Tag Archives | venice

Best places to Kiss in Venice

Thy sun-illumined spires, thy crown and crest!
White phantom city, whose untrodden streets
Are rivers, and whose pavements are the shifting
Shadows of palaces and strips of sky;

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow “Venice”

For traveling couples, visiting Venice, Italy is a dream come true.   There are few places that rival the magic that Venice works on lovers.  You have your tickets purchased.  Now what?  How can you make your visit to the City of Bridges match your romantic expectations?  The Fighting Couple is ready and here to help.  The following our some of our best couple travel ideas for your Venice adventure.

Gondola Driver in Venice

Gondola Driver in Venice

Venice Gondola ride

Ok…lets get the easy one out of the way.  As you likely know, the Fighting Couple hates spending money on really touristy type things.  Couple travel is expensive!  Taking a gondola ride in Venice is just that.   With that said…shell out the Euros and take your sweetie on a ride.  (The official cost for a 40-minute gondola ride is €80 and €100 after 7pm).   It’s just money.  Isn’t your lover worth it?  You don’t need a reservation.  Just show up, agree on price and time you want, and bon voyage!

La Fenice Opera House, Venice, Italy

La Fenice Opera House, Venice, Italy

La Fenice during Intermission

Located in the heart of Venice is the wonderful Fenice Opera House.  The Fenice or Phoenix is appropriately named, it has been built and burnt down twice.  Today’s version is a result of a 90 million euro renovation.  It is stunning.  Enjoy the first two acts of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly.  Take your lover by the hand, look into each other’s eyes and capture a kiss.  (Don’t wait till the opera ends….it doesn’t end well.  Sorry to ruin it.)  Tickets and info: www.teatrolafenice.it/site/index.php

Slow Dance on St. Mark’s Square at sunset

This one is our fave!  The square is lined by restaurants that waft their culinary delights into the salty air.  The lights dim.  The notes of a lonely accordion linger in the distance.  The perfect recipe for love!

If you need some advice on how to kiss…please read our instructions:  How to Kiss Correctly.

Find a lonely alley in the Dorsoduro district-

Next to the Grand Canal is a wonderful section of Venice, the Dorsoduro district.  There are a number of meandering alleys with wonderful shops and coffee stands.  Spend a warm afternoon going from shop to shop.  Take your camera as there are some wonderful mansions and Palazzos to take in.  This area of Venice is often called the “real” Venice.  It is home to the Galleria Dell’ Academia and the Peggy Guggenheim Museum.  Both of these sites are must sees for anyone venturing to Venice.

Stroll across the Rialto Bridge

Find your own Casanova and then follow the original Casanova’s footsteps across the Rialto Bridge.  The Bridge is one of the most recognizable icons of the water city.  Climb to the apex and watch the boats below.   It can be a bit crowded at times, it is best to get your pictures early.

St. Mark's Bell tower

St. Mark’s Bell tower

St Mark’s Campanile Bell Tower

One of the best ways to take in the grand city is atop the bell tower of St. Marks.  Perched  99 metres above the square, you can look over the red roofs of the entire city.  Pull you lover close as the cool ocean breezes tussle your hair.  The views offered from the top are truly breathtaking.  Taking the stairs will help you burn off some of that wonderful Italian gelato.  For more info on St. Marks.

Italian Food

A yummy creation at Harry’s. Venice, Italy

Harry’s Dolci

Are you looking for a romantic restaurant away from the hustle and bustle?  We have the perfect place for you and you sweet heart.  Take the water bus across the bay to the Hilton.  Turn left after walking off the boat and head to Harry’s Dolci.  This is a Fighting Couple’s fave haunt.  The last time we were in Venice we went there twice for dinner!  What to order you ask?  If it’s on the menu, it is going to be good.  Don’t miss their bruschetta.  YUM!  Of course eating is the second best thing you can do with your lips at Harry’s.  It’s Amore!

Ok, now go and book your tickets to Venice.  Pack your Brics Luggage, don’t forget to include a warm sweater.  Then follow our simple recipe for making the perfect romantic visit to Venice!  Send us your pictures!

Did we miss your favorite place in Venice?  Sorry.  Shoot us a quick comment below.  Enjoy Venice!

 

 

 

 

8

Venice for Couples

1000Fights had a fight about Venice (big surprise). The fight wasn’t while we were there, but if we should go there. Mike said, yes. Luci said, no. Mike won. Luci is glad he did. Venice is one of those locations you can’t miss. It’s on the bucket list. It’s like the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China. Once a world super power, now one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, Venice is a perfect place for couples to get lost in its history, ambiance, food, and extravagance. To ensure your trip is fight free and memorable, follow the following 10 tips.

venice church

Venice at dusk.

1. Accept Venice for what it is. Venice is trapped in the past. There is no industry there. Some of Europe’s great cities couple history and the present for a modern-day experience. Venice does not. Venice is historical Disneyland. More than 20 million people visit Venice; only 250,000 people actually live there. It’s a tourist trap. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t splendid and worth the visit. Just know when you go that 90 percent of the people you see are just like you, tourists.

2. Stay away from the Grand Canal. The Grand Canal is well, Grand. You’ll see a parade of historical sites, but it’s not the best location to stay. It’s crowded and overpriced. We suggest staying on Isola Della Guidecca. It’s Venice’s southern district and home to several independent B&B’s and the massive Hilton Molino Stucky.  By staying on Isola Della Guidecca, you’ll get away from the majority of tourists and wake up overlooking Venice. It’s easy to get there. Take the vaporetto (water bus).

