Ciao bellas! & Welcome to How to Spend One Day in Venice, Italy. I’m currently traveling through the beautiful country of Italy with @ablondeandherpassport, sponsored by Rail Plus. On this ten-day trip, we will cover a lottt of Italy, all traveling by train. There are so many places in our itinerary that are new to me, and I’m so excited to share all the tips and tricks and things that we get up to! This one is all about how to spend one day in Venice, Italy.

What to do for One Day in Venice, Italy

How to Spend One Day in Venice, Italy

Venice was one of my stops on my three month Euro trip back in 2016; I’d previously spent a week wandering through the canals and eating all the pizza and pasta. Coming back to Venice, I knew exactly where I wanted to eat and what I wanted to see.

We landed at the Marco Polo Venice International Airport at 12:45 pm on Monday. By 1:45, we were speeding through the water by boat en route to our hotel, Hotel Splendid. We checked in, showered, and by 4pm our tour guide was there to greet us.

How to Spend One Day in Venice, Italy

As the sun lowered in the sky, our boots clinked on the cobblestone streets while we passed bakeries and pizzerias, cafes and buildings that made our jaws drop. We learned about the history of Venice and why it’s bad luck to walk between the two columns in San Marco Square – it used to be an execution location! We took photos of the gondolas and watched as the sky turned pink and orange and finally faded to black.

How to Spend One Day in Venice, Italy

How to Spend One Day in Venice, Italy

Sprinkles started to fall from the sky just as our tour was wrapping up, so we headed to my favorite cozy restaurant in Venice: Rosso Pomodoro. We ordered pizzas and warmed ourselves up with a glass of red.

I’ve eaten at quite a few places in Venice, but none of the pizzas compare to those at Rosso Pomodoro. They do a slow rising pizza base, which makes for the most chewy, gooey, bubbly pizza dough. It is still the best pizza I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Post pizza, we were in food and wine comas and severely jetlagged. Dragging ourselves out of the restaurant, we went straight back to the heaven that is Hotel Splendid to call it an early night.

What to do for A Day In Venice, Italy

What to do for A Day In Venice, Italy

What to Do During the Day in Venice

The next morning, we were ready to get to work and see some more of this charming little city on water. We woke up early and started with a hearty breakfast at the hotel.  We headed out just as the sun was rising for the most beautiful views of canals.

How to Spend One Day in Venice, Italy

How to Spend One Day in Venice, Italy

Our first stop was an insta-famous bookstore, Acqua Alta. This bookstore is filled to the brim with books old and new, and tiny nooks and crannies filled with wondrous things. Go all the way back and you’ll find the staircase of books. Walk up the staircase to see the best views of canals and bridges.

How to Spend One Day in Venice, Italy

How to Spend One Day in Venice, Italy

How to Spend One Day in Venice, Italy

After sending some postcards from the bookstore, we headed to the Fondaco Dei Tedeschi for some epic views of Venice. This terrace is on top of a mall, and has absolutely stunning panoramic views of Venice. It’s free to go up and well worth a trip!

Pro tip: you have to book in a spot ahead of time, and the viewings are in 15 min increments. Book in your time slot here and don’t be late!  The building itself is also very cool and a great spot to have a hot chocolate or glass of wine.

What To Do For One Day in Venice, Italy

Il Fondaco Dei Tedeschi is located super close to the Rialto Bridge, so that was our next stop. This is a must-see viewpoint and a fun bridge to get a photo from (or in front of).

How to Spend One Day in Venice, Italy

How to Spend One Day in Venice, Italy

Post Rialto, it was getting to be our time to say goodbye to Venice. We grabbed a quick bite from another of my Venice favorites, Dal Moro’s Fresh Pasta to go. It’s changed since I last visited almost three years ago, but it still has amazing pasta and is the best for a quick bite to eat.

What to do for One Day in Venice, Italy

After devouring our pasta with a view, we took the public ferry from Rialto Bridge to the train station for our first train ride, heading to Milan for a couple of days.

How to Spend One Day in Venice, Italy

We got tickets for business class on the fast train using our Eurail Pass. It was an incredible experience. The cabin was super comfy, we had loads of room, and we were served refreshments and snacks on the ride. Only two hours later, we arrived in Milan! Stay tuned to see what we get up to in this beautiful city.

