I spent the first two weeks of April adventuring with two of my close friends from vet school. I recognize how lucky I am to have friends that can come entertain me while I live in Europe.
Kelly and Julie flew to Milan, where I picked them up and we drove to Lugano, Switzerland. Lugano is a beautiful lakeside town with an Italian flair. After a night there, we drove to Luzern, which is located in central Switzerland. This is probably what people think of when picturing Switzerland- snow capped mountains framing lakes filled with boats and swans, with green pastures and small farms dotting the hillsides.
After Switzerland, we returned to Vicenza where we started several days of adventures close to home. Verona, Soave, a 4.5 hour long traditional Easter lunch, Arqua Petrarca… and of course, Venice. On this trip to Venice, we ventured out to the island of Burano.
Burano is known for its brightly colored houses, which are meant to beckon the fishmermen home from sea on gloomy days. I love this little island the same way I love everything else Venetian- early in the morning before the other tourists get moving. We arrived on the island before 9 AM and left just after lunch, as the water bus was unloading hoards of people. For a people person it is becoming increasingly apparent that maybe I do not like people after all?
After our time in Northern Italy, we took the train and then a bus to a small town in Tuscany called Greve-in-Chianti. That evening, we stayed at a little apartment and ate the restaurant owned by the same family. Delicious food, expensive wine, amazing label.
What does one do in Tuscany? The answer is simple- Taste wine, drive around, look at medieval villages and enjoy the scenery. We hired a driver, Giovanni, whom I highly recommend, as he was fun and full of information about everything. He can be reached through his company Sunflower Tours. Julie also introduced me to motion sickness patches which are amazing and I do not know how I have survived without them until now!
The town with the tall towers is San Gimignano. I would recommend driving by, taking a picture or two, and then waving at the busloads of day trippers as you find a smaller, less crowded walled medieval village to visit. Of course I cannot remember the names of the other places we went, but they were far superior simply because they reside off the beaten tourist track.