3. Get lost and buy a pop-up map. Remember, Venice is an island. You can walk and walk and you won’t fall off the edge of the earth. Take it in and just walk around. By walking around, we found places we didn’t read about in any travel book or website. See #10. From personal experience, it was hard to find our bearings in Venice. Take our advice, find a good map. It was a life saver. You might be tempted to use your smart phone. Buy the map before you go. On Amazon, it’s only $6.95 and the size of a 3 X 5 card. It also has the vaporetto route. By buying the map, you don’t have to worry about finding Wi-Fi on your phone. Just stuff the map in your back pocket. No fuss and no fight!

Venice Italy

A view from one of the many bridges.

4. Kiss at St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco.) Supposedly Napoleon called it the “drawing room of Europe.”  The piazza hosts St. Marks Bacillia, the famous Clock Tower, and pigeons of course. But that’s not all; you’ll hear live music in the form of string quartets and grand pianos, and opera singers, serenading the guests of the restaurants that line the square. This is when you know Venice is for lovers!

5. Watch your pocketbook at Murano. It’s easy to go trinket and souvenir shopping in Venice. Glass! Jewelry! Masks! Gondolier shirts! Handbags! There is no shortage of stores wanting your money and that’s appropriate considering Venice’s merchant history. But mind your pennies. One of the easiest ways for your romantic time to crash and burn is fighting over souvenirs. We know; we’ve fought over them a lot. So, decide before you ever set first on the island, develop a budget. Decide how much each of you gets to spend on souvenirs. 1000Fights spent the day in Murano to spend our cash. Murano is a short boat ride away from Venice and it’s where the majority of the glass is made. Buy your glass directly from the factory to avoid buying overpriced Chinese glass.  While we are on the topic to price…don’t overpay for a trip to Venice.

bosnia croatia 2011 three 097

Hot gondolier. Yes, please.

6. Swoon over hot gondoliers, but don’t waste your money by riding in a gondola.  1000Fights has an eye for beauty and that includes in the form of hot gondoliers. They are everywhere in Venice. You’d think riding in a gondola would be the ultimate romantic experience. It’s really not. It’s crowded on the canals and riding in a gondola is expensive. Expect to pay at least 75 Euros for a gondola ride. For a better romantic experience, spend your money on going to the opera at the Fenice or a candle light dinner.

7. Be prepared to be seasick. The streets are flooded in Venice. LOL. Seriously, there is only one way to get around the city: by boat. There is a comprehensive waterbus system called vaporetto. But the bus stops float. And rock. And sway. If you get seasick, like the female half of 1000Fights, know that you could get sick riding the vaporetto as well as waiting for them. Take precautions and have sympathy for your queasy stomached spouse. Nothing says I love you more than puking on vacation.

8. Read the book, and then Visit the Fenice. 1000Fights picked up the book, “The City of Falling Angels” by John Berendt on clearance long before they decided to go to Venice. The book details the devastating fire of Venice’s opera house, the Fenice, and its subsequent rebirth. You’ll get a taste of the people of Venice and its historic landmark. The book is fascinating and it makes a visit to the beautiful Fenice even more meaningful.

Inlaid Marble

The Santa Maria Assunta Church

9. Eat bruschetta and drink wine. The food in Venice is fantastic, if you avoid the typical tourist restaurants. We found a restaurant in Venice on Isola Della Guidecca that we went to twice it was that good! Trattoria al Cacciatori overlooks the canal and the service is terrific. The bruschetta was the best we’d ever eaten. We’d go back to Venice just for the bruschetta. No trip to Italy would be complete without Italian wine. Drink up.

10. Find This Church. When 1000Fights was getting lost, we stumbled upon a church we never read about in any travel book. The Santa Maria Assunta Church or known as Gesuiti I is almost 300 years old. Its outside is ostentatious baroque with statutes, columns, and a gigantic door that would fit the Giant from Jack and the Beanstalk. The inside is washed in black and white inlaid marble that is breathtaking. Even the balcony’s draperies are actually marble cut to look like curtains. Do not miss this historic and over the top ornate church. 

Venice is the perfect place for a honeymoon or for pretending that you are on one!  Take in all the food, the sights, and of course the wonderful experience that is Venice.

Bon Voyage!

bosnia croatia 2011 three 025

1000Fights says don’t fight about Venice. Go and enjoy Historical Disneyland!

6

Painted Ladies: A San Francisco Walk About

Its time to fall in love with some painted Ladies in San Francisco.  The Fighting Couple has been on lots of tours and by tours we mean, academic, informative, open-ended questions, catered to a small group, kind of tours. We don’t follow umbrellas. We learn so much on “good” tours that we like to go on tours even when it’s a city we have been to many times.

There are three types of Victorian homes: Italiantes, Queen Anne and Stick.

There are three types of Victorian homes: Italianate, Queen Anne and Stick.

So on a recent couple’s trip to San Francisco;I jumped at the chance to go on a Victorian Home Walk.  Enter our guide, Jay.  Jay gave one of the best tours I’ve ever been on.  I’ve always had a fascination with Victorian homes. I find them beautiful and after going on the walk with Jay, I adore them even more.

