At this stage of our trip, one of my best friends and partner-in-crime, Smithers, and I were on the road for nearly 2 weeks. We picnicked underneath the Eiffel Tower, took a midnight swim off the shores of Cinque Terre, met a new friend while enjoying fresh wine overlooking the rooftops in Florence, ate the best spaghetti we’ve ever had in Palermo, found paradise lost in the Sicilian town of Cefalu and now, after a long night meeting locals in Catania in a parking lot full of stray cats (yaaa that’s a long story) we were finally en route to Venice, our last stop in Italy! Lugging our bags through ancient towns, staying up all night and laughing up a storm day and night was amazing but we were also exhausted. As soon as we got to our hostel in Venice (at a bright and early 8AM!), the owner let us check in early and we hit the sack…and managed to peel ourselves outta bed several hours later just in time to pay a visit to a trattoria around the corner. Still exhausted. Ok ok, we’ll give Venice a shot tomorrow, we thought.
We woke up refreshed and ready to hit the town! But we realized we only had 20 hours until we caught our overnight train to Munich for Oktoberfest. We escaped into a little bar (so ironically called Crazy Bar) and decided what to do. A few bloody mary’s and glasses of wine later, we clearly weren’t in the right state to navigate Venice by map so we just got lost! We strolled through tiny piazzas, made turns down alleyways with dead-ends right on the canals and picked up a gelato whenever we wished! The best part of our day was when we escaped into a tiny restaurant and feasted our eyes on a smorgasbord of Italian snacks—balls of marinated goat’s cheese, artichokes, slices of mortadella, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato-basil-mozzarella concoctions and a basket of crusty bread for accompaniment. One of each, another one of those please, ok another one, ok two more of these and one, no two, of whatever that is. We enjoyed every single second of this Italian Happy Hour of ours...GASTRONOMICAL HEAVEN are the words that come to mind. And oh that marinated cheese ball! Like the Americans that we are, we hoped to bring some of these snacks in a nifty to-go box but newsflash! We weren’t in America. With full bellies, we made our way to the train station and said ‘ciao!’ to Italia and thought ‘are we ready for Oktoberfest'?’…or ‘is Oktoberfest ready for us?'.