and super cheap. Friendly and speedy service. I think I’d order a whole fish or mussels next time. Good start. Belly full l, time to travel back to Venice after a visit to a few glass factory shops. NB our hotel offered free shuttle service to Murano with a tour of the glass factory and the St Marks square during the day.
Second eatery to try was La Bottega ai Promessi Sposi
Tucked away behind the main tourist strip through an alleyway you’ll see on the left a little restaurant with a bar and tables. Rustic setting. You can ask for a table or stand at the bar. Great house wine served in a carafe. Plenty of choice on the menu and the pricing is 12-14 euros. Portions were good and we opted for secondi and it was sufficient.
I had a pasta dish with squid ink and squid and my husband fancied a delicious fresh pasta with bacon and tomatoes and plenty of parmesan. Btw they are generous with their parmasan. Great service and lovely food very well worth the visit.
We noticed plenty of pastries on offer. My favourite was a stone throw away from a local bakery who baked the most delicious la crusstoni a crescent shaped layered pastry filled with sweet creams. I opted for chocolate and it didn’t disappoint. I still think of it now.
We left on Saturday morning with the hundreds of visitors arriving for the weekend and beautiful weather. Happy time in Venice we’ve seen the sights and food thanks for a great memory.
Next city Milan…..
A gorgeous two hour train journey across country to Milan and we entered a very different atmosphere. Sophisticated, smart, attractive buildings and people. It’s about ‘the look’. Hotel didn’t disappoint with its modern interior and roof top vista. We ventured to have lunch and recommended by the concierge a eatery around the corner that served Param cuisine.
Salsamenieria di Parma
Attractive looking eatery with a good selection wine and all things ‘pork, cheese, pasta and ravioli.’ Veggie options are tasty and beautiful.
The unusual experience is that a glass of wine, bubble are served in bowl. I was told it was traditional.
Food came quickly and fresh with a ravioli with ricotta cheese and another with pumpkin. Richard was very very happy and ate it as soon as it came. I ordered porks cheek with polenta toast. It was absolutely delicious soft and the gravy was flavoured well seasoned.
We walked to see the Impressive Duomo and the wonderful shopping district with the beautiful arched facades. Designer outlets and beautiful attractive people. We ventured to the city park which had live music, comedy and plenty of young people enjoying the warm sun. There was an exhibition about modern design. Very good. The hotel we stayed at had a spa and after a long day of walking we ventured in and enjoyed the facilities. A romantic dinner at the hotel which has a fabulous view of the Cathedral.
A great night sleep and breakfast was beautiful. It was like having the best food from your favourite deli counter.
On the train to Turino with a need to burn off some calories. The chocolate filled croissant are too delicious to avoid. I hear it’s the place for pastries and walking. Match made in heaven.
Turino and the city of the museums
We arrived after a comfortable train journey from Milan and enjoyed the smooth ride. Our tickets cost 21 euros for two including refreshments and a snack. Oh can Great Western add this price, service and quality to a journey please!!!!
Richard had booked a very last minute hotel through booking.com and found a gem. The Turin Palace hotel. Stylish and recently refurbished, gorgeous spacious rooms ours was room 409 on the front of the hotel. It has a roof Terrance and a spa and 3 mins from the train station.
We were informed that the city was having a fireworks display as part of a series of summer festivals. However with a difference of drones instead.
The architecture and layout is in a grid format. Easy to navigate around. We noticed there is history and old and new. Poor and Rich but lots of homeless people and police and army presence which was a contrast to the other cities. We could see lots of African men who had settled here.
We ventured to a nearby eatery who specialise in pasta so we went for lunch. You have to book as it’s very popular and on a Sunday it’s a family day too.
The pasta was silky smooth and servers with burreta and ham. I noticed a couple of guys next to me opted for pudding and the tiramisu looked delicious. Did you know it was the highlight of my Italy trip. Soft and creamy no alcohol and the perfect coco and coffee combo. Layered. Why did I opt to share? I was told Turino was famous for its sweet dishes and they were right.
Still think about it.
Our second Turino food experience was a cafe on via po. Three Italian chaps who run a bar and serve simple dishes and sandwiches. For me it was the welcome from the owner and the staff which made us stay for lunch. A staring plate, glass of wine, freshly pressed juice, water and basket of bread. 21 euros. The tuna pasta and vegetables were a delight. A friendly hand shake and smile.
Finally a gelato 🍨 you can’t come all the way here without sampling the local ice cream. What great way to end a wonderful Italian adventure trip.
By the way the airport trip by coach which is really comfortable, clean and new cost 7.5 Euro. Any Tabacco shop with a sign saying they sell the ticket is the cheapest option. You can by it on the coach too. The coach is blue and green and has the airplane symbol on the front.You can catch the bus just alongside the main train station ( tourist information can help).
Food – tiramisu and pasta
Culture – It’s everywhere
Relaxed pace – need to do a bit more of this
Friendly – smile more
Italian Passion and Gusto – learn from the experts
Contrast of the cities – accept change
Stop for lunch and have a range – must do this more often
Architecture – look up
Trains, Trams – old and new work together