Three more cities to go, faithful readers of my vacation recap! So, Venice. I mentioned before that I planned the Paris part of our trip to my little heart’s content, but Josh’s one request before we left Phoenix was that I allow for, you know, spontaneity and stuff. So with that in mind, we adopted a very loose planning policy for the Italy portion of our trip: It Will All Work out Somehow. At the very end of our stay in Paris all we knew was that we had a hotel in Venice for one night and that we were flying out of Rome a week later. So we boarded our overnight Paris –> Venice train and prepared to have an adventure. That train ride was pretty great, by the way– we shared a compartment with two Russians who spoke no English/Spanish/French/Portuguese, so all we could do was sit and smile at each other. Only they were not that friendly, so basically I was the only one smiling. Let’s just say we all went to bed reeeeally early.
The first thing we did in Venice was get separated from each other when I got off the vaporetto to validate our tickets (I had read lots of horror stories of crazy fines for not validating and all of a sudden realized that… oops… we hadn’t). The boat left with Josh on it and I was stranded with no money and no idea where our hotel was, while Josh was on the water bus with no ticket and potentially about to receive the very fine that I had tried so hard to avoid. Ha! We totally kept our cool though, it’s a small island and we found each other eventually. Thank goodness we were backpacking is all I can say—the Italy part of our trip included lots of schlepping our bags around!
And after alllll those words, what I really want to say about Venice is that it is so lovely it made up for the heartbreak of leaving Paris, which in my world is the highest compliment a city can get. The combination of beauty and decay is absolutely breathtaking, and the awesome part is that the thing to see in Venice… is Venice. We stayed a couple of nights and did lots of walking, took too many pictures, went to Murano to see the blown glass and ate LOTS of pasta/seafood. We even tried the spaghetti nero (squid ink pasta) at Trattoria alla Madonna, which came highly recommended and was delicious (though really kind of gross to look at—I couldn’t think about it too much as I was eating).
I think some people complain about the way Venice is touristy and smells questionable at times, but to me? It’s a dream city. If you’re going to Italy, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.