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A European Engagement: Venice

After our little 4 hour detour in Florence, we finished our trip from Pisa, finally arriving in Venice. Venice was unbelievable, and unlike anything I have ever seen before, and I think it was one of my favorite highlights of the whole trip. Even though it's quite pricy, and there is not much to do there, the ambience of being in a city completely surrounded by canals was unbelievable.

When we first arrived, we checked into our air bnb per usual, which this time is in more of a residential area, in Marghera instead of right in Venice city. Our room was the romatique suite with a shared kitchen space with a few other tenets. Breakfast was included in our stay every morning, and it was like a Christmas morning feast everyday. It was incredibly delicious, packed with many, many options.

{Pro Tip: Staying in the actually city of Venice is quite pricy, so in order to save money, look for accommodation close to the city with an easy transportation system to get to the city itself to save money} 

Once we had settled in, we took the city bus a short journey into Venice. We were starving when we arrived so we headed straight for our dinner spot, Bigoi Venezia, which is known for its 5-6 euro homemade pasta dishes. Venice is such a quite and peaceful place with incredible views everywhere you turn, so once we got our pasta, we decided to sit near the canal and enjoy our dinner with a view, which was one of my favorite moments of the entire trip.

After dinner we of course had to have some gelato. Mike chose grapefruit and Pinocchio flavored (kind of like cherry, chocolate chip, and cookie?) gelato.
Pinocchio (the puppet not the gelato flavor) is a huge thing here in Italy, where we see him everywhere and we enjoy the nice little Disney hello.

We ended the night by walking back to the bus to head to our airbnb, and by that I mean me prancing around singing "Just Around the Riverbend" but changing it to canal-bend because we had just explored three cities in one day and I was losing my mind.

Our full day in Venice started with another small bus trip. Once the bus got into the city, we took the long, scenic route to get to The San Marco Basilica. Along the way, we saw some cute shops and of course we bumped into the Disney store (that's three thus far on this European adventure).

I loved walking through this city because there is no straight path to get anywhere. Every street is like a small alleyway, and you simply pray you're going the right direction in the end. The canal would pop up here and there, always packed with gondolas and small boats taking their turn to pass by.

The other breathtaking attraction we came across was the Rialto Bridge (Ponte de Rialto), where many tourists packed in tight trying to make sure they got the perfect photo.

{Pro Tip: the best picture spot to see the entire bridge is on the docks off Rivea Ferro}

  The Bridge, built in 1588, was the only way to cross the Grand Canal on foot until 1854.

The San Marco Basilica was a close walk away from the Rialto Bridge. St. Marco Square and outside of the Basilica were exceptional.

We had bought our skip the line tickets for 2 euros each ahead of time to skip the 4 hour line that enters for free, however, they failed to mention that there is a dress code of shoulders must be covered and no shorts. After a bit of back and forth, we opted to not go inside and headed out to find lunch instead.

Everyone who knows Venice thinks of gondola rides on the Grand Canal, however, a 30 minute gondola ride is 80 euros during the day and 100 euros at night. A gondola can hold six people and if you are splitting that price with six others, I could see how that's not so bad. We were not really looking to spend that kind of money as a couple, so we checked into our alternative options. There was a private water taxi for 40 euros, which is like a smaller motor boat that you and only your party would ride in, which was still a bit too expensive for us. We decided on the public water taxi which was 7.50 euros each, and took us back from the Basilica to the bus station in about 30 minutes, all while getting a beautiful tour of the canal. 

{pro tip: go to the back of the water taxi. Most people crowd at the front, but there are more seats available, and you still feel the breeze from the water}

After a whole week in Italy, for my final Italian meal, we went to
 Pizza Capri, where I finally got my gnocchi I had been whining about forever. It was more potato-like than the kind in the states, and I loved every bit of it!

We also decided to treat ourselves with a little Italian tiramisu as well.

With one final gelato (Pinocchio and amaretto-cherry flavors for me, pineapple and lemon for Mike), we said goodbye to Venice.

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