Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Magical Venice - Part 1

Last December 2014, I had the chance to travel to Italy and France with three of my classmates for a total of nine days. It was my first time to travel outside the UK and I was pumped up to see the sights, taste the delicious food, and experience the culture.

Our first stop was Venice from December 14 to December 16. We booked a Monarch flight that cost about GBP40 each. The flight took 2.5 hours from Manchester Airport to Marco Polo Venice International Airport.  Our accommodation, Ca' dei Fuseri, a B&B that was booked through, provided directions on how to get there.

We arrived in the evening and the first time I set my eyes on the heart of Venice, I was in love (cheesy as it may sound). Everything just felt so magical. I read a novel once that was set in Venice, and the way the author described the place made a mark on me. Nevertheless, reality truly trumps fantasy as I walked along its cobbled streets. But first, my friends and I needed to find our accommodation so that we could leave our luggage and explore the city to our heart's content.

Rialto Bridge
It was easier said than done. Despite being equipped with Google Maps, we still found ourselves walking towards a dead end every now and then before we finally found the place. We felt that we were in a treasure hunt as we obtained the keys to the place in "secret locations". One great challenge however is that the B&B did not have any elevators and our rooms were located on the third floor. My fitness was certainly tested as I carried my medium-sized luggage all the way up. The place had a very homey feel to it and during that time, I think my friends and I were the only guests. They also provided free towels for guests. But what really sold us to the place beforehand was its location. The B&B was located within the centre of Venice, and it was just a stone's throw away from the Rialto Bridge, shops, and restaurants.

We made it!

Still all smiles despite our heavy luggage
Bedroom 1 (L and G's bedroom)

Bedroom 2 (S and A's bedroom)

Once we got settled in, we decided to roam around for a bit and at the same time, look for a good place to fill our tummies. It was already a bit late when we went out so most of the shops were already closed. It also looked as if most tourists and residents head in quite early as there were only a few people that we encountered. Maybe because it was winter so tourists were at a low point and were probably looking for warmer places. Nonetheless, we enjoyed our bit of solitude.

We ended up eating at Nuova Valigia wherein we each ordered our own pizza. Mine was a combination of mushrooms, ham, and cheese that just melted in my mouth. The ingredients tasted so fresh and we all felt it was truly an authentic Italian pizza. We couldn't stop raving about the food even after we left. 

Enjoying or first dinner in Venice

Mushroom, ham, and cheese pizza
Soon after, we were once walking again along the streets of Venice, soaking up the sights. We really didn't have any particular destination in mind and we just mostly wanted to explore. Venice is the kind of place where I wouldn't mind getting lost because every nook and cranny is just so picturesque.  We also saw plenty of cool finds such as funky bottles of olive oil, intricately designed masks that were just perfect for a masquerade ball, sea-shell shaped pasta, and of course, the one of the many, flavoured gelato. Except for the bit of chill in the air that could easily be solved by a good jacket, I thought it was a beautiful night to start our holidays.

Exploring the streets of Venice
Perfect souvenirs

Can never go wrong with chocolate

Look at all those flavours

Perfect for a masquerade

More masks to choose from

All that glittery goodness

Who wouldn't mind to get lost in a place like this?
Adding a twist to the pasta
G posing with the street lights
Reaching for that ball of lights
More on the next few days coming up...

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