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Venice Diary Day 3: Enjoying the Last Rays of the Sun

December 22, 2017

I realize that I never got around to writing about our third day and final day in Venice. My only explanation to that is that I’ve been crazy busy and tired the last few months. Writing a blog post takes some time, what with getting it all right, writing in my second (3rd, 4th?) language, and preparing and editing all the photos that go into the post. But I’m writing this blog for the memories, and the memories of Venice are still pretty clear, so, finally, here’s the 3rd and last post about our three days in Venice. You can read my Venice Diary Day 1 and Day 2 as well.

 

Our plane wasn’t leaving until around 7-8 in the evening, so we had plenty of time to enjoy Venice on our last day. After breakfast, we headed out to Campo Santa Margherita to soak up the last rays of the sun. We knew that heavy rain and wind awaited us back in Copenhagen, and I needed that extra vitamin D. We grabbed a Coke on the square, watching the Italians celebrate a Christening in the restaurant next to us, all dressed to nines, drinking colorful spritzers. That’s one thing that I’ve generally found about Italians: they always dress to impress.

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I really didn’t want to leave but we had a day left to explore… and I still hadn’t tasted gelato! The horror!

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After the gelato, we just walked around, got lost, walked back, got lost… and so forth. I really don’t mind getting lost in Venice, though. Everywhere you look there’s a new, beautiful building you’ve haven’t seen before like this one with pretty flowers hanging from the balconies…

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…or this one with a cute French balcony right by the water (I imagine myself sitting there with a glass of wine in the evening.)…

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…or these colorful reflections in the canal, and a seagull sleeping on one of the boats.

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Seagulls, seagulls everywhere!

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But really, how can you mind getting lost in this town?

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After walking for hours, we finally found a place that served truffle pasta (favorite dish everrrr!) and had huge wine glasses, so naturally, we asked for a table:

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I didn’t mind that it was called Chat qui Rit (smiling cat in French) and had the cutest logo I’ve ever seen anywhere, ever.

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Just before my pasta with truffles came in, my camera battery decided enough was enough. We ate up, walked home, and took a bus back to the airport and went home to chilly, rainy Copenhagen. However, we didn’t stay long because just 3 weeks later, it was time for our next adventure (check back tomorrow!)

Places I've Been

Venice Diary Day 2: Exploring Venice

October 29, 2017

After our first day in Venice, where we managed to see all the big sights, we decided to just explore the town. We walked from our hotel down to the vaporetto station, Venice’s public transport boats. We hopped on, enjoyed the sights along the Canal Grande, and before we knew it, we arrived at the Rialto Bridge station where we hopped off.

 

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On the vaporetto!

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Taking the vaporetto is a great way to see the town.

We walked around, got lost in the small streets while looking for the bookshop Libreria Acqua Alta, before suddenly finding it was right in front of us. Outside, there’s a sign that welcomes you to “the most beautiful bookshop in the world”:

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Once inside, it’s filled with books. In old gondolas, on shelves, boats – basically everywhere. On top one of the shelves I found a black cat, sitting up and simultaneously sleeping – I didn’t think that was possible but this cat certainly mastered the art of sitting and sleeping. He slowly opened his green eyes and peeked around at the people who were too busy looking at books rather than at him, giving him the perfect view of what they really were up to. Like a cute, sleepy, security camera. Apparently, there are many cats here at times as they’re welcome inside, but we only saw this one (below).

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Books, books everywhere!

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The cutest (and sleepiest) security camera ever!

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Old encyclopedias are used to make stairs…

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Of course I climbed up! The view is over the canals and looks really beautiful.

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Imagine sitting here with a good book and a glass of wine in the evening!

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After admiring the bookshop, we walked up to the northern neighborhoods in town, almost completely devoid of any tourists. As during the day before, we got lost quite a few times, and Google Maps wasn’t of any help. Some of the streets are so small that Google doesn’t recognize them and sends you on big detours. So we just kind of waited and followed the bigger crowds and wherever they were going. We had some delicious pasta in a restaurant before heading out to explore more of the city. We allowed ourselves to just go with the flow, get lost, and get stunned by the surroundings. While the San Marco area is beautiful, it’s packed with tourists, which is reflected in the prices for a glass of wine in the town center.

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Sometimes, I have to force him in front of the camera 🙂

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I particularly love the backdrop here – looks so picturesque!

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Look at this magical light!

We decided not to go back to the hotel before dinner and had a lovely dinner at a small local restaurant called Ristorante Trattoria Cherubino. I had one of the best pasta arrabiata ever! The decor is very modest and traditionally Italian, which just gives all the more of a local feeling. Definitely go here for great local food, if you have the chance.

