Right around that point in our visit to Italy when we figured out that ‘parcheggio’ meant parking and not some bizarre underground board game circuit, my travel bud and I arrived in Venice.  Milan had been a quiet city, too quiet for us girls from Barcelona, so we were looking forward to all this gorgeous city had to offer.

The canals and streets that wind all around the city gave Venice that picturesque romance that I had expected, but what I didn’t realize was how much like Disneyland the city would feel.  Okay, it was Carnivale time and therefore the city was at the peak of it’s sheer ridiculousness with folk dressed head to toe in costume and all types of crazies coming out of the wood work, but I still had that ‘magical kingdom’ type of feeling.

The day started off with a two hour train ride (which took us past Verona, famous to any American ninth grader who just read their first Shakespeare play) from Milan.  We got off just one stop before the main attraction to search out our adorable and quite hostel just a ten minute train trip outside of Venice.  We walked the bridges and skipped over the canals, while winking at the cute gondola drivers.  Everyone was dressed up for the holiday wearing the traditional masks and black capes.  We opted for the much more classy (and less expensive) colorful feathers for our hair.

One thing I noticed right off the bat in Italy was the significantly lower amount of catcalls.  I remember thinking that Spanish men must have more time to say what they want than their Italian counterparts.  We did, however, get quite a few looks after we had our faces painted the next evening.  We had just dropped off Amy’s Italian friend after a day of giggling, cappuccino and silly string and decided that it would be a good idea to let the ‘free spirits’ out side of the train station paint on our faces.  The lady who painted mine smiled at me and gazed into my eyes while tracing imaginary lines in the air before decorating my face.  It still makes me giggle just thinking about it- worth every euro.

We were hungry, and although we both knew it was too early to eat- 7.30pm-, we decided to grab a sandwich at this yummy looking shop.  Of course, this lead to a celebration of the owners’ friend’s new motorcycle and through some English, Spanish and what little Italian we shared in the festivities.  How do Italians celebrate, you ask?  They share wine and cava and who knows what.  After a pizza, nearly three hours of poorly communicated conversation and awkward giggling moments, we finally said our goodbyes and left for a gelato treat before bed.

Venice had been good to us, but we were ready to move on.  Although some could live in Disneyland, a day or two was just perfect for me.  It was off to Bologna, Trieste and then Turin for the rest of our adventure.  And yes, there was plenty more gelato and giggling involved.