Friday, 23 September 2016

Interrail destination 7 - Venice!

On arrival to Venice we were both very happy from our scenic train journey from Slovenia and we was ready to explore. The heat hit us both ridiculously as we were dressed for quite windy weather as it was raining in Slovenia when we left. Venice was 32 degrees and unbearable. When we arrived at Venezia St.Lucia station we stopped for a drink in a bar directly outside the station whilst we
got up google maps to get to our Air Bnb.

Favourite parts:

#1 The endless pizza we consumed.
#2  Market on Rialto Bridge.
#3 Juice bar.
#4 'White' ice cream place.
#5 Watching the glass blowing.
#6 Gondola ride.

Basically, Venice is a labyrinth. Everywhere looks the same and if you get lost (you definitely will) you'll most probably need to ask at least 10 people to get back to where you need to be. But the beauty of Venice is getting lost, so if you get lost and find a cute little restaurant,
try it out because the tiny independent restaurants can sometimes be the best ones!

Personally, I do not think Venice is the place to go whilst travelling, It is probably one of the most of expensive places I've ever been to and bearing in mind it was our last destination, we were very limited money wise, so we had to choose what we wanted to do/see wisely. I would probably suggest to go to Venice on a weekend break, as there is quite a lot to see especially on the surrounding islands. I would also probably suggest going in spring or autumn when the weather is a bit cooler, as whilst we were there its was 32 degrees and unbearable! We actually found ourselves scouting for bars with air con in!

Basically, before we came to Venice we made a plan of everything we wanted to see/do but we did not even do half of it! We went at the worst time - a weekend in summertime and in the worst heat. Also, we didn't actually check before hand how much money it was to buy tickets for entry into some places so we ended up not being able to afford to go into everywhere.

After settling into our Air Bnb we went out to explore! Firstly we made our way to Piazza S.Marco, St Marks square, whilst we were walking we walked over the famous Rialto Bridge which was unfortunately covered in scaffolding (sad times) but we popped into a few of the shops on the top of the bridge and had a little wander. From the Rialto bridge, St Marks square was very well signposted and easy to find, basically everyone will be going the same way because its the most famous square in Venice!

Basilica (middle left) and Palazzo Ducal ( middle right).

Around Piazzo Di San Marco there is the Basilica di San Marco, Palazzo Ducal, Palace of Doges,  and more. There is also a Gondola point here, where you can hire a Gondola but there are also other ones around the island for cheaper. We had a wander around here and took some photos then decided to go for a drink whilst we chose what to do for the rest of the evening. We stopped for (several) drinks and then decided to get a slice of pizza from a pizzeria for dinner, as their pizza slices they sell are HUGE, and to have another drink. We had an amazing piece of pizza from a little shop and then came across a Juice bar called Frulala and stayed there until it closed, drinking. Their drinks were seriously THE best! They were fruit, blended and mixed with alcohol - it doesn't sound that appetizing, but trust me they were! Also they were extremely easy to drink (which is also quite dangerous haha!) After that we got another slice of pizza on our way home whilst we both drunkenly decided to try and read a map. Several hours later, when the birds were chirping, we made it home. As I said, Venice is very confusing!

Doge's Palace.
Gondola point.

We both had a little bit of a lay in in the morning because of our late night but once we woke up we decided to go to the market on Rialto bridge. It sells a little bit of everything; souvenirs, leather, jewellery, glass, toys, food! We each got a fruit juice and then we had a cheeky little ice cream from a shop called white! This is THE best ice cream store I've ever been to! Essentially, you choose the cup size you want, then you fill it with whichever flavour ice cream you want by using the machines (my fave was salted caramel) and then you can add whichever toppings you like, from chocolate to fresh fruit, or even biscuits! Then to finish you add a sauce of your choice and then you pay by weight! We had 3 of these whilst we were here, they were our all time favourite!!

After stuffing our faces with gelato we made our way over the Rialto bridge and back to Piazza S.Marco and sat down for a drink in the famous Cafe Florian which is the oldest cafe in the whole of Venice! Will chose a Venezian beer and I had a prosecco and they brought out crisps and snacks with it too! This was very pricey but you are literally paying for location as it is in the square and has a lovely view of the Basilica and Doge's Palace!

We then headed to The Bridge of Sighs which is just round the corner to take a few snaps! after we decided to walk this side of the island and see if there was anything to see or do and we got lost.. of course! We got lost for a good 2 hours before working our way back to exactly where we was in the first place! For the whole of Venice we literally lived off pizza and ice cream.. it was bliss. We then decided to have a drink and some olives in a bar and we chilled in there for a whilst deciding what we wanted to do for dinner.

