It’s been nearly a year and a half since we visited Italy on our honeymoon, but it’s been on the top of my mind for the last few weeks. I’ve been seeing some gorgeous images of Tuscan villages on my IG feed, and I’m fighting hard to control the itch to head back to Italy again.
Seeing all those beautiful Italian sights on my IG feed prompted me to revisit photographs from our own trip. Pouring over those pictures made me feel as if our trip was not 1.5 years ago, more like just a couple of months ago!
I don’t know why we selected Italy as our honeymoon destination. Neither of us are art or history buffs, but somehow Italy always remained on our destination consideration list, along with Croatia and Paris (oh Paris, how long do I have to wait before I devour you!). After much deliberation, we decided on Italy. We didn’t end up regretting the choice even once!
We chose Venice as our point of entry. I remembered reading somewhere that the aerial views as you descend on a tiny strip of land all surrounded by water were just fabulous. And we were not disappointed.
Commuting by water taxi was a first, and I really had to keep pinching myself that we were finally there, really, just the two of us, finally on a holiday, far from the madness of the wedding.
Oh, and that journey between the airport and the hotel in the water taxi sealed one decision – there was absolutely NO WAY I was getting into one of the gondolas. The water was DIRTY! I would not have been able to handle such close contact with the water. So yes, on our honeymoon in Venice, we didn’t do what is touted as one of the most romantic things to do in the world!
An “adventure” awaited us once we reached our hotel. I had picked up the wrong bag at the airport. Yes, that happened. Well, in my defense, it was the same make, (almost) the same colour (in my excitedness I thought black = deep, dark blue!!! True story), and the same lock! What are the odds, really! Anyway, a major disaster was averted when we called the airport authorities the next day, and manage to locate my actual bag. Thank God! What that meant was some lost hours in travelling to the airport and back!
Correct luggage duly retrieved, we got around to truly enjoying our holiday. We started by indulging in some wine, chips, pizza and beer in the numerous cafes that dotted the Grand Canal.
It started pouring that evening, and caught in the rains, we decided to head up the Campanile (the Bell Tower). Super bad and super awesome decision, all at once. Super bad because it was crazy windy and chilly up there. Super awesome because the sights were gorgeous.
We rounded up our second day in Venice by a dinner at La Caravella… We were looking for a different Michelin starred restaurant, but after some aimless meandering, ended up at La Caravella. We had a fabulous dinner, and they were helpful enough to make a vegetarian dish for Ankur as well. It was our first time in a Michelin starred restaurant and we had a blast. Of course, much of our fun came from the fact that we were pretending how the waiters would react if we start spewing out the shit that we request for in many Indian restaurants (“Can you split the soup 1X2?”, “Can you please pack up the leftovers?” etc etc!).
The next day was all about St Mark’s Piazza, St Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, the Murano-Burano-Torcello tour and Hard Rock Cafe. We really couldn’t get enough of the awesomeness of the Piazza and the buildings that surrounded yet. If you ignored the crowds, you would feel transported into a different era, with all the intricate architecture that surrounded you. And to think that these buildings have stood the test of time, and continue to be as glorious today.
The M-B-T tour was well, interesting… The glass blowing demonstration at Murano was superb. It was the first time we were seeing something like that, and it was supremely fascinating. And some of the glass works we saw were unbelievable. Our next stop was Torcello. It’s a slow, sleepy town. It used to be a busy, commercial place a couple of centuries ago, but with time, most residents were driven away to nearby Venice as business activities came to a near standstill. The town was eerily quiet. Barring a couple of people who were on the vaporetto with us, the place looked nearly deserted.
Compared to the quiet of Torcello, Burano’s colourful houses seemed to be shouting in the wind by themselves! Every house is painted a different colour, and we were told that the house keepers have to take permission from the Town Council before they paint their houses – the Town Council will not permit two houses with the same colour next to each other. And we had the best gelato in this one small store in Burano – I wish I could remember the name. On a side note, on the whole trip, I think I OD’d on the amaretto gelato!
Before we caught our train to Florence the next afternoon, we managed to do a quick walkabout of St Mark’s Basilica. It was grand and the frescos were gorgeous.
All in all, Venice was a charming city but didn’t wow me over completely. A movie that we saw before leaving for our honeymoon likened Venice to the “Dharavi of Europe”. (FYI, Dharavi is the largest slum settlement in Asia, not a proud moniker by any stretch of imagination!) And while the dirty waters really threw me off at first, once we get over that initial visual, we did have a great time in Venice. And if I was to visit Venice a second time, I would probably just park myself on the numerous cafes along the Piazza or on the waterfront and just observe people and life pass me by.