Monday, July 11, 2011

European Adventure: Venice, Italy

Venice is the type of place that you just have to see to believe. We had seen tons of photos in books and on the web, and heard many stories about Venice from friends, but nothing prepared us for this unique city. In our opinion, Venice is like Disney: magical, picture perfect and touristy.

We arrived to Venice by train from Milan. The scenery was pretty amazing, especially when the train began to approach to the floating city. Looking out the window, all we saw was water on both sides. It was as if the train was traveling above water! As soon as we got off the train with our over-sized luggage, we were confronted with the Grand Canal and the overwhelming feeling of choosing the right vaporetti (waterbus) to take to get to our hotel.

After a 30-minute ride up the Grand Canal, we decided to depart the vaporetti at the Plaza San Marco exit. Because there aren't any streets, it is very difficult to find addresses in Venice. We figured that we could walk to our hotel from the Saint Mark's Square because the website said it was close by. Boy were we wrong! We must have lugged our bags over 20 different bridges (with steps!) in order to arrive to our hotel. We were exhausted, but ready to explore!

We checked into the Laterna di Marco Polo and decided to have a quick bite at the cafe next to our hotel. We both had paninis and a lemoncello. Mr. P had a caffe de ouzo, a decaffeinated hot tea that we noticed was popular with the locals.

St. Mark's Square

Accademia Bridge

Rialto Bridge

The rest of the day was spent exploring the beautiful city. We hit all the touristy places like Saint Mark's Square, the Rialto Bridge and the Galleria del'Accademia, one of Italy's best art museums.

We even rode a gondola. Gondola rides cost approximately $100 (80,00 euros) for 2 people for an hour long ride. It is an experience you should do at least once in your life! Our favorite spots where the residential areas, where we experienced the way people really live there. We smelled their home-cooked food from their open windows, watched them hang their clothes out to dry and marveled at how unencumbered the Venetians live.

Our favorite Venetian island has to be Burano. We loved that every house of the sleepy town was freshly painted with different bright colors. We also loved the fact that this town was less touristy than the rest.

We also went to Murano, but didn't spend too much time there. The glass there is impressive though and worth the trip.

That night, we decided to splurge and eat dinner near Venice's most popular spot: the Grand Canal. We had a beautiful night view of the famous canal from the Grand Ristorante. Mrs. P. has cannelloni filled with ricotta cheese and spinach. Michael had spaghetti alle seppioline nere, which means it was dyed black with squid ink. Both dishes were very good.

After dinner, we walked around the shops and landed at a happening wine bar full of young adults. We are glad we did, because we met two new friends from Los Angeles, CA. Ann and Kelly were also staying in Venice for one night and then sailing on the same Greek cruise we were going on the next day. Talk about a small world!

Our Balcony Suite

Amazing view of St. Mark's Square as the ship was leaving Venice.

Join us on our next post about our Greek cruise onboard the Norweigan Cruise Line's Jade.

For more photos of Venice, go to our Facebook album by clicking HERE.
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