Italy will cast a spell on you. The food...ooooh the food, the wine and really the entire country is absolutely beautiful. I mean you have those places where only a few cities in the country are nice and the rest is eh-so-so, but Italy will take you as its slave and keep you coming back for more--and it's without a doubt the country I've visited most in Europe. With so many options for budget airlines, sometimes its even cheaper to go spend a weekend in Italy (cheapest I ever paid for a Ryanair flight to Italy was 25 EUR roundtrip, including taxes!) than stay in Holland.
I am a real sucker for canals and age-old cities, so it's no surprise that Venice captured my heart. The canals, crumbling buildings, mouth-watering pizzas, mista salads and endless gelato spots are the perfect combination for a long weekend. I've been lucky enough to be three times--the first time with Christian (that lil romantic!), the second time with one of my best friends and THE partner-in-crime Smitty (a culmination of a 9 day soiree around Italy that included A LOT of wine and outbursts of laughter) and most recently with my mom (for Mother's day!) after she decided to make a last minute trip out to visit me in Amsterdam. Christian was super busy with work and couldn't take too much time off to hang out with us while she was in town, so he did what every absolutely-out-of-this-world-amazing boyfriend would do, he bought me and my mom a weekend trip in Venice! My mom was STOKED and had a smile on her face the entire time :).
We arrived pretty late but this just meant my mom got a sneak peek of Venice with the lights glistening off the water and dark passage ways adding only more mystery to the city she was about to fall in love with. We arranged a last minute B&B right in the middle of old Venice, tucked in to bed and were graciously awakened by Silvia, the owner of the place, asking us how we'd like our eggs prepared and what other deliciousness we wanted to start our day. And then we were off to explore! My mom and I decided to just get lost--we wandered the canals like an endless maze and were in awe at the turn of every corner. Every now and then we'd discover a new piazza or trattoria and escape inside for a panini or an array of Italian appetizers which were ofcourse accompanied with a fresh glass of wine (a few of them on the house!). The city was especially colorful this weekend because the Pope was coming to town, so everyone was in their best dress, including Venice itself. We savored every moment--sitting next to a beautiful canal enjoying random bouts of 'hehe we're in Venice!' with a generous portion of gelato, dining in the dodgiest Silvia-recommended trattoria with the most delicious fresh salads (unlike the electricity which went out 3 times during dinner...but hey candlelight Mother's day dinner in Venice? Yes please!) and forgetting about the fact that, on any other week, a whole ocean separates us. I love traveling with my mom, she's always eager to grab a map, explore and speak to the locals, wearing her sense of adventure right on her sleeve and carry a 'young-at-heart' spirit. She's always had the travel bug ever since I can remember and yep...mom made sure I got that bug too :).