I can’t believe it’s been four weeks since John and I were asking “dov’e…” and “come se chiama” ten times a day while filling in the rest with Italian-intonated Spanish. When I think back to the trip or when people ask me about it, I give a big sigh, every time. Our anniversary trip to Italy was truly a dream, and it will be one of my most cherished memories for years to come.
John and I first decided to go on an anniversary trip last summer. We had been saving up SPG hotel points since our wedding, and since we were switching credit cards, we decided to use them on an anniversary trip. So we began to research. While our hotel points in European cities yielded three nights, our points in Cancun could get us a whole week…We weren’t sure where we would go, but one fateful summer night, we found plane tickets to Dublin for $477! We snagged the tickets and committed to going somewhere in Europe to be determined at a later time.
After much soul searching—just kidding, it was a very easy decision—we settled on Italy! Then we chose three major areas to visit: Rome, Venice and Lake Como.
I am in my first year at a new school and my work schedule has been crazy, so apart from 5 minutes of Duolingo Italian practice every night for the three months preceding the trip, I didn’t really research or prepare much before leaving for Italy. This was agonizing, since I usually have a minute-by-minute itinerary when we travel anywhere, so I was bummed that we had so little planned. Thankfully, my mother-in-law gifted us with a Rick Steves book for Rome and Venice, and with those books in tow, we headed to Italy with no idea what we were doing.
The upside to our crazy flight schedule (Boston to London to Dublin to Rome) was that we had some time to make rough outlines for our trip, and so when arrived in Rome almost a full day after boarding our flights, we had a rental car booked for Dublin, a food tour in Rome, and a list of must-see places in the cities we were visiting.
Despite our hastily planned itinerary, we had a blast. Although I’ve been to a few Latin American countries, this was my first time leaving the American continent and visiting a country where I didn’t speak the main language. It was simultaneously fun and baffling to have to communicate in a different language as a novice, an invaluable lesson for me as a Spanish teacher. One day, I urgently needed something from the pharmacy, and since there were no English speakers around, and I didn’t know some key vocab words, I had to pictionary my way from Murano to Venice to the only open pharmacy on Easter Monday.
Yesterday, when editing these pictures, I was once again blown away by the beauty of the trip. The trip feels more distant now; I no longer say “grazie mille” accidentally, I’ve stopped finding museum pay stubs and euros in my pockets, and even the memories of my favorite foods on the trip—a rich chocolate cake in Venice subtly paired with whipped cream, a crispy, sprinkle-studded cornetto with cream inside, a freshly baked bresaola and arugula panini, the first bite of mozzarella di bufala, and sweet amaretto gnocchi enveloped in a crispy cheese shell—are fading a little. Thankfully, I have about 1000 pictures to remember the trip (without counting my phone pictures). Which brings me to an important question: How do you sort through your trip pictures? Where do you store them? I need some serious help in this regard; I’m kind of a cyber packrat.
“Concludingly,” as my 10th graders like to say, I’ve been remembering the trip by trying to recreate some of my favorite meals. These have already started making appearances on instagram and will be coming your way in a real recipe post soon. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip.
Moltrasio, Lake Como: