Euro West Tour Stop 3: Venice
After a long drive, we finally arrived in Venice. Venice is just one of those places that takes your breath away and lives up to every built up expectation you have about it. My family especially loved it. We grew up on water (my parents have a great lake-front house with a view), so a whole city on water was almost more than we could handle. I had even been to Venice before and was still in shock as our boat approached the Grand Canal. However, the best site of all and of maybe the whole trip was watching my mom’s face as she took in the sites on the Gondola ride. You could see excitement, giddiness, awe, shock…it was awesome. Here are some of the highlights:
We stayed at the Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal. This was much, much better than staying on the main land like we did last time. The rooms were adorable and each had fantastic Murano glass chandeliers.
The first thing we did was a Gondola ride. I know its super touristy, but it is just a must. It gives you some great views of the city that you just can’t get otherwise. Tip: Buy an individual-size bottle of Prosseco for your ride. It really makes you feel like a luxe Venetian.
St. Mark’s Square and Basilica. The last time I was in Venice, we didn’t have time to go into the Basilica. It was insanely crowded and the tour was in super-speed mode, but I’m glad I got to see it. The architecture is overwhelming and so ornate.
Doge’s Palace – This is another one I didn’t get to see before and I would absolutely recommend not skipping this one. It was one of my favorite Italian tours. It is the former palace of the ruler or Doge of The Republic of Venice and is just out of this world. In this tour we also walked through the Bridge of Sighs, which is indeed not for lovers, but for prisoners.
Shopping – Venice has every luxury designer brand you can think of – Hermes, Chanel, Prada, Valentino…everