These posts are coming a little out of order–I went to Venice after Barcelona–but I wrote a long Barcelona post that got deleted somehow so this is a filler until I can make the time to rewrite the three days of Barcelona!
Ahh, Venice. The crumbling and beautiful city. The land of hand-stitched leather journals, exquisitely sparkling Carnival masks, delicately arching walking bridges, and the best tiramisu I had in all of Italy. We spent less than twenty-four hours in this timeless and utterly unique city, and we all left completely smitten and wishing we had more time there.
Our day in Venice was overcast and chilly, but honestly, that felt like the only appropriate backdrop for this languidly romantic place. None of us had been to Venice before, but we had heard very mixed reviews, so we didn’t know what to expect. Maybe we were there at the right time of year, maybe, having fallen head over heels for New Orleans, I have a special fondness for cities that are a little rough around the edges in parts, maybe it was just being in Italy at last (I was giddily smiling as our plane touched down, thinking of my own personal little GPS dot blinking in the middle of that famed boot), maybe our short stay didn’t allow us any time to become disillusioned by the place, but honestly, we thought every person who trashed Venice behind its back was totally cray-cray and maybe on drugs when they saw the place. Clearly it won some hearts.
One thing I will admit is that there’s not quite as much to do as there is in many other major European tourist destinations. I’m the type of person who can happily spend entire days wandering picturesque streets and feel perfectly content, so I don’t think this would be a huge problem for me if I were to return for a longer visit, but I can certainly see why some people choose to limit their time there when they’re doing a tour of Europe type thing.
We found plenty to fill our time with, though! We spent a good amount of time wandering through the streets surrounding Piazza San Marco, which were lined with the boutiques of pretty much every major designer imaginable. We had fun picking out purchases from the street, not daring to so much as set a foot in one of the places. It’s pretty amazing that Venice, a small city by most definitions at 60,000, attracts a large enough clientele of wealthy tourists to sustain stores like Chanel and Hermes. We definitely had fun wandering past them, but as traveling students, a splurge looks more like a 50 euro top than 500 euro stilettos. Alas.
Maybe I can afford a paper Birkin? Doubtful.
Piazza San Marco itself was gorgeous and felt straight out of another century.
Sadly, the basilica was closed by the time we made it there in the late afternoon, but it was still really fun to walk through the square, watch a cruise ship depart (people were actually running through the square to wave to it–talk about out of another century!), and buy some of the most deliciously rich hot chocolate I have ever had.
This was the perfect warming treat to sip on as we made our way to the Grand Canal, which was completely beautiful and quintessentially Venetian.
I think we all had a moment looking out at this gorgeous scene. It’s funny, but in Europe, sometimes you finally see something you’ve seen a million pictures of and heard about thousands of times, and it’s sort of underwhelming. (It might be awful that I’m admitting this, but the first time I saw the Arc de Triomphe, for instance, I was just kind of like…”well, yeah”. That was it. No reaction.) Venice was nothing like that. Venice was better than any picture I’ve ever seen or story I’ve ever heard. Venice was magical.
So was this:
Fun fact: “tiramisu” means “lift me up” in Italian. I’m told this is because of the coffee in it, but I like to think it’s because there’s a little bit of heaven and happiness in every bite. Mmm.
But just wait until I get to Florence and Rome–that’s where the real food love happened. I’m drooling just thinking about it. Until then, cheers!