Painted Ladies Tour

I met Jay with a few other folks at Union Square. As an introduction to what we would be seeing, he explained how the area once was full of single family housing prior to the 1906 earthquake.  Standing there looking at a crowed shopping center and the sea of humanity milling around, it’s hard to imagine the now commercialized area was once home to thousands before the fire associated with the earthquake leveled the wooden homes. Jay was very knowledgeable about the housing patterns before and after the earthquake and fire changed the city.  I have a mid-blog post confession.  I am curious. (Mike would say nosey!)  You know when you are on a “good” tour when the tour guide can actually answer your questions!

Pacific Heights

Our exploration of the antique homes took us to the Pacific Heights area. Going on the Victorian Home Walk is just that: a walking tour.   Our first stop was the gorgeous Queen Anne Hotel. How I want to stay there! Before we went inside, Jay trained us to spot the three types of Victorian homes: Italianate, Queen Anne, and Stick. Then we ventured inside the splendid hotel and had free rein to look around. It’s gorgeous! The former girl’s school is a Victorian’s dream hotel. Its plush interior and ornate furnishings represent classic Victorian style, and like Jay said, “No one could stuff a room like a Victorian.”

Gorgeous example of craftsmanship, but the paint is far from authentic.

Gorgeous example of craftsmanship, but the paint is far from authentic.

As we walked down Pine Street to Webster and over to Broadway, Jay pointed out how Victorian homes changed over time. As technology improved, the outside of homes became more decorative. But then it wasn’t hip anymore to look ostentatious. For instance, during the 30s and 40s any ornate fixtures on the outside of the homes were replaced to make it look more modern or in my humble opinion: plain. The exteriors were painted stucco or replaced with dull siding. The first floor gardens of the Italianates were removed to make room for the automobile. The boxed shaped livery stables are now condos.

IMG_0940

My favorite home on the tour. It’s so delicate.

One of my biggest fascinations was the change in color of Victorian homes. Painted Lady, anyone? No, that’s not a Yuppie drink at your favorite bar. It’s the term originated in San Francisco for Victorians painted with three or more colors. Most Victorian homes weren’t painted that way to begin with; in fact, painting your restored Victorian multiple colors to accent the trim and gingerbread didn’t become popular until the 1960s. Originally, Victorians were painted with three colors: the window trim was painted black or very dark green, highlights were white and the overall house color was one color, usually an earth tone that would not fade or show the dirt like brown or dark green. If you see a beautiful home today with a rainbow of colors (yellow, green, blue, red), it’s fun and makes the house pop, but it’s following the pop culture of 40 years ago, not the original color schemes.

Another classic Italianate style Victorian.

Another classic Italianate style Victorian. Note how there is now a garage where a garden once grew.

The pace of the tour was steady, but not like a race. I never felt at any time that I was rushed. It was also casual enough that there was appropriate downtime to quiz our guide on the things we were seeing. “Why does this house have three doors?  Why does this house have a bay window but the one next door doesn’t?  When was this built?” You get the gist. I’m sure Jay was glad when I stopped asking questions!  This tour tops our things to do in San Francisco list.

Did you know that you can “Ask the Fighting Couple Anything?”

Celebrity Mansions

The tour lasted roughly two and a half hours. We ended the tour in the she-she-la-la area of celebrity mansions overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Jay pointed out Jessica McClintock mansion-painted all white like her designer wedding gowns. We saw the house from Mrs. Doubtfire and the house a few doors down where Robin Williams lived. Jay was full of celebrity gossip from those who live or lived in the area. But you’ll have to go on the tour; I won’t dish any here.

What struck me most about this tour was Jay’s unique knowledge about the individual homes we saw. It’s wasn’t the kind of stuff you could find in a history book. It was the type of information he personally gathered from living in the city and doing tours for 20 years.  Most of all, I never felt like I was on parade. In fact, I felt like a local being shown around by a local. I wasn’t on tour bus with a bored driver reading an approved script over a microphone.  I was shown a local side of San Francisco, a place where people live.  

Jay the Victorian home fountain of knowledge.

Jay the Victorian home fountain of knowledge.

And just like a local, when we ended the tour at the Union Street Shops, Jay showed us which restaurants to the get the best sandwich, the best pasta and the best seafood. I treated myself to a to a pumpkin spice cream puff at Pacific Puffs.

The next time you are in San Francisco; don’t miss the  Victorian Home Walk. It will be the best $25 you spend in the city.

A special thank you goes out to our friends at Victorian Home Walk who provided this experience.  Check some gorgeous painted ladies out next time you are in San Francisco.

17

Tell us your Mistletoe Moment and Win $150

We are looking for the best Mistletoe Moment from 2012!  The lovely winner will be awarded a $150 Visa gift card!  Wow!  Finally it is OK to Kiss and Tell!

Christmas kissSo what exactly is a Mistletoe Moment you ask?

Simply put, it’s a moment in time when you and your special someone get taken in by your surroundings, the sights, and smells but most of all, each other!  You could be with 10,000 tourists in St. Mark’s Square in Venice or in the middle of the Amazon where you are surrounded by 10,000 bugs!  It could be anywhere/anyone?/anytime but it MUST be magical!

The holidays are a wonderful time to remind us the importance of one another.  Here at 1000Fights we believe that the greatest gift we give is each other.   We celebrate all of you couples, especially those of you that get out and explore the world together.

 

wedding day

The Kahles our 2011 Winners

To get your creative juices going, here is the winner from 2011 :

The Kahle’s from Wanderlivin

“A wedding can mean many different things to different people. To the bride it’s the most important day of her life. That’s why when I was told my hairdresser canceled on me the day before the wedding I tried to shake it off. When half of my family couldn’t come because of Hurricane Irene I tried to shake it off. When my photographer didn’t show up – I couldn’t shake it off. Walking down the aisle in distress I saw my husband and the way he looked at me as I walked down the aisle. When I reached him I pulled his face down for a kiss before the minister could even start as the waves of Monterrey Bay crashed around us and bridesmaids giggled at the ministers disapproval.”

You can read the other great entries from last year HERE.

 

How to enter?  Just two easy steps:

1) In 50-ish words or less, tell us about your “Mistletoe Moment” in the comments section below.  We want all the details: when, where and why.

2) Give us a “like” 1000Fights on Facebook here.  Then leave a comment,: “I had a Mistletoe Moment!” Here.

Stay tuned we will soon announce our celebrity Judges.

 

The Fine Print    (sorry, but it’s really not that bad.)

1) Mistletoe Moment must have taken place in 2012.

2) Entries will be accepted till midnight December 24th, 2012.

3) Final selections will be made by our awesome panel of judges. (To be announced soon!)

4) We will announce the winner on our webpage on December 26th, 2012.

5) This contest is not valid where prohibited. (What a terrible place to be!)

6) Please keep Mistletoe Moments rated (PG-13 or PG, no G’s allowed!)

7) Prize will be delivered via Paypal, or another agreeable method.

8) The last one we promise…remember its OK to Kiss and tell!

 

Please share our little contest with your friends!!!  Just click below to share on Facebook or Twitter.  (Thank you!)

5

How to buy Murano Glass in Venice

Few souvenirs can match the beauty, craftsmanship, uniqueness of Murano glass from Italy.  It is truly the finest glassworks that money can buy.

How to get from Venice to Murano by vaporetto.

Many a tourist wanders from Venice to purchase a treasure.  We have put together a few tried and true tips for getting the most for your money on Murano.

murano glass1)Take emotion out of the equation, then put it back in at the end.

Huh?  Yep, we said it.  Take the emotion out of the equation.  It is critical to be realistic with what your budget can afford.  Before you take one step off the ferry, decide what your budget will be.  Seek agreement with your significant other on what the parameters will be.  This place is not for the faint of heart, or worse yet for a weak wallet.  Take the emotion out the purchase.  Once you have agreed on a limit.  Double it.  This is Murano!

Be realistic with what you can carry back home.  Glass doesn’t pack well.  It is heavy.  It is fragile.   Shipping delicate glassworks is also a bit of a risk.  Who is going to be responsible should it break in route?  Most turistas are going to carry their purchase with them the rest of the trip to avoid theft, or breakage.  This is a huge commitment if you are just beginning your holiday.

2)Keep Walking

One constant that we have found in shopping during our travels is there is always, always a better deal, just a few feet further.  I don’t know how many times we have “thought” that we received a steal of a deal, then walked a few more feet and found it for half of the price.   (Enter fighting couple fight #445).  The rule applies to Murano.  Candidly, we found the further we walked deeper into the island, the better deals and quality.

3) Ask Questions

One of the first questions to ask, was this made in Murano?  It’s a fair question.  The answer might surprise you.  Assuming you have a vendor with integrity, the answer could be no.  Which is fine, don’t get us wrong.  You just need to go into the purchase with your eyes open wider than your pocketbook.  Ask how it was made.  Ask about the colors, what were they made of?  Ask about the artist.  Questions will not only protect you from being shammed, but will also lend intrigue to your purchase.  Of course the key question is to ask for a certificate of authenticity, validating what the handsome salesman has explained to you.

One of the best questions we asked our salesman was, “what else do you have?”  A warm Italian grin formed and we were led back to the workshop and back sales room.  This is where the good stuff is kept.

Italian glass4) Let the Games Begin.

Remember you are in Italy.  This is not Wal mart.  You are not bound by what the price tag might say.  Granted in Murano, small glass items like jewelry, trinkets and coasters will likely be a fixed price.  Once you beginning bidding on larger pieces, price becomes secondary.

One key to good negotiation is finding a flaw in the piece that you want.  Pointing out a flaw in the glass will be easy due to the nature of glass blowing.  Your salesman will be offended at first at you boldness to point out a flaw in his “masterpiece”.  Simply smile and refer to the vendor down the boardwalk that had one similar with out the flaw.  Prices will suddenly become more fluid.

5) Timing is Everything

One of the most difficult things about buying anything in Murano is the time factor.  Time is not on your side.  You hit the island with a gaggle of other turistas.  You have the ferry schedule in one hand and a melting gelato in the other.  You are always pressed for time.  Thoughts that “I will never, ever find this again.  I must buy.”  WRONG!  You will.  And it will have more (insert fave color) in it.  And it will be 100 euros cheaper.  Don’t fall into the time trap.  Key to effective glass buying and negation is the ability to turn on your heels and walk out on your dream purchase.   This is painful.  It must be done.

We hope that like us, you fall in love with Venice and with Murano.  Stay in a wonderful bed and breakfast nearby.  Make multiple trips over to Murano.  Spend those Eurodollars!

