June 18, 2016

So, I've been living here nine months and I STILL hadn't been to Venice. Which is pretty shameful when it's only a few hours away on the train. Secretly, part of me wasn't too bothered - I had the feeling it was overrated, and would be full of tourists and 15 euro pizza and seagulls.

But Katherine was staying a few weeks ago, it was a beautiful sunny day and the Instagram needed a bit of a boost - so we decided to hop on a train and spend a day in 'La citta galleggiante'. 

And it was BEAUTIFUL.
I mean, it is the home of prosecco, Aperol and Italian tapas so it was kinda unlikely that I wouldn't take to it like a duck to water. (Ha.)

Obviously, a day is not really enough because Venice is SO big and there's SO much to see. We didn't really have time to do any of the sights properly, which was a shame - next time I will spend days there and do the whole tourist thing, but we had enough time to take in the city (and more importantly, eat and drink.) 

As soon as you get off the train, its obvious you're in Venice. And its kinda magical. 
 Our initial plan was to get a water taxi to San Marco and walk all the way back, but it was 7 WHOLE EUROS so being the thrifty travellers that we are, walked instead. Which turned out to be a good call - this city is really walkable, and helped us get a bit of an idea of the layout. (Spoiler: its super windy and twisty and basically impossible to ever know where you are. Which is kinda fun.)
It's just the most unbelievably cool place. Its way more run down than I thought it would be, which gave it a more authentic air, and there are so many small streets it's not even that touristy. In fact, at a few points, we had entire streets to ourselves. 

Living here has given me an irrational fear of overpriced, touristy food so as usual I did some research before to find a few places for a glass of prosecco and cicchetti (Venetian tapas) that wouldn't break the bank. In true Italian style, most on my list were closed, but we did manage to stop at Cantina Do Spade (Calle de la Do Spade, San Polo area. Closes between 3pm - 6pm.)

It's awesome. Right in the centre, five minutes from the Rialto bridge, but prosecco was 2.50 a glass and cicchetti between 1.50 and 3.50. We sat outside, and rested our (weary) feet before moving on. 
Determined to get at least one major sight seen, we marched (wandered) towards San Marco - exploring all the tiny canals on the way. 
Eventually, we arrived at Piazza San Marco - the site of the Doge's Palace, and the Bridge of Sighs. Bear in mind that this is not the area to eat or drink, no matter how romantic it sounds, unless you like paying 10 euro for an espresso. We wandered past and stared in AWE across the water. 
After that, we decided to head for another refreshing glass of wine. I decided to take a 'short cut' - and we ended up on a virtually empty private jetty, right on the Grand Canal...
After a quick sunbathe whilst watching gondolas float past, we decided it was time for more food. 

I had heard that the Jewish quarter was the best place for evening cicchetti, and much less touristy, we headed there. 

After crossing a few more canals, it was like being in a different city - so tranquil, with just a few locals eating and drinking along the banks of the water. It was perfect. 
 We had tried to go to La Bagatela (Fondamenta de la Cappuzzine, Jewish quarter. Closed on Mondays!!) but it was closed (natch), so we headed to one next door instead. 

We ordered a selection of fishy nibbles, from fried mussels to sardines with an onion and grape salsa. They were all delicious, and we got quite carried away and pretty much ordered the entire menu until we were full. 

 Sadly, just as the sun was going down, it was time to get our train home. You'd think I wouldn't be surprised by how beautiful Italy is any more, but I still am. Ciao for now Venezia! 

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