Travel diaries – Venice

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!

I hope you all enjoy the post and my photos!  Let me know if you have been to Venice and what you thought!IMG_6356 IMG_6349 IMG_6348 IMG_6324 IMG_6313 IMG_6288 IMG_6283 IMG_6272 IMG_6264 IMG_6258 IMG_6247 IMG_6237 IMG_6233 IMG_6223 IMG_6222 IMG_6221 IMG_6220 IMG_6218 IMG_6217 IMG_5714 IMG_5707 IMG_5668 IMG_5663 IMG_5660 IMG_5659 IMG_5639 IMG_5638 IMG_5634 IMG_0141 IMG_0085

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Patrick Blanc vertical garden

Last weekend i headed off very early on Saturday morning for Milan. My week was fairly busy and part of me was wishing that i could sleep in and have a lazy day at home.

Then i thought to myself…snap out of it…you’re going to ITALY!!

Last time i visited was December, and there had been a huge dump of snow so it was freezing cold. Beautiful but freezing. This time the weather was beautiful and i couldnt wait to explore the city.

Unforunately it took an hour just to find an ATM, then get our train tickets and finally get to our hotel. Things in Italy, definitely dont work the same as Switzerland. It frustrates me…..because i am one of the most structured and organised people, but when in Italy i need to learn to relax and just go with the flow!

So after checking into our hotel we headed to the city and had lunch at Cafe Trussardi where there is an amazing green wall designed by the famous Patrick Blanc.

Patrick Blanc is a french botanist and creator of the green wall.

I am a huge fan of his work and i was so excited to be able to see some of his work in the flesh!

Blanc describes his green wall as:

On a load-bearing wall or structure is placed a metal frame that supports a PVC plate 10mm thick, on which are stapled two layers of polyamide felt each 3mm thick. These layers mimic cliff-growing mosses and support the roots of many plants. A network of pipes controlled by valves provides a nutrient solution containing dissolved minerals needed for plant growth. The felt is soaked by capillary action with this nutrient solution, which flows down the wall by gravity. The roots of the plants take up the nutrients they need, and excess water is collected at the bottom of the wall by a gutter, before being re-injected into the network of pipes: the system works in a closed circuit. Plants are chosen for their ability to grow in this type of environment’

So basically, Blancs theory is that plants don’t need soil to grow. He shows this with all of his green walls and how well they flourish….although i know that he has also had many failures.

A few photos of the green wall…..

The green wall from outside the cafe

The green wall from outside the cafe

Inside the cafe

Inside the cafe

Rooftop view

Rooftop view

Another shot from outside

Another shot from outside