20150131022531_IMG_5460~2Josh and I went to Venice, Italy at the end of January. We also did a day in Florence. This is unlike my Germany trip: we lived in luxury rather than the backpacker life style I once lived. From artist ateliers to quiet little restaurants and hidden streets, this post gives a snippet of traveling to Venice. We were only there for a week, so if you have any recommendations also list them in the comments!

IMG_20150201_184930We stayed in Hotel Papadopoli, which is an incredibly hospitable and posh hotel. During the off season, the prices can be affordable. It is a dated hotel, but not in a bad way. It has lots of 18th century furniture, art and architecture. Right outside the hotel is a smaller canal. I love the idea that even public transit is on a boat. What a wonderful little city.

IMG_20150201_151835~2 20150130224610_IMG_5347~2We were a big fan of their morning breakfasts. Depicted above, that is little glass restaurant where you can have their all you can eat breakfasts or a stylish dinner.

IMG_20150201_064501~2The story is that Josh and I had some terror transferring in the Toronto Airport. There was a bad snow storm so our connections weren’t syncing up. After hopping between carriers, we landed in Munich instead. We killed an hour in Frankfurt eating cheap sandwiches at a bakery at the Main Station in Frankfurt. We flew out to Venice from Munich and the rest was history. We were very tired. I was happy for Germany’s hospitality, I now know what “weary traveller” means when you’ve transferred three times against the time dilation.

We woke up around 2am, and the best thing was the breakfast started at 6:30am. We waited and were ravenous, the food was amazing. It gave us some good ideas of what to order when wandered the city: they offered some festive Italian dishes like the Pinza and other cakes. From Veneto region, the cake is dense and moist, made with paysan “poor” ingredients like corn meal and whatever the chef can find to throw in.

When our day started, we found closer to the water in the canals, the streets were frozen. I would recommend taking rain boots or anti slip shoes if you travel during this season. You’ll see in the next post: the city gets flooded as well.

We passed by a fantastic paper shop. There isn’t very obvious branding in the city of their businesses, especially in the smaller streets. The name of this shop evades me, I may update this once I recall. The man inside seemingly makes everything by himself and could only speak in Italian. I bought a couple journals in here, just because the paper was a fine quality and the designs were gorgeous.

IMG_20150201_124649~2The one bonus about travelling in January/February is that Carnivale is happening. Balls happen, but can be quite pricey. You must buy a ballroom ticket, a mask and appropriate clothing. If you want to steer away from the cash drop, you can always go to St. Mark’s Square and see others dressed up and hanging out instead. They have some free shows too, apparently. Josh found a charming steampunk mask and I have a dragon mask (not depicted). I’m going to do a review later of where we found these masks: we steered clear away from the tourist shops and found a small family business who makes them.IMG_20150201_18481020150131080718_IMG_5533~2Above depicted is Sweet and Snack in Rialto Market). I loved the idea of snack bars: just places where you can either drink coffee or liquor and eat small fare. Did I mention gelato is 1.50 euro? (It’s pricey in Florence, but this did just fine) It was very hard not to eat the pastries. These small joints also offer small sandwiches, sometimes seafood appies, pizza, calzones and paninis. Our method of eating enough while travelling and never too heavy was to have a hearty breakfast at our hotel, snack lightly in these cafes to rest from waking and then whether dinner was big or not depended on how much we ate during the day. One notable beverage consumed was Spritz. Prosecco (sparkling white wine), Campari and soda, it was a light pick me up at the standing bars.

One thing you’ll notice is if you’re a tourist and you look at the signs of a restaurant, someone will pop out and try to get you inside. Venice is very much a tourism city — if you walk far enough away, you will find low-key place that isn’t as pricey. My recommendation would be Campo St. Margherita, a quite little square where you can sit on the benches away from the crowd. I also notice in smaller joints, they brand themselves less. I don’t know where I am sometimes: the menu just says menu and the rest is history. This is the case for the place depicted below. It seemed popular with the locals and had little seafood fare:

IMG_20150201_141349~2An older couple was reading art books chatting, two young love birds just had met online and were talking about themselves and then there was Josh and me. I regret not knowing where this is — it was just such a low key place, we would have even missed it if one of us hadn’t turned our heads and noticed a spot to get some water.

IMG_20150201_213654~2Since we were very tired, we stuck to the area we started in (Ferrovia,  the train station area) We had pizza at this bistro, which was in the heart of the tourist spot of the train station area. It was still pretty good: artichokes, olives and prosciutto and some wine made for a simple and delicious low key evening.



Read More About Nathalie’s Time in Italy:

Part 1: Venice, Italy
Part 2: Venice, Italy
Part 3: Art in Venice
Part 4: Florence, Italy
Part 5/6: Venice x Heathrow

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