Growing up with a teacher as a mother, you get used to rules reallll fast. We had rules for everything, and while I was young, I certainly scoffed at them. Now that I am older, I really appreciate the rules that my parents put in place. In fact, I still use a lot of them today. My favorite rules are our travel rules. We traveled quite a bit when I was young, partially because of my father’s work, partially because we just really enjoyed it. Our rules are pretty simple but they definitely make trips more fun!
- No chain restaurants, especially ones we have at home No Chili’s, Cheesecake Factory, or TGIFs. Exception: Diet Coke from McDonalds for my mother. (She’s addicted)
- Try one new thing a day. Can be food, activity, or something else. But need to try at least one new food a trip. (This one has made me the most adventurous from ostrich to smorrebrod to pearl onions) Fun fact: Turns out I hate Pearl Onions.
- Do at least one educational activity per trip. This can be a museum, a historical place, or some other culturally significant thing.
So there are the Shea Family Travel rules! Does your family have any good travel tips/rules?
I feel like August was my month of travel and tribulations. Three days after getting back from my Iceland adventure, I left once more for Venice. A long-time friend of mine happened to be have some free days in her European escapades, and I decided to meet up with her. Given my recent GlutenFrei lifestyle, I was a bit nervous about traveling to the land of pasta and pizza. After some googling, I learned that Italians are regularly tested for a gluten intolerance and many restaurants offer gluten free pastas and pizza doughs. Knowledge in hand, off I flew to Venice (I love that in under 1.5 hrs I could be in Venice from Berlin), our first challenge was navigating from the airport to actual Venice, which was quite easy. We took the Alilaguna boat and just sat by the windows, enjoying the breeze and views.
My friend and I had booked an AirBnB, neither of us had ever done it before and it was a great experience. Phew! Our host was lovely and helped with everything from restaurant recommendations to sighting seeing tips. Excel spreadsheet in hand (yes, I do plan vacations out in excel, don’t judge it till you try it yourself), off we went to explore the wonders of Venice! Mind you, we never truly stuck to the excel spreadsheet this time, Venice is not meant to be enjoyed that way. It was kind of nerve wracking at first, but eventually I almost got the hang of being carefree. Almost.
The people were so nice and ever so helpful. The views were simply amazing and sometimes we would “get lost” in streets just to see where we ended. One time we ended up in the naval ship yard, but otherwise we saw old charming buildings the entire time. We played Rummy 500 one night much to the amusement of our waiters, who kept trying to join the game. While Venice is filled with things to do, I think one of the best things you can do there is just get lost in the beauty that is Venice. From courtyard musicians to breath-taking Palladian Churches, Venice is certainly a sight to behold.
I would tell you things to do in Venice, places to eat, things to visit, but I honestly don’t think Venice is meant to be viewed that way. The charm of Venice is in the quaint streets and small cafes. It’s in stumbling around trying to find your way home only to see the same statue of a backwards guy 3 times. My advice for Venice is to give yourself a week to just explore. Yes, it can be done in 3 days but where is the fun in that? Venetians would not agree with a 3 day itinerary, much too fast for their liking.