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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

{Trip Report} Venice, Italy

Ciao, ciao!! You guys are so great...thanks for your kind comments yesterday, and sharing your own travel nightmares with me. It's nice to know I'm not the only freak one! But because of that 'hiccup,' we unexpectedly spent the first night of our trip in London. I was bummed about losing a night in Venice, but it was a great chance to sleep and get acclimated to the new time zone. Which was a good thing, considering the remaining trip to Venice required a flight to Milan, bus to Milano Centrale train station, and 2.5 hour train to Venice. And from there, we took a boat to our hotel! Talk about Planes, Trains & Automobiles!

But it was all worth it to experience this....

Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy

The train deposits you directly on the island, and the Grand Canal awaits just outside the station. The scene looks like a typical busy street in Europe, until it registers that the street is actually water, and the cars are boats.

Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy

There is nothing but cobbled sidewalks, and canals...not even bikers and skateboarders are allowed. It's amazing to watch the locals go about every day life, by just foot or boats. Even construction crews worked out of boats carrying equipment. And these aren't barges either, since most canals are only 12-feet across and have low foot-bridges.

Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy



Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy

Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy

It didn't take us long to track down our first gelato...not a difficult task since gelaterias are everywhere. And yes, it's sooooo good. Although, I'm sure strolling through Italy while slurping your cone has some effect on it's flavor.

 http://distilleryimage7.s3.amazonaws.com/97494e42a60911e283b822000a9f124c_7.jpg


We walked most everywhere, with no destination or map, but the vaporettos are an easy and efficient public transportation system. They work similar to a subway, with each numbered boat line labeled by it's final stop. After buying a pass (this is an honor system, our tickets were never checked), you wait on the platform until the water ferry pulls up, then hop off again at your chosen stop. They run mostly up-and-down the Grand Canal, and you walk the back canals.

Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy

The fancy little boats are private taxis, and pretty expensive.

Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy

I was also amazed at how clean the city is...occasionally you smell the canal, and the buildings are beautifully patinated, but there was not a piece of trash anywhere.

Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy


Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy

Tourist season is just starting, so there were a lot of people in the main squares and around the famous sites, like St. Marks Square and the Rialto Bridge. Gelato helped to tune them out.

http://distilleryimage9.s3.amazonaws.com/f6403e20a6b711e2ada322000a1fbcdb_7.jpg

Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy

Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy


Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy

But if you wander in the opposite direction, away from the main squares, you can easily find quiet alleys. This is where you'll feel the magic of Venice.

Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy

Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy

Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy


Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy

Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy

There are no supermarkets, only small stores carrying essentials, so the daily outdoor market is where the locals come for produce, olives, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh fish.

Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy

Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy


Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy

Yes it's touristy, and a little gimmicky, but we splurged for a gondola ride...and it's completely worth it! The gondoliers are part of a union of sorts, so you'll pay the same (80 euros for 45-minutes) with most any of them. Some are pushier than others, so we chose a cute guy who kept his boat off the beaten path, and had a relaxed vibe about him. We also chose late afternoon, so we could see everything. He rowed us through quiet back canals, and across the Grand Canal...navigating the gondola as smoothly and easily as a car. He even sang a little, in a non-creepy way, and I totally swooned. There may have been some smooching going on.

http://distilleryimage7.s3.amazonaws.com/a0603d5ca6b711e2ab5722000a1f9684_7.jpg

Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy

Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy

{Where We Stayed}

We loved everything about this small, moderately priced hotel, run by two adorable brothers.
We received an upgrade, and the room was HUGE, with windows that opened to a quiet canal.
They deliver breakfast to your room each morning. (No one in Italy serves hot cappuccinos, so make peace with your delicious cup of tepid coffee.)
The hotel is centrally located, easy to find, and only four vaporetto stops from the train station. From there, it's a 3-minute walk. You don't realize how priceless this is until you see people hauling their luggage over multiple bridges, and thoroughly lost.

Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy

{Where We Ate}

I pretty much scoured Lauren's blog, and followed all her advice.
She discovered this place, and it was great, cozy, and fairly-priced.  

This little gem was full of locals, and everyone seemed to eat their way through four-courses.
 You know that's too rich for me...so I stuck with a single course of seafood, and it was perfection.

