Well, hello there! I feel like my blog posting has been a little bit infrequent of late but I am going to try and get back onto my schedule next week, for now… let me tell you about Venice.
R and I had not really gone anywhere over the summer, so we thought an Autumn city break would be nice and decided on Venice. On Saturday we hopped on a train to Gatwick airport and caught our EasyJet flight to Venice.
Once we had caught a waterbus, found our AirBnB flat and grabbed the map our host provided, we headed off to explore.
When R and I went to Paris earlier this year, I was the one in charge. I can speak a bit of French and I can read a map pretty well. In Venice, I was lost. That place is like a maze. It is mostly alleys and canals, with the odd square popping up out of nowhere. It is very hard to work out where you are heading. After wandering around for a while we may have gotten a little bit lost and we may have gotten a little bit annoyed with each other. What’s a couples holiday without at least one little argument.
We got our bearings in the end and had some dinner at a restaurant near the flat. I am not a massive drinker of wine at home because I have no idea what is good. However, in Venice 0.25L of the house white wine costs the same as a soft drink. I had to try the wine. I liked it, now I just have to find a wine I like in England and it will feel a bit more grown up than when I drink my cheap Lambrini.
On our first full day we took a Venice Free Walking Tour, it focussed on the less touristy areas of Venice, which I quite like. Our guide was lovely and a freelance graphic designer so she gave out some maps that she had designed herself, complete with the tour-guides favourite places to eat and visit and the best WiFi hotspots in Venice, which are apparently hard to come by.
She told us a lot about the history of Venice as well, how people fleeing invasion settled on a few hundred islands that eventually became a city joined together by bridges and filled with canals. She showed us her favourite church, the hospital and a lovely bookshop with a crazy amount of books. It really is such a unique city.
The tour took about 4 hours, it usually does not take that long, I think we were just a slow group! Our guide said that we were free to leave the tour whenever we liked, just to let her know so she did not think we had gotten lost. If you don’t mind a lot of walking then I would definitely recommend it.
After the tour we headed to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, which was pretty cool. I do not know much about art, but it had a few Jackson Pollock’s and Picasso’s in there and a nice garden.
After that we wandered back to the flat for a cup of tea and to recover from all that walking, then we headed out to find some food. I had a ridiculously large seafood with spaghetti thing which only cost 15 Euros and it was amazing. Then when we got back from dinner we may have been terrible and uncultured and watched Italian X Factor. Does anyone remember Mika?
Well, he is a judge on Italian X Factor! So that was a pleasant surprise.
The next day we did a 3 island tour, visiting the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. Murano is famous for its glass and we saw a demonstration of glass blowing, which was amazing! Then we had a chance to look around the island and gasp at the expensive but beautiful glass sculptures.
Next was Burano. That place is nice. It is a small fishing village and part of their tradition is that everyone paint their houses different colours, and of course, it looks fantastic. They are also well known for their lace and their biscuits, which we happily bought and have almost finished already (…the biscuits, obviously).
The island after that, Torcello, was apparently the original Venice. People settled there first and had to leave due to an outbreak of Malaria. Today, there are only 11 inhabitants, but somehow quite a lot of restaurants. Everyone must commute in by boat I suppose. There are a few of the old buildings left, and a chair which was apparently Attila the Hun’s throne (but probably not).
After the 3 island tour we headed back to the city and went to the main tourist attraction, St Mark’s square. There is Doges Palace and St Mark’s Basilica and Campanile (a big tower).
We went into Doge’s Palace first and were a bit overwhelmed by all the old paintings and history. We spent a couple of hours in there and when we came out we saw the very long queue going into the Basilica and decided that maybe we’d had our fill of historical buildings for one day. We walked around for a while and headed back to the flat for a little nap.
Next we grabbed dinner and after that we were ready for bed! The next day it had started raining so we headed back to the airport thankful that the rain had held off until then.
That was our three days in Venice! I would definitely recommend a visit because there really is not another city out there like it. I always wish I lived somewhere a bit more picturesque when I visit places like this, maybe one day.