Greetings from Venice
Venice Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
We arrived in Venice Friday afternoon. After many hours of traveling, we were exhausted and hungry!!! We were surprised we did not need to go through customs to get into Venice, and our luggage came in pretty quick. we grabbed a vaporetto (water bus) and headed to our hotel in san marco square. It was very scenic and very slow, especially after the 9.5 hour plane ride. We arrived in Venice, and trying not to look too touristy we dove our head into the rick steves book and looked at the map. We walked past our hotel 4 times and asked people on the street, they said it was near, only 20 meters, yet we could not find it. Finally we found the hotel, hidden in the brick wall of the old building. It was very cute, and right in the heart of san marco square. Champagne was waiting for us on ice in our room...
We spent the first day wandering around san marco square, looking for food that was "authentic Italian" with little luck. We ate yummy pizza and pasta, which has been one of the best meals to date, then explored more of the square. We walked around rialto bridge shopping area, and looked for the fish market, which ended up being closed. We saw an association of communism celebration, which was kind of a culture shock!
We ended up eating at a restaurant that you could see from our room window after wandering around a long time!! We ordered several appetizers: Bruschetta, Squid and cuddle fish with amazing olive spread, and caprese salad. The food was amazing, just what we needed. Ohh, and the dessert chocolate mousse that we scraped to the last bite. Then, at night we wandered to the square and listened to one of the dueling orchestras and danced in the square arm in arm. It was so romantic!!
The second day (September 5th) we woke up early and had cappucino at our hotel. Then, we went to st. marks Basillica and followed the rick steve tour on our ipods.... It was gorgeous!! (pictures to be posted later). We went to the basillica museum, and the top floor of the museum had a view of the whole san marco square, which was beautiful!!! We saw the correr museum which had venetian sculptures and history, it was nice, but not our favorite...Then we headed to see the market or eat food...Unfortunately the two restaurants we wanted to eat at as well as the fish market, were all closed. We were informed that the only place open was mcdonalds. Restaurants here only open certain hours (i.e. lunch, then dinner)....We went to a coffee shop that we thought had real food, and they microwaved some risotto for dave...amanda had the only "fresh" dish, caprese salad with tomato and mozerella...We definitely earned the yummy dessert we ate after (pistachio chocolate croissant dessert delicious thing)....At this point we are not super impressed with the food.... We went to the doges palace and walked around the palace, it was beautiful...the ceilings were carved wood and from the original palace. the furniture and paintings were gorgeous as well as the stone carved fire places...I would like for Dave to buy me this palace to live in someday or at least the gorgeous wood carved ceilings. We passed out from a long day of sight seeing. Then, we wandered around and got lost looking for a restaurant that was recommended in both the rick steves book and the culinary book. It was called al mascarone. We shared a table with another couple that were on their honeymoon, they were from philladelphia. The couple was on their last night of their honeymoon, so they had lots of tips for us. The ambience was amazing and homey. The food was good, but not wonderful....I would not necessarily recommend it...After the food, we went to our favorite gellateria, and each had a scoop. It was yummy and the freshest (and also cheapest) in venice! Then, we walked together to the square and listened to more of the orchestras...
Third Day in Venice (September 6th)
To prepare for our first european train adventure we went to the train station to reserve our train ticket. We took a Vaporetto to the train station (water bus). Once we had reserved our ticket, we headed over to explore the jewish ghetto. We stopped at a local bakery on the way to pick up a HUGE merengue. This was our first "authentic" italian experience...The man was baking the treats on site, and spoke no english...this was our first experience where we felt like we were actually in Italy. The merengue was not great, because it was mainly just sugar, but hey when in venice! WE walked all the way to the jewish ghetto, and saw some kosher restaurants on the way. We lucked out that it was a jewish festival. We thought that we were sneaking in with a french tour group, because the people at the door of the synagogue greeted us in french and the people in the group ahead of us were all french. It turned out there was a jewish festival and we were able to see 2 synagogues and the jewish museum free of charge. After the jewish ghetto, we walked over toward the restaurants serving ciccheti that had kicked us out yesterday for being too late. Cicchetti are like venetian tapas, they have all these different salads and foods, and you pick what you want to eat. We ate standing up and had some amazing octopus salad and cipollini onions, or as they call them in italy cipolla (onions), amongst other yummy dishes.
After the cicchetti we took another vaporetto to utilize the pass we had bought, which was unlimited for 48 hours. We headed toward the frari church, which was out of the way and not the typical tourist place to visit. The church awas gorgeous! We followed Rick Steves pod cast tour, and we learned who titian was! On the way back, we got lost, of course, and stopped by an amazing flee market. We saw some mortar and pestal that looked very antique and it made amanda think of her dad. Then we walked toward the academia bridge to watch the regatta race. It was extremely packed on the bridge, everyone was stopping to look at the race. There were many colorful boats from different countries. WE came back to our hotel to rest after our busy day. After our short rest we grabbed our complimentary honeymoon champagne and snuck it out of the hotel with one wine glass. We stuck it in a plastic bag and headed over to the gondolier area. We picked up a gondola and did the grand canal tour, while we sipped champagne from a shared glass. It was very romantic and very informative all at hte same time. We decided to cap off our evening with dinner at a restaurant that was recommended by our hotel since everywhere we tried to find was not very good and we would get lost anyway. Well, regardless, the restaurant was close, and we still got lost. Immediately walking into the restaurant we realized it was a tourist trap. The menu was translated into at least 5 different languages. It had the feel of a TGIfridays. The "local" fish was subpar, charged by the weight, and super expensive. We shied away from that, and ordered other items, which turned out to be crappy. After one of our most expensive and least satisfying meals to date, we left in a very unsatisfied mood. We headed to a restaurant near our restaurant that we had ate at previously and ordered some deliccous dessert. The dessert was a delcious chocolate log and truffle dessert. For our last night in Italy we headed back to our favorite dueling orchestras in San Marco Square. WE loved how the people would shuffle from one orchest to another.