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