Our Italian adventure began in Venice. For anyone thinking about visiting Italy but wonders if Venice is too touristy or too crowded to be worthy of a visit, please go anyway. Admittedly, my first time in Venice wasn't the best experience. I visited Italy as a part of a multi-country tour so that was tiring in itself. Having just a day to explore Venice, I only remembered the long lines, hot sun, and rude vendors. It was a way to see Venice, but I didn't get to experience it. This time around, I skipped the tour group and saw Venice very differently. I spent two night at a local Venetian flat, ate the local cuisine and discovered I like anchovies quite a bit, and was constantly on the prowl for Gelato and cannoli. The lines were there but, having control over my own schedule, I didn't feel rushed or compelled to see everything at once. I did decide to skip the Gondola ride - the romantic appeal was tempting but my last experience of getting scolded for stepping on the seat still left a bad taste (I wasn't keen on spending over $100 for the ride either). Instead, we bought olives, proscuitto, salumi, and parmesan to enjoy by the canal - food adds romance to everything! My favorite thing about traveling is feeling like I've been wisp away to a completely foreign place and Venice did just that - it is like nowhere I've been to before and, at times, I felt like I was in the middle of a Hollywood movie set because everything looked so unreal. The cobblestone streets, the canals, the ornate architecture, the gelato, the pasta and seafood - all of my favorite things came to life in this unique city.