After dinner, we wanted some cocktails and headed down to the famous hotel The Gritti Palace and its fabulous bar called Bar Longhi. We got a table on the terrace in the first row down to the Canale Grande, which of course gave us fabulous views of Venice and the canals by night. The staff, all dressed in white jackets, were super friendly and the drinks were exactly what we were after. Due to its location in a five-star hotel on the Canale Grande, the cocktail prices were a bit steep but what else would one expect in a place where going to the restroom is an experience all of its own? In short: lots of marble and brass details. On your way back from the restrooms are framed photographs and messages from some of the world’s biggest A-list celebrities thanking the hotel for its hospitality. A nice little touch, just in case you hadn’t fully grasped how freakin’ fancy the place is 😉 Jokes aside, it was great! After another drink in another place, we took the Vaporetto back to our hotel.

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Places I've Been

Venice Diary Day 1: First impressions and a Gondola Ride

October 17, 2017

We arrived in Venice around 20/8pm and made a detour to get there – getting around in Venice isn’t as straightforward as you’d think and you can’t trust Google Maps. We checked in to the wonderful Hotel Moresco, were greeted with a drink and quickly checked in before heading out for dinner. Again, we took the wrong way and ended up walking 30 minutes to get to a place that was about 5 minutes from our hotel. Oh well! We ate a late dinner and went looking for a place to have some drinks. We ended up in a square not far from our hotel with very cheap drinks and lots of young people who we think were students from the nearby University.

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Looks like a postcard!

The next day, we headed out to explore Venice and to see it all. Wherever we looked, it looked like a scene taken straight out of a painting or a postcard. It was magical. We took a long walk along the small alleyways and followed signs to the Rialto bridge. The closer we got, the more tourist-packed it was. Finally, we walked through some buildings, turned left, and there it was – the Rialto bridge. I’ve seen it on TV and on pictures but I’d never realized how BIG it was. We admired the views from the bridge for a bit…

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It even looks smaller in this picture than in real life!

 

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Rialto in the background

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The bridge is full of small shops. You might roll your eyes at first and think how everything is about money nowadays, but it was actually made this way back in the day.

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One side of the bridge…

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…and me looking out over the other side of it.

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It’s completely PACKED with people!

Being me, I wanted to get away from the large crowds ASAP. It makes me uncomfortable and a bit panicky. Now, there’s really no escaping the crowds on the Sestiere San Marco, but the Rialto bridge is packed. We continued our walk up the alleyways and found ourselves lost and on small one-way streets, with nowhere to go but back, several times. It didn’t matter though – it was all so beautiful that you didn’t mind going all the way back anyway.

 

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Who would mind getting lost here?After walking around for a bit, we suddenly found ourselves at the Piazza San Marco, the main square in Venice with the prominent clock tower and St Mark’s Basilica. Seeing this big square, with its majestic buildings is one of those things that take your breath away, just for a moment.

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The top of St Mark’s Basilica

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Us and the clock tower in the background – it’s 98.6 meters tall!

 

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Hi there! Me posing in my favorite new jumpsuit from Weekday.

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We wanted to go inside the Doge palace (on the right), but the museum site was down for online tickets. If you don’t order online, you have to stand in line for several hours.

By this time, we were a bit thirsty and decided to have a drink at the infamous Harry’s Bar. Harry’s Bar has a long and peculiar history and is also the place where the Bellini was invented (fresh peach juice and sparkling wine). It’s mainly a restaurant, despite its name, but we got a place in the bar and ordered a Bellini and an Old Fashioned at very hefty prices. I’ve seen people complaining about the prices here but to me, it’s as simple as this: either you pay up and appreciate it for what it is, or you don’t go. Yes, it’s pricey and no, it’s probably not worth 24 euros to have a small drink but it is what it is. Personally, I loved the Bellini and the atmosphere, which was a bit hectic and very old-fashioned – in a good way. They ask for no photos inside due to guests’ privacy but I took a little picture of our drinks which you can see on my Instagram here.

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Harry’s Bar is easy to miss but here’s the exterior.

 

After another walk and another drink, we decided to hop on a gondola, a very touristy thing to do, but also a must when in Venice! It’s really, really expensive. The minimum price was 80 euros for 30 minutes but we opted for the large tour to see Casanova’s and Marco Polo’s houses etc. It set us back 140 euros and lasted around 40 minutes. I think it costs even more during the summer. Again, yes, it’s expensive but if you can afford it, I think it’s a lovely experience and probably my most memorable one from the whole trip. I’ll make a separate post on the gondolas in Venice later on.

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Off we went!

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The bridge of sights. This was the bridge from where prisoners got a last look on the outside world before being sent to prison (on the right).

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Beautiful Venice.

After our gondola ride, we wanted to visit the famous Caffé Florian, established 1720, making it the oldest café in the world. As with everything else in Venice, it’s really expensive and probably not worth its price, but it had an unbeatable view of the square and some pretty good people-watching.

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Caffé Florian on Piazza San Marco is the world’s oldest café!

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The original interior. Pretty awesome, no? 🙂

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I had a hot chocolate and Jacob had some wine.

In the evening, we headed out to dinner at a very small and new place called the Flat. So charming! It was like sitting in somebody’s home. There was only one chef in the kitchen and one server, and about 8 tables inside, which made it a really intimate atmosphere. I had a veggie pasta, served in this really cute pot:

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My little pasta pot!

And that was all from our first one and a half day in Venice! More to come!