Our last day in Italy started like every other one – way too early.
But I’ll give up on sleep any day when I could be exploring the quiet streets of Venice. Honestly – it’s the only time there aren’t a million people milling about. It’s the perfect time for all those Instgram pictures that make it look like you’re the only one there – you know, ones we didn’t take – even though I’m not going to lie – I really wanted to. The temptation to be a poser is strong within me – I fight it every damn day.
We had booked a tour for this morning. Which was totally not what I planned to so.
I had in fact thought that I’d booked and paid for it for the day before. So when I realised what I had done I was mortified. It was that weird flush of heat that automatically rushes to your face and makes you question every choice you’ve made in your life because you’re just such a freaking idiot. Thankfully it started at like 7am and was only a couple hours long. So we still had time to do the tour before heading back on our 5 hour train ride to Rome (to be there for our flight at 11pm).
It was so weird walking through the streets when they were so quiet.
Thankfully we located our meeting point with relative ease and then found a coffee shop close by where we could enjoy our last croissant for breakfast.
After meeting our little group we got our earphone thingies and headed out. I actually can’t tell you how much I wish we’d had that tour on our first day there! She told us so much about what was going on in the city that we had absolutely no idea about! The one most annoying things is that there was this massive art exhibition that was taking place INSIDE some of the palaces. You could actually walk into these old buildings and see the inside and their art works. We only managed to go inside one and even then we had to rush. It was so annoying.
We passed through the morning market that has shrunk significantly over the years as the locals have moved out of the city to make way for the tourists.
We passed a massive shopping centre that had been completely revamped. Funnily enough we’d walked in there the day before and turned right around. Little did we know that if we had made it to the top we would have had a free picturesque view of the whole of Venice!
Another place that we passed was the marriage court where George Clooney got hitched. A totally nondescript building. So is the building that they apparently blew up in James Bond.
(the first two pics are the marriage building and the bottom one here is the James Bond one)
We continued our walk through the city stopping at wells and various other buildings steeped in hundred of years of history. It’s actually just incredible that this place is still floating. There really is a chance that one day there will be nothing left of it to see. Which is scary and incredibly sad all at the same time.
Our journey took us through the city and towards St Mark’s. I didn’t realise that we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside there, so I have one of the floor. Which too me was one of the most incredible parts of this experience. Yes the ceilings that are COVERED in hundreds of thousands of little gold glass mosaics was breathtaking. And the fact that when the guy started it he knew he would not see the end of it because it took more than 300 years to do (or something like that – my facts have gotten a bit fuzzy since it’s been so long and I don’t really feel like looking it up).
Back to the floor. The floor is insane because it floods on the regular. We even saw seaweed inside it. It’s a regular occurrence for the cathedral to be closed because of this. And aside from all of that, the actual floor is completely warped and so are the walls at the bottom. But despite it all, it’s just so intricately beautiful with all of it’s little pieces of marble decorating it.
One of the main reasons that we booked this specific tour is that it included a gondola ride.
Here’s what’s crazy about gondola drivers – they earn more than lawyers and doctors! It’s been capped at 80 Euro per ride that you have because they were charging INSANE amounts on it to tourists who paid because of the experience. They weren’t regulated and as a result of the money, were apparently high or drunk on the regular. So much so that there was a serious accident that involved a German tourist dying in front of his kids. So they have since put a whole lot of laws in place to fix it.
Aside from that it’s bizarre how they do what they do. There are loads of them on the canals at any given time so they call out before they get to a corner to know whether they can go or not – no robots or anything. Just shouting at each other.
It was SUCH an experience
It’s not really that romantic experience that you picture as you share your boat with 6 other people, but still. Awesome and worth doing once to say you’ve done it.
Then it was time to frantically grab our bags and rush off to the station for our train to Rome. As it turns out, we were early enough to do a little bit of last minute shopping and indulge in a cream topped gelato. Yip you heard that right, it’s a thing that they do there. So we tried it. And if I liked cream I think I could see the appeal when you pair it with a dark chocolate gelato.
Once on the train for our 5 hour long trip to Rome I got settled in next to some guy who sat far too close to me despite all the space that he had on his side. All while watching Seth, who I had grown accustomed to seeing like this…
When we got to Rome a bit of panic set in trying to figure out how to get back to the airport. We were going to take the train but then heard that the bus was cheaper so got tickets for that but couldn’t figure out where the heck the bus stop was. After asking the ticket guy a couple hundred times and checking Google maps we eventually found it.
It turned out that we still had a fair bit of time to spare so we did some more last minute shopping and were sincerely grateful for lugging an extra fold up back in our back packs the entire trip. Well let’s be real, Seth lugged it around haha. We filled it up with gifts. Then had a quick bite of terrible sue (the only one we’d had the entire trip) before hopping on the bus to get to the airport.
We went to the check in with our backpacks and massive extra gift bag and hoped like crazy that they wouldn’t have to check it in. The guy looked at us a bit weirdly but waived us through which was great!