2

Our secrets for getting around Venice

 

It is always assumed that Venice is the ideal place for a honeymoon. This is a grave error. To live in Venice or even to visit it, means that you fall in love with the city itself. There is nothing left over in your heart for anyone else.  -Peggy Guggenheim

 

Ahhhh…Venice.  The sights, the smells, the romance…the endless hours of walking around trying to figure out where the heck you are!  While getting lost is a Venice pastime that we highly, highly recommend.  At times, you want to get to a certain place by a certain time.  We are here to help.  Let’s begin our Dos with a Don’t:

Car

Enter in one of the “Fighting Couple’s” biggest fights.  Mike Google mapped Venice, and said, “it sure looks like you could take your car over to the first island where all the cruise ships are landed.  While there, we will find a parking place for an hour or so, unload our luggage, catch a “boat” over to the hotel.  WRONG!  Please don’t try this.  There is not a convenient place to unload a car even for a few seconds.  In the off chance to do get unloaded, the trek to a “boat” to get somewhere else is a mighty hike up and down stairs.  Park at the airport and take the water taxi.  Problem solved and fight avoided.  Venice is not car friendly on any level.

venice bridgeWalking

We mention this first as it is really the quickest and most cost effective way to get from point A to point B in Venice.  There are a number of great mobile phone aps that help you navigate afoot.  Find a really good map and enjoy the adventure.  Venice is made up of two central islands with the Grand Canal in a snake shape dividing them.  There is another long string bean looking island underlining the two above called the Guidecca.  There are bridges back and forth from the first two.  You must find another mode of transport over to Guidecca.  Small islands dot the exterior off the main three islands.

Walking around Venice can be a little daunting and more than a little confusing.  One hint is to focus on the bridges to decipher where you are at. If you can find a bridge, you can likely find yourself on a map.

 

Water Bus (Vaporetti)

The water bus or the Vaporetti is second only to walking for both convenience and cost.  During our stay beside walking, we relied on the Water Bus to get around almost exclusively.  Your first voyage with the water bus can be a little confusing so we have some easy steps for you:

1)Figure out where you are. (easier said than done…)  Then find a water bus stop.  They should look like this (below).  Pick up a water bus map.  Find a “line” that goes to your destination.  They are color coded to help.  The station below you can catch the red 2, purple 41, and 42 as well as the blue N.

Venice water bus

2) Buy a water bus ticket.  Most are timed 1day, 3 days, week…ect.  Get your tickets at some of the water bus stops, as well as some newspaper stands, or little stores around the stops.  If you board without a ticket, directly find a uniformed crew member to purchase a fare.  If you are caught without a ticket, you will be forced to pay a hefty fine.  Ouch.

3)Scan your ticket before boarding the bus.  Find something that looks like this (see below).  Hold your ticket next to it.  It will give you a little beep.

water bus ticket

4)Board your boat.  There are seats inside and out, standing or sitting.

5)Enjoy the ride.  You are going to have one of the most iconic views in all the world.  Venice is made to be seen on the water.

 

If your stay is 3 or 7 days you can purchase a Venice Card.  They are available online or at the airport.  This handy tool includes buses as well as waterbuses in the area.  As an added bonus it includes free or reduced admission to a number of museums and cathedrals in Venice.  You can also include the water bus trip to and from the airport.  A great deal for sure.  More info can be found at www.venicecard.com.

 

Water Taxi

Water Taxi VeniceWater Taxi’s are just that.  Very similar set up as “turf taxis”.  Wave one down.  Give them the location you want to go.  They will either have a time meter or quote you a flat rate.  A word of caution: Venice Taxi’s are the most expensive taxi’s in the world.  Know how and what you will be changed before shoving off.  The beauty of Water Taxis is they are fast.  Very fast.  These are the standard wooden motor boats.  It is usually just your party 1-6 people.   Drivers typically know the city very well, speak “tourist” in a few languages and usually offer a covered cabin.  Taxis can be few and far between in the early evening.  A note of caution.  Water Taxi’s do not have access the entire city.  There are canals that the boats cannot enter.  Have a general idea where you are heading and question your pilot if you are taking a roundabout path.

 

Gondola

Venice ManGondolas are also known by their other name: “Gone dollars”.  These floating coffin shaped boats have been around since the 12th century.  Taking an evening ride through the Grand Canal and down past the opera is something that every human must do once in a lifetime.  With that said the gondola as a mode of transportation to get around the city is not a good idea.  They are just too demmed expensive.  They average $100 for thirty mins!  We hear that you can get a better deal before sunset or before 7pm.  Good luck.  We highly recommend finding your gondola at one of the “approved” gondola stands at the northwest corner of St. Mark’s Square.

Check out our post on a Morbid Side Trip in Venice.

Enjoy your stay in Venice.  Try one of each of the above.  (Skip the car one.)  Take in the sights.  Eat a lot of gelato.  Kiss your lover a lot.  Make memories that you will never forget.  Bon voyage!

6

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Couple Travel

 

Traveling as a couple is rough!  We have been a couple for over 15 years, and traveled to 25 plus countries on 5 continents. One thing that we have learned traveling over this time is that traveling together can be the best and worst.  We thought that we would offer you some handy tips on how to travel together.

Traveling with a man-

“Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.”  -Joseph Conrad

Traveling with a man is truly a test of patience and will power.  We want to arm you with some tactics that will make your next holiday much more enjoyable.  So let’s start with the basics: Hunger.

