We just returned home from our vacation in London and Italy and it was seriously a blast. If you followed along on our Instagram stories then you got a lot of behind the scenes photos, but I’ll post some pretty ones here too!
My husband, Joe, had to go out of the country to work at two of his company’s offices in London and Italy, so…I decided to tag along! I mean, a free hotel room and his flight was covered so what a better way to travel! Our itinerary looked like this: London – Northern Italy – Dolomites (Italian Alps) – Venice. It was a busy week, but we packed a lot in, saw many new places, tried a lot of new things and ate a lot of yummy food!
First up – LONDON!
London was unique. I loved all of the old architecture and how easy it was to get around there. I was pretty intimidated by the Underground (their public transportation system), but it was super easy to figure out once you tried it a couple of times. And it was waaayyyyy cheaper than hiring Uber every time you wanted to go somewhere like I would here in the US. I also used the app Citymapper which gave me step by step instructions on how to get everywhere that I wanted to go. Seriously made everything so easy.
Westminster Abbey was beautiful – and the fact that it’s almost 800 years old is just crazy. The oldest buildings we have here are only 200ish years old!
I stopped by Harrods (a super expensive department store) and quickly left. I decided that it was too fancy for this country gal. I did, however, find my way over to Laudree’s and buy some macarons for Joe and I to taste test 😉 Their macarons are supposed to be some of the best, but to be honest, I liked the ones we have here at Le Bon Macaron better!
Every street had a little pop of something fun – whether it was a corner filled with greenery or a doorway covered in gorgeous florals….there was always something to look at. London is a huge city that felt somewhat quaint.
My favorite place that I visited in London was Camden Market. Things didn’t cost quite as much there and it was more my vibe – easy going and chill. I found some “fancy hats” for my girls there and they love them!
Of course, I had to see Buckingham Palace…along with everyone else in the world. I snapped my few photos and quickly left.
My favorite activity while in London was afternoon tea with Joe. We made reservations before we came at the Royal Horseguards Hotel and seriously had so much fun. The food was delicious and the tea was too. We left feeling like we ate a full meal and laughing after our fun experience. I wish we would have done that more than once. (Some phone photos are at the bottom of the post).
After a quick flight to Italy we landed in Venice. We hopped in our rental car and drove to Montebelluna where Joe had to work for a couple of days…so I was left to my own devices to explore. This is where I ate the best food of the whole trip at T’osti. The dish was a ravioli covered in these black truffles with Italian sausage. Oh my…I want that again!!
Once Joe got out of work, we headed to my favorite place of the entire trip….the Dolomites (the Italian Alps). The mountains are always my favorite part of any trip!
Being in the mountains with me basically consists of me yelling “Stop!” or “Turn around!” just about every five minutes because I want to take a photo. At each and every turn the landscape was breathtaking. I always wish that I had a bride and groom with me while at these gorgeous destinations. Maybe someday 😉
This was probably our favorite spot. The top of the top. Once we reached the summit (by car) we were awestruck. Photos NEVER do it justice, but they can try. It was so windy and SO cold up there we honestly worried about our diesel freezing because we hadn’t put in the stuff that makes it not freeze (what is it called?). You could just see for miles and miles, making you feel smaller and smaller. I love that feeling. Knowing that someone else out there made all of this beauty and that He still loves you. It’s pretty special.
This particular spot was called Passo Giau (the girl in the cafe said you pronounce it Passo Jow). Everything up in those mountains looked very Bavarian. I felt like someone was going to jump out and say “Wohoo! Big summer blowout!” (you know….from Frozen….).
Cortina di Ampezzo at night.
We woke up early the next morning to catch the light hitting the tops of the mountains. It was a special (and cold) time.
Our next and final stop was Venice.
Venice was interesting. We didn’t know it at first, but we ended up going to Venice during carnival which made it so, so busy. (I also didn’t notice this while we were there, but if you look closely at the people with the masks, you can see their surgical masks underneath….trying to protect them from the crazy Coronavirus that swept through that weekend.) Carnival actually ended up being shut down early because of the Coronavirus, which we didn’t hear about until after we had left. Scary!
Saint Mark’s Basilica was beautiful.
I found out about this rooftop you could make reservations for free at in advance which provided for great photos. This was a nice break from all the people.
It was pretty foggy while we were there which was a bummer but also made the photos look kind of fairytale-ish….
All in all, Venice was a gorgeous place, but I do think that the overcrowding, the constant wanting your money, the random sewer smell and the over-priced everything was enough to make it a “see it once” destination. I am so glad we made the decision to give up a day here to see the Dolomites 🙂
I debated on whether we pay the $$ for a gondola ride….and we decided to just go for it. I’m happy we did, but wish the ride was longer than a half hour for 100 euros. EEEKKK! We also bought tickets in advance for a small opera which was probably the highlight of Venice. New things are my favorites!
A few randoms:
- We have a rule when traveling – you can’t eat at a restaurant that you have at home, EXCEPT for when you travel out of the country…then you have to eat at McDonald’s to see how different the food is!
- They speak English in London, but their accent is very different than ours so it almost feels like a different language at times. Joe was called John quite often haha.
- Pizza in America is great. We tried pizza at several different places in Italy and we still think ours is better here. Maybe we are just biased…
- Suso has the best gelato in Venice. We tried three places and they win hands down.
- We were upgraded to BUSINESS CLASS on our long flight home! Joe and I went to the counter before boarding our flight to ask if we could just sit together and they said we were upgraded instead. Holy wow!! Business class is like a whole other world. Hot towels, delicious meals, free drinks, beds that lay all the way down. I mean…if I wasn’t yet the Queen of England while drinking my afternoon tea…I sure was on my flight home! (We prayed together the night before for favor and health and safety because of all of the Coronavirus stuff so we know that He blessed us. Praising the Lord for that still). Our last flight home from Washington DC to Grand Rapids in coach sure brought us back down to life though haha…
I hope you enjoyed these photos and tips from our London and Italy vacation. If you are going on one yourself…shoot me a message. I’d be happy to give more ideas 🙂
xoxo – Kellie