We arbed around looking at the stores that were closing around us and spending the last of the Euros that we had in our pockets. Then we bought a coffee before sitting down and waiting to board our first flight at 11pm to Ethipoia. It was a fairly uneventful flight there with very little sleep. My gosh, even though I was absolutely exhausted I just could not sleep longer than 20 minutes at a time.
Getting to Ethiopia in the day time was a real experience. I think I preferred it in the dark to be honest. Ignorance is bliss and all that.
Then the flight from there to Cape Town was also pretty average. Nothing exciting. But guys, you had to see how quickly we ran off the plane! I could not wait to grab my babies up in my arms and smother them with kisses. We could see them waiting through the glass with a great big sign. Ugh. My heart!!!
It was so awesome to be reunited but wow, from feeling completely carefree, I can’t tell you how the weight of responsibility that hit me when they placed their little hands in mine as we headed for the car. I think we forget how much we take on every day as parents looking after little people. It’s a lot.
Then we went home to our dogs who were happy and well looked after by our house sitters of awesomeness. We had tea with the family, shared some of the presents and then… life went back to normal.
FOR MORE ON OUR ITALIAN TRIP DON’T MISS:
- What We Packed In Our Backpacks for 9 Days in Italy
- Leaving Cape Town
- Day 1 – Rome
- Day 1 – A Day In Rome – Photodiary
- Day 2- A Morning in Naples Climbing Mount Vesuvius
- Day 2 – An Afternoon In Pompeii
- Day 2 – A Night In Rome In Search Of the Best Gelato and Caffe
- Day 3 – The Roman Suburb Of Trastevere
- Day 4 – Rome To Florence
- Day 5 – A Morning In Pisa
- Day 5 – An Afternoon Exploring The Cinque Terre
- Day 6 – When In Florence
- Day 7 – From Florence to Venice
- Day 8 – A Day Exploring Venice, Murano and Some Island We Landed on By Accident
Day 9: Venice, Rome and Airport I’m SO freaking sick of Seths face that we’re heading home. Just jokes. I love that guy. Most of the time. Highlights of the last day: 1. We woke up at dawns crack to go on a Walking Tour Of Venice. Tours are expensive but if you don’t have the forethought to download audio guides and prefer a human talking to you – I really recommend one, but do it at the start of your stay. We would have done so much more had we known what she told us. 2. We went on a gondola baby! 3. Is it possible to be totally over the Rialto Bridge? With the amount of times that we accidentally crossed it with my busted knee I was done. 4. Grom serves the best Gelato and you can find them all over. 5. Italians sometimes top their Gelato with cream. We tried it because, well, when in Venice. 6. Then we took at train ride from Venice back to Rome for our plane ride home. Seth fell asleep and also almost got off at the wrong stop without me. It sounds concerning bit it was actually hilarious. 7. American tourists are the loudest people I have ever come across. I don’t mean to stereotype but it’s true. 8. We hadn’t tried terrible sue yet – so we had some at the train station. As you do. 9. We managed to find our way through the Rome airport and now we’re waiting to board our plane. 10. I’m looking forward to stopping in Ethiopia in the day time. Even though we don’t leave the airport it will be interesting to see. 11. We’ve learned some Italian words but have successfully avoided adopting a new accent! I’m already preparing my smoochy face so that I can smother my kids with kisses. They’ll hate it but secretly love it at the same time. One more sleep!
Day 10: Cape Town AKA Home! Reunited and it feels so freaking good! There was no poo that hit the floor, but I did squeeze them so hard I think I definitely got a burp out of one of them. Hightlights: 1. Ethiopia may actually be better at night – ignorance is bliss and all that. I’m no expert here but they nailed the price, short lay over times and not crashing the plane. So despite the airport being a bit crazy I think it may still be worth it? 2. Sleeping upright in an chair takes some creativity. Creativity I didn’t have enough of. ?? 3. I watched Lala Land and when they jumped out of their cars to sing in the beginning I vomited a bit in my mouth. But it did get better. I even shed a tear or two. 4. I could not get out of the plane fast enough and we saw the kids through the window on our walk out – we all jumped and waved like crazy people. 5. They were so happy to see us but the most asked question was, “What did you buy us?” 6. Up until getting out of the plane both Seth and I had felt like young, carefree youths. But as soon as those little hands were in mine while walking to the car, it hit us how “old” and responsible we actually are. It was weird. 7. It’s back to business as usual with kids arguing, have to be a parent and thinking of more than just myself again. It’s almost like a switch was flipped and the whole adventure seems a bit like a dream. 8. I’m scared I’m going to forget it all. I wanted to write down every detail but it’s impossible. 9. We have hardly walked today at all and my legs are like what the flip? I think I’m going to keep the whole walking thing going once my knee has recovered. 10. I can’t wait to sleep in my bed with my pillows. 11. My skin has gone berserk. I was hoping that the hormone free cheese etc would show that I just had to choose the right kinds. But that’s not how it’s working for me. So it’s back to cutting out everything from tomorrow! And that’s it friends. The adventure is over. I hope you enjoyed all the daily updates as much as I did writing them. It’s back to regular programming now but keep a look out on our blog for more detailed posts about the trip. When I get the chance to write them that is.