(Above picture from Google - I've lost the link)
Ciao! You may have heard of Venice, the beautiful city floating on the ocean in Italy. You may have also heard it was sinking due to global warming. We were very lucky to visit in March 2019 for 2 nights, when it was dry, and here is our experience.
On Saturday 16th March 2019, we left Florence (Firenze Santa Maria Novella) on the ItaliaRail and arrived in Venice, at Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia. From there, we caught the local ferry to Rialto Bridge to head to our hotel Riva del Vin Boutique Hotel. It was a real struggle dragging and carrying our 3 luggage across Venezuela's cobblestone. We'll definitely travel light next time 😅.
At the hotel, we had paid for a standard double room through bookings.com but when we checked in, they gave us no. 301 - a room at the end of the hallway, up two flights of spiral stairs in an attic.... the bathroom was by itself, stuck in the wall and a double bed on the floor the next level up, with our heads scraping the wooden roof. We're short Asians and our heads were touching the roof. One of the staff struggled to lift our heavy 30kg luggage up the spiral stairs. We told him not to bother breaking his back because we wanted a room change - like dude 🤨, this was not what we paid for. After 30 minutes of arguing, they finally moved us to another standard double room, one that actually looked like a room.
It was such a bizarre experience because we could not find any photos or reviews of this "attic" room and we're not sure why they gave it to us in the first place, when we had already paid for the room??? Wtf
After relaxing for an hour, we went out to enjoy Rialto bridge and the nearby streets luggage-free. We were awed by the various colourful masks and glassware stores, and made a purchase for handcrafted shot glasses LOL One of the things we originally had on our list was to visit Murano, a small island of Venice known for glass making but unfortunately, we jammed too much into our schedule 😞.
For dinner, we had Dal Moro's pasta and chilled with a bottle of bellini in our hotel room. I was very disappointed the bellini did not taste as amazing as Detective Diaz made it out to be HAHAHA. Nine nine!
The next day, we headed out to our first stop, the Libreria Acqua Alta, a book store that was made extremely popular by Taramilktea in 2017. A lot of tourists will come here for their iconic shot on these stairs, ourselves included.
I wanna flag that this book store is very small and narrow so if you're going to come here for a 30 minute photoshoot, please be mindful there are customers shopping inside. While we were there, we saw about 5 different couples pushing past customers, looking for a nice "prop" for their shot. Be patient, peeps.
Afterwards, we made our way to Doge's Palace and Saint Mark's Basilica. We were secretly glad we opted out on visiting the church because as you can see in the distance, that crowd was waiting to enter the Basilica.
We chilled along Riva degli Schiavoni and the Ponte della Paglia bridge for a few photos before finding our way to Osteria Al Squero for lunch.
Venice is famous for cicchetti, small "tapas" on bread, served as a snack. There were a variety, from pickled anchovies to cured hams. This particular restaurant has 2000+ google reviews so when we rocked up, there was a long queue outside. We waited about 25 minutes to be served and then grabbed our plates to sit outside.... only to instantly regret the decision because Venezuela seagulls are HUGE! They're the size of a dog. We went back inside and squeezed ourselves into a corner to eat our food LOL.
After lunch, we did a lot of bar hopping, stopping for toilet and a glass of wine. And then we had an early dinner at Dal Moro's and some gelato because we had already burned off the cicchetti.
If you're wondering, we didn't ride the gondola because it costed €100 for one ride. There was an option to find another couple so we could split the cost four-way but that would have been time consuming and we decided we'd rather explore Venice on foot than spend an hour being basic bitches.
We ended our day of exploration at the duty free store, T Fondaco Dei Tedeschi, where there was this gorgeous rooftop view of Venice! We got back to our hotel and chilled for a bit before we realized we were starting to get hungry... again.
We went out to find KFC but we fucked up. We were eyeballing google maps as a rough guide but we didn't realize we could not walk along the water to the destination. A lot of the paths lead to alleyways, tunnels, and dead ends on the edge of the water. After a long 15 minutes, we turned on our GPS and navigated through the darkness. It was creepy because the GPS led us to doors and narrow passageway that looked suspicious, and there were no street lights too.
We started running to get home quicker haha. Things we noticed about KFC in Italy is that there are no wicked wings and potato & gravy. They have potato, and they have gravy, but they do not have it together and when we mixed it, it was not the same....
Anyways the next day we packed our bags and headed for Milan.
We had a lot of high expectations for Venice, thanks to the internet, but we realized reality was a bitch. Exhibit A shown in my before (left) and edited (right) photo I posted on Instagram.
There was a strong sewage smell in the streets and garbage in the waters. We also found the amount of seagulls and tourists frustrating, and seeing as Venice relied heavily on tourism, it's no surprise we were a bit overwhelmed by the tourist traps. We've been told it's a lot worse in the summer.
As much as we loved our stay, we probably would not return any time soon as we had already seen everything we wanted to see. Thanks for reading! Ciao.