After three short days of being back in Sansepolcro, on Monday morning we packed our bags again and headed out for our next independent travel break! This week six of us girls traveled together to Venice and Lake Como. We left Sansepolcro around 11:00 Monday morning and headed to Arezzo by bus. We took a train from Arezzo to Bologna, and another train from Bologna to Venice. Once we arrived in Venice our group split– half of us stayed inland at a hostel while the other girls stayed in the main square in Venice. Luckily we were only a ten minute bus ride from the main square, so we spent most of our time in Venice and only went back to the hostel to sleep!
When we arrived in Venice Monday afternoon, we found our way to the hostel and freshened up before hopping on the bus to meet the rest of the girls for dinner in Venice. We ate at a really nice restaurant overlooking the water- it was beautiful and the food was wonderful! We spent the rest of our night walking down a few streets and stopping to look in shops along the way. The three of us headed back to our hostel to get a good nights rest before our big day in Venice on Tuesday.
Bright and early on Tuesday morning we met the other girls to begin our day exploring Venice. We ate a quick breakfast before taking our first gondola ride! The long and narrow canal streets were so unique… I couldn’t believe that two boats could pass each other and fit without hitting the buildings on either side! Our gondola driver (I guess that’s what you call him?) was super nice and did a great job showing us around the ancient and beautiful town of Venice.
After the 30 minute gondola ride, we spent a few minutes working with a map and figured out how to get to the Saint Mark’s Basilica and Main Square. We began our walk there, stopping at many local shops along the way. We quickly realized during our walk that Venice is known for Murano painted glass– it is everywhere! Once we arrived to St Mark’s main square, we spent several minutes observing the beautiful view and taking pictures before we took a gelato break in the square.
We then decided to take a boat taxi back to the common area near the train station where we began our day. The boat taxi turned out to be another fun and short tour of Venice!
We spent the rest of the afternoon walking down the small and cozy streets off of the main touristy route.We had dinner at a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant that ended up being great! The three of us took the bus back to our hostel and crashed after the long eventful day.Venice is such a beautiful place- it’s probably my favorite place we’ve visited so far!
We had an early start on Wednesday morning to make sure we had a full day in Lake Como. We took the 6:00 bus to the train station in Venice to make it in time to board the 6:55 train to Milan, and once we arrived in Milan we boarded another train to Verenna. When we arrived in Verenna we walked to the ferry station where we boarded the ferry and traveled across Lake Como to the small island town of Menaggio. We walked up a steep hill to check in at our hostel. After we checked in and stored our bags, we walked to the small private beach owned by the hostel. The beach was small but the view was breathtaking!
After spending a few minutes on the beach, we had lunch at a small cafe on the shore. We knew we only had one afternoon at the lake, so we decided to rent a boat to explore the lake and enjoy it while we could. We had originally planned to rent kayaks, but because there weren’t enough kayaks for the six of us we decided to rent a motor boat! I was shocked at how easy-going and trusting the boat company renters were- they had no problem handing over the keys of a nice motor boat to six American girls who don’t have any sort of boat license or operating experience. We were nervous as we pulled away from the dock, but we took turns driving and made sure to stay at a very low speed We drove around the lake and observed the captivating view of the surrounding towns and mountains.
After we safely returned to the dock, we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the town of Menaggio. It is a small town without many tourists at all, which was a nice change! Wednesday evening we had a nice dinner and headed back to our hostel for the night… The hostel was not the nicest or the cleanest place to stay, but we made the very best of it!
Thursday morning was another very early morning for us- we boarded the 6:30 ferry to make it in time to take the 7:30 train from Verenna to Milan. In Milan we boarded a train to Florence– we all decided we wanted to have a few hours in Florence to buy a few gifts that we didn’t get the last time we visited. However, we did not realize until we were on the train headed to Florence that we had no where to store our big travel bags while we were there, so we walked around for three hours with the bags on our backs! It definitely wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened to us, but I’m sure people weren’t very happy with us when we ran into them or took out a whole shelf without even realizing it. It was an interesting experience!
We ate lunch in Florence before taking the train back to Arezzo. We all safely arrived back in Sansepolcro by 5:00 and had the rest of the night to unpack, rest, and catch up with each other and with friends and family back home. We are going to soak up as much of Sansepolcro as we can before we leave for Rome!