Supposedly, gelato that is displayed like tall piles of meringue, are full of oils and additives.
Venchi uses only pure ingredients, and makes it on-site everyday.
And they have flavors like chili-pepper chocolate! (my favorite)

Venice is a tourist town, so some say it's hard to find real, authentic food. Basically, avoid any restaurant located directly on a main square, or with pictures of food on the menu. Just wander a few blocks away, and you'll find places too-cute-to-be-true. And yes, the wine is cheaper than soda, and you've never tasted pizza or pasta so good. Really.

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Pizza is served whole, and un-cut, and eaten with a knife and fork. And don't ask for ranch dip. You won't need it anyway.



Hi Sugarplum | {Trip Report} Venice, Italy

The romance of the city, coupled with the extra attention Mr. Sugarplum lavished on me (he was still shell-shocked), made our two nights in Venice perfect and unforgettable. Maybe I should pass out more often.

46 comments:

  1. Looks so stupid amazing. And I love all the pics of you eating ice cream. I'm certain everyone was staring at you thinking you were the cutest. And agreed, when we went to Italy the pasta and pizza were on a completely different tastey level than even my favorite place here in the US. xoxoxo

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  2. Wow! What beautiful pictures! I love Venice!! My husband (just my boyfriend then) backpacked through Europe after graduation, roughing it in hostels. We always dream of the day when we can return and travel in style, staying in hotels and eating at tables, in restaurants! Your trip report is making me want this to happen sooner than later! Thanks for sharing!!

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  3. Venice is absolutely beautiful!!! And I bet the pictures don't do the food justice! Glad your airplane adventure ended with a lovely vacation and lots of yummy gelato :)

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  4. We loved Venice! I cannot wait to go back. Great photos.

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  5. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous! You, Italy, and the gelato! Man I just love Europe!!! You're quite the photographer lady!

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  6. well, you've convinced me.... venice isn't on my travel list. yep, that's right.... isn't. i'll have to do with seeing pretty pics of it. with my dreaded motion sickness i would never get past the plane ride. boats, buses, and trains are pretty much out. but so glad you had fun and so very glad you were feeling better! (i'm still shocked about how serious your "episode" was... you made it seem so casual on instagram when you first posted it.)

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  7. WOW! This is stunning! So happy you had a wonderful time with Mr. SP. A well-deserved trip for sure!

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  8. I love that you were pampered by Mr. S and experienced the hotel upgrade! I want to roll with you next time. I just love Venice. SO charming. The photos are beautiful. Thanks for sharing sweet thing.

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  9. Gorgeous pics Cassie! I'll be pinning a lot of these do that I coul go back to for future reference! Glad you had a romantic time!

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  10. That's right, Mr. SP, you give your woman the same attention as you would a delicious gelato. Good man.

    Venice's water 'streets' has always astounded my simple brain. Beautiful.

    I'm not usually one for reading trip recaps but I'm hanging on to every word of yours!! Can't wait to see more!!

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  12. Ahh I LOVE your pictures!! My husband and I went to Venice last summer and it's our favorite city in the world (so far). Glad you enjoyed it!!

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  13. When I was in 2nd grade we learned about Venice and I knew I had to go. I was finally able to go the summer after my freshman year in college. It was truely as magical as we had learned about. Love all your pictures!!

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  14. Wow, wow, wow!! So jealous!!

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  15. I feel like I just went on a mini vacay to Venice from looking at your gorgeous photos. Thanks so much for sharing them. p.s. I love your little striped t-shirt and purple cardigan, too cute.

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  16. Your trip sounds like a dream and the images are all so professional looking. You guys are adorable!

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  17. Gorgeous! This looks absolutely amazing and breathtaking! I want to go!

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  18. interesting about the additives, I always thought those piled high looked like the best ones!

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  19. I love your photos! Beautiful photography girl! And yes, I sometimes think getting to the moon is easier than getting to Venice! What a wonderful vacation for you and Mr. SP!

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  20. Venice is way up there on my list of places to see, I'm pretty sure I watched "The Tourist" just to see all those amazing scenes of Venice (c; And my preggers crazy brain is now obsessed with getting some gelato...go figure...I have no idea how I got that idea (c;

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  21. You two are too cute and these are the most beautiful photos! I sure hope you are going to blow this up and print them!

    We had our fair share of gelato too. And found a place that claimed it was SO good that they didn't get samples. Turns out they were right :)

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  22. Oh what an amazing trip! Love all of your beautiful photos. I've been to Italy, but still never to Venice. I'd love to go one day! I think it's awesome that you two still travel on your own. I want to as well with my husband! And I must say you still never cease to amaze me how cute you look on your trips.

