We are now on our 8 hour train ride to our next stop: Salzburg, Austria, with a transfer in Rosenheim. It gets quite a scenic after Verona, with mountain ranges in the background and vineyards in the foreground.. Though hurray for more blog posts, and tons of photos! Apologies in advanced for the high quality and large size that I cannot easily change via Evernote’s editor.
Our last stop in Italy was Venice! Famously known for running entirely on water, it was once efficient in the olden days, not as much now. There are only ~60k residents remaining. The streets are littered with tourists. I’d say it’s the most touristy city we’ve been to so far. With its lack of transport options, it’s also the most expensive so far in terms of food and accommodations. We stayed for 3 nights. We had the most difficult time finding a place for a reasonable price here that is on the main island. We ended up with a place 25 min walk from the city centre, away from the gimmicky tourist crowds.
Venice was a nice stop, though 2 days would have been enough as it’s a small island. We saw all the sights very quickly and easily.
Gondola ride over the Bridge of Sighs
The transportation options here are waterbus and watertaxi. A single waterbus ride is 7 dollars - pretty pricey! The ever so famous gondola rides across the city are about $50. Apparently romantic, though way out of our budget so we stayed away from that. If you ever choose to go on it, it’s probably best to take it in the late afternoon to sunset for less crowded water ways and more scenic views.
View from San Zaccharia Station
Venice is full of beautiful scenery, especially when right by the lagoon. The houses and buildings are colorful. It was more accented when we travelled to the nearby Island of Burano. Apparently people painted their house bright colors to guide fishermans during foggy days back to their homes. We also went to Lido, which is a long skinny island with many beaches! Too bad we forgot to bring our swim gear. I’d say that taking a day trip to the islands is a must when traveling for more than 1 day (leave out Murano, the city of glass - it was mainly just glass ornament shops, pretty boring).
Side street in Burano
Seafood is supposed to be a bigger deal in Venice. We went out of our way to try various seafood dishes.
Prawn pasta @ Roccopomodoro
We even went to Rialto Market, grabbed some seafood and other ingredients, and cooked an amazing lunch! The prices at the market are reasonable. Most of the restaurants on the island are pricey as Venice’s economy is purely tourism. It’s unfortunate. The average traveller age is higher here due to how pricey the city is, and most visitors stay on the mainland or Lido, resulting in a lack of night life and only the select couple of bars.
Gelaterias were (again) everywhere. We had 12 days of gelato: a pretty good sample size to conclude that La Romana has the best gelato ever. It’s a chain that exists throughout Italy. We also quite enjoyed Grom, a chain that was seen throughout our Venice trip (although they increase their prices when near the touristy areas, tsk tsk).
Overall, Italy was quite enjoyable and not too huge of a culture shock. Pretty much every sit down meal we had was great. We realized that having secondi and antipasti were not that necessary (despite all the locals doing it!) I am a huge fan of simple spaghetti with olive oil and happily ate it multiple times. It will be difficult to go back to North American style pasta which is often overpriced and heavy. I don’t think I’d return to Venice or Florence anytime soon, but Rome is a definitely.