Destination: Venice, Italy

After over three weeks traveling in May and June throughout Iceland and the Balkans, I made it to my last stop in Venice. Although I had gone to Venice twelve years prior, I didn’t remember much from it, and I was interested in returning– plus, it would be cheaper to fly back to Lyon from there (instead of the Balkans), so it was a good decision!

My bus from Ljubljana arrived into Venice in the early evening, and then it was a matter of catching the water bus all the way to St. Mark’s Square. Considering that the majority of the city are canals, it was a different experience to take the water bus along the water, with people getting on and off the platforms at each stop. Soon enough, I made it to St. Mark’s Square, and from there walked about 10-15 minutes to my hostel, which was tucked away in one of the narrow side streets.

Venice in the evening.

I checked in, dropped off my belongings, and got a late dinner at a restaurant just a minute away from the hostel. The truffled, seafood pasta I got was simple, but divine, along with the white table wine on the side. Granted, Venice is more expensive than you think, as meals don’t include the service charge and bread (should you eat it), but the food is rich and tasty. Afterwards, I returned to the hostel to shower and turn in after a long day of traveling.

I would only be in Venice for two nights, meaning that I only had one full day to visit the city. All the same, I managed to see a lot that day– I started off bright and early by taking the water bus to Burano for a half day of sightseeing. I’d been to Murano (the glass-making island) last time I was in Venice, but I hadn’t gone to the colorful, fisherman’s town of Burano. Personally, I found Burano to be much more interesting, as its small, but stunning, multi-colored buildings along the canals offered more Instagram-worthy photos than you could ever possibly imagine.

More Burano.

Spending no more than 90 minutes in Burano, I took the water bus back to Venice mid-morning, just as the huge tourist crowds were getting off to visit Burano. Venice itself was also packed with visitors by the time I returned, but regardless, I braved the crowds to see the city’s highlights. I caught a glimpse of the elegant Ca’ d’Oro against the water, along with the Rialto Bridge, one of the two iconic bridges in Venice.

Views from the Rialto Bridge.
Gondola and Rialto Bridge.

I ended up wandering off from my planned itinerary, but in any case, I got a *hefty* slice of spinach-cheese pizza for lunch and some small, glass souvenirs in the neighborhood I wandered in. I soon backtracked and made my way to Teatro la Fenice, a famous opera theatre. Out of the many *expensive* tourist spots in Venice, I only opted to pay to see the inside of the theatre. I would say that the theatre itself was quite pretty, but other than that, I found the price (7 euros) to be a rip-off for the rest of the site.

Panorama of Teatro la Fenice.

Passing through more narrow streets and crossing more small bridges, I ended up at St. Mark’s Square, where I saw its eponymous basilica, Doge’s Palace, and bell tower. There was a massive queue to get into the basilica, which I opted to forgo, as I didn’t think it was worth it. I made a quick tour around the plaza before strolling along the promenade by the sea, as well as passing by the other iconic bridge, the Bridge of Sighs.

Feeling the June heat, I decided to sit down at one of the *overpriced* cafes for an Apérol Spritz, a Prosecco-based carbonated cocktail, to quench my thirst. I also got some gelato to-go nearby (because after all, it’s necessary while in Italy!), and then I decided to return to my hostel for the afternoon.

St. Mark’s Square.
St. Mark’s Basilica.
Doge’s Palace.
Bridge of Sighs.
Apérol Spritz.
Gelato: mint, stracciatella, and pistachio.

After resting a couple of hours, I headed out in the early evening for dinner. There was a nice-looking restaurant just a few steps from the hostel, which turned out to be a Michelin-starred restaurant (I hadn’t known before!). Called Hostaria da Franz, it was expensive as heck, as Michelin-starred restaurants are, and I would say that the food was quite inventive and not bad. The charcoal-onion pasta I got as a main dish was textured and flavorful, although I wish that it wasn’t served lukewarm. The tiramisu afterwards, however, was a pleasure.

Charcoal-onion pasta.

Full from dinner, I decided to take an evening stroll and catch the sunset at St. Mark’s Square. After waiting for it to get dark enough, I snapped a few photos and returned to my hostel for the rest of the night– I would be leaving the next morning to head to the airport and return to France, so I wasn’t going to go out and party all night.

St. Mark’s Square in the evening.

Overall, it’d been a long, but satisfying adventure all over selected countries in Europe. I enjoyed my week in the chilly, but nature-esque Iceland, along with the hot, Mediterranean climate in Croatia (the Balkans, in general) and architecturally-rich Venice. It was a much-needed break from my semester of teaching, and it certainly lifted my spirits significantly upon returning to France.

That pretty much concludes my travels in Europe this past academic year, as I soon afterwards returned home to the United States for the summer. However, I did more traveling soon thereafter, so you can look forward to more travel posts from me in due course!

Thanks for reading, and see you soon!

— The Finicky Cynic

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