Saturday, October 17, 2009

The most beautiful tourist trap in the world

So, where is the world's most beautiful tourist trap? Venice! Venezia! Yes, it is divinely beautiful, but overrun with so many tourists. For two days I was one of them.

This was my second trip to Venice, Les' first. I was there with my mom nine years ago. While the city itself hasn't changed much, the atmosphere has. It has become much more commercial and there are so many more people (many more visitors, fewer locals)!

For example, my mom and I visited during July of 2001, right smack dab in the middle of tourist season. It wasn't too bad, crowd wise. This time, however, I was somewhat shocked to see how many people were traveling in October. It has started getting cold and rainy, usually not peak tourist time; and yet the city felt a bit crowded at times.

And yet, with the crowds, I still loved Venice. I saw the city through new eyes this time. Nine years ago I wasn't into photography, my mom wasn't into it much back then either (now she is a fabulous photog!). We shared one point and shoot 35mm camera, got lots of pictures to remember our trip, but few of them were frame worthy, and those that were I'm certain she took. Needless to say, Venice looked a lot different through my viewfinder. I LOVED it!

Our first day in Venice was cold and windy. Les & I, being acclimated to the Sicilian weather, weren't quite prepared for the chill in the air. We bundled as best as we could and set off on the train to Venice.

Once we arrived we purchased our Vaporetto (water bus) tickets and set off towards Piazza San Marco. I took lots of pictures as we cruised down the Grand Canal.

Eventually we made it to Piazza San Marco. It had rained a bit on our trip down the Grand Canal, but it has mostly stopped by the time we got off the boat.

The Campanile

The Doge's Palace

Entryway to the Basilica San Marco

Basilica San Marco

We walked a short way around the Doge's Palace to see the Bridge of Sighs. What we saw made me a bit angry.

The Bridge of Sighs...covered with a Geox Ad

When I mentioned earlier that Venice was more commercial than I remembered this is a classic example.  Perhaps there was construction under all of that, but really, a Geox ad?  That is NOT what I came to Venice to see.

After that disappointment we made our way back through Piazza San Marco and went out the other end in search of some lunch.

We wandered some of the little streets and then stumbled on to Ristorante Bonvecchiati, a charming place on right next to a canal.  The prices on the menu weren't too bad, considering it was Venice so we went in.  We ordered our meals and house wine. The food was fantastic, as was the wine.  However, it turned out to be our most expensive meal of the entire vacation.   Let it be a warning that vino locale in Venice doesn't get you the inexpensive house wine!!  Yeah, our wine cost nearly as much as our food and nearly doubled what we had expected the bill to be.  Good thing the food & wine were delish and the atmosphere fabulous.  Here is what We had for lunch:

My yummy lunch

And Les' Yummy Lunch

After lunch we wandered our way back to Piazza San Marco where we visited the Doge's Palace.

Looking out from the Piazzetta at San Giorgio in Isola

While photography wasn't allowed inside the palace I took a lot of pictures in the courtyard.

Scala dei Giganti (Stairway of Giants)

Les & I explored the palace separately.  He likes the audioguides when they are available, I like to follow Rick Steve's tours in his books.  I finished up my tour about 15 minutes before Les did so I sat outside the gate and watched people and just enjoyed where I was.

I think this is my favorite picture from my time in Venice :)

After Les finished up in the Doge's palace we took a meandering route to the Rialto Bridge where we planned to grab a Vaparetto back to the train station and head to the hotel for dinner. On the way, of course, more pictures! :)

San Moise' Church
Since the Basilica has become more of a tourist attraction, this is where the Venetians worship.

Scala Contarini del Bovolo
Built in 1499, an external staircase for a palace

Eventually it was time to head back to the hotel.  We had a wonderful first day in Venice! One more day of vacation to go, I'll post those pictures & stories soon!


Abe Froman said...

Nice photos and blog, Angie! Before I got too far away from it I wanted to comment on the Bridge of Sighs - that's atrocious! Look at how different it looks from when I was there: (my old website).
What a shame. It seems to have become even more commercial/touristy since I was there only a few years ago. But I loved it then, probably my favorite place of our two week tour across several European countries - and I was only there about 24 hours.
It must be nice to have such amazing places to visit so close by.
-Scott Adams

Angela said...

Hi Scott! Thanks for sharing your Venice pics. I didn't know that you'd been there. Even with being so commercial it is still a wondrous place!