The best time to visit Venice is in the winter. Well, I don’t really know. This was my third trip to Venice, and all have been in late November or December. It is also the coldest time. That I do know. However, I am told there are less tourists in the winter and it smells better. There were a lot more tourists this time than 9 years ago when I was last there. And I suspect it will only get worse. But this was our reasoning behind going to Venice now. That and I found super cheap train tickets a few months ago (20 Euro each way). And to top it off, Lolo, a college friend of mine joined us from the States.
Venice has been high on Riki’s list for awhile and we wanted to get there before it turned into “Disneyland” as people have been saying. I’ve talked about these lists in the last few blogs, but they don’t actually exist. My list really includes everywhere, just the order changes depending on the circumstances, ie war, funding, weather. For instance, India and Sri Lanka are at the top of my list currently, but they require a longer trip and more money, so I suspect you will just see more European blogs in the next few months. Riki’s list includes pretty much all of South America, so that may have to wait as well. The perpetual list I guess.
We started our trip with a 7.5 hour train ride through the Gotthard Tunnel, which is the longest train tunnel in the world, and was not even officially open. But I suspect that really has to do with the European train schedule change on December 11 and not that it wasn’t ready. Because we also came back the same way.
Riki took something like 3000 photos in 4 days. He gave me 747 of his “favorites”. Here are just a few. We mostly walked, except for one day where we went out to Burano and Murano by boat and then continued down the Grand Canal. Thanks to Lolo’s fitness tracker, we know that one day we even hit 36,000 steps. Lots of walking for a small city. It really is the best way to see things.
Riki has posted more photos on his website: rbernadotte.smugmug.com
One of the great things about Venice is that everything is transported by boat. It is probably what makes it so expensive as well. Everything comes in by boat – mail, packages, beer, wine, food, clothes. We saw so many over packed boats, with boxes looking like that would fall over into the water at any moment.
Our island trip to Burano and Murano started out gray and rainy, but the brightly painted houses were totally worth the 1 hour trip. We stopped in Murano on the way back, which was drab in comparison and full of small, touristy glass stores. Despite our best efforts though we could not find a free glass making demonstration and got hustled out of a large shop for trying to browse and not watch the 5 Euro, 5 minute demonstration.
I can see why people think it will be a Disneyland soon. Maybe it already is. The huge cruise ship port, which was luckily empty, funnels a massive amount of people into the small streets and narrow canals. The shops are full of touristy plastic and the food was underwhelming, despite eating as far from the tourist traps as possible. Luckily, the architecture makes up for all of that.