Beautiful and Romantic City

Trip Start Jul 12, 2013
Trip End Aug 23, 2013

Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It has been such a privilege to visit Venice! It is a beautiful city and we have totally loved our time here! The overnight train from Munich was actually really fun! We had our own little compartment with two bunk beds (and air conditioning!) It was a pretty tight squeeze, room to stand by your bed or be on your bed only! There was a little sink in the corner that we were able to use to have a bit of a wash so it was everything we needed really! We boarded the train at 8.00pm. Immediately as we left the station a huge thunder and lightening storm began (no rain!) it went for hours with huge sheet lightening rackling across the sky every few seconds! We lay on the bottom bunk and watched it out the window for ags while we ate our sandwiches. We slept relatively well on the train, it was very noisy and rocked around a lot!

The next morning we arrived on Venice Island early not long after 8.00am. It was quite exciting getting of the train in a completely new country! We decided to walk to our hotel on the other side of the island as a day travel pass using the bus boats was 30.00 per person! We got a Venetian map and headed off towards our hotel. The streets were like a maze! The buildings are so high on each side that it is very hard to get any kind of sense of which way you are going. The little alleyways are very narrow and they all look very similar, nevertheless after about an hour we managed to locate our hotel. Tom made a great choice with this hotel, perfect location right close to lots of the more famous attractions. The hotel manager Michelle was totally awesome! He gave us complimentary coffees when we arrived and took our bags. He informed us that they had decided to upgrade our room for us and that they would give us a complimentary drink later in the evening when we came back - love this guy.

Despite feeling a little groggy and dirty from the train we wanted to make the most of the time that we had in Venice. We headed straight out to see Doge's Palace. Venice is definitely one of the most touristy places that we have been, and yet, despite all of the people, somehow it still felt like a really special place for the two of us to share together! St Mark's Square was absolutely packed there were huge queues stretching around in the shade to get into the basilica and the Palace. It was very hot so we weren't that keen on queueing! Fortunately, we had booked our tickets online before we left so we got to queue jump everybody and go straight in. Doge's (pronounced doe-jays) Palace is a very old building dating back to the eleventh century. It has long been the seat of Royalty and of political power on the island. The rooms were ornately decorated and the paintings on the ceiling were amazing. There was an epic display of ancient armourmnets and weapons - we took a few photos for you Neil! In the council chambers the Venetian court proclaimed sentences on prisoners. If you were condemned you would walk across the bridge of sighs (so called as apparently the prisoners all heaved a sigh as they crossed it) to get to the prison. We walked over the bridge and had a look around the formidable prison! There is a copy of the Bridge of Sighs in St John's College in Cambridge which I used to walk across both as a student and then as a teacher!

We found a dinky little restaurant and sampled our first Italian margareita pizzas for lunch.

In the afternoon we headed out on a four hour tour of the Venetian Islands in the bay that we had pre-booked several months ago. It was really exciting to see the city from the water and get an idea of how it looked. The first place we visited was Murano, famed for its glass making. We saw a master glass maker make a beautiful glass horse and were amazed at some of the things they had on display in the shops. Burano was next, this is a little island famous for handmade lace. It also has rows and rows of brightly coloured houses along the canals which we loved. Finally we stopped at Torcello, the smallest of the three islands. This one has been almost entirely deserted, the original 20,000 population is reduced to only 11 now. We looked at the old church there before returning to the main island.

We had a quiet evening reading our books and enjoying our complimentary drink in the hotel. The night manager made us an Aperol Spritz, a very popular drink here which we thought was delicious!

The next day we had an early booking to queue jump into St Mark's Basilica. It is a beautiful building with lots of ornate goldwork on the ceiling. You are not allowed to take photos inside so we only have one sneaky one to show you that we took as we walked through the door. One really interesting thing inside the Basilica is how uneven the floor is - kind of like undulating waves! After visiting the Basilica we wandered through lots of the streets and explored the main square. In the afternoon we had a Gondola boat ride through the canals and under the main sights like the bridge of sighs. It was great fun cruising around the city like this and getting to see some different parts.

In the evening we walked to a restaurant that some locals had recommended to us (quite a long way from the main tourist area) and had a delicious meal of traditional pasta dishes.  We had another Aperol Spritz in the evening close to our hotel.

On our last morning we saw the Rialto Bridge and explored the markets around the grand canal. We then collected our bags (after one more sneaky Aperol Spritz) and began our walk back to the station. It rained while we walked (the first rain of the trip!) but since it was so nice, it was a welcome change to walk in the cool. It only lasted a few minutes so we were dry by the time we got to the station! Really sad to be leaving Venice and hope that we will get a chance to come back here one day!

Lots of love,



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Mum on

There's a small Bridge of Sighs at Hertford College in Oxford too. Have a long cool Campari Soda for me in Firenze. We loved it but it was hot as hell! XXX

Jessica Shields on

Wow what a wonderful time! it all looks so lovely, and you guys seem to have covered a lot of ground and gotten a really good overall picture of the city:) nice tan coming along there Emz! Tom you should make more faces; not only are Emma's reactions entertaining to think about, but the resulting photos are enjoyable too. Emz: Hannah and Marnie are keen to read your blog, can you add them to your email list?

Dorothy Johnston on

Thank you for taking us on this wonderful trip with you.

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