food, Italy, travel

24 Hours in Venice

I planned a 6 day trip in Italy to visit Venice, Cinque Terre, and Rome. It was very ambitious but I believe I pulled it off successfully. Rome was admittedly quite rushed – my travel buddy Beatrice said it was a good intro to Rome trip for her and she would like to return to see it in more depth. Regarding Venice and Cinque Terre, she said we spent the perfect amount of time there to experience it fully. *Note: the trip was rushed because of my lack of vacation days yet I was still eager to see all 3 places

Here’s what I did with my 24 hours in Venice:

1) Take the Vaporetto a much cheaper alternative to see the cityscape from the canal instead of a gondola.

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On the way, we managed to spot the art installation by Lorenzo Quinn for Venice Biennale as shared on Instagram by Hypebeast. The work is to depict and spread awareness of rising water levels due to climate change

2) Walk along The Grand Canale and admire its beauty. Venice is quite small and everything is within walking distance if you try!

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Be prepared for large birds everywhere…

3) Eat gelato at least once…or twice

From Suso Gelatoteca  I got Pistachio Amarena and at Venchi I got Pistachio and Mascarpone/Fig. Mascarpone one was amazing and Beatrice had an extremely rich Hazelnut flavour from Venchi. We preferred Venchi more, but Suso is very popular with long line ups!  Beatrice’s tip for good gelato is to look for one where their pistachio gelato is not very green, it should be more yellow/brown.

4) Squeeze into the crowds at Rialto Bridge to see the spectacular view. There are loads of people, but just suck it up and do it quickly. It’s well worth it!

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5) Find small cute bridges that aren’t overpopulated by tourists. Doesn’t matter which bridge, they are all so beautiful.

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6) And cute alleyways. We found these places just by wandering around aimlessly moving away from the main streets.

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7) Find where the locals go for Happy Hour.

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We had bellinis at Al Merca, but discovered that mostly everyone ordered the Aperol Spritz – which is a wine based cocktail (to me maybe an alcoholic “Italian Soda”).  Give that a try, we did later.

8) Eat at a fancy seafood restaurant.

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Ginger clams and red wine

Our pick was Osteria alle Testiere which had a 4.5 rating on TripAdvisor. Their menu changes daily as it is dependent on what fresh seafood is bought each day. Highly recommend to make a reservation if you choose to go because we managed to snag their only non-reserved table at 7pm. Few other people tried to drop in after and were declined.

9) Visit St.Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco)

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Free 10 minute tour of the interior, additional museum parts require payment of a few euros – remember no backpacks at all no matter how small (unless it looks like the purse kind maybe) and to dress conservatively to match their dress code.

10) Patio by The Grand Canale

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We went to Ristorante Florida which was picked at random while walking along the canal. Great view, deliciously fried calamari, and free wi-fi! We also got free pineapple vodkas and anchovy pastry (which likely is added into their gratuity fee though).

11) Eat al dente pasta

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Pesto fusilli with chicken sausage

Dal Moro’s Fresh Pasta to Go is highly popular and not to mention cheap. If you like al dente pasta you’ll love the chewy texture here. They even have squid ink sauce as one of their options so you don’t need to go to a fancy restaurant to give it a try. Expect a line up though.

Enjoy Venice, it was a dream!

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Eastern Canada, Fitness, friends, travel

Cabot Trail

We did a bit of hiking in the East Coast, but my most memorable would have to be at Cabot Trail at Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.  If you are in the area it is one I would definitely recommend – especially Skyline Trail specifically. It is a pretty easy hike only about 7-9km for the full loop with little elevation. And the reward you get at the end is a spectacular cliffside view of the coast from an eagle’s point of view.

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As there is a boardwalk available and recommended for tourists, the cliffside is not scary at all for even novice hikers!  We did go a bit off-trail for a closer look at the coast.

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The Fellowship

It was an extremely gorgeous view especially near sunset. Alicia and I playfully and mockingly took some really great #couplegoals inspiration photographs (Thanks Thomas for being photographer). Pretty romantic area with the vast coastline, mountainous views, and winding boardwalk along the cliff.

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We also bumped into #CedricTheHero (and Calvert) who were travelling the East Coast too.

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To top off an altogether great experience we even got to see a moose in the wild! Part of the trail is to walk through a moose zone where they are free to roam within a very large fenced off area. As moose are quite large and strong we were forewarned to give them space and not walk too close to them.

While everyone was backtracking the trail since the moose decided to walk directly on it…I quickly took a selife with it.

 

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food, friends, life, toronto

Bar Reyna @ Yorkville

Spent St. Patrick’s Day (coincidentally, really) with Adrienne at Bar Reyna in the heart of Yorkville.  What intrigued me about this restaurant was their beautiful indoor patio and their chargrilled octopus dish.

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Look at the gorgeous ceiling!

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Eastern Canada, food, friends, travel

Clam Digging in PEI

Looking for an authentic PEI adventure? I was too and what I discovered was clam digging!

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With Experience PEI, we joined their Beachcomber’s Clam Boil  activity ($85 CAD + HST).  It was a great hands-on excursion.  We were given a pair of gloves, a shovel, a bucket, and the free range of a beach to scavenge for whatever treasures we could find from mussels, to oysters, and to clams! Continue reading

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events, food, friends, life, travel

CHILL Ice House

Had a girls night out a few weeks ago at CHILL Ice House which was extremely ironic because at the time we were experiencing freezing rain so it was icy everywhere outside. I can only imagine that must have been why they had a sale on Groupon. For $72.00 CAD you could get entrance and a speciality ice shot for 6 people –  only $12 each. Which was a great deal since entrance alone regularly is $20.00 CAD.

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Had to take this very Instagram-worthy shot.

CHILL Ice House is also conjoined with Gatsby’s Tale Speakeasy so when you feel too cold and need a break from all the chilliness (it’s about -5 degrees Celsius but you are provided with optional cape and gloves), you can relax at the speakeasy which is very hunting lodge/ cottage style themed and not to mention cozy! Continue reading

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events, life, toronto

Why I Went Dog-Sledding and Didn’t Like It

In my childhood, I was obsessed with Balto, a sled dog who led the final leg of a serum run in Alaska to combat an outbreak – and thus deemed a hero. I thought he was the coolest thing ever and dreamed of being pulled around in a toboggan by my own very Balto.

Last month I realized my dog sledding dreams with Toronto Adventures. Their location was about 1.5 hours away, a bit north of Mt. St. Louis and the day included about an hour of dog sledding and an hour of optional snow shoeing.

We were able to take turns sitting on the sled as well as being the musher; so about a half hour of mushing each. Continue reading

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food, friends, life, toronto

Tapas Only.

Had a girls date with my friend Karen at Tapagria a few weeks ago where we decided to go all out and order whatever tapas we wanted without caring about the price 😄

I’ve only been to Tapagria once with a few friends over a year ago and didn’t get too many of their tapas as we got a large paella to share, so it was nice to finally try more of their menu.

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Most of our spread.

$5.00 Sangrias on Thursdays too!

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