Venice Travel Guide

Venice was our final stop on our trip to Italy. It’s truly a city unlike any other.

HOW TO GET AROUND:

Arriving by train will put you right where the Vaporetto (Water Taxi) stop. We bought an unlimited ticket for our time there. Fortunately most of Venice is extremely walkable and we did not need to use it much. Schedule and tickets here.

WHERE TO EAT: 

We had dinner one evening outside on the canal at Trattoria da Roberto. I had the delicious lobster pasta shown above in the photo. Our other favorite dining experience was actually a to-go lunch. Baci and Pasta opens at noon and you should be there prior to that to insure a spot close to the front of the line. He has pastas of the day that change but are all delicious. I had a ravioli in butter and sage sauce and a mini bottle of prosecco for under $10 USD. It’s one man cooking and serving which makes it a truly local experience. I highly recommend.

WHAT TO DO:

Drink a bellini! No, but seriously you should. They were created here originally and they are available in every restaurant and gift shop. We visited Doges Palace and it was unbelievable. The history and architecture must be seen in person to truly be appreciated. After our visit we explored St. Mark’s Square which is full of restaurants, shops, and the best people watching. We also toured Teatro La Fenice which is the opera house. It has been burned down and rebuilt several times. Unfortunately the opera was not in session when we were there. If you are able I would get tickets to a show and attend in this gorgeous theatre.

DAY TRIP TO BURANO ISLAND:

We took the vaporetto to Burano Island which about a 45 minute trip each way. It is a gorgeous and colorful town. We walked around exploring for awhile and had Nutella crepes at a local shop that were delicious. One of Burano’s biggest claims to fame is their lace. There is even a Lace Museum. I highly suggest going as early as possible because it does get crowded later in the day.

 

WHERE TO STAY:

We stayed at Hotel Rio and the location was perfect for sightseeing and close to many great restaurants. They will also hold your luggage on your check out day until you leave Venice. I highly recommend for safe, clean, and A/C included rooms!

 

Our trip to Venice was two days and I felt like that was plenty of time. The only thing we didn’t do was a gondola ride but it was so hot that we decided against it. Have you been to Venice? What was your favorite part? Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

Love,

Megan

Cinque Terre Travel Guide

The Cinque Terre riveria is one of the most beautiful places I have been. The water is crystal clear and the views are breathtaking. We spent most of our day trip to the coast in Monterosso at the beach and evening exploring Riomaggiore.

HOW TO GET THERE: 

We took the train from Florence early in the morning and changed trains in Pisa to get us to our final destination of La Spezia. This is the main train station in the Cinque Terre region. After our arrival here we took the local train to Monterosso and walked straight down to the beach. The entire journey took around three hours.

WHAT TO DO:

This is a great place for hiking but we decided to use this as a rest day right in the middle of our trip. We rented umbrellas and chairs for the day. There was also changing rooms and showers available. We were about to order lunch and drinks from the restaurant located at the entrance. The beach is quite rocky so you will need to wear shoes when walking around. The water is beautiful but gets deep quickly and the undertow is strong. I would not venture out too far unless you are a very strong swimmer. We spent most of our day relaxing and then took the local train to Riomaggiore in the early evening. We walked around the village and shops.

WHAT TO EAT:

The whole Cinque Terre area is known for seafood. A common delicacy is fried fish in a cone. I chose a variety that included calamari and chips.

29th Birthday

Today is my 29th birthday although I still feel 19! I thought it would be fun to share 29 fun facts about myself.

Birthday kisses from my boy!

1. I’m doubt jointed in my arms, legs, fingers and toes.

2. I hate cooking and am so grateful my husband loves it or we would starve!

3. My favorite movie of all time is The Parent Trap remake with Lindsay Lohan.

4. I graduated from the University of Arkansas a semester early.

5. I hate bacon and hamburgers. I don’t know why but I do.

6. I could eat pizza, pasta, and sushi every single day.

7. My dogs are my babies and I cry sometimes when I have to leave them.

8. I have a late birthday so I didn’t get my driver’s license until the first day of Junior year.

9. I’ve had stitches in my forehead twice and a concussion. All separate accidents but in the span of like 2.5 years.

10. I’d rather wear a dress any day than pants.

11. I love watching it storm really hard as long as I’m at home.

12. I asked Jesus into my heart and was baptized at 9 years of age on Easter Sunday.

13. I’ve been on two mission trips abroad, Africa and The Philippines but truly believe everywhere is a mission field.

14. Cleaning is so therapeutic to me.

15. I had awful handwriting in elementary school because I had a hard time holding the pencil correctly and had to write on special paper in class.

16. I’m missing four molars in the back of my mouth because they wouldn’t fit so they were surgically removed.

17. I really want to run a full marathon before I turn 30.

18. I grew up singing in church in front of the congregation. I loved singing Nichole Nordeman songs.

19. I’m addicted to salty snacks.

20. The beach is my favorite place in the world.

21. My dream trips are: Greece, Tanzania and Croatia!

22. I cannot burp no matter how hard I try.

23. Ashley Longshore is my favorite artist.

24. Cats freak me out.

25. I rarely watch movies because I can’t concentrate long enough!

26. Summer is my favorite season.

27. I want to go skydiving but am afraid I’d freak out in the plane right before I jumped.

28. I’m obsessed with skincare and trying new products.

29. Show Me Your Mumu is my favorite clothing brand!

Hope you enjoyed learning some new things about me! Have a great Monday everyone!

Love,

Megan

Rome Travel Guide

We spent 3 days in Rome but I truly think you could spend a lifetime and never see everything. It’s such a beautiful city full of history.

TRANSPORTATION:

Coming to and from the airport we used taxis. There is a train that goes to the city center but unless you’re really good with getting around public transportation I would not suggest that option. Once we were in the city we used metro the entire time. It is fairly easy to navigate. Please note that pick-pocketing is a huge problem in Rome and watch your things closely while on the subway. We were lucky and did have any problems except one man we suspected was checking us out to possibly steal from. We got off at a stop before him and told some Italian military men that guard each subway station. We felt safe the rest of the time but definitely be cautious. There are also buses that run throughout the city but the subway is faster so we always used that instead.

 

The Spanish Steps and church can be easily accessed from the Spagna stop on the metro line. I will forewarn you that this is a very busy area and has tons of tourists at all hours of the day. There are many shops, cafes, and restaurants in this area to choose from. Walking a few blocks away from the main tourist area will help you find more local places with a more authentic Italian feel.

FOOD AND DRINK:

The main thing to look at when choosing a place to eat is the menu. If it has pictures on it of the food DO NOT eat there. It is a tourist trap. Most restaurants in Italy have their menus displayed outside the restaurant which means you can look at what they offer and their prices. Most places have a table setting fee for each person. This is very common! You will also pay for water. Nothing is free like in America. If you take your food to go it is cheaper. Just tell them you want “take away.” We usually did this during breakfast and/or lunch if we were just grabbing sandwiches. Tipping is not really much of a thing either. Sometimes gratuity will be added into the check depending on the restaurant. My favorite pasta dish was cacio e pepe which literally translates to cheese and pepper. We found that the simplicity of many Italian dishes we tried was what made it so good! If you find a place that does the pizza version of this then you must get it. We only found one place: Miscele e Fuoco located near the Colosseum. We also had the best white spritz ever (prosecco, elderflower syrup and soda water). This was probably my favorite place we stumbled upon in Rome. Other favorite drink was limoncello. I do not think we ever had a a bad one! I tried Aperol spritz and sadly it is not my thing. It tastes like a weird orange Fanta to me.

 

The Trevi Fountain can be accessed from the Barberni metro line stop. If you go anytime after 7:00 am there will be tons of people everywhere. The earlier you visit; the better. I really enjoyed seeing it in the daytime and at night. It truly is magical.

 

The Colosseum can be accessed via metro stop Colosseo. Get your tickets before and be in line before 8:30 am when it opens. It gets very crowded as the morning goes on. Guided tours are available but we just walked around on our own.

The Roman Forum is located next to the Colosseum which makes it easy to visit next. We had free entry with our pass for the Colosseum. It is quite large and gets hot because there is hardly any shade throughout.

Located about a half mile from the Roman Forum is the Mamertine museum. This is where Peter and Paul were imprisoned. You can even visit the cell they stayed in. I thought it was really cool to see a place directly from the Bible. It also was not very crowded because it is kind of a hidden gem in Rome.

Admission to the Pantheon is free and can be accessed from the Spagna metro line station. It does get pretty crowded as the day goes on so visit as early as possible.

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Vatican City is a whole day in itself. Get your tickets to the Vatican Museum before so that you can skip the line. We were there when it opened and were able to go straight in. Make sure you are covered because they do have a dress code. Especially shoulders and chest. My dress was knee length and I did not have a problem getting in. This is where you will see the Sistine Chapel. After we visited St. Peter’s Basilica. The line was pretty long and it was very hot outside. Just be prepared if you go during the summer.

WHERE TO STAY:

We found an apartment on http://www.homeaway.com but if you are looking for a hotel we stayed at Hotel Fellini our last night and enjoyed it. It is just steps from the Trevi Fountain. Regardless of where you stay make sure it is walking distance to a metro station and you will be able to get pretty much anywhere in the city.

 

THINGS TO KNOW:

Ignore people on the streets selling things or tours. They just want your money. I acted like I did not understand English and they left me alone.

Have cash and cards. You never know when one or the other will not be accepted! Do not rely on ATMs because sometimes they do not work overseas.

Get an international data and calling plan. We used Google Maps literally everyday throughout our trip. Worth every penny especially when you are lost! You need calling turned on in case of an emergency. My sister left her phone in a taxi and I was able to call and cut her phone off. Fortunately it was returned to her but that often is not the case. If you are on ATT you can do unlimited everything for $10/day.

Do not buy things you can buy in the States if you can help it! Also, buy souvenirs toward the end of your day so you do not have to carry them around forever!

Visit local grocery stores in the neighborhoods around Rome. We found so many neat things that we loved!

If you go in the summer it is very hot. Places have air conditioning but not like we have here. If you have any medical condition that makes it hard for your body to handle heat then please think about going during another season.

Be prepared to walk until your feet fall off. Rome is a huge city. We walked 10 miles or more daily. I wore Birkenstocks the whole time and my feet did not blister. Make sure your shoes are broken in before you go!

Carry a bottle to refill with water. There is water that is safe for drinking all over the city.

The airport in Rome is very confusing to check into because where you drop your bags and go through security are in separate places. Leave yourself plenty of time to get to your gate when you depart.

If you buy liquor in the duty free in the airport make sure they put your things in the correct sealed bag. They did not do this for me and I had to throw away $100 worth of liquids including a bottle of Veuve Clicquot rose in the Toronto airport in customs.  Do not make my mistake. I had never purchased from duty free before and thought I was fine because it was in a box.

 

If you have any questions about my trip to Rome feel free to leave a comment! I would love to help you plan your trip to the Eternal City!

 

Love,

Megan

Cocobay Resort – Antigua Travel Guide

We took our belated honeymoon to Cocobay Resort in Antigua in December of 2016. We had a destination wedding in Florida therefore we decided to postpone going on a trip. I highly recommend this island and resort to any honeymooners or truly anyone looking for a great all-inclusive beach get away. We loved it so much that we are actually going back in November with another couple!