Thursday, June 6, 2013

Oh Venice (Part 1)

Oh Venice. What can I say about Venice?  Well a lot actually.  Venice was an interesting addition to our itinerary.  It was a city we were both curious about and wanted to see, but at the same time it wasn't at the top of our list (Cinque Terre was).  It wasn't in the exact same vicinity as the rest of our stops so we hesitated with whether or not to add that travel time.  In the end, we obviously did, and I couldn't be happier with that decision.

We took the earliest possible train from Siena to Venice.  We arrived early afternoon, and it was bright and sunny and wonderful.  I think I was most nervous about navigating Venice with the vaporettos and canals and winding streets.  I didn't know the half of it.  When we got there, we grabbed a slice of pizza around the train station and headed to catch a vaporetto to our hotel.  We were staying near St. Mark's Square, which I would highly recommend if you're only going to be in Venice a short time.  The vaporetto station was a disaster.  Chaos.  I don't know if it's a European thing, an Italian thing, a Venetian thing, but lines weren't such a "thing" there.  We waited forever trying to figure out what was going on.  People were pushing, attendants were yelling, and I hated every second.  My back pack was so heavy, we were sweating, and we had no idea why we weren't moving.  We eventually got on a (packed) boat, and that's when we found out.  The America's Cup Regatta race was in town, and it messed up all the vaporetto times and stops.  Many of the stops were closed, including the one we needed.  We got off at the last one we could and just spent a lot of time looking at the map.  Or actually Ben spent a lot of time looking at the map.  We could see some of the sailboats though which was awesome. 
We also kept seeing people stopping and holding up traffic on one of the foot bridges and couldn't figure out why.  Finally as we were crossing, it was all clear.  It was the view to the Bridge of Sighs!

Anyway, after about 3 hours, we finally made it to our bed and breakfast, the B&B San Marco, and it was lovely. We had a huge room, and even though we were sharing a bathroom, everything was clean, well located, and very well priced.  We ate breakfast in the family's kitchen the next day, and Ben loved getting to talk to Marco about the city.  He spoke English extremely well and was very informative. The view from our window helped release any frustration the initial ride took.  Check it out.

We changed out of our traveling clothes and took off to see the sights.  With Venice, we did a lot of just wandering and taking it in. The bad thing about Venice is that it is extremely crowded.  We were there in mid-late May so I can't imagine what it would be like in the summer.  In some of the narrow alleys, it would take awhile to make it through.  We found the Rialto bridge and saw the gorgeous, post-card views. 

The first two pictures of this post were actually taken from the Rialto bridge.  We continued to wander, seeing St. Mark's square, and sitting by the canals watching the gondolas go by.  It was relaxing.  We finally had to go back and change into warmer clothes and headed out for an evening on Venice.  We stumbled onto a restaurant that ended up being one of the best meals of our entire trip.  Best house wine of our entire trip, fabulous service, intimate, fun ambience, and delicious food.  Plus we only had to wait about 10 minutes.  It was a good thing because I think Ben was getting a bit frustrated at my indecision on where to eat.  Next time, we'll come prepared because we will just go back to da Mamo.  And I really hope there is a next time.

A huge lobster.  His name is Crusty. That's a joke for my family.

This caprese was ah-mazing.

Ben's meal.  Yum.

I hope to see you again da Mamo.
 We ended the night on the square of San Marco or St. Mark's for us Americans.  My mom's best friend, Kitty, travels to Italy a lot and adores Venice.  She said the number one thing we had to do was sit at one of the cafes on the square and listen to the orchestras.  You do have to purchase a drink to sit, and it is pricy, but we were so happy to indulge in the one drink.  The orchestras were so good, and it just seemed like such an Italian experience for our vacation.  It was quite chilly so there weren't many people around, but some were dancing in the square.  I imagine that when it is warm, there are people everywhere.  I hope to experience that someday as well. 

So that was our first day in Venice.  This post is already a bit ridiculous so Venice is going to get a part 2!  Yay!  Be prepared for the Doge's palace, St. Mark's Basilica, our intro to Prosecco and Bellini's, small world stories, and surviving the earthquake..dum, dum, dum!!


No comments:

Post a Comment