Oh Venice. You were the last one left on my list of top three cities to visit in 2013, and it took two years to finally get to you.
You were worth it, stink and all.Venice is every bit romantic as you can imagine, but you also need to come knowing that it is an expensive, often extremely touristy and crowded city.
That’s Venice. Just look how Italian it looks below. Sigh.We stayed close to “the most beautiful bookstore in the world” as our landlord and the owner of said bookstore told us, and it was certainly a strange and novel experience wandering through the overly filled store with a staircase out back made out of books.On the Saturday we had amazing weather with blue skies and I mostly wanted to soak in the canal sites, which were just breathtaking. 🙂Considering it was another cloudy, rainy weekend in Zurich, we were beside ourselves.A little tired, but very happy to be here!At the end of October, it was pretty fresh around 15ºC (59ºF) and 9ºC (48ºF) at night, but we had our jackets and scarves and it was still warmer than it is in Zurich at the moment.We headed over to San Marco to visit Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco during the time slot Kay had purchased online. Thank goodness for that, it was great to skip ahead the lines!The square was already (or still?) a bit flooded with “acqua alta” as the Italians say. It was only 3-4 inches deep in some spots and the effect was actually beautiful, although astonishing.Closer to the basilica, there were risers set up for people to walk on. Kay and I were still happy we both had on gortex waterproof shoes for the more shallow puddles.After the basilica, we climbed the San Marco Campanile bell tower for this amazing view over the city.After the tower we picked up our tickets for the Doge’s Palace that we planned on visiting the next day. Good thing too, because overnight a huge cruise ship unloaded and the ticket line for picking up tickets was packed the next day!After San Marco, Kay agreed to humor me with an absurdly expensive gondola ride, because this was my romantic trip to Venice and we would probably only do it once.
Official rates for gondolas while we were there were €80 for 30 minutes, which really meant 25-30 minutes depending on traffic, or €100 for 30-35 minutes after 7pm. We spent the €80 and tried not to think about what we were doing.I thought it was worth it! I mean, it’s not really worth the price, but at the same time, you just have to do it. There isn’t really another way for tourists to experience Venice from this vantage point and it’s absolutely not the same as walking over the footbridges. Plus our rower pointed out a lot of famous buildings from this new perspective, including the house Mozart stayed in during his time in Venice, city hall, and where George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin got married.Back on land, we waited for sunset in San Marco and then headed for dinner.Kay was pretty tired, but I begged him to stay out a bit longer so that I could take some long exposures of the canals by night.The next morning, our flat was still stinky as ever (combination of cigarette smoke and canal stink), but we’d gotten a bit used to it by sleeping at night. It must have previously been a boat garage because the window in the back led directly to the canal, with boat access for the owner.Below, you can see the window entrance on the left side under the laundry, which hung above the window in the photo above. It definitely looks like they bricked in two boat garages to make way for more living space.Below was the front room of the flat with kitchen, wash machine, and fridge.After breakfast at the flat, we headed over to San Marco again to visit the Doge’s Palace on a cloudy Sunday.The weather had turned quite a bit from the day before, but that was fine because we’d planned to be inside for most of the day anyway.After a long time in the palace though, stuck in some armory rooms at the end, I was pretty tired. Time to wake up with a
coffee wine.For the rest of the day we sort of wandered around more before shopping for some street vendor art so that I could have a painting of Venice to match my painting of Paris. I like the idea of filling up our house with romantic city paintings. 🙂On the vaporetto back to the airport, we took the long way around from the southern tip of the city where the street vendors were, so I had an hour to nap on Kay before our flight back.
One of the most interesting parts of Venice for me was imagining what the city looked like hundreds of years ago and how it’s changed with decay, renovation, restoration, and expansion throughout the years. It was fascinating to see the history in the buildings and even old previously usable steps down to the canal that cannot be used anymore due to water levels changing.
All in all, it was a perfect weekend trip and marks the last city trip of the year before our holidays start. I am thankful for how many cities we’ve been able to visit!