Venezia, Ciao.

While my mom was visiting, we decided to visit Venice, Italy upon her saying that that is one place she really wanted to see in her lifetime. Ellie, of course, wanted to come too so after picking my mom up at the airport on Sunday afternoon and making a huge crying spectacle with me almost inside the security gates and eating a pub roast in Primrose Hill with live jazz that afternoon, we woke up extremely early to get on our night bus to take us to the train station which would then take us the airport.

My mom’s first vacation photo in my flat!

It was obviously a long process. The flight was easy on easyjet and when we arrived, we were confused about how to get to Venice and Ellie and I argued with the ladies behind the counter for awhile until we got our student 72 hour water bus passes and my mom got her regular one. We then boarded a bus which drove us to where the water buses take off. Thinking we were getting the right boat to Ospedale, near where we were staying, we actually ended up on another island Murano, which we end up revisiting later.

First things first though, we had to have pizza and gelato so we ate outside, enjoying the sunshine which is so hard to come by in London and shared two pizzas and tiramisu gelato, one of 304850438 gelatos which I ended up buying while visiting.


Our first Italian lunch in the sunshine!


Our water bus which is similar to a regular bus or subway.

After lunch, we were anxious to get to our hotel called Ca’ Bauta. We took a water bus up the Grand Canal, the most impressive canal in the whole world, i would bargain to say.

We found Ca’ Bauta no problem despite everyone saying how confusing Venice’s winding streets are. We were instantly amazed at the beauty of both Venice and our hotel. We loved the little streets with laundry hanging out of the colorful houses and porches and the amounts of kids playing in the campos(italian for squares).


Getting off the boat for first time in Venice.


A little love for America as we stepped off our boat. It is interesting how much our politics piss off other places and how much they know about our government and our wars…

When we arrived at the hotel, we were taken aback at how lovely Ca’ Bauta was. It was in this tiny courtyard along with other Venetian apartments and where there was a dancing school with little girls in tutu’s.


We had a beautiful view and could hear the church bells every hour, on the hour.


Our dining room where we ate breakfast every morning.


The courtyard.

After dropping off our luggage, we spent the day exploring the squares and side streets and taking everything in and adjusting to hearing Prego and Ciao at every corner. The little bridges to get across the canals are so cute as well and since Venice is 110 islands, there are, needless to say, tons of them.

We saw a lot of gondolas that day but didn’t take a ride ourselves as they are extortinately priced at 100 euros for 1/2 hour and seem to be a bit of a toursit trap but some of them were cheesy/cute to look at like this one:

After, We decided to walk to St. Mark’s Square to see the Basilica and the famous pigeons and clock that strikes the hour in Roman numerals.

St. Mark’s square is breathtaking and also pigeon infested with over 100,000 pigeons in the single square. It was fun to chase the pigeons though and then buy stupid pigeon food and feed them. Beware the sequence of pigeon photos as we spent about a whole hour, playing with the dirty creatures.


Us in front of the Basillica.

Resting in St. Mark’s Square

We went to check out the Rialto bridge which is one of the big two landmarks in Venice.


Me and Mom on top of the bridge!


Mom and Ellie on top of the Rialto bridge

The rialto bridge looks over th Grand Canal and has little shops and markets around it. It, along with St. Mark’s is one of the most touristy areas so we didn’t spend too much time in these areas as things were more expensive and of a lesser quality.

We preferred the smaller streets and ended up eating dinner in the square by our house and we had very modern Italian food. We tried amazing Italian red wine and had a great meal before going to bed exhausted.

The next day, we woke up early, had our Italian pastries for breakfast and our orange juice and headed to the island of Murano which is the next most touristy island after Venice. It is famous for it’s glass blowing factories. We went and watched some demonstrations of the men making vases or pencil holders and my mom bought some souvenirs and we walked around a bit. They have a lot of pretty glass sculptures around the island but otherwise it’s a little quiet aside from the glass trade.


Man making the glass


Murano


Glass Sculptures

After Murano, we took advantage of the sun coming out and we took the water bus to the cemetery which is on a separate island from Venice and on our way home. Maybe a morbid experience but really interesting. Every single grave had flowers and was well-kept, unlike back home where a lot of times graves go without being taken care of.

After the cemetery and another excellent pizza for lunch in Santa Margarita Square, we decided to keep the tone depressing and head to the Jewish Ghetto.

We found the synagogue right on a square and found the museum.

When we walked in, we had just missed the last tour for the day but we read a little bit in the book store about the Jewish ghetto. Venice has a relatively small Jewish population with only a handful still living in the Jewish ghetto today. The original barbed wire used to keep the Jews in at night from the rest of Venice is still intact and pretty haunting to this day.

We went home, tired from walking around and ended up going to bed incredibly early and sleeping through the night.

The next morning we awoke early to go to the basilica. We had our last breakfast at the hotel and stored our luggage for the day.

On our way to St. Mark’s square, I stumbled across this little wine shop. The man inside told me that he and his brother make the wine from scratch and then put it in these barrels.

For only 3 euro, you can get a huge plastic bottle of wine, so we got some red to drink throughout our last day and it was amazing.

The basilica was really beautiful. A little darker than I would have thought but really breathtaking. Afterwards we walked near the bay front to catch a water bus to the island Burano.


We got on a the ferry which was two stories and began our boat ride fine, but then it was 45 minutes and we were still very far from Buran, only docked at the island Lido. It ended up taking close to 1.5 hours to sail to Burano but the journey was fun on the way what with our massive bottle of wine. The only real downfall from all that amazing red wine is having to use the toilet which on this boat was simply a whole in the ground, literally with no handles to hold on to or anything. Needless to say, I stopped drinking any red wine until we got on shore after that experience.




Once we finally got to Burano, we were in for a treat. All of the houses are brightly colored with purples, blues, pinks, any color you can think of. Burano is famous for it’s lace so there were really pretty lace handkerchiefs and baby dresses in all of the windows. We found the main street of Burano and all of the cafes had outdoor seating because the weather was so lovely. So we joined the crowd and got a spritz which is the traditional venetian drink of wine, with a spirit and some other thing in it. It was a little bitter. We also got lots of panini’s filled with cheese and pesto and tomatoes and just saw outside basking in the sunlight amongst all the beautiful colors.


First off the boat


Our cafe for lunch

Ellie and her spritz

Our red wine bottle still going strong!

Mom enjoying her first panino!






Afterwards I got another gelato, my last one in Italy

and then we got the boat back to the hotel so we could collect our luggage and leave on our evening flight back to London.

Venice was our first trip to the continent of Europe and we all loved it. I really enjoyed how there were no cars at all on the entire island. No roads and everything was dependent on the canals, including trash boats, ambulance boats, delivery service boats and mail boats. Italians seemed a lot more relaxed and their kids play outside after school with other kids with simple toys such as balls and jump ropes and scooters. They all seem happy and not cramped inside with cartoons or play stations. It was ultimately so nice to be somewhere foreign with my mom and Ellie with new sights around every corner and in this case, over every bridge.

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