Friday, December 21, 2012

Bucket List: Venice

After tackling Florence, it was off to the crown jewel of our trip: Venice. We barely made our train that morning, but ended up hopping on with mere seconds to spare. When we arrived in Venice we were greeted with fog, steady rain, and near freezing temperatures.
It definitely wasn’t ideal, but we made the most of it. Our hotel was conveniently located across from the train station but inconveniently located about 30 minutes away from everything else. We stopped for meal, gelato, and coffee breaks as we meandered our way to the Rialto and Saint Mark’s Square areas. 

Jonathan was mega impressed with the mosaics inside of Saint Mark’s cathedral so we took a well-deserved break from the elements to gawk at the meticulous artwork.

There was no improvement in weather for our final day in Venice so again we spent most of our time huddled inside a café, sipping on 13 dollar hot chocolates.
Yes, we noticed a price jump between Tuscany and Venice almost immediately. Gone were the 9 Euro pitchers of wine and bargaining on prices in the market. Also the simple and affordable Tuscan food was replaced by mostly more expensive seafood options. Venice let’s its tourist flag fly, and that’s reflected in a steep cost of living/visiting.
Still, we forked over the cash because sitting in a cozy coffee bar sipping a hot drink was much more pleasant than facing the wind and rain outside. And plus, we needed to patron the cafés in order to use their restrooms. We hunted down a public restroom near St. Mark’s square and were mortified to see a 1.50 euro price tag on the door.
Um, we’d rather spend 20 euros at the coffee shop, thankyouverymuch.

But then we just ended up in this cycle of bladder relief.
1)Fork over 20 bucks at the coffee shop.
2)Use the restroom.
3)Drink your coffee.
4) Leave
5) Need to use the restroom 30 minutes after leaving due to the coffee you just ingested.
6) Hunt down another coffee shop and repeat steps 1-6.
So maybe it was more economical to use the public restroom in the first place, but it simply goes against everything that I stand for. Back to Venice…
As our final day was winding down, we still hadn’t gone on a gondola ride. Gondola rides are pretty expensive and Jonathan wasn’t sure if sitting out in a boat over rough water with the terrible weather outside was worth the price. After some soul searching and a bit of peer pressure, I finally convinced him to splurge. After all, who knows if we’d ever return to Venice again?
Due to the low December crowds and the awful weather, we negotiated a deal for a short gondola ride through the famous canals. It was cold, but beautiful, and truly romantic.
And we probably ended up in every tourist’s photos because they were lined up on the bridges taking pictures of us. They most likely thought I was Jennifer Aniston. It happens a lot.
The boat ride gave us a unique vantage point from which to tour the city and even the foggy atmosphere leant a bit of mystique and romance to the whole thing.
Here’s some video I snapped to give you an idea of what we were seeing (notice the people snapping pictures on the bridge).
After the gondola, we shopped a bit before stopping for one last seafood dinner. In honor of our last meal there, Jonathan went for the Venice specialty of pasta and squid ink.  
We finished off the night with Tiramisu and then headed back to our hotel for an early train ride back to Florence. During our final dinner, we did our usual inventory of the trip. Jonathan and I both agreed that our time in Siena was our favorite, the food in Florence was the best, and the weather in Venice was the worst... ever…in the world. 
But you know that a city is outrageously charming when it charges 1.50 euros for a public restroom, 11 Euros for hot chocolate, an obscene amount for a sea-sickness inducing gondola ride, has weather on par with what we were trying to escape in Aberdeen, and yet…we loved it. We absolutely loved it.
First off, it’s more photogenic than even Miss Aniston. It’s probably one of the most unique cities in the world. I wouldn’t visit it expecting the mecca of Italian culture, fashion, art, food, or wine, but yet, you simply have to go. It can’t be missed. It’s something out of a dream.

And if you happen to luck out and see it during a low tourist season when the sun is shining, it’s nothing short of pure magic. For us, it was a bit different than we pictured in our heads, but actually ended up being a relaxing respite for the end of our trip.
We took the Train out Sunday morning, had one last meal at *cough* McDonald’s *cough* before cabbing it to the Florence airport.
Arrivederci, Italy! I hope to see you again very very soon.


  1. I'd like to know how your hair looks SO good in that bad of weather! Thanks for sharing all about your trip. Sounds like one heck of a Christmas gift :)

  2. You are funny and there is a likeness but you're prettier

  3. Laine, you're truly a great writer! Thanks so much for taking the time to share all of your experiences