And don’t forget to check out my post from last time I was in Italy!

 

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Jervis Bay is the perfect weekend trip from Sydney. It’s far enough away to feel like you’re in a new place, but short enough of a drive to make it an easy weekend getaway. This is how I spent a weekend in Jervis Bay.

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

Jervis Bay is all about:

  • insanely gorgeous beaches
  • loads of australian wildlife
  • lots of hiking and beautiful nature trails

Michael and I live in South Sydney, & it’s an easy drive further South. We got up early on a Saturday, grabbed takeaway coffees (in our keep cups of course!), and hit the road.

We drove for a little less than an hour before stopping at a viewpoint in Shoal Harbour. This is a great stop off point for some fresh air and a bathroom. The viewpoint isn’t bad either!

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

When we arrived in Jervis Bay, it was still too early to check in to our airbnb, so we headed straight to the attraction that made me want to go to Jervis Bay in the first place – the beautiful Hyams Beach. This beach holds the Guinness World Record for Whitest Sand Beach in the world. It is absolutely beautiful, and wasn’t too crowded when we headed down at the end of September.

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

After a stroll along the beach, we hopped back into the car to grab some lunch. I was dying to try out Pilgrims, a vegetarian eatery with loads of vegan options. They are most known for their veggie burgers, and anyone who knows me knows that veggie burgers are my second favorite food.

Pilgrims Jervis Bay

Pilgrims is located in Huskisson in a nondescript little building – you’d have to be looking for it to find it. Though it’s a little hidden, it was still bustling with locals and tourists. The vibe is casual and chill. We grabbed a table, some menus, and a bottle of water with some cups, and picked out what we’d each have. We were pretty hungry from the long drive (and a tiny brekky), so we ordered a feast.

Pilrgrims Jervis Bay

Pilrgrims Jervis Bay

I ordered the Millenium burger (mine was the massive one with sprouts), and Michael ordered a vegetarian burger and a toastie. As soon as our food arrived, we dug in, and finished eating in record time – we were so hungry! The burgers were amazing and very filling – I’d highly recommend a stop here.

Next, we drove to our airbnb and checked in. How cute is it!

(Get $25 off your first stay with airbnb!)

After unpacking and freshening up, we picked out a few beach spots on google maps and set out for an adventure. I’ve since realized, google maps isn’t the best place to search for beaches. We stopped at a few places, but they didn’t even come close to Hyams Beach. We were mainly searching for some Australian wildlife, but so far hadn’t seen any.

While driving back toward our airbnb, we decided to pull in to a Holiday Park (aka a campsite for my Americans) and parked the van so we could take a short stroll to their beach. We had to register as visitors to enter, and while writing down our details, I asked the owner about kangaroos. He told us that there are tons of kangaroos living at the holiday park – and because there are tourists year round, the kangaroos are completely used to people, and are actually friendly with humans.

This weekend, dreams came true.

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

Next, we headed into town for a look around Huskisson. We watched the sunset from the Husky Pub, and then went for an Indian food dinner before calling it an early night.

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

The next day, we had a little lie in before a big day of beach touring. We checked out of our airbnb and had a relaxed brekky at Hyams Beach Store & Cafe. It’s a super cute place with great coffee and lots of locals reading the Sunday paper (it filled up right after taking this photo, promise).

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

After a big breakfast, we took the van out to our first stop of the day: Cave Beach. We saw even more kangaroos in the parking lot before taking the short walk to the beach.

Cave Beach is named after – you guessed it – the caves on the beach. There are a few, and they are big enough to walk into. We even saw a bat in one of them!

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

After a short time at Cave Beach, we got back into the van for our next stop: the Hole in The Wall.

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

After the Hole in the Wall, we started heading North back to Sydney. But before ending our weekend away, we made one more stop at Honeymoon Bay.

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

How to Spend a Weekend in Jervis Bay

Jervis Bay has so many little gems, I’d highly recommend a trip from Sydney!

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I love city life – public transportation, the abundance of different styles of food, and the high energy vibes – it’s all good in my book. Still, sometimes it’s amazing to take a break from the city and escape for the day. This weekend, Michael and I hopped in the van and headed an hour south of Sydney to Wollongong. This little beach town is full of restaurants, shops, and a long stretch of yellow, sandy beach. This is what we did with a day in Wollongong. This is Day Trips from Sydney: Wollongong.

