Sorry I’ve been away a little while. Things have been busy at the coffee shop and we’ve been living out of our suitcases lately. I wanted to make sure I get this post in before we hit up our next adventures in Scotland.
A couple of weeks ago, we were fortunate enough to have a long weekend in Venice. This place has definitely been high up on my bucket list for some time now and it did not disappoint. We arrived mid-day to the island itself after taking a bus from the airport and basically hit the ground running with our hiking backpacks in tow for a few hours until we could check in to our AirBnB.
Within two minutes from the bus station, we encounter our first of hundreds of bridges that run over the Grand Canal on the main island as well as the surrounding ones. For a local population so big, Venice actually has no cars, only boats, water taxis and gondolas. Our main method of traveling were our own two feet, so I’m glad that I brought decent pairs of shoes for walking around. Later in the weekend, we hoped onto the water taxi to visit Burano and Murano, but I’ll save that for the next post.
I’m not sure what I was originally anticipating weather-wise, but I’m glad that I packed for heat in the day and a slightly cooler evening. Two outfits per day was definitely the way to go. What I didn’t foresee was the amount of mosquitoes that comes with “acqua alta” (see below). Similar to other places in Europe, Venice doesn’t have air conditioning in most places and the bugs found me at night of course. My bug bites are finally finishing healing, about two weeks post- visit.
The highlight of my weekend was being able to see the “Old World” feel of Italy. I’d seen it previously in Spain, when I was studying abroad, but seeing this amazing city built on top of water was something completely different. The architecture is still beautifully preserved and things like the bells in the San Marco Campanile still sound off every hour. I was “lucky” to experience them up close and personal around 10am when the bells rang full blast. After the deafening volume, I surely can’t envy Quasimodo or any manual bell ringer.
A few cultural/ local things that I did notice while we were adventuring around:
- Tourist-awareness: I already knew going there that we were basically traveling straight into a tourist trap: a place where menus could alter, mediocre quality goods could be sold for top-shelf prices; and restaurant owners and shop keepers could tell right away that we weren’t from “around town.” With that being said, I think we’ve been to enough places to stay away from the strange tricks that some newbie travelers fall for. We tried to keep within our budget by paying cash at most places, venturing our early in the morning to see the sights, and just steered clear of shady people in general.
- Pasta to-go: I know it sounds like sacrilege to a pasta- purist, but we tried two different pasta to-go places and I can say that my tummy did not discriminate. We had the “frutti di mare” or seafood medley pasta and in all cases, this pasta was delicious. Here’s a picture of what we got before I gobbled it all up.
- Pricing: Cover charges was something that took a little getting used to while we were there. We went to one restaurant in particular that charged one price for sitting at the bar, a higher one for in the restaurant itself and nearly double the price for sitting outside at a table near the canal. I understand the need to keep up with real estate demands and what not, but it did make me think twice about eating at some places, when other ones said that they didn’t have cover or dining in charges.
- Acqua alta: What’s one major disadvantage of having a huge city built on water? HIGH tide. We only had some issues with this on the first night we were there; a full moon was in the sky and boy, did that water get high. After dinner, we thought it would be a nice idea to visit the Basilica of San Marco again and by the time we walked over there, we were surrounded by peddlers trying to sell us water booties for 5-10 euros a pair. My hubby, who was wearing flip flops at the time, wanted to see how high the water actually was and it was slowly creeping up to his knees as he waded through to get this shot.
Here’s a few more images of the Basilica di San Marco, Rialto Bridge, and other random views of Venice. Can you guess what the spirit animal of Venice is?
Wish I could go back there to eat more gelato and frolick in the sunlight. At least, I can still sip my Birra Moretti thanks to my local Tesco.
Off to pack now for my next travels.
the tan bunny ❤