1 Hunger-One of the intriguing features of male physiology is the constant need for…..food.  In the bible of understanding all men aka: The Godfather note when big decisions need to be made…food is included ie  “Leave the gun bring the cannoli.”  A little known fact is that 61 scenes involve food.  Why?  Men need Man Fuel.  It makes everything go much better.  Those little mini-meals they serve on long haul flights?  Not gonna cut it.  Ladies in order to combat this challenge plan your meals.  Make time for food!  A little planning goes a long way.

2 Directions-Just like the pitiful scene of Napoleon at Waterloo or Lee at Appomattox, asking a man to hand over his sword and ask for directions is just as humiliating.  Admitting defeat, even in the face of insurmountable odds, is next to impossible!  Instead, might we suggest that if possible you approach by using rule number one.  “Hey I am starving…is there anyway we could stop by this store/café and grab a quick bite?” (see rule #1)  At the same time… this will give you a chance to inconspicuously ask for some pointers on where the heck you are.  The invention of GPS has quite possibly single handedly saved our marriage.  It is now a travel must.

Traveling Couple Love

 

Traveling with a Woman

“The great question that has never been answered and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is ‘What does a woman want?”   -Sigmund Freud

It’s all about the journey, not the destination.  Men, for whatever reason have a “let’s get there attitude” when traveling and doing other things. As women, we tend to focus a little more on the path.  Men: build in a little extra time into your schedules.  Be flexible. Here’s an example from our recent trip to Venice which turned into another 1000 fights. We were driving from Triste, Italy to Venice.  We were looking through tourist books and spotted an amazing castle cradling the bay outside of Triste.  It wasn’t in our plan.  Mike had an Excel spreadsheet that kept a strict schedule with everything we were to see that day and the castle wasn’t on the list. He didn’t even know about the castle. Of course Mike was like, “Gotta get on the road, got to see Venice, got to obey the spreadsheet.” After a fight that resulted in zero pictures of Mike and I together at the castle (in fact, Mike wouldn’t even take pictures of me-our friends were the photographers), we went to the castle.  We ended up seeing one of the most incredible sites of our entire trip.  Mike admitted he was wrong three weeks after the trip, and I have a few pictures of a fairy tale castle in Italy. Guys take the hint.  Be flexible.  Slow down a little and enjoy the ride!

A little more talk and a little less action

Couple travelTalk.  Women need to talk.  We need to communicate.  We need to discuss.  Guys: a couple of different options for you.  Some of you are talkers as well, so no problem.  Some of you are good listeners, no problem.  If you are neither or your name is Mike, a few ideas for you.  Let your spouse known that you need some time to talk. You finally have some time together, and for women it’s all about communication. If you don’t know what to talk about, we suggest “The Book of If: Questions for the Games of Life and Love” by Evelyn McFarlane and James Saywell.  On a four hour drive through Croatia, we found out a lot about each other. Like, “If you could fire someone from work, who would it be,” or “If you could relive one romantic date from high school just as it was, which would it be.”  Some answers we had to plead the “fifth.” But overall, it’s a great way to get a conversation going.

Of course one of the most important part of a successful trip as a couple is the place.  Why not try one of the Club Med all inclusive resorts?  Sun, sand, and your sweetie what more do you need?

There they are, a few ideas to help you travel as a couple.  So get out there and explore the world together!

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The Man’s Guide to Traveling with a Woman

 

5 Things Every Man Should Know About Women…While Traveling.

How do you travel with a Woman?  Not long ago we did a post relating little know secrets about how to travel with men.  We have now turned the tables and offer you hommes a few insights on how to travel with the fairer sex.  While every person has their own travel style, and we certainly don’t want to paint every woman into a box, there are a few helpful general tips, that if understood, can help couples find greater harmony on the road.  So here we go:

Keys to traveling with a Woman

Miramare Castle, Triste, Italy

It’s all about the journey, not the destination.

Men, for whatever reason have a “let’s get there attitude” when traveling and doing other things. As women, we tend to focus a little more on the path.  Men: build in a little extra time into your schedules.  Be flexible. Here’s an example from our recent trip to Venice which turned into another 1000 fights. We were driving from Triste, Italy to Venice.  We were looking through tourist books and spotted an amazing castle cradling the bay outside of Triste.  It wasn’t in our plan.  Mike had an Excel spreadsheet that kept a strict schedule with everything we were to see that day and the castle wasn’t on the list. He didn’t even know about the castle. Of course Mike was like, “Gotta get on the road, got to see Venice, got to obey the spreadsheet.” After a fight that resulted in zero pictures of Mike and I together at the castle (in fact, Mike wouldn’t even take pictures of me-our friends were the photographers), we went to the castle.  We ended up seeing one of the most incredible sites of our entire trip.  Mike admitted he was wrong three weeks after the trip, and I have a few pictures of a fairy tale castle in Italy. Guys take the hint.  Be flexible.  Slow down a little and enjoy the ride!

 

Cleanliness is next to Godess-ness

I don’t know how many times I have said…for men…the world is your urinal.  Traveling, as we have in third world countries, the facilities are not always ideal.  No problem.  But there is a clear and bright line between rustic and disgusting.  Third world or first world, some truck stops are dens of disgusting.  Men take this little hint, when the facilities are sub par,  DON’T ARGUE.   Try saying things like…”Let’s find another place” or “There is a hotel just down the road, lets go over there.” My hero!   One option we highly recommend is skipping the hotel and renting a vacation apartment instead.”