Day Trips from Sydney: Wollongong

The road to Wollongong is as scenic as the city itself. We took the Grand Pacific Drive – a bit longer of a drive, but 10x more beautiful. The Grand Pacific Drive goes along the beach, with opportunities to stop at ocean rock pools, adorable beaches, and the beautiful Sea Cliff Bridge.

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

We stopped at a few photogenic places on the way to Wollongong. Sea Cliff Bridge, Bald Hill Lookout, and the Coalcliff rock pools are all places I’d recommend.

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

Bald Hill Lookout

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

Coalcliff Rocks

Once you make it to Wollongong, explore the lighthouses along the beach, take a dip in the ocean, or grab a bevvie at the Illawara Brewing Co.

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

craft beers at Illawara Brewing Co

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

There are loads of places to eat in Wollongong. Some of the most recommended are Diggies, Lee & Me, Lower East Cafe, and Pepe’s on the Beach. We opted to stop at Scarborough Hotel, which is on the way back to Sydney, and offers endless ocean views from the top of a cliff.

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

Day Trips From Sydney: Wollongong

A day in Wollongong is a great way to escape the busy city of Sydney. I’ll definitely be back to explore some more!

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After two and a half years of full time travel, I’ve made a very exciting decision – to create a base in Sydney, Australia! This is an exciting adventure for me and it means that Michael and I will be able to settle down into our own place, and create a permanent base to travel from. In this post, I’ll answer the most frequently asked questions I’ve gotten since deciding to make the move.

Moving To Australia After 2.5 Years of Full Time Travel

Moving to Australia

The Visa

How are you permanently moving to Australia? What type of visa are you on?

I’ve previously done the working holiday visa in Australia – that’s how I met Michael! I am now in the process of applying for a De Facto Partner Visa, subclass 820. This is a very long and complicated process. I came into Sydney on a tourist visa to start the application process with Michael & find a lawyer to work with on the Partner Visa.

Moving to Sydney Australia

What is the “Partner Visa”? Do you need to be married to get this visa?

The partner visa that I am applying for is called a De Facto partner visa. To apply for this visa, you must be in a monogamous relationship with an Australian citizen or eligible permanent resident and have been living together for the past 12 months, minimum. You’ll need information proving that your relationship is legit.

For this visa, it is not required to be married, but it is the most complicated partner visa to apply for (mainly because you aren’t married – the government wants to make sure that your relationship is legitimate and you are fully committed to each other).

In general the visa process is much simpler if you are married, as you’d apply for a different visa which is much less complicated.

Moving to Australia

Are you and Michael going to get married? Why don’t you get married to simplify your visa process?

I get this question a lot. Michael and I have been together for a year and a half, and we are in a very committed relationship. Of course we plan to stay together for the long term. We’ve travelled the world together, and now we are building a home together in Sydney. So why don’t we just get married?

After a lot of talking, we decided that although we do plan to be together long term, we don’t want to get married just to get a visa. We want a marriage to be on our terms, not just to simplify the visa process.

How does the visa process work?

In recent years, partnership visa applications in Australia have skyrocketed. The country currently grants 50,000 partnership visas each year (this includes all partnership visas – not only De Facto visas, but also visas to partners who are married).

Because I am applying for the partnership visa while I’m in the country, I’ll be able to stay in the country while my visa is decided. This is the main reason I entered the country on a tourist visa before applying for the partner visa.

Moving to Australia

The immigration office needs time to process my visa application after lodging it. Once my De Facto Partner Visa application is lodged, I’ll be automatically transferred to a Bridging Visa. A bridging visa is a temporary visa that allows me to stay in the country and work here while my Temporary Partner Visa is processed. On the bridging visa, I have work rights and can also apply for Medicare (yay health care!).

The Temporary Partner Visa is granted within roughly 18-24 months of lodging my application. Yes, this means I’ll be waiting about two years to get my Temporary Partner Visa. The temporary visa is granted first, and I will continue to have the right to work in Australia.

The Temporary Partner Visa is a two year visa. Once the two years are up, Michael and I will submit more paperwork to the government showing that we are still together and happy. We will need to submit bills and proof that we are still living together and still in a committed relationship. The government will then process a Permanent Partner Visa.

Moving to Australia

After the Permanent Partnership Visa is granted, and once I’ve lived in Australia for four years, I’ll be able to apply for Permanent Residency.

