To be honest with you, Venice was never high on my list of places to visit in Europe. I was reading my Lonely Planet ‘Europe’ book, and it is included in their Top 25 destinations. BUT they recommend in Winter to avoid all the tourists. I am aiming at doing the entire 25 things before i leave Europe, and Venice makes it half way for me…..so 12 to go!
Arriving at the airport, you then need to take a ferry or water taxi, and this depends on how much money you want to spend. I opted for the ferry because it was night time, and therefore couldn’t admire the view coming into Venice. But it was still a pretty site with thousands of lights. When i say ‘ferry’ i don’t mean a huge ship with hundreds of people…their ferries seat 30 and it takes about an hour.
I am fascinated by the fact that Venice is a floating city. Everything revolves around the water. Ferries, taxis and even ambulances are boats. You are completely surrounded by water and sometimes dead end streets lead you into the canal. I fell in love with the colours of the city and how unbelievable gorgeous it was.
It rained on and off for the entire weekend, but i still thought it was beautiful!!
Going in Winter also means that you will experience ‘high tide’. Our first morning there we heard loud bells ringing around the city. Only 4 times. Then it stopped. Later as i was reading my travel book, i found out that this is the high tide alarm. But we found this out soon enough anyway!
The San Marco piazza was under water as were many other places. In this case, the city provides elevated walkways for people to move around, but this is only in the major tourist areas, because the locals wear gum boots and very easily make their way through the water. At some spots in the piazza the water was half a metre deep as well.
All weekend we walked….and walked. It is my favourite thing about being a tourist…i rarely take public transport unless entirely necessary and you will never catch me doing an organised bus tour. I like to immerse myself in the culture by getting lost and finding places that most other tourists don’t know about. Both nights we were walking the tiny streets until 2am…only a few people were around and the atmosphere was beautiful.
I had read a lot about the terrible but expensive food in Venice. I had prepared myself and done a lot of research for our two evening meals and was not disappointed. As for the other meals we had- they were also fantastic. Friday night we had dinner at De Mamo, a pizza and pasta restaurant in San Marco. Cheap pizza, and good food. Saturday night we ate at Ristorante Le Bistro de Venise. This was a little more fancy than the pizza place. The food was divine. We had a beautiful seafood meal there with some lovely matching wines. Staff were very helpful and friendly. I would definitely go back here when i return to Venice.
The Peggy Guggenheim Museum was amazing!! The artwork she collected was unbelievable. I highly recommend a visit if you are in Venice. We also visited the Galleria dell’Academia which is a gallery showing Venetian Art.
We spent a half day on the islands of Burano and Murano. Burano is famous for its lace and Murano for its glass. They are both gorgeous, but i preferred Burano with its hundreds of brightly coloured houses. Unfortunately 2 days was not enough. I would have loved another day or two to finish exploring and have some more delicious Italian food!