What a wonderful city… we had a fantastic time getting lost in the streets of Venice, wandering aimlessly and admiring narrow canals, gondolas, palaces, gorgeous old building, many cute dogs, prosciutto, prosecco, beer, cheese, more canals, more boats, more gondolas…!
The Palazzo Ducale – a stunning building. The line to get into the museum was really long, so I was happy just to see the building itself. When in such a picturesque place, I have no desire to go inside museums and art galleries when there’s so much people watching and architecture-admiring to be done. (Perhaps that’s a whole other blog post)
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The clocktower at San Marco Piazzale.
This is where we saw the most tourists. It was SO crowded and once we escaped from the hordes of people into the tiny streets again, we both breathed a sigh of relief.
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We saw a couple doing their own wedding snaps in the streets of Venice. Adorable! Great idea too.
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We went for a walk into the Jewish Ghettoes and found the canals, the paths and streets to be wider. We also found a highly recommended Kosher restaurant, where we admired the menu (they had me at ‘grilled artichokes’) but it took ages to be served and we gave up. (The place was called Gam Gam, for those wondering)
I love the iron lacework on the windows.
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Beer, prosecco (new favourite wine!) and mineral water with lunch.
Panini for lunch – 6 Euros each. 20 Euros total for drinks and 2 panini. Much cheaper than on day one where we paid 70 Euros for lunch and it was nothing special. Admittedly B had a big steak but it was very average. We were hungry and basically went into the first place we saw.
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A blurry shot of the Santa Lucia church from the top of the clock tower:
Enormous bells in the clock tower… tiny bit worried they might start ringing and deafen me!
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Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco (St Mark’s Cathedral) from the top of the clock tower:
Such a gorgeous looking basilica. Again, the lines went around the corner all day, in fact in the morning they were looped around double! Decided against wasting time queueing and instead admired the beautiful artwork on the outside, as well as the four domes. It was not as big as I thought it would be! A very ornate church though.
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I am not kidding when I say this was the BEST gelato I have ever eaten. The bottom layer is vanilla and it tasted like custard. Delicious. The top layer is strawberry and it was LUSH. I should have had gelato every day in Italy but I didn’t think it would help my upset stomach. After eating this, I think maybe it would have been a good thing.
We finished the day with a plate of Italian cheese and a few glasses of wine, by the grand canal as the sun went down. We had been quite annoyed by the fact that we’d eaten substandard food for a lot of our trip, except in country areas in Tuscany (thank you, unknown pizzeria in Castellina in Chianti!) and when we bought fresh produce from the supermarkets to make our own meals. I think because we were in the touristy areas of each place, we managed to get substandard meals at exorbitant rates. The seafood meal I ate in Cinque Terre was pretty amazing, but I do think it contributed to my upset stomach (which lasted 5 days…!) so that meal is forever tainted for me now, unfortunately.
If we were to do Italy again (and we will!), we’ll be far more organised in terms of researching where to eat and planning our days more carefully. Venice can be tricky to navigate around, so it would have been handy to have a Venice Top Ten guide, because they often have everything organised into districts of a city. So if you find yourself in San Marco at lunch time, you could then look up where in San Marco is recommended and how much it will cost you. We ended up eating wherever we stumbled into, when we were tired and hungry. We got substandard food and paid through the nose for it.
Thankfully, we finished up the trip with the cheese plate and prosecco and that almost made up for dreadful and overpriced meal we ate earlier. Self-catering at supermarkets or buying sandwiches/panini/ciabatta etc is also a good option.
I didn’t have a single bad coffee in Italy, so I could probably live off panini, gelato and coffee if I had to…!