Well, been a while, so there are going to be quite a few posts in a row to sum up our travels from the past 3 months, where we hit another 6 countries! After we were in San Marino, we decided we must check out Venice before heading back to Milan for the Champions League match between Tottenham and AC Milan. Anyway, after a shorter train ride, we dropped into Venice around 7pm, dropped our bags and got some dinner before hitting the city the next day.

Crazy bird guy in San Marco Square

We hear all the stories about Venice sinking, smelling bad, and pretty much falling apart. Well, all of those are true unfortunately, in one way or the other. Venice is sinking, but not in the way we think. The water keeps rising because of the oceans, and the fact that Venice still doesn’t have a good lock system surrounding it. If they ever get that up and running, I think Venice will be safe, but that’s only the first step to preserving that city. The whole city has fallen into ruin, and is dilapidated everywhere you look. Yes, it’s not as easy to maintain a city where everything can only be accessed by canals, but it must be done. The city is not built for children or the elderly either, so if you have them or are so, don’t visit Venice.

We stayed at a small hotel right on the canal, across from the train station. It actually was nice, but you could tell they are always under the constant battle of humidity, especially since it seemed all the wood in the building was being replaced with composite wood. Anyway, it was a good location and the next morning we set our sights on the city. Venice is very small, but at times seems large because you have to walk everywhere, and some of the streets are so small (3 feet wide) that you feel like you’re walking forever in a maze at times. Well, in fact you are, since you technically can never get lost in Venice, albeit we tried a few times and ran into the same thing each time….water!

the view of the Rialto Bridge from our gondola

Now, we did the few things that ever person “should” do when the visit Venice. Have dinner at a nice little restaurant, walk across the Rialto Bridge, sit in San Marco square, and take a ride in an overpriced, and less charming than advertised, gondola! The latter is the most famous thing to do in Venice, as heard by tourists for years, but we’ll confirm that it has lost most of its charm. There are hundreds of gondola’s around the canals, and they all bother you like a peddler on the beach in Mexico. Second, they are vastly overpriced. $85 for a half hour is robbery, but it’s for the experience right? Then, when you think that the gondoliers are going to sing, they actually get on their mobile phones and chat with their friends…..who are also gondoliers! Was it nice going down the Grand Canal on a gondola, sure. Would we do it again, no!

Getting lost in the streets of Venice

Venice is extremely expensive to live in, so rates like these need to exist for these workers to live. The problem is I didn’t think Venice was that great, and didn’t live up to the hype. On the other hand, it’s a unique city, and does have hidden gems to see…like riding away on a boat to see Murano Island, the home of the famous glass makers, which surprise, is also vastly overpriced! We thought we found a killer piece for our home, wherever that might be in a few years, only to find out that it was about 10x the price I had in my head….and there were thousands of pieces in this one store on the island. Safe to say, I can see why their business is hurting as well.

Worker molding out some pieces on Murano Island

The food we had for a few nights there was extremely good, taking away the joint we ate on the first night that was some of the worst Italian food I’ve ever eaten, let alone Annemarie who is a critic beyond critics when it comes to her favorite food. The little trattorias that we found the other nights were great, and tucked away in corners as we expected they woud be, spoke zero english, and everything was homemade. That will stick with me as my fondest memory of Venice.

Best shot of the weekend!

After 2 nights in Venice, we headed back over to Milan to only encounter some terrible weather, which continued throughout the whole day and night. Good thing there was some cover, and that our seats were covered at the match, otherwise it would have been a pretty miserable day. It was a great end to the trip, as Tottenham upset AC Milan, 1-0, with the winner coming in the 80th minute. Standing up and cheering in the middle of a group of Italian fans is not the smartest thing to do, but with the amount of police around, I had no fear. Of course we left the match before most of the Tottenham fans did, and disguised ourselves until we made it back to the hotel 🙂

Great match & a great win for Spurs!