Magical Doors: Bologna

There is something…magical…about doors in different cities. Each time I go to a new place, I notice that they each have unique doors and I fall in love.

Bologna was no exception. There are ton of beautiful and unique doors to be found if you slow down and take a look.

Here are some of my favourites:

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Quick Take: Venice

We visited Venice on our (now annual) Eurotrip in May 2017. Here is the quick take!

Visited: May, 2017
Days in Venice: 3
Travelled to Venice by: Plane from Toronto
Stayed at:
Hotel Campiello

Favourite site: The Grand Canal!
Favourite restaurants: Trattoria alla Rivetta, Ristorante da Cherubino, Ristorante Antica Sacrestia
Other Great Spots: Dal Moro’s Fresh Pasta to Go, Bacaro Risorto
Venetian Specialties: Bigoli in salsa, Scampi with polenta, Bacalá mantecato, Polenta
Tours: Walks of Italy – Venice in a Day Tour
Must See & Do:
Piazza San Marco, St Mark’s Basilica, Grande Canal & Rialto Bridge, Fish Market, La Fenice Theatre, Mercato Rialto, Dodges Palace, Bridge of Sighs and take a Vaporetto ride. Gondola rides are fabulous, expensive but fun.
If you have time: Take a ride to the island of Burano and Murano.
Day trips: None.
Tips: Buy a Vaporetto day pass (good for 24 hours) to get around and see the sites from the water. Most dinner restaurants probably need a reservation (which you can mostly make online).

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Pizza & Gelato

It’s official!

We’re heading back to Italy this May for our 30th birthdays and 5 year wedding anniversary!

We have a very vague plan right now – fly into Venice and fly home from Rome. The idea is to road trip our way down and *finally* be reunited with Roma for the last few days. The countdown begins to all of the pizza & gelato… and Parmesan…and prosciutto…and *drool*…

Here is my wish list of stops:

~ Venice
~ Burano
~ Verona
~ Bellagio and Lake Como
~ Parma, Bologna and Modena
~ Golfo Paradiso
~ Maybe Florence
~ And finally, Rome.

Hopefully we can fit it all in! We will be going on our shortest trip to Europe so fingers crossed!!

Eating in Amsterdam

Before we left for Amsterdam I had heard some not so great things about the food. Being foodies, we thought we’d be resigned to eating frites with mayo the whole time but boy were we wrong!

Here are our favourite Amsterdam restaurants…

Haringhandel Jonk

Haringhandel Jonk is a street vendor selling incredible sandwiches and fish dishes (for next to nothing). Everything is fresh and so tasty! We stumbled upon it one day while walking and grabbed a sandwich. We sat down on a bench nearby and had to go back for seconds (and again, the next day).

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Cafe de Klos

Alex, our Dam Boat Guys tour guide, recommended Cafe de Klos and we went that very same night. Here’s a warning – it’s a small restaurant but they have a pub across the street to wait in. Delicious beer while waiting for incredible Amsterdam-style barbecue. I dream about the slow roasted lamb shoulder still!

Cafe Winkel

When we arrived in Amsterdam at 6am local time, exhausted because we didn’t sleep on the flight, our hotel recommended we walk over to Cafe Winkle for the best traditional Dutch apple pie. So we did, and we were not disappointed. The apple pie was perfect. Crust was phenomenal. Filling not too sweet. Whipped cream on the side was the perfect addition.

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Moeders

We love trying traditional & local food and were recommended Moeders by a local on Twitter. It took a few days to get a reservation but we were not disappointed! Everything we ate was so good! I had the asparagus soup to start, which was a special for the day. For dinner we had the Dutch Ricedish, which is a combination of all the Dutch specialties they serve, and every morsel was incredible.

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Intense Wanderlust for Roma

I feel a relatively strong feeling of wanderlust on the regular but it’s been a few months since a big trip (with not a whole lot planned for the near future) and I’m getting the itch again.

Add a dash of Rome craving from the book Roman Crazy (recommended to me by my friend Teresa) and that our trip to Italy next year might be delayed and I’ve got it bad. I’ve got the wanderlustin’ for Roma blues!

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So that I don’t go completely mad (and to feel like I’m doing some planning for something), I’ve started a list. Well, two.

The first, places & things I haven’t seen (yet) in Rome. Included so far is: the Pyramid of Cestius, the catacombs, the Baths of Diocletian, Ostia Antica and the neighbourhood of Testaccio.

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Secondly (and equally important) is restaurants and things to eat. We have our favourite restaurants but I would love to have carbonara at Trattoria da Danilo, anything at Eataly Rome, bucanti all’amatriciana and all the artichokes! Plus, I must be reunited with the beautiful Roman style pizza.

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What would you add to the list? Do you have a love on for a city the way I have for Rome?

Magical Sintra

Sintra is a beautiful town a quick train ride away from Lisbon. The town of Sintra is known for it’s royal retreats, estates and castles (hence, magical!). During our day trip to Sintra, we visited two castles –  the Castle of the Moors and Pena National Palace.

Castle of the Moors

The Castle of the Moors was built in the 8th and 9th centuries (by the Moors). To get to the castle is a beautiful pathway from the road. Once in, you can see that the large majority of the castle is built from stone. There are a ton of stairs but the views are stunning.

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Pena National Palace

The Pena National Palace began it’s history in the Middle Ages as a chapel but the castle grew into what it is now between 1842–1854 under King Ferdinand.

This palace is incredible and looks like it is straight out of a Disney movie. So colourful and whimsical. The castle is surrounded by a park that you walk through (and up) to get to the palace, itself.

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Both castles were absolutely beautiful but Sintra has way more to offer. Do a little research and be sure to check out the estates and castles in this incredible town.

 

Quick Take: Lecce

We visited Lecce on our South Italy Road Trip in 2014. Here is the quick take!

Visited: May, 2014
Days in Lecce: 3
Travelled to Lecce by: Car from Bari
Stayed at:
Palazzo Rollo

Favourite site:
Roman Ampitheatre.
Favourite restaurants: Trattoria Nonna Tetti where we first had fave e cicoria
Favourite Squares: Piazza del Duomo.
Must See:
Roman Ampitheatre, Triumphal Arch, Lecce Cathedral, the obelisk, Church of Santa Croce.
Day trips: Otranto, Santa Maria di Leuca, Gallipoli, Porto Cesareo.

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