Our train to Venice was terrible. The worst of the entire trip. Even though we were required to make reservations, and thus had assigned seats, the train was overbooked and crowded. Our seat numbers didn’t even exist! There were people sitting and laying in the aisles all night. Thankfully we both found seats – although I had to change seats 3 times throughout the ride. We got a little sleep, but not much. We arrived in Venice an hour and 45 minutes late. Once we got off the train and stored our bags, I didn’t care how late we were or how little I slept because WE WERE IN VENICE!
What a gorgeous city. We had about 8 hours to walk around and take in the glory of the slowly sinking city. We didn’t have a map so we just wandered around in the giant maze, turning this way and that, discovering little alleyways and small shops. We picked up some delicious pastries from a little bakery – chocolate inside, flaky, orange-glazed bread on the outside – and made our way, slowly, to San Marco Piazza. In the narrow alleys the air was cool and breezy, there were few people other than ourselves, but once we made it to the piazza we were surrounded by hoards of tourists.
There were people everywhere. We could only move in the direction of the herd. We decided not to go inside San Marco Basilica or Doge’s Palace because the lines were unbelievably long; instead we walked out to the coast and joined that pack of tourists for a bit. After a while, fed up with the amount of people and the heat, we ducked back down an alleyway and began winding through the maze once again.
We found a great place for lunch- Osteria alla Staffa. It was small – only 6 tables – and friendly with fantastic food. We each had the lasagne bolognese – phenomenal! – and 0.5 liter of red wine. Zach had coffee after the meal and I, without thinking apparently, ordered grappa. Bad idea. I took one sip and knew I was done. It was incredibly strong. Zach sipped on it a while, but in the end we didn’t finish it. We told our waiter, an incredibly large and friendly man, that we would send him a postcard from Austin to add to the collection on the wall. He gave us the address; hopefully we remember to make good on our promise.
After lunch we continued to stroll through the city, over bridges, through alleys, into dead ends, and in and out of shops. When we left I had a leather purse and a cotton scarf, Zach had a burnt orange tie. It was a lovely afternoon trip and we thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in Venice. We went back to the train station and collected our bags before boarding our next train to Milan.