Out of the cities that we were visiting in Europe, Venice is the one that I was most looking forward to. It was also the city that I was most worried about our accommodations. We had rented a small apartment on AirBnb, but we didn’t have an address to the apartment. Our train arrived late at night, and we were supposed to meet on a bridge to get our keys to the apartment. Sounds pretty sketchy, right? To make things even more interesting, our host was actually unable, so we were supposed to meet the host’s friend on the bridge, but we didn’t actually have their contact information.
When we arrived near the bridge we found the area eerily deserted. I was actually quite surprised, because I thought Venice would be overrun with tourists. I took a picture from the bridge I thought we were supposed to meet at. It turned out that there were actually two bridges pretty close to each other, and we weren’t exactly sure which one we were supposed to meet at. Thankfully as we walked between the bridges we met our host’s friend.
In the morning we got a better look at our apartment– it was actually a pretty charming little place. The back of the apartment actually opened directly into a canal. The neighborhood had few tourists, there seemed to be a fair number of students who lived in the neighborhood, which made sense because there was a college nearby.
My first impression of Venice is that it’s a very beautiful city, and out of all the cities I’ve been to I’d have to say it has the most unique character. It has the same sort of old world character that most of the places I’ve been to Europe has, but it’s unique because everything centers on water.
Even UPS delivers by boat in Venice.
The gondolas are the famous way of traveling around the city, but we ended up not riding any. We traveled mostly on foot, though we rode the vaporettos (the ferry system) a fair amount too.
Like most cities in Europe there’s a big public square. In Venice it’s San Marco Square.
The square is famous for its pigeons, but they’re trying to crack down on tourists feeding pigeons. There are signs that say “Please don’t feed the pigeons,” but these Asian tourists apparently didn’t pay attention to them.
The touristy areas are filled with little shops and various carts selling Venetian masks and various trinkets from Burano and Murano, the islands north of Venice.
We spent a day taking the ferry to Murano and Burano. The island of Murano has various glass art displays throughout the island, including this one of ducks.
Murano is known for its glass artisans, they produce a lot of glassware using the technique of glass blowing. They’re also known for glass sculpture, which is used to produce statues and other artwork. We saw a quick demonstration of both techniques.
Throughout Murano (and throughout Venice as well) there are many shops that have miniature glass sculptures for sale. There’s everything from animals to inanimate objects like boats to even full orchestras made of glass.
From Murano we took a ferry to Burano, which is Venice’s colorful sister island to the north. Unfortunately it was raining when we arrived, so the colors of the houses weren’t as vibrant as usual.
Whereas Murano is known for its glass, Burano is famous for its lace. There were many lace shops on the island.
This lace shop even had a granny creating new pieces of lace. It seems like a time consuming process, which explains why everything was so expensive.
Supposedly seafood’s pretty good on Burano, which makes sense because it’s an island. We had fish soup at one of the trattorias on the island. Maybe it was because I was cold and wet, but the soup really hit the spot. Well actually it was really good, probably among the best seafood soups I’ve ever had.
I was really looking forward to visiting Venice, and it didn’t disappoint. It definitely has its own character that’s very different from anyplace else I’ve visited. And it was nice visiting Murano and Burano, which had their own unique character as well. That being said, I don’t know if I’d ever come back to Venice– it’s one of those places to visit once, just to cross it off a bucket list. There’s not too much there that I’d need to see again.