 

man-taking-photoPictures are the best souvenir

Its all about the social media and the Christmas card.  Deep down, women are vain.  We really are.  Men could care less how their outfit looks or if their makeup is smudged.  OK maybe most men don’t care about their make up.  For us frau-lines, we truly want our vacation pics to look really good.  Why do we take vacation pics?  To show them off to all our friends on Facebook!   Our photo shoots might take a little long.  Guys, take it from me, you want us to look hot for these pics, it will make all of your old girl friends # jealous!

 

The whole flowers thing

This is likely the hardest concept for men to understand.  Women like cute things.  Cute things can come in the shape of purring cats, daffodils, teacups and cutie-bug kids.  We are going to take pictures of them, we are going to cuddle them, we may put an entire tour on hold to take pictures of a bunny.  I can’t tell you how many pictures we have of the dafodills in front of Jane Austen’s house!  They were incredible!  Guys, this is really going to test your patience.  Take a deep breath.  Count to 10.  Trust me, if you make a big deal about this, you will be removed from our “cute” list.  This will not bode well for you later.  Girls can I have an “amen?!”

 

Dinner in Venice ItalyA little more talk and a little less action

Women need to talk.  We need to communicate.  We need to discuss.  Guys: a couple of different options for you.  Some of you are talkers as well, so no problem.  Some of you are good listeners, no problem.  If you are neither or your name is Mike, a few ideas for you.  Let your spouse known that you need some time to talk. You finally have some time together, and for women it’s all about communication. If you don’t know what to talk about, we suggest “The Book of If: Questions for the Games of Life and Love” by Evelyn McFarlane and James Saywell.  On a four hour drive through Croatia, we found out a lot about each other. Like, “If you could fire someone from work, who would it be,” or “If you could relive one romantic date from high school just as it was, which would it be.”  Some answers we had to plead the “fifth.” But overall, it’s a great way to get a conversation going.

If communicating together isn’t your thing, join friends you meet on the tourist trail for drinks before/after/during dinner. Meeting fellow travelers is one of the most dynamic experiences that can create lifelong friendships and maybe a few Facebook friend requests!

Gentlemen, these are a few little hints for keeping us gals happy whilst on the road.  Every women is different, but take these ideas into consideration and know your travel partner.

Gals, did we miss anything?  If you could tell you guy just one thing that would make life a little easier out there, what would you tell him?

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A Day with Dancing Horses

Are you looking for an affordable couple travel destination in Europe? Look no further than the tiny country of Slovenia. Located just hours from crowed Venice, Italy the quaint countryside of Slovenia offers a contrasting tranquility. One of its hidden gems of this small country is the Lipizzaner stallion stud farm. The famed riding school and breeding facility is located in Lipca. The drive to Lipca from the north or the south offers is a tour of greenery and mountain vistas that have no rival.

What to See

The Lipca Stud farm has turned into a tourist and recreation heaven for the horse lover and nature lover alike. It is the perfect place for fighting couples! The main attraction is of course the performances of its classical riding school, which are held on certain days in the afternoon. Show up early for a good seat toward the front. Otherwise your video will include a survey of European hairstyles.

Performances of classical riding school take place from April to the end of October.

Timetable:
Tuesday, Friday, Sunday at 15.00

Additional performances:

  • Easter Sunday and Monday
  • 1st May
  • 15th August
  • 30th December

Price: 18.00€  (the price includes guided tour of the stud farm)

There are a number of reasonable priced hotels in the area.

Would you like to see more pictures of these amazing animals? Just visit our facebook site and friend us there?

Lipica, sloveniaThe Tour

In 2010 the Lipica Stud Farm celebrated its 430th anniversary! The Stud farm offers tours throughout the day of the boarding, breeding and training facilities. You will see the animals up close and personal. The buggies and wagons of yesteryear are also on display. Of course one of the favorite stops in the tour is the foaling corral. The foals are so cute! The young Lipizzaner’s are born black/brown. As they age they molt to a white/grey tone. Toward the end of the tour, you will enter the barn of the past champions. Each of these champions are housed in their own quarters, their proud lineage is on display as well as their performance accolades.

Horses at Work

The Lipica Riding School is not just a tourist destination; it is a working university for World Cup dressage. The talent performing in the arena, both rider and steed are championship grade! Horse men and women travel from the four corners of the earth to train and be trained with these fine animals.

Slovenia About the Horses

So…what makes a Lipizzaner a Lipizzaner? The Lipica Stud was established by centuries of breeding. Early developers mated the local mares (female horses) from this area called the Karst region with the finest Vienna horses and later Arab Stallions. The Lipizzaner’s are unique in color, shape, gait, and of course their most defining feature their incredible intelligence. These unique animals have the distinguishing ability to learn. You will sit in awe as they put their unique talents on full display in the arena.

The US connection

“In April 1945 the heroic efforts of the 42nd Squadron of the United States Army’s 2nd Cavalry were responsible for the rescue and the ultimate preservation of the Lipizzans. The rescue of the horses was conducted under the order of General George S. Patton.” -this according to http://www.lipizzaner.com We made the mistake of asking about this rescue during our tour of the stables. The tour guide, a little miffed at the story, said that the Austrians had stolen many of the horses from Lipica and the US helped “liberate” the horses from them. Not sure the whole story. We wouldn’t recommend asking. Needless to say, the breed is alive and well today.

