Apologies for not writing over the last couple of months. Time to play catch up!
One of my best friends in the whole entire world came to visit me in March. I don’t really remember ever not being friends with D, which is weird since I did not meet her until vet school, but she is one of those people that just fits in my life and makes it so much better. I love traveling with her because she is super easy going and low key, and always wants to try something new and learn about wherever we are. Also when you forget your running shoes she peer pressures you into buying new ones so you don’t have to skip the runs you had planned together. So that’s cool too.
She flew into Venice, so I brought the dogs and we made an overnight trip of it. Venice at night and Venice in the early morning are far superior to Venice at any other time, so if you go, stay the night and set your alarm. During daytime hours, it actually may be worse than Disney, if you count selfie sticks and pigeons. One of the things I love about Northern Italy is the tradition of aperitivo, which is meant to be a drink and a light snack before dinner. If you are me (or any other budget conscious traveler) it can substitute for dinner if you do it right! Some bars will have a buffet of hot and cold snacks that is continuously replenished, and for the price of your drink and the coperto (table charge), you have a meal. I had found the name of a bar I wanted to try online, and finding it was quite the adventure. You know how when you use the map on your phone and the little blue dot is a few feet off, but usually that is ok because you sort of know where you are? Well, in Venice, a few feet means you are on the other side of a canal, so good luck finding your hidden spot. Getting there is half the fun! Once we arrived, we feasted on traditional Venetian snacks of different spreads on bread as well as some pasta.
During her visit, D and I also went to Florence, where we climbed both the Duomo and the Campanile. The skies were clear so the views were wonderful. An evening bicycle tour was also on our agenda. It was still pretty cold so it was just the two of us and the guide. I would highly recommend this tour- riding bikes is more fun than walking and not as hard to get all around the city. We also visited both the Uffizi and Accademia Galleries. I am not super into art, but seeing the David really moved me. Go see it.
Our next stop was Siena. I loved this city! It is a well preserved medieval city that was just super neat to explore. We hired a guide for a tour here as well, which was an excellent way to learn about the city and notice some of the smaller details. The cathedral here was much more unique than some of the others I have seen. There is an old fortezza that is open to the public and we got up in the morning for a run on top of the walls. Every summer there is a horse race that is held in the main piazza, called the Palio. This race is a contest between the 17 neighborhoods that make up the city of Siena. Sounds fun and crazy and I hope I can get there. The Strada Bianca, a pro bike race on the white gravel roads of Tuscany, was finishing in the main piazza of Siena the day we were there. Awesome!
Had a great week with D and cannot wait to explore more when she returns next year.