Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Stop number three on my European vacation took us to beautiful Venice, Italy.  Venice was as described, beautiful culture and architecture, and an experience Monica and I will never forget.  Of course I have a hidden agenda on every trip that I take, and that is centered around food.  I only fulfilled a few of my covert goals, so a return visit is going to be a requirement.

First going into the trip we spent quite a bit of time studying hotel options on where to stay.  We were trying to save as much money on hotels as possibly to stretch our dollar as far out as it could go.  At the time of writing this the dollar was just barely over the Euro at about 1.10 or so.  We found food and shopping in Venice to actually be quite affordable.  As we looked at hotel options we noticed that all the hotels in Venice itself appeared to be quite a bit more expensive compared to inland.  We eventually went with the Crown Plaza East because of this reason.  After 2 days in Venice we found it to be a great choice.  I could literally hit the train station from my hotel room with a rock.  This made returning to our hotel after a day full of walking to be a breeze.  Yes you will do a ton of walking in Venice.  The staff at the Crown Plaza East was excellent.  They offered a complimentary shuttle from Marco Polo airport, and the internet wifi signal was nice and strong.  We didn’t speak a lick of Italian either and we had no problem communicating during our 2 day stay.

Venice itself as I said comes with a lot of walking.  The city was built upon a lagoon and there are hundreds of canals that run through the city.  Remember the 80’s classic Labrynth with David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly.  If it was your childhood dream to explore a similar life-size maze than Venice is about as close as you will get.

Breakfast Pastry at the Train Station

Breakfast Pastry at the Train Station

On the morning of our first day I bought this little pastry at a little bakery just by the train station by the Crown Plaza East.  I think I paid about a Euro for it.  In terms of pastries it was probably my favorite of the entire trip.  Unfortunately we got back to our hotel too late to enjoy these in the evenings.  Yummy!

Typical Pastry Window in Venice

Typical Pastry Window in Venice

Speaking of pastries, here is a picture of a sample typical pastry shop.  They make a lot of things out of pistachio and marzipan is also very common.

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Beside the pastries, you might expect to find a lot of pizza places in Venice and you would be right.  I was told some of the best places were outside of San Marcos Square.  I tried 4 different pizza total in the 2 days we were there and to be honest all of them were pretty tasty.  However this is where my first “fail” occurred on the food portion of my trip.  I had heard that the best pizza in Venice was at a place called Toti’s.  Looking at the map, Toti’s looked to be quite a ways away from the train station.  I decided that if I tried showing Monica where the pizza treasure lied, then she probably wouldn’t be up for making the journey.  Luckily I was covert enough to lead here there anyway.  It was about 4 pm in the afternoon and we had already logged around 10 miles total navigating through the narrow streets and bridges of the city.  Finally we strolled up to Toti’s.

Tosi Tattoria

Tosi Tattoria

Imagine my sadness by seeing the place closed up.  Apparently the owner had a private party he was attending and thus was closed for the night.  One day I’ll make the trip by to Venice and visit Toti’s.  One day!!!

My first lasagna

My first lasagna

Here is a picture of my wife’s first Italian lasagna in Venice.  Again, I can’t tell you where we eat it because we were literally about to die of exhaustion and hunger and decided to duck into the next place we came across.  Luckily this plate was delicious.  There wasn’t a ton of marinara, but a lot of alfredo style creme.

Alaska

Alaska

Now if I had a dollar for every time someone offered to sell me a selfie stick or for every gelato place in Venice, I would be pretty rich.  My same Venice intell also told me of a legendary gelato store called Alaska.  Well I did find Alaska on day #2, and am happy to report the information was spot on.

Alaska Gelato

Alaska Gelato

This gelato didn’t have the over the top presentation that some of the other gelato had.  But of the 4-5 that I tried, this was definitely the best.  The pistachio was awesome as was the lemon.

Venetian Kitty

Venetian Kitty

Yes this kitty cat was real.  Pretty clever of the owner to use her as an advertising ploy, but it sure was working.  Here are a few more pics from our trip…

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hot salami and ham pizza

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Make sure to stop by the Pinocchio Store by Realto Bridge!

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