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  23. I've been to Italy twice and hope to go again soon. I love it so and your pictures are amazing!

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  24. What breathtaking photos! You & Mr. SP are too cute!

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  25. Exactly how much gelato did you eat? Ha! Once you've had real Italian food it's hard to go back to the American version. I miss it there.

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  26. Ahhhhh, isn't Venice gorgeous? I went on a 6-day spring break trip to Venice and Florence 6 years ago when I was living in Ireland. I can't wait to go back one day. Seriously one of the best places to get stunning photos. And the food? HEL-LO. My friend and I figured it was okay to eat and drink ourselves silly since we walked all day. I must also tell you that a pigeon pooped on my shoulder and part of my hair while I was in St. Marks Square. They say it's good luck but I think it's just something people say to make you feel better about having bird poop on your person.

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  27. Gah! This looks so amazing!! Love that you included the hotel and restaurants you visited. Hoping I can reference back to this post when we finally make it out there!!

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  28. Venice looks amazing and you look beautiful too ! I love all your scarfs. Would love to see what clothes you brought on this trip too ! Your travel tips have been very helpful to me especially the clothes part - I always get so anxious about what to pack. I am dreaming of going to Venice on day !!

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  29. Venice looks amazing and you look beautiful too ! I love all your scarfs. Would love to see what clothes you brought on this trip too ! Your travel tips have been very helpful to me especially the clothes part - I always get so anxious about what to pack. I am dreaming of going to Venice on day !!

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  30. Gorgeous pictures! Sounds like a magical time!

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  31. Girl - your photos look amazing!! What a magical place!

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  32. Seriously amazing! We were there three years ago and I think that Venice was my favorite city in Italy! I loved Rome, but the views of Venice were just breath taking! So glad you got a chance to go....and I am glad you were pampered by the Mr. You deserve it!

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  33. Wow, That looks like an ah-mazing trip! I'm jealous!

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  34. literally my dream vacation since i was like 15- beautiful!

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  35. ahhh, *sigh*. I looove reliving through your post! Your photos are just beautiful (as are the gelato pics). My favourite thing about Venice was just strolling the quiet streets, it's so cool with no cars/bikes. Love your trip recaps - more, more, more!

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  36. Ahhh sooo beautiful. What a magical city. We were there almost five years ago for our honeymoon. Love your photos!

    And your guest post series was fun to read while you were away. Really glad you're back though :)

    Jenny
    www.simcoestreet.blogspot.com

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  37. We are planning a two day trip to Venice on our honeymoon in September. We were wishy washy on a hotel, as they are so varied! So we went ahead and booked the same hotel as you. Thanks for providing that information! It looks like a lovely place.

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    Replies
    1. Yay!! You will love the hotel! Make sure you tell them in an email that it's your honeymoon, and they'll likely upgrade you. We booked the cheapest, classic room, and somehow ended up in a suite overlooking the canal! And it's a breeze to find...get on the vaporetto, take your 4th stop Ca Doro, walk up the alley, right on the main street, and left on the first street. Walk to the end of the small, quiet street and you'll see the name next to the door. I'm so jealous...I want to go back!

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  38. We are traveling to Germany, Austria, and Prague in a few weeks, but Italy is on our list for the future. How could anyone resist the charm of Venice? My new ultra wide angle lens just arrived this morning via FedEx, and I look forward to putting it to good use on our trip. I just hope my photos turn out as nice as yours!

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  40. Wow, incredible. Every single one of your photos is frame worthy. It looks like such a magical vacation. So jealous, it has just been added to my bucket list! :)

    Next time, pack your sister wife into your suitcase pleasethankyou.

    Much love!

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  41. It's just too gorgeous for words!!! I must, must, MUST see Venice before I die.

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  42. You have certainly convinced me that I must go there some day.

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  43. Wow, Cassie -- your pictures are beautiful. I can't wait to see Venice one of these days! Hope you felt okay for the rest of your trip considering your rocky start.

    Erin

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  44. Sounds like a wonderful time in Venice regardless of the hiccup! I'd have to say that I think Mr. Sugarplum would like you to "not" pass out again. I'm so glad you are ok.

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Your comments are like crack, or popcorn with milk duds, I just can't quit them. xoxo, cass

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