Canals and snow

We thought that we’d go all out on our first European holiday – well, as much as a couple of Aussies can in expensive Italy and France – and booked a Venetian Christmas followed by a skiing extravaganza in the beautiful resort of Tignes in France.

It started off ominously when my skis and Ben’s snowboard didn’t make it to Venice. We actually thought it worked rather out well, since it meant we had less to haul through the cobblestone streets of Venice trying to find our B&B accommodation. Our B&B was in a great central location only about 10-15 minutes stroll from the Rialto bridge, and we spent the many hours exploring the little alleyways of the city and admiring the cute buildings and bridges.

The food in Venice is great, although on the expensive side. The pizzas we had were gloriously thin and crispy, and I was particularly fond of the local spaghettini alla vongole.

Other than eating and walking, we also spent some time in the local attractions, including the beautiful mosaics in the Basilica di San Marco and the massive Palazzo Ducale, featuring numerous notable works of art by Titian and Tintoretto.

We departed from Venice in our little Chevrolet Matiz, which only just managed to squeeze in our massive suitcase, Ben’s snowboard and my skis. We set off for the French Alps and made good time on the fantastic Italian motorway system to the Italian snow gateway of Aosta.  The next morning we drove to Tignes via Courmayeur, and a few wrong turns that left us just outside of Geneva rather than anywhere near our destination. We eventually made it to Tignes that night, but not before fraying tempers by the both of us threatened to camp us on the side of the road for the night.

The skiing in the Espace Killy combined resorts of Tignes and Val d’Isere was phenomenal. The snow fell on 3 of the 6 days that we were there, but broke long enough for us to hit the slopes hard under perfect blue skies. The skiable area is just massive here, and the combination of the numerous trains and gondolas meant that we could quite easily and effectively ski the whole resort. The resort held a huge dance party to bring in 2008, but unfortunately we were both so knackered from a day’s skiing that we were in bed by 9:30pm!

On our way back to Venice to catch our flight, we stayed overnight in Milan to check out the shopping. Alas, my non-millionaire income doesn’t support the millionaire-style shopping here, but I did enjoy a browse through the Prada store in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping arcade – just because I was in Milan!

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