Sometimes there’s things we wish we could change in life, but we should always remember that some things are just fine as they are and it’s only with hindsight we realise that. They say that it takes the bad times to appreciate the good times, the rough with the smooth, you get the gist right? Anyway, you’ll see where I’m going with this.
I’ve just returned from a special family trip to Italy, we celebrated my parents 50th (Golden) Wedding Anniversary, it was fabulous and for this I’m truly grateful. See we make assumptions that everything is well and easy for those who’ve been together for a lifetime but it’s not always the case. At the end of the trip on the last evening my Dad made a toast to all his family, amongst the wonderful words he spoke were lots of kind loving words directed towards my Mum but he added something which I will remember for a long time.
He said it hadn’t always been easy, there’d been some super challenging and tough times but together they made it through and ultimately he wouldn’t change any of it for the world. He went on to say that it’s the times that we dig deepest that carve our character, that bring us together, that make us who we are. I guess that’s why we say ‘what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger’. It just goes to show that even though now we live in a world of replacing, disposability and quick turnover we forget that the greatest partnerships, friendship and relationships are based on commitment, resilience, determination and perseverance. Wise words which I continue to remember and digest; living is learning and I’m trying to do that everyday.
Back to Italy though and the fun stuff …let’s just rewind for a moment because I nearly didn’t make the trip at all! When I arrived at Heathrow early to catch my morning flight I was told they were overbooked and because I was a solo traveller I’d be shipped off to another airport to get a later flight! not at all ideal when I knew my disabled parents were waiting at Venice airport for me! Thankfully after many conversations and much anticipation I was loaded on the plane last minute and made the journey. It wasn’t until I landed I knew just how lucky I’d been, as it transpired I was on the last flight of British Airways before the technology meltdown and total chaos that left hundreds of families stranded through cancelled and delayed flights, I made it by the skin of my teeth.
I’d put hours of research into Venice, what to do, places to eat and even searched for secret tips on lesser known forums. One thing I would highly recommend if you can stretch to it is private speed boat from the airport to the islands, this was amazing! I surprised my parents and family with it and it was so exciting and such a special way to arrive! My Mum’s face was a picture once the boat got going, she looked like she was on the world’s scariest water ride but said she loved it!
Arriving in Venice and travelling by speed boat down the narrow canals was almost like being in another world, I was absolutely blown away by how beautiful and special it was…what a privilege!
The hotel was fabulous and had to most amazing roof terrace overlooking the Grand Canal which we relaxed on to take respite from the crowds and heat. My Dad was either in a wheelchair or on crutches and Venice with its many bridges and cobbled streets gets busy and crowded but as a family we coped taking it in turns to chaperone Dad. Mum managed fine wandering about in the Skechers and of course the whole family coated in UltraSun as it hit 30 plus degrees some days.
It was very special to spend lots of time with those you love and we all will remember it forever. There’s something I would urge everybody to do if they visit Venice and that’s get up super early before the crowds hit the streets. Around 6am everything is quiet, it’s cool and the sun provides the most beautiful light for photography. You see a few workers milling around but generally the streets and canals are yours to peruse freely. You can get really far on foot at that time, in fact across the whole island and back, just spectacular and be back in time for breakfast (a second breakfast for me as I ate whilst out too, greedy Chloe).
As a family we also visited Murano Island by ferry, we all wanted to witness murano glass being made via traditional techniques and how it gets turned into the beautiful Murano Glass jewellery we offer here at QVC. They still use all of the traditional handmade techniques, the furnace for the glass is so hot you can feel it at a few metres away. What a craft, real artisans and heritage and it only happens on that one island.
After 3 days in Venice we headed to very pretty Lake Garda on the high speed train, even the journey was fabulous, heading across the Italian countryside passing through vineyards and villages, through mountains and hills. Our destination was the stunning Sirmione in the south, complete with its own fort and roman ruins; the perfect access point to the lake. The hotel was right on the lake with its own jetty and nesting swans and ducks. Every morning we’d run and jump in the freshwater lake to wake ourselves up, total heaven.
On the whole we ate, drank and laughed lots. It was the trip of a lifetime and I’m so glad that everyone (especially my parents) had a wonderful time. If you get the chance to head away for quality time with the family then snap it up because hopefully you’ll have lasting and fond memories!
Love, Chloe x