|Gondolas floating in the Canal|
The first thing I saw when we exited the train station in Venice were the canals. They were dotted with water taxis and Gondolas that gracefully glided past and the restaurants that hugged the waterways were bustling with people enjoying lunch. The music from an accordion hung heavily in the air making everything seem so enchanting. I was a goner and totally in love with this city at first glance. While we snaked our way around the island's windy and narrow walkways to our hotel, our luggage clamored up and down the steep bridges that sit above the canals, we couldn't help but get caught up in the city's beauty and it had a strong hold. It seemed that every corner we turned, the view was straight out of a postcard - lapping water, brightly colored barbershop poles sticking out of the water and bridges so dramatically stunning with their steep slopes, it was hard to stay focused on getting to our hotel and not trip along the way.
|San Marco Square|
|Late afternoon walk along the water behind San Marco Square|
|Dusk in Venice|
Our hotel was just on the other side of San Marco Square, the major area in Venice that most people think of when they imagine the city. The square itself was stunning in the daytime with the clock tower hanging grandly above. As the night wares on, the square gets even more majestic as smooth music begins to rise from the orchestra pits that are situated in front of most restaurants. Everything is beautifully illuminated by the soft light from the buildings in the square and a stroll in the hazy blue dusk along the Adriatic Sea offers such a feeling of total relaxation that I thought to myself, this is exactly what a honeymoon should be like. To add to our admiration of the city, while we may have stayed in one of the world's smallest hotel rooms, we were fortunate enough to be in an outward facing room right next to a canal and we could hear the water gently lapping against the side of the building as well as the alluring sound of accordions and Gondoliers passionately singing as they rowed past.
|Gondoliers and a Gondola|
|Waiting for a client|
The Rialto Bridge is impressive, pure white and dramatically lifting above the canal. We climbed its very steep steps to get a better view of the canal and the city itself and then stopped by one of the many restaurants near the foot of the bridge for a Bellini, which is a mix of peach puree and Prosecco that was invented in the city. While we did not take a Gondola ride (they are very expensive) just looking at them was fascinating because they were so elegantly elaborate with plush couches and intricate decorations.
|The Rialto Bridge |
|A quiet alleyway |
|One of the many bridges |
|More beautiful Bridges|
Our love affair with Venice did dip slightly when it came to food as the fare in this Italian city couldn't come close to competing with the other places we visited. By comparison, the food was significantly more expensive and the quality very poor (most places would make certain dishes to display to patrons and then simply microwave them to reheat them just before serving). The only exception to this rule that we found lied in the Apertivo - a stretch of a couple of hours in the early evening where bars offer substantial little bites for very cheap. It's sort of like a happy hour, only better because you can enjoy a couple of little specialty bites and a good, cool glass of Persecco for a mere couple of Euros. On our last night in Venice, we made a meal out of bouncing around to different bars dining on little cured meat sliders, bruschetta of all different kinds and various fried vegetables.
|Outdoor bar turned party|
The best part about the bars in Venice (and in most of Italy for that matter) is that they let you take your drink and walk around for a bit and come back. One of my most memorable Venetian moments was sitting at the edge of the canal, slowly sipping Prosecco and taking in the Gondolas as they go by. Isn't that the way life should be?
|A glass of Prosecco |
Our two days stay in Venice is something I will never forget. The city itself is like no other place I've ever been to and I can't imagine any place will ever come close to matching the beauty that city has. It's one of my favorite places that I've ever been and had the food been better, I would have been happy to stay much (much!) longer. Maybe that's why the food is so underwhelming. If it was incredible, they'd never get people to leave, because why would you? I know we wouldn't..