Venice… the most beautiful city I have ever seen. There is no other city like it in all the world. The buildings, the canals, the bridges…. it is just breathtakingly beautiful. This city is an absolute dream. And yet, once you’re their, it’s hard not to see the reality of it, which is that Venice is overrun by tourism.
About 16 million people visit this city each year. I planned our trip in October, which is the off season, and when we arrived in Venice I was taken back by how many tourists their were. I felt like cattle moving through the city. People rubbing up against you, pushing you aside, somewhat unpleasant smells surround you – it wasn’t exactly how I pictured our time in Venice being.
But despite all the people, it wasn’t too difficult to lose the crowd and savor the city of Venice.
The 10 hour flight to Venice was well, long! Haha! It is difficult to sleep on a plane. Even more difficult when you are too excited to sleep! But Randy and I did what we could and got a few hours of sleep.
Our plane landed at 9:00 am (Italy time) which we then had to catch a boat ride, the vaporetto (which is like a city bus) to Venice itself. It was about a 30 minute boat ride for us. Luckily, our drop off was on the airport side of the island. Then we had to find our hotel. That was an adventure. It was fairly difficult to navigate in Venice, they don’t really have road signs and the ones they do have can be faded and hard to read. And we had all our luggage with us (backpacks mostly but they did get a little heavy after a little while).
We found the hotel, B&B Al Palazzetto, a bed and breakfast in a real Venetian home. The building dates back to the 1700’s and has very spacious, beautiful rooms. This was our rooms; it was huge!
Me standing right outside our B&B. I love the wall in the background.
The yellow building on the right is our B&B. Just off a quiet canal just minutes from main attractions (depending on foot traffic of course).
The front door of our B&B. Isn’t it so charming? I love it!
Even though we were very tired we fought the urge to take a nap. According to Rick Steves, he says to stay awake all day to force yourself onto Italian time. So that is what we did.
I love how the buildings look like they are built on top of one another. See the mass of people on the right side?
The cool thing about Venice is that it is a spaghetti of narrow streets. You twist and turn through these narrows streets and you don’t really know where you are going because all you see are buildings and then all of a sudden you pop out onto a square with a beautiful church.
One thing they don’t tell you about Venice are all the different smells. When you walk over a bridge you will get a faint smell of the sea and then sometimes a sewer smell. Walking through the narrow streets you can smell trash and sewer. And if you are lucky you will find little doggie bombs. Obviously there is no grass in Venice so locals let their dogs do their business in the streets and they do not clean up after them. It is not pleasant. Remember to watch where you step when you are Venice. In the touristy areas it smells like BO and cigarette smoke. Everyone in Italy smokes. I have never been around so much cigarette smoke before in all my life. The worst part is, is that you can’t escape it. The smoke stays trap in the throngs of people and the buildings you are walking between. The smells are quite terrible in Venice, but sometimes when you are walking with the crowd (or being jostled by the crowd more like it) you can get the most tantalizing smell of fresh baked pastries. And you stop and admire the delectable goodies in the window and take a deep breath.
For lunch we went off the beaten track and found a wine bar or Enoteca. These types of restaurants serve a great selection of wines and small sandwiches and finger foods, all at a decent price. You usually go up to the bar, order what you want and stand at the bar and enjoy your meal. Or you can get it to go (wine in a Dixie cup for those of you wondering – and yes, they are allowed to drink wine during their work day and yes they are allowed to drink in the streets).
This is what our lunch looked like. Crostinis, paninis and local wine.
We walked all over Venice. We like this little street. So little!
At about 5pm we decided to eat dinner. We stopped at a Pizzeria.
It was a lot of fun to watch them make our pizza.
First pizza of our trip.
At this point we had been up for about 36 hours. We were worn out and couldn’t stay awake any longer. We walked over 20,000 steps this day, which is 10 miles. We got to bed at 6:30 pm that night.
Stay tune for day two in Venice!