This is my 100th post! I’m really excited that it’s going to be about one of my favorite weekends to date-my day trip to Venice and a bike tour in Chianti.

Saturday morning a group of us left very early to catch a bus to Venice. The trip cost included transportation, gondola ride and guided tour. It was a great deal! When we arrived just outside of Venice-to take a bus boat into the city, all of us were anxious. As the boat bus (no better way to describe it) entered the Grand Canal and we began passing boat taxis, homes, museums, churches and bridges, our cameras were at the ready. I honestly had no idea what to expect of Venice and I loved it! I had heard that there is not much to do there, that it smells and is small, and honestly besides the small part-I disagreed. I thought that it was fantastic, totally picturesque, full of tourists but awesome! We began at San Marco-the old town square and home to the Doge and his palace, I’ll stop myself from going into a whole history lesson about the Renaissance. From there we got to see how Murano glass was made-it was amazing! The glass blowing master came into the small room, picked up a long metal rod, put some substance on the end, stuck it into the fire, pulled it out and started shaping a vase by rolling the glass on a metal table and blowing into the hollow rod. It was beautiful. Then, he made a small statue. He was rolling the piece of solid glass, pulled at it a bit with some tools and voila! A horse! In a matter of 3 seconds.

After that my friends and I explored Venice a little bit. We explored, bought Murano glass objects, ate delicious pastries and loved looking at the canals. Afterwards we began our walking tour of Venice. Along the way we saw the Church of Mary of Health, the beautiful lagoon, old homes, small canals, museums, a spriral staircase and the Rialto Bridge of course. It was a lot of walking but a great way to see the city. I would have loved to have time to go into San Marco Church or the many museums, but it’s an excuse to go back.

Our gondola ride was not the traditional serenade romantic ride that you see in the movies. It was just a ride across the Grand Canal but it was awesome! Weight distribution is a major issue-some people from our group all sat on one side at the same time and the whole boat swayed. But the trip across was fun. I will totally be going back one day and taking the longer, more expensive, gondola ride.

I’m really excited to go back to Venice one day to see all of the beautiful art and take that gondola ride! But, no time for my dreams now, because Sunday was AMAZING! My friends and I went on a bike tour in Chianti. It was probably one of my favorite things that I’ve ever done in my life. We took a van to a castle in Chianti where we got a quick tour of where they make wine and olive oil. We climbed up the tower to see a beautiful panoramic view of Tuscany. It was incredibly green, full of vineyards and olive groves and rolling hills. Then a taste of red wine and homemade olive oil-so good! It had a nice peppery flavor and was really fresh. From there we got our bikes and helmets. Then the ride began! My roommate and I were the only 2 of our group to really be able to ride bikes well enough to ride the whole route (minus the extremely steep hill that we skipped). We began on some hilly but mainly downhill roads to lunch, where we drank more wine, ate great pasta, and dessert. Then came about 3 miles of flat roads, the giant hill that we skipped, a water break at a cafe and rolling hills back to the castle. All in all I biked 12 miles. It was amazing! I was so at peace cycling that I decided that I want to bike more in similar situations. I was able to clear my head for the most part, think of the wonderful country around me and the great things in my life. It was truly an unforgettable experience. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for some adventure. Not only was it beautiful and fun but it was rewarding as a workout as well!