Ever since I was a little girl I have always wanted to visit Venice. I’m sure you have a place like this too – something you have fantasized about for years by way of pictures & conversations. But finally we arrived, and it was everything I thought it would be and so much more.
We took a vaporetto from the airport to our hotel, Hotel Arcadia. The instructions the hotel gave us were very easy and straightforward and we were thankful we didn’t run into any issues. We arrived at our stop and lugged our luggage a short three to four blocks. The hotel was beautiful and easily accessible from the street. The doorman carried our bags up a flight of stairs (they didn’t have an elevator) and later on to our rooms. It was a gorgeous and sweet room and we are both in agreement that if we returned to Venice we would stay here again.
Famished, we dropped off our luggage and headed to Gam Gam around 2:30pm. Gam Gam is the Chabad run kosher restaurant in Venice. And while the food was good enough – it didn’t scream “get into my belly now!” We were pretty exhausted so we took the remainder of the day pretty leisurely – like Italians!
We found our way over to a Kosher bakery near Gam Gam. There are two kosher bakeries in Venice – one is owned and operated by non-Jews while the other is operated by Jews. We happened to come upon the bakery owned by Jews which was operated by a lovely and feisty Jewish Russian woman. It was another chance for me to use my broken Hebrew to communicate with her, as it was the only language in common. And we ate everything in sight at the bakery. In all seriousness, we bought a bagful of goodies to take back to the hotel room to snack on. My husband endeared himself to the baker to get free goodies. We took a quick cat nap and roamed the nearby streets and ended up back at Gam Gam for dinner.
Day two in Venice consisted of a pseudo version of a suggested walking tour from Rick Steve’s Pocket Venice. From the hotel we walked to the S. Marcuola-Casino stop and took the #1 vaporetta one stop to San Stae to the Rialto Fish Market & Produce Market. It was an interesting sight to behold – fresh fruit, fish and all sorts of sea creatures being sold. But to be honest – the Central Market in Athens puts the Rialto Fish Market to shame. It’s definitely worth a visit if you love vibrant colors and lively people.
Rialto Fish Market
We walked leisurely through the markets perusing the variety. We used the handy dandy map that came with our pocket Venice guide to find our way to Saint Mark’s Basilica. The architecture rivals that of Notre Dame (in my humble opinion). Next we had the mandatory expensive coffee in St. Mark’s Square while we listened to music and watched tourists attacking pigeons or maybe the pigeons were attacking the tourists?
Saint Mark’s Basilica
Coffee in St. Mark’s Square
Next we headed over to the Bridge of Sighs, which is a bridge that connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace. It’s named the Bridge of Sighs because it is said that “prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells” (Wikipedia). And of course we snuck in a Gondola Ride as we let the beauty of Venice wash over us.
Bridge of Sighs
Helpful Tip: You can skip the line at St. Mark’s Basilica if you have a backpack! Just go to the front and they will redirect you to a storage center & then they will redirect you to the front of the line.
We hopped on a vaporetto and headed to Murano, which is known for its glass-making techniques and artisans. Out of all the places we’ve been in Europe, this is without a doubt the town where we dropped the most dough – and it was so well worth it. They have such beautiful and unique items that it’s hard not to take everything home with you.
Utilizing the vaporetto as much as we could we headed on to Burano, which is known for its lacemaking. Murano had better items for sale, but Burano was alive with color. When you see pictures of Venice like this one, it’s actually an image of Burano. We bought a lovely painting there by a very talented woman.
Helpful Tip: Make sure the items you purchase from Murano, Burano or Torcello all have certificates of authenticity. You don’t want to bring home a replica made in China!