Friday, September 7, 2012

Italy 2012: Venice - Day Two

Our second day in Venice was as good as the first. Today we explored the city on our own. We took the advice of my uncles and got lost in Venice (at least a dozen times of you must know).

We went to San Marco Square, which was as cool as it looks in the movies. We spent the €8 each to go to the top of the historic bell tower and saw the phenomenal panoramic views of the city on all four sides. We walked along the shore on the west side of the island, where the cruise ships dock.

We stumbled upon a grocery store and bought big bottles of water, three mini bottles of prosecco, and a bottle of wine, and a few beers. Our total grocery store bill was something insanely low like $10 for all of that.

That night we had a fabulous (and pretty inexpensive pasta dinner at a place in the Plaza Margherita). The lace the guide told us about the night before during the tour. The plaza is very near the university, so the food was great and prices reasonable (I had a glass of Prosecco to start which was €2.9 and we had a great bottle of wine for under €9).

A few tidbits I learned about Venice that I found interesting:

- Water, restrooms, and seats are precious commodities! Water doesn't come "free" with a paid meal at a restaurant the way it does in the US. If you want water, you buy it for 2-5 Euros. Same for public restrooms. While they are available at many bars/ restaurants, public restrooms don't really exist! It costs 1.5 Euros in many of the tourist-y areas and .75 in the more local areas, like the train station. And don't get me started on seating! Many of the bars charge one price for drinks at the bar, and double (no exaggeration) if you want to sit at a table).
- spritz. A spritz is an interesting and regional drink of the area that is often pretty inexpensive (we had a few of them and paid as low as 2.5 Euros and as much as 7.0 Euros. The average was probably in the 3-4 range). Spritz's are made with white wine, Aperol or Campari, club soda and often garnished with a salty green olive. We looooved spritz!
- olives have pits. Scott and I were saying it may just be us lazy Americans who are used to having our fruit de-pitted before it reaches our table.

I can't stress enough how much I love Venice. It is just gorgeous and unique and spectacular and the layout of the city is something truly remarkable. Making it even more significant, our tour guide told us about how much the city is sinking on a yearly basis- if something doesn't change, Venice may not be around for our children to marvel at.

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