Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Italian Experience

It was everything I hoped it would be! We were driving around one day and we started talking about traveling. Neither Sindre nor I have traveled very much except for the usual. Which around here means we've been to Denmark and Sweden but no farther. And of course we've been in Canada. (Great place, btw!) We've been wanting for years to venture a little farther but when vacation time came, we always chose to go home to Canada. This summer we decided to finally change it up ! We decided, rather suddenly, instead of a long road trip in Norway, we could just as well head south and have a European road trip. We were thinking about France but we ended up setting our sights on Italy. My wonderful in-laws also wanted in on the fun and suddenly we had booked our hotels and ferry tickets. Exciting!

The first few days were mostly driving. We took a ferry from Norway to Denmark, drove through Denmark and spent the first night in Germany. The next day we drove through Germany and into Salzburg, Austria. I loved it! What a gorgeous city. So much history and culture.

Hohensalzburg Fortress (built in 1066):

The view of Salzburg from the Hohensalzburg Fortress:

We also visited Mozart's birthplace, the house he grew up in. And the Mirabell Gardens which featured in the film "Sound of Music" where the Von Trapp children were learning to sing (Do, Re, Mi).

We spent one full day in Salzburg and then drove over the Alps into Italy. What a fantastic trip! One thing that surprised me was how warm it was up in the Alps. Around 26 or 27 celcius. It's only a 4 hour drive from Salzburg to Venice. Venice was amazing! Just stunning. It was very hot that first day and the crowds were extreme. But we did manage to see the main sights like St. Mark's Square, St. Mark's Basilica, we went up the Campanile clock tower, drove in a vaparetto (boat buses), ate pizza and gelato, bought Venetian masks for the girls and just enjoyed all the canals and bridges and architecture. 

St. Mark's Basilica:

St. Mark's Basilica from the top of the Campanile.

St. Mark's Square:

Other Venice shots:

Both the crowds and heat were extreme so we learned to stay away from the city during the day. We spent a beautiful day at Lido di lesolo, a beach on the Adriatic Sea just 40 min from Venice. You could spend all day in the water, it was that warm. We went back to Venice one evening when we were hoping for slightly cooler temps and maybe smaller crowds. What a great evening! We dined alfresco along one of the canals and walked around to the Jewish Ghetto. I didn't take any pictures as it was the Sabbath and a man came and asked us not to. I did actually get a little choked up at the WW2 memorial in the square. It was just a lovely evening.

Our journey took us an hour west of Venice to Verona where we spent 3 days. The first day Elin, Madelen and I spent the evening at the opera at Arena di Verona where we got to experience Verdi's Nabucco. We loved it! Even Madelen was attentive through all 3.5 hours of the opera. And the Hebrew Slave Chorus....the decrescendo to pianissimo at the end....chills! Here it is if you've never heard it before.

We spent two absolutely glorious days at Lake Garda. The first day we were at Lazise at the southern end of Lake Garda. We thought it was so beautiful!

That is until the next day when we went further north on the east side of Lake Garda to Malcesine. Oh my! It was just stunning! Crystal clear water with the Alps rising up all around. Words can't describe and pictures don't do it justice.

We've made lots of memories, the girls enjoyed themselves and we're happy and satisfied with our experience. There are 3 things that stand out to me; the gondola ride at twilight in Venice, the opera in Verona, and Malcesine by Lake Garda. 

I could post a hundred pictures and describe all the details but that would take forever and still not give you the full story. So I'll leave you now with my favourite picture from the trip.


  1. Thank you for taking us along. I, for one, would not mind to see the hundreds of pictures. :) The water at the lake looks amazingly clear and with the mountains surrounding it, it would surely take the breath away. Beautiful.
    I'm so glad you all got to enjoy it as a family.

  2. As I'm writing this, I'm listening to the Hebrew Slave Chorus... WOW! I would love to have an 'Italian Experience' as you did. Looks like an amazing vacation. To see Venice and Verona, and Austria! And to drive through and see the Alps! Maybe someday... *sigh* Thanks for sharing with us!

  3. We are really lucky to get to experience the whole thing. At times I almost had to pinch myself and say to myself, "You are standing in Venice. In Italy. You, Alicia Cormier that grew up in Fenwick." I'm sure we'll be living on the memories for many years to come! I loved the Alps! I would love to go back to Austria actually, to Salzburg again and to Vienna. There is so much music history and culture in Vienna and in Austria and I'd love to go and experience the music and museums. I'm pretty sure I'd have to do that trip alone though! Lol!

  4. Thank you for sharing your experience!! I have enjoyed following you as you traveled. My parents just got home from a trip that began in Norway and took them through Denmark, Germany and Poland. Now I am ready to plan my own European vacation. It is high on our bucket list. Glad you had a safe and enjoyable trip!