So many fun memories and pictures to share…. where to begin!?
I am so busy during the week that I don’t spend much time hyping myself up or setting unrealistic expectations for my weekend excursions. Therefore, each trip has been absolutely amazing and better than anything I could have conjured up in my head. I am blown away each time by the diversity and beauty of all the wonderful cities I’ve been fortunate enough to visit. Last weekend I got to go to Venice and it certainly did not disappoint.
We took an overnight (8 hour) megabus at 1am on Friday morning. The bus was not the group’s favorite, but it sufficed for only 22 euros. The arrival to Venice was rough. We underestimated how hard navigating over 100 individual islands would be. To make things better, the Venice bus station was on the completely opposite side of the Island where we booked our Airbnb (we stayed in the Castello part of Venice & it was great). We were all a little disheveled and grumpy lugging our duffel bags and backpacks across the island, but our unease was quickly shaken when we arrived at our apartment.
From there, a new problem arrived-the apartment owner wasn’t there to meet us like he said he would be (granted we were 20 minutes late). Fortunately, I’m outgoing so I walked around the building we thought to be ours saying “Roberto, Roberto?” and to our surprise a woman popped her head out of the apartment saying she was the one to greet us, let us into our place, and give us our keys! We were all dying of laugher at the unexpected incident but we were also grateful that we could finally take a minute to breathe.
We all took a minute to freshen up and then embarked to find some lunch. Below is a photo I snapped on our walk. We ended up at this little cafe called “Crazy Bar.” It was actually very yummy despite the weird name. Luckily, Castello is not the tourist-y part of town. We enjoyed the quiet neighborhood and interacting with some Venetian locals!
After lunch we spent the entire day walking up and down the different streets of Venice. It is so easy to get lost, but we didn’t mind! I booked a Free walking tour at 4:30pm for us that day. The walking tour was somewhat disappointing. We learned some cool things and got to see some off-the-beaten-path sites, but we all decided we wouldn’t do it again. Below are some more photos of the Venetian canals (the second one is the Grand Canal which is the biggest & deepest canal in Venice).
After the tour, we ended up at THE BEST restaurant. The restaurant is called 6342 A LA TOLE. They have pizza & pasta, but let me tell you, it was the best pizza I have ever had. I got one with mozzarella, buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, and arugula. It was perfection. I wish I could eat it every night. Also, the place was very aesthetically pleasing filled with cute decorations and a kitchen you can see in.
While we enjoyed our dinner (I drank a Spritz alongside my pizza which is my new favorite drink), we even got to hear live music! The performer played Jazz guitar and sang. He literally sounded like John Mayer. It was a perfect dinner to end our day.
Saturday was our sleep in day, which was much needed! I ended up falling asleep at 9:30 the night before because I was feeling sick and the extra sleep was much appreciated!
We walked around for a while and then met up with some friends we had met on Friday to
do the Gondola and explore the town further. For anyone who is interested, you can fit 6 people into 1 Gondola and it is 80 euro (standard across town). We had 7 people, so we had to take 2 Gondolas and it was 60 euro each boat for two boats (we each ended up paying about 17 euro). It ended up being very fun! I was not sure if it was going to be worth it, but I am very happy I did it as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. To the left is a picture of Hannah and I on the Gondola. Our Gondolier was named Antonio and he is an independent Gondolier (not part of a huge company as you would find on the Grand Canal by St Mark’s Square). The ride lasts about 30 minutes. We start on the side canals, have a quick venture onto the Grand Canal (which was VERY cool by boat) and then return back to some quaint side canals which are very charming and fun to look at. Overall it was a good part of my day and something I’ll always remember!
If you are looking for a Venetian do this not that I would say DO the gondola DO NOT go to St Mark’s Square. St Mark’s square was dirty and pigeon infested. It was not worth it at all. See the real Venice, not the tourist infested facade of Venice.
I was significantly disappointed with St Mark’s, we had luck in Florence (the Duomo and Museums) and in Rome (too many to list) with the tourist destinations, but St Mark’s was significantly disappointing. Avoid at all cost (trust me). Instead, view this picture I have of St Mark’s Cathedral and the St Mark’s riverfront and call it a day.
To continue our Saturday, we wandered toward a Tiramisu bar that we had heard offered 24 different flavors. We were a little disappointed though when they only offered 3 at a time-I was dying to try the banana flavor, but as it was not offered I opted for the classic flavor. Then we did some souvenir shopping and conveniently ended up at a Pizza place that was on our must-see list! I bought a HUGE piece of margarita pizza for 2.50. It was fabulous. Our day was full of laughter, gorgeous sites, and delicious food. I loved Venice and feel so lucky to have gotten to go!
Saturday ended with this view (pictured below) that words just cannot describe.
We left Venice mid afternoon on Sunday via Trenitalia. We spent our last couple of hours grabbing some last minute souvenirs, snacks, and walking around town.
Thanks for reading!!! Baci baci & ciao ciao for now!