Venice. Wow! As soon as we stepped out of the train station there was water in front of us. It was kind of surreal to see Venice for the first time. The main streets truly are water. Boats run as taxis and cars and buses.
Because our actual anniversary was during our stay in Venice, I booked a swanky hotel instead of a B&B (although I've really loved the bed and breakfasts so far!). We stayed at Hotel L'Orologio. Even the door to our room was tricky to open because it was so fancy. And of course there was a bide in the bathroom (never did try one of those out).
We started our evening in Venice with a walking tour that ended abruptly thanks to a crazy thunderstorm. I've never seen lightning like this so we took cover under an old building in a tight little alley way. I'm sure it was totally safe. We found a really nice restaurant along the grand canal after the rain let up. Then it was a long walk back to the hotel in the pouring rain with our map disintegrating in the downpour. We survived.
Early (5:30 am) on the 15th of August we woke up and prepared for our anniversary photo session. I found a photographer on instagram who booked us for the early morning of our anniversary. She was really young and fun and created some beautiful photographs we will cherish for many years. Despite my flat hair, wrinkly dress, and our sweaty selves, she made us look like rockstars. It was a fun session! We even slipped into the canal (the water in Venice btw is really green and gross!) but thankfully caught ourselves before falling completely in! We asked her if that's ever happened before and she assured us NEVER! Ha! Only us.
Photo by Valeria D'Angelo.
The day continued in Burano, a colorful little island off Venice. It's a tiny island but jam-packed with brightly painted homes. We found a nice little restaurant to have lunch and despite the religious holiday the restaurant was happy to find us a table. A couple observations we've made about restaurants in Italy, besides the delicious food: They do not want you to ever wait more than a minute for your table. Waiting is almost unheard of, I guess. (They must hate dining in the US!) The restaurants are all pretty small, but there are usually quite a few to choose from. You often need to pay a "sitting or setting" fee. Water is not brought to the table unless you pay for a bottle (and because we're American they always asked, "Still"?). Ice is pretty much non-existent like Australia, unless it's a mixed drink with alcohol. ;) And you will never get the bill unless you ask for it.
After returning from Burano, we stopped at another bar in St. Marco Square. We enjoyed the live music and more chips (potato chips) with our afternoon drinks. Then we found a place for a gondola ride. It was a 30 minute ride for $80. No singing, but our gondolier did give us a recommendation for dinner.
We took the recommendation for dinner and went to Laconda Montini for our anniversary dinner. It was sort of like dining in a secret garden. Cool little place.
Our last full day in Venice started with an early tour of Dogi's Palace. I didn't read the whole description of the tour so we ended up in a secret prison with tiny rooms that made me more closterphobic than ever! It was a strange tour, but we were happy when it was over(!) and celebrated our freedom with a coffee at the Florian. It was the tiniest frozen coffee drink ever but a charming place.
We wandered streets on the other end of the island and enjoyed the smell of fresh laundry hanging above, had pizza for lunch near the Rialto Bridge, bought a few souvenirs, and had dinner on the other side of the Grand Canal (yet another neighborhood we hadn't visited yet). We waited for the "bus" to take us back to our hotel side of the canal. Even though our hotel was directly across the water from the bus stop, we had to wait for it to take us across the water. Funny to think how much easier it would have been to cross a street, but that's Venice. <3
Our last day we packed our bags and hired a taxi to take us across the water. It was a beautiful morning for a boat ride. We said good-bye to Italy (for now). Definitely a country we will visit again and again!
More Venice photos HERE. [fuji400h film, Burano photos are ektar or portra160 film]