Venice and Padua
We were excited to be headed to Europe! We had a brief layover in Toronto, where we celebrated with a glass of wine.
From the airport, you take a ferry into Venice itself. It was a long day of travel, but we were excited to hit the ground running.
As the ferry reached the city, we began to catch glimpses of the famous canals.
After settling into our hotel, we went out for our first meal. Venice is famous for its chiquette, which are akin to tapas. We settled into our first spot to try some and people watch.
After walking around Venice for the rest of the day, we visited St. Mark’s square before heading in for the night.
In Venice, rather than a typical drop-off/pickup spot for cars, there are docks for the canals. This was the “dock” for our hotel, the Duodo Palace Hotel.
The streets are like a maze in Venice, and criss-cross over gondala-filled canals.
A gondola passing by in a canal.
The Grand Canal
Crossing the grand canal for the first time.
The Rialto bridge. It’s crazy to think this was constructed in the 1500s.
One of the top things we read to do in Venice was to just get lost. That is easy to do.
Some of the streets are barely wide enough to fit through. For the most part, there are no cars in Venice. There is no way there could ever be.
Along with the absence of cars, there are an abundance of small boats.
Outside the Leonardo da Vinci Museum. One of the rare open squares in Venice.
For Lisa’s birthday, we booked a show to watch a live performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Vivaldi was originally from Venice. We sat and enjoyed a pre-performance glass of wine on the square before the show.
We enjoyed a performance of the Four Seasons in a church (San Vidal) that was constructed in the 17th century, with foundations going back to the 1084. This was pretty special.
We found a nearby dinner spot to enjoy some pasta after the show. This was the first of many spots that provided an after-dinner limoncello free of charge.
The next day, we took a train for a day trip to a nearby city, Padua.
Crossing the Laguna di Venezia, away from Venice
After arriving in Padua, we made our way from the station to the inner portion of the city.
Galileo taught at the university in Padua. It’s crazy to think that he walked these same hallways and courtyard.
Inside the entrance to the University.
We stopped along the way into the central area of Padua to have a refreshing limoncello.
This is the trip, and maybe the spot, where I discovered I really like limoncello.
A small park near central Padua
We came across one of many markets during our walk around padua.
We visited this basillica (St. Anthony) during our trip around Padua. It’s mind blowing to come to a random city and visit a building completed in the 1300s. It was extremely impressive.
Inside the Padua Cathedral
Inside the Padua Cathedral
Leaving the Padua Cathedra, we stumbled on a Neopolitan market
We enjoyed the afternoon sun at Prato della Valle after walking around the Neopolitan Market.
Outside the neopolitan market at Prato della Valle
We gradually made our way back towards the city center of Padua for an aperitif and dinner.
We found one of the main piazzas and settled into having a pre-dinner aperitif. We still look back at this experience with fondness.
Our aperitif and snacks on the piazza in Padua.
Our brief time having a local experience (as opposed to the more tourist-centric time in Venice) set our expectations for future visits to Europe. The feeling of community and relaxation embodied what we were expecting for the quintessential Italian experience.
Our walk from the cafe we had our aperitifs to dinner was scenic. We passed through another main Padua piazza, Piazza dei Signori.
Walking to dinner
Our dinner in Padua.
Full from dinner, we began our walk back to the train station through central Padua.
There aren’t many supermarkets in Venice, so we jumped at the chance of checking our a more local place in Padua. We discovered a wide variety of desert liqueurs in a random grocery store on our way back to the train station.
After a short train ride, we were back “home” in Venice. We were very happy with our trip to Padua, particularly with having the opportunity to visit a more “real” version of Italy.
The walk from the Venice train station to our hotel was not insignificant (around 25 minutes), but it was nice to be able to see Venice late at night after the crowds had vanished.
The next day, we woke up fairly early with the goal of visiting Murano. Murano is within Venice, but a separate island accessible by ferry. We took the public water taxi from St. Mark’s square to Murano.
It turned out, between waiting on the ferry and making all the stops, it took quite a while to hop over to a neighboring island/neighborhood. We tried to take in the views and experience during the time.
We were on the water taxi for probably close to an hour, but it was fun to have the more local experience as opposed to a private tour. Also, where else is the primary mode of transportation a boat?
After arriving in Murano, we strolled around the get our bearings before checking out the local glassblowers.
Murano is famous for its hand-blown glass. We visited a small glass factory where we were able to watch artisans create some small pieces.
Once we finished at the glass factory, we spent the afternoon strolling around Murano. In addition tot the glass, the area is known for its brightly colored buildings.
The grand canal of Murano.
A view of Venice from the water taxi dock in Murano
Once we arrived back in Venice, we started to venture into an area we had not yet visited… away from many of the tourist crowds.
Along the way, we stopped at Lisa’s favorite, and now gold-standard gelato shop, Fantasy Gelato
We stopped by one of the larger art museums, the Gallerie dell Accademia.
We found our favorite dinner spot yet nearby, Osteria Alla Bifora. The entire area seemed more local (less touristy), and a little off the beaten path.
For dinner, we ordered a ciquette plate. We had tried various versions of ciquette up to this point, but this was by far the best.
The next morning, we began our journey to Munich. After an early morning ferry ride from Venice to the airport, we were rewarded with a nice view of the alps from the plane.
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