Cute little Venezian houses.

A tiny restaurant in the back streets of Venice.
For dinner we chose to each get a takeaway pizza and eat it in our Air bnb and have an early (ish) night before our busy day the next day! So we picked up 2 pizzas from a little shop not too far from the ice cream shop and they were lovely!

The next morning we had planned to visit Murano, the glass making island! We originally wanted to visit Murano, Burano (lace) and Lido (beach) but we couldn't fit it all in/afford all the water bus tickets! We walked to the water bus station, despite getting extremely lost, which was near the train station and brought a ticket from the machine for 7 euros each and it was valid to go anywhere for 90 minutes (along as you stamped it to validate it before using!). We worked out that for us to go to all of the islands we would have to buy 4 tickets each and we definitely didn't have enough money for that so agreed to visit Murano.

Walking over the canal bridges on our way to the bus station!

Water bus views.

Views from Murano.
I actually kind of wish we had visited Lido. Mostly because its supposed to be really lovely and it was soooo hot on this day we both could've done with a beach day! Nonetheless, Murano was a delight! We managed to get into see glass blowing for free, not really sure how, but we did! It was really something else! I was so amazed and never actually thought about how glass is made, but watching someone make it in front of your eyes into amazing things like glass horse statues or little glass insects was really spectacular! We also brought a little glass sweet in the shop as a souvenir.

Glass blowing.
We then decided to explore the island a bit more and find somewhere to have some food (pizza, obviously). We decided to stop in a little pizzeria, as there's not really much in Murano, as we discovered, but we each had a pizza wrap, so basically half a pizza rolled up as a wrap! It was YUM! After eating we decided we should definitely walk it off so we walked around the island a bit more to find somewhere to have a drink! and then after this we decided to (try) and get back to Venice!

Restaurant in Murano we had a drink in.
When we arrived back in Venice we decided to get off the water bus at a different stop, one closest to St Marks square! We had already decided we wanted to go on a gondola and we had been told from so many different people that you can barter with them! Average price for them is around 80 euros and they ALL say they won't drop the price but if you say someone else has offered it to you for 60 they will take it! We got ours for 60 euros and It was definitely my favourite thing we done in Venice! 

Going down the Grand Canal in a Gondola.

I would definitely make sure you ask them before going on the trip if you'll be taken under The Bridge of Sighs as we thought we were going to be, but weren't :(. This was so lovely and I would suggest every single person that goes to Venice to do this as it lets you explore parts of Venice you cannot see whilst on foot! You'll be taken down the little windy canals and onto the grand canal and it is so peaceful. This was probably the only thing I would go back to Venice to do as In my experience Venice wasn't my favourite place! The gondola ride lasted for 30 minutes and we were taken back to where we picked it up from! 

We then decided we wanted to go for a nice dinner as it was our last night of our whole trip and it was time to say goodbye to travelling (sad times). We found a lovely little restaurant down the back streets which wasn't busy when we arrived but began to get popular, especially with locals which was a good sign. We spoke to the chef personally and he asked us both what dishes we were feeling like eating and suggested some! Will chose squid ink pasta and I chose pasta with ragu! I didn't manage to get any snaps as my camera ran out of battery, but our food was delicious, they also brought out some aperitifs on the house afterwards!

Unfortunately after this I started to feel really sick and thought I was coming down with some sort of sun stroke so we went back to our Air bnb straight away! We went out later for a last ice cream but then we went to sleep to catch our flight the next day!

Things to avoid in Venice:

#1 Restaurants/bars in tourist hotspots (Rialto bridge, St Marks square) who charge 15 euros for a glass of wine!
#2 Water taxi's, these can be VERY expensive - its cheaper to get a bus.
#4 Some of the expensive and not worth it tourist attractions - definitely do your research before you visit and make sure you know where you DEFINITELY want to go and see!
#5 Staying in a hotel off of Venice island- they are definitely not worth it as the amount of money it will be to get on the island every day and the amount of time it takes is silly!

We were both so so sad to be going home, as we both enjoyed our holiday so much and felt like it flew by too quick! But I'm sure I will be booking my next adventure as soon as I possibly can!!!!

Feel free to let me know in the comments below what you thought of Venice and if you visited any of the destinations I did! 

Speak soon and thanks for reading my Interrail adventure!

Annie 🌻


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