For the horse lover, this place is mecca. For those seeking to just learn more about the storied history of this amazing animal, you will also not be disappointed. And for those of you just looking for take a break from the rigors of vacation, looking to relax in a tranquil setting, you will not be disappointed. We highly recommend Slovenia and the Lipica riding school.

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Our list of the 5 “Most Intriguing” Churches in Europe

Like most explorers of Europe, we always end up marching into a million different cathedrals and churches.  Unfortunately for us, call us unwashed heathens, they start to all blend together.  Every once in a while you enter a house of worship that is different in some dramatic way.  Something within sparks our interest.    We decided to offer you some of our favorites.  Favorites in a sense that their beauty, uniqueness and history make them worth the visit.  Enjoy our countdown to the most intriguing church in Europe:

Salisbury Cathedral

5) Salisbury Cathedral, (Salisbury, England)  

Located about an hour and a half from London, the Salisbury Cathedral offers an interesting day trip.  Its well worth the jaunt.  The church landed on on list for a whole list of reasons.  Lets start with its sheer size.  The Cathedral has the tallest spire of all the churches in England.  The spire towers at 404 feet.  You can take a tower tour that will take you up to an amazing vista.  The entire church covers a foot print of over 80 acres!  It is massive.  The church has a number of claims to fame, it has the world’s oldest working clock circa 1386.   It houses one of the four original Magna Cartas.  Take a side trip out of Londontown and see one of the most intriguing churches in Europe.

4)  The Church of Santa Maria Assunta  (Venice, Italy)

We happened upon this church by accident.  We were lost in Venice.  (We love getting lost in Venice! Highly recommended.)  To take a break we entered the church, and found one of the most exquisite displays of stonework we have ever laid eyes on.  The pillars of the church are made of inlaid marble unlike we have ever seen.  The delicacy and precision that must have been requisite to make such a masterpiece is mind blowing.  The craftsmen that created this structure, with limited tools was masters in the highest degree.  Every inch of this house of worship is a masterpiece.  Don’t miss this one next time you get “lost” in Venice.

IL Duomo Siena, Italy

3) IL Duomo (Siena, Italy)

Nestled in the hills of Tuscany is the sleepy little town of Siena.  What once was a hilltop fortress housing the township, has now turned into a haven for smart tourists that break away from their gelato in Florence.  Getting to the town is half the adventure, rent a car, make the journey.  What is remarkable about this church is the colors inside and out.  We nicknamed it the zebra church.  Builders used alternating black and white marble.  The inside of the church is equally as dramatic as the outside.  Once you enter, you are struck with sensory overload.  On the floor is the mosaic depicting the “Slaughter of the Innocents.” Then direct your eyes above and take in the painted dome that creates an optical illusion of three dimensional heavens.  It is remarkable.  Don’t miss Bernini’s St. Jerome holding the cross like a cradled violin. I remember after we had walked out, saying to each other, that was amazing.  It was.  Go see it.

The Floor of IL Duomo, Siena, Italy

 

Español: Fresco en la Capilla Sixtina.

Image via Wikipedia

2)  Sistine Chapel (Vatican City)

Making a list like this, how can we not include the Vatican?  What makes the Sistine Chapel intriguing is its creator, we couldn’t help asking ourselves…How did he do it?  The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is one of the most amazing “canvases”.  What a remarkable example of human creativity.  —Warning: we are going to vent a little:  We were really disappointed in the patrons of the chapel.  In order to preserve the delicate works of art, photo’s are prohibited.  During the entire time we were viewing the art, we heard the guards incessantly chide tourists: “NO PHOTOS!”  It truly ruins the setting.  Shame on the tourists for not buying the post card, and shame on the guards for not finding another way to stop the villains.—-Back to the review.  See the Sistine Chapel once in your life.  Walk slowly.  Imagine the painstaking efforts of the artists.  Commune with a higher power.  Then go get a massage, your neck will thank you for it.

1) Our fave church in Europe is one you likely have never heard of.  It is not a masterpiece of architectural genius.  Millions of pilgrims do not make an annual trek to touch its walls.  It is one of the oldest and best preserved shrines to Christendom.   In its storied history, it served as a defense against invading forces and later serviced as a Muslim Mosque.  Chora Church in Istanbul, Turkey is our most intriguing church in Europe.

Chora Church, Istanbul, Turkey

Chora is a powerful place.  What makes Chora so special is its mosaic pageantry.  The walls of the church once plastered over to cover it’s “blasphemous” subject according to Islamic tradition, the church has been converted to a museum and the coverings have all been painstakingly removed.  What was left behind is nothing short of breathtaking.  Depictions of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the birth of the virgin Mary, and the Journey of the Magi.

Byzantine paintings in the parecclesion of the...

Chora Church, Istanbul, Turkey

Far and away our favorite depiction is of the second coming of Christ.  It is one of the most compelling pieces of artwork we have come across.  Christ the redeemer is grasping the hands of both Adam and Eve pulling them from their earthly graves.  Satan is bound with cords and chains in the distance.  Keys litter the ground, symbolic of the keys to the grave.  What draws us in on this picture are the faces of both Adam and Eve.  They have a look of joy and wonder.  You simply must see it in person.

Turkey is an extraordinary place to visit.  It continues to be one of the Fighting Couple’s favorite.

So how did we do?   Agree?  Disagree?  Did we miss you fave church in Europe?  We would love to hear from you.  Just hit the comment button below and let us know.

Please visit our Facebook Page for more pics.  If you find a intriguing church that should make the list, let us know in the comments below.

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