'2016-05-29 09:20:18'

Italy

Although most of the Bernina Express is in Switzerland the train ends in Tirano, Italy. We were only there for a very short time to catch a train to Milan. The train ride there though continued to be absolutely gorgeous. We rode past lake Como which is one of the prettiest lakes I’ve ever seen.

Once we arrived in Milan we were in for another bit of culture shock. It definitely didn’t help that we were there the day before the Champions League final was played… in Milan. We had scheduled a couple hours of train layover here to see the Duomo di Milano and also to do some window shopping. Since we weren’t staying anywhere in the city the first order of business was to check our bags at the train station and then figure out how to navigate around the city. Unfortunately Milan was the only city that Google Fi failed us so we were grasping for wifi anywhere we could find it. We were finally able to get our directions and after that we were able to go see the church. It was totally incredible, Andrew and I went up on the roof but you stayed behind because we had some bottles that we were not allowed to take inside. This already after I had to chug a red bull before I could go into the church itself since they weren’t going to let us in. After this we went looking for a purse since you had decided that is what you really wanted as a nice souvenir from the trip. We found some nice one’s at Micheal Kors but nothing that was exactly what we wanted so we decided to look again somewhere else.

We got back to the train station with a little drama because of some metro ticket machines that would not take our money, some delays in getting our bags, and no wifi to download our tickets to prove we had them. Luckily with 8 minutes to spare the phone finally connected to the network we had been trying we and we were able to get on the train and go to Padova to spend the night.

In Padova we had a taxi driver who let us stop at an ATM to get some cash to pay him before taking us to the AC Hotel we were staying at, again using your discount! We really liked this hotel. It was brand new but very crowded since an Asian couple were throwing a wedding there, which was the first wedding the hotel had even hosted. The coolest part of the hotel was the clear sink though. It made the water look like it just disappeared rather than having just gone down the drain.

After leaving the hotel and going to the train station we got something to eat at the train station from a really rude employee who was mocking your yogurt order as she was making it. Our train ride left us on the mainland Venice station, which is good because that’s where our hotel was. We tried to take a bus to our hotel, but we were too dumb to figure out where to find the bus stop so we got a taxi instead. Our taxi driver was awesome, even though it was 5-6 times as much as a bus fare it was worth it since he let us know what bus to use to get to the island and some fun trivia about Italy and Venice. A front desk agent named Alex checked us into our hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn. I paid for this hotel using my bonus points from my Hilton Visa! We weren’t able to fully check in because we were there at around 8:30 in the morning, but we were able to leave our main backpacks at the hotel. Once we got to the island* we started off by getting a little lost on purpose. While we were strolling/adventuring we found a leather shop that had all kinds of bags, purses, and wallets. We got you a really cute leather backpack, a small purse, and you bought me a wallet! We had a good time just wandering around Venice, which is absolutely gorgeous.

We stopped to have lunch at a place that had some decent reviews but we didn’t think it was anything special. But we were blown away by some of the shops near it, mainly by how ridiculously expensive some of their stuff was. After this we got in a really really big argument. So we sat down on a bench in a little square in Venice and talked for almost two hours. There was laughter and tears, but even though it started out rough, I really treasure the time to sit down and share what was on our hearts with each other. After our talk it was time to go on our walking tour where we met a really friendly couple. The tour guide was a hoot, he was a college student and had a wool knit strap backpack, and a little hair bob. He also didn’t really care about being loud enough to be heard by the group and at the end of the tour he didn’t ask for money or even ask us to pay if we thought he was worth it. It convinced me that he would be doing this even if he didn’t have a tour group following him.

By the end of the tour it was 7 PM and we needed to get some food, we tried to go to some of the places the guide recommended but we walked all the way over there just to find out they wouldn’t be open until 8:15… With your blood sugar crashing we didn’t have that much time so Yelp came to the rescue with a place 12 minutes away with good reviews, but it had the wrong address. So we got on TripAdvisor to find the same place and they had the correct address, and a ton of really highly rated reviews. When we got there we were very fortunate to even get a table outside as the place was packed but fortunately they were able to get us seated. Our original plan had been to grab something quick and go home early to catch up on sleep, but this place was so nice we decided to take it easy and chill. Al Profeta was one of the best restaurants we’ve ever been too. From our appetizer of jamon, walnuts, and cheese, to the fish and pizza we had for our entrees everything was excellent. Their waitstaff was incredible as the had a team of 4 serving about 100 people with excellent service. We finally left at around 9:30, made it back to the hotel and went to bed quickly.

We woke up later than normal the next day since we were exhausted. Our only plan was to see St Marks Basilica and get back to the hotel to take it easy. On our way to the church google messed us up and tried to force us to take a water taxi but luckily enough right by the taxi stop was a gondola area so we were able to take a gondola across the Grand Canal. We made it to the church and learned we couldn’t take our bags in so I had to check them with the church and meet you back in line. It was a Sunday so mass was taking place which limited where we could go in the church, we looked all around the upper level of the church and were blown away by the amount of gold that was used in it. The artwork was gorgeous and we had a good time checking it all out!

After getting some gelato we took the bus back to the hotel… with a small detour when we forget to hit the stop the bus thing to drop us off there. We went down to the business center to take care of your school stuff and we met some really interesting people. We met a guy named Boris who was backing up his camera pictures to his flash drive, who told us about all the places his wife and him visited on vacations. We also met a guy from Orlando who was motorcycling around Italy, he mainly talked about how much he disliked the culture in Italy and about what stocks I should buy. After we go the school stuff taken care of we worked out, chilled, and ate a small meal at the hotel restaurant and then went to bed early to get ready for our flight the next day.

On the shuttle ride to the airport the next day Alex and his girlfriend were traveling somewhere so they were using the shuttle to get to the airport. We felt like total creepers because we followed him around half of the airport because our flights’ check in lines were right next to each other.

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