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gondolas + the adriatic sea {or, em + kel’s great adventure, p. 1}

we referred to it as the roadtrip of a lifetime. 9 days, 2082 kilometers, countless hours of catching up, hundreds of pictures and 2 gals looking for adventure (and pasta. and wine). check, check and check.

one of my dearest friends, kellie, made the trek from portland to germany to join me on this amazing journey.

{i must pause for a moment and also share that it was originally intended to be a party of three. my beautiful friend, jen, was the inspiration for our adventures. jen was diagnosed with aggressive ovarian cancer last year, and with so much unknown about her future, we plotted and schemed and planned this journey for her to SEE THE WORLD! (or at least a portion of it!). a couple of weeks before the trip, however, jen’s health took a turn for the worse, so instead of joining us, she dove head (and heart) first into a clinical trial to continue her fight. she’s currently in florida recovering from a recent surgery, which uncovered that the cancer has grown. devastating for this mama of two precious and amazing young boys. heartbreaking for this beautiful friend, daughter and sister. i was selfishly SO disappointed not to have her by my side for this journey, but of course ohsoproud and ohsoinspired by the courage she’s showing on the journey she has been given. will you join me to pray for jen and her boys? and her family? oh, and if you feel led or compelled to support her fight financially, that would be freaking amazing as well. you can read more about her story here: www.amistillagirl.com.}

…. so kellie arrived in nuremberg, and after a couple of days of showing off the maxey life in germany, we were OFF! first stop: venice.

i had HUGE expectations for venice, which is a bit ironic considering that a lot of the reviews / blogs / etc that i had been reading about venice focused primarily on the downsides: it’s so crowded! so many tourists! so hot in the summer! and yep. all true. it was SO freaking crowded. SO many tourists (but how could i complain, when i was one myself!?). SO INSANELY HOT. but none of that was enough to diminish our excitement – we were in VENICE! home of the gondola!

one of our smartest moves was to actually stay NOT on venice itself, but on the neighboring island of lido. lido was lovely, the perfect combination of the hamptons and cannon beach, oregon. cute shops, lots o’ locals, flip flops everywhere and gelato as far as the eye could see. we stayed at an ADORABLE hotel called villa pannonia. PERFECTION. it was tucked away on a lovely little street, quiet, minutes from the ferry to venice as well as to the beach. we must have remarked a million times that we were SO thankful to be staying on lido instead of venice. it was a sweet little escape after the CROWDS! and TOURISTS!

as far as exploring venice, we hit all of the major sites. took a boat ride down the grand canal (GORGEOUS), wandered up and down the hundreds of bridges scattered throughout the city (409, to be exact), sweated our way to the top of st. mark’s basilica (those stairs are steep!) and then took in the awe-inspiring view of the piazza san marco (yellow chairs everywhere – HEAVEN!). we booked a walking tour which was AMAZING and i highly, highly recommend it for a city like venice. there’s just so much rich history, and also interesting tidbits to learn about daily life in the city (with NO cars allowed, it makes for an interesting and challenging day-to-day – but a life that the venetians clearly love!).

on our final afternoon we abandoned those crowds and the heat, and instead spent a few hours lounging at the beach on the adriatic sea. loooovely.

we enjoyed our last evening in venice (well, lido), then packed up the car, hopped on the ferry and headed west …

  • October 8, 2012 - 6:23 am

    chong pickett - I pray for Jen and her sons and family. I wish the angels come and embrace her body to cure. So that you can still take a trip with her some day………
    In the meantime, she has a great friend like you who cares and loves her…..
    You left pretty city of of Lido. But that city filled you with a beauty and amusement even from the distance. Just like that, I am sure she feels your prayer……
    Tomorrow is another day as we face the sun rise. So we promise another day of love and task. Stay well to love, and to be loved. momReplyCancel

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