The “City of Water”; “City of Masks”; “City of Bridges”; “The Floating City”; “City of Canals”; “City of Romance” all describe one city: Venice, a city sited on a group of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. A city built up from mudflats, using closely placed wooden piles, still intact after centuries of submersion.
The gondolas that once were the only means of transportation in the majestic city are now beautifully restored and overpriced tour boats. Even the water buses that run back and forth along the larger canals providing public transportation are priced at 7.50 EUR per ride. Needless to say, we walked a lot.
The city is such a tourist destination that staying on the island of Venice was completely out of the question for us. We stayed about a 20 minute bus ride away in Mestre, and it was still our most expensive accommodation in Europe so far (we paid more than we did in London, Paris or Milan).
We had two nights in Venice giving us about a day and a half to explore the islands. The glass work that Venice is famous for is everywhere, and it is truly beautiful. I appreciated stores selling souvenirs that were actually made in Venice, unlike all of Latin America which for the most part just sells cheaply made stuff from China that duplicates their own country’s goods.
On our second evening in Venice we visited the Yacht Club for dinner. I heard that it was affiliated with the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and we would be allowed in for drinks and dinner. We arrived just as they were opening around 6PM. Located on the waterfront just off St. Marco Square they are in the heart of Venice with a fantastic view. We sat outside for an hour enjoying 1 EUR glasses of wine and 2 EUR Spritz drinks (a local cocktail I had seen everywhere and not yet tried – prepared with prosecco wine, a dash of some bitter liqueur such as Aperol, Campari, or Cynar, topped off with sparkling mineral water and served over ice garnished with an olive) until the sun set behind us and we started to get chilly and moved inside.
Dinner was served after 7:30 PM and we each ordered an appetizer and a first course. The food was delicious, featuring local flavours and seafood it was a nice change from cooking or eating street food. On the way back to Mestre that evening we wandered through the maze of interconnected streets and bridges wondering how much longer Venice would still be around, before it sinks.