The entire stream of visas goes as follows:

Tourist Visa –> Bridging Visa –> Temporary Partner Visa –> Permanent Partner Visa –> Permanent Resident

What is Permanent Residency? Will you still be a US citizen?

Permanent residency means that I will be able to continue living in Australia without continuing to apply for visas. I can be a permanent resident of Australia without becoming a citizen, or I can choose to apply for citizenship if I’d like to.

Moving to Australia

Australia currently allows dual citizenship. This means that you can be a citizen of Australia and another country. The United States also allows for dual citizenship. This means that I can be a citizen of both Australia and the US, if I choose to. There is a lot of research involved in this process that I have yet to do before deciding what I’d like to do.

What I’m Doing in Sydney

What will you be doing in Sydney?

I came into Sydney on a tourist visa. This means I can’t legally work in the country until that expires and my bridging visa kicks in. Until then, I’ve been working on this website, I’ve created a Minimalism Series for Youtube, and I’m revamping my ebook. When I’m legally allowed to work, I’ll be looking for a position in an industry I am passionate about. I’m currently looking into the travel industry and the coffee industry.

Moving to Sydney Australia

Will you still travel?

Of course! Travel is a huge part of my life, and a huge part of who I am. Travel is so important to me. It forces me out of my comfort zone, allows me to grow, and learn more about other cultures and other parts of the world. I am so excited that I am able to settle down in a country other than my home country, so I can properly explore more of Australia when I’m not traveling internationally.

Moving to Sydney Australia

Want to know more about moving to Australia?

Check out my other posts on Australia:

Do you have questions?

I’ll be doing a more in-depth post about the visa process, stay tuned! If you have other questions related to Australia or moving abroad, let me know in the comments below.

 

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Ha Long Bay is a magical place, and it’s at the top of the list for lots of travelers visiting Vietnam. However, visiting Ha Long Bay can be extremely overwhelming. There are hundreds of tour companies to choose from. Some of them can be shady with safety precautions, while others seem overly expensive. This post is all about my experience cruising Ha Long Bay, the companies I chose, and why I chose them. This is the Ultimate Guide to Ha Long Bay.

The Ultimate Guide to Ha Long Bay

The Ultimate Guide to Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is a beautiful place, and on many bucket lists. It was on mine for years before I visited! I booked a luxury bus trip to Ha Long Bay city, so I could stay overnight. It’s a 4 hour drive from Hanoi. Some people do it in one day, but I wasn’t into 8 hours of sitting on a bus in one day.

The Ultimate Guide to Ha Long Bay

On the way to Ha Long Bay, the tour guide on the bus helped me choose the perfect trip for me. The bus company was nice and luxurious (and only $19 USD), and seemed trustworthy. I knew they wouldn’t put me on any ghetto boats.

The Ultimate Guide to Ha Long Bay

I booked a trip right there in the bus. It was easy, affordable, and the bus took me right to the port to hop on the boat. The trip included 6 hours of cruising, a kayak trip to Monkey Island, and a full buffet lunch (they catered to vegans on request). The trip came to a total of $60 USD, and even included a bus ride back to Hanoi the following day.

The Ultimate Guide to Ha Long Bay

The Ultimate Guide to Ha Long Bay

The Ultimate Guide to Ha Long Bay

We even had the opportunity to hike to the top of one of the little islands. Here we got the best view of the bay.

The Ultimate Guide to Ha Long Bay

The Ultimate Guide to Ha Long Bay

The Ultimate Guide to Ha Long Bay

I spent the day on the water, exploring caves, kayaking, making new friends, and watching the sun set as we sailed back to shore.

The Ultimate Guide to Ha Long Bay

The Ultimate Guide to Ha Long Bay

The Ultimate Guide to Ha Long Bay

The Ultimate Guide to Ha Long Bay

All in all, I can completely recommend booking with Watitravel. I used Rosa EcoBus to get to Ha Long Bay. The luxury bus is best for a trip to Ha Long City, or if you plan to stay in Ha Long Bay longer than just the cruise. Most cruises include the trip to and from Hanoi as part of their price (for a standard bus). If you do decide to stay in Ha Long City, I’d highly recommend Rosa EcoBus.

This was the Ultimate Guide to Ha Long Bay.

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