Welcome to the first stop on my Spring Break adventure! Before I came to Madrid I knew I wanted Italy to be my Spring Break destination…there were so many cities I wanted to see! I’m so glad I took my long vacation to see this beautiful country. Each city we visited was different and it was awesome so experience Italy in more ways than one.
If I had to describe Venice in one word, I would say storybook. It really seemed like a land of fairytales…well on the outskirts at least. (The city center was absolutely mobbed with tourists!) Following the study abroad theme of late night arrivals & early morning departures, our flight got in around midnight. I’ll never forget trying to find our b&b in what seemed like a maze of back alley streets. I felt like I was in a mystery novel in some strange, whimsical land. Obviously, I knew about the famous Venetian canals, but I was still shocked, and amazed when I first saw them. It’s really unlike any other place on earth.
We only spent a day in Venice, and I honestly thought it was more than enough. The city is beautiful, but quite small. Our bed and breakfast was a bit outside the city center which I rather enjoyed. The city center was filled with shopping, questionable Venetian glass (I heard if you want the real stuff you need to go out to Morano island!) and many, many tourists.
I don’t know what travel is like for you, but when I travel I like to seek out the authentic. The good restaurants where the locals hangout, the little known back alleyways etc. I felt that Venice lacked some of that authenticity. Every place felt like it was made for tourists, even the gondola rides looked, well, fake. I enjoyed walking around the town, getting lost in the maze of small streets and finding beautiful spots like the one below, but I would not spend more than a day or two here.
On the note of food…I have three rules when dining abroad. If there are people outside the restaurant asking you to dine there, don’t. If there are pictures on the menu, look elsewhere. If the menu is offered in English, Spanish, French etc., it’s probably not going to be a remarkable culinary experience (there are some exceptions to this one.) So following these rules, we ended up finding a cute hole on the wall restaurant down a small alleyway called da Mamo. We enjoyed our meal here (though my best Italian meal was in Rome…don’t worry, that will be covered in detail later!) Perhaps the most surprising dish was the calzone which was nearly the size of an infant child. They don’t make ’em like that in the states!
While waiting for a table here, I ventured over to the bar across the street to try a famous Venetian ‘spritz’. I saw locals and tourists alike drinking this orange liquid (which I assumed would taste like orange soda. I was wrong) and had to try it. Basically, it’s white sparkling wine with aperol and soda water. It tasted awfully bitter. I got a grapefruit flavor from it. Glad I tried it, but won’t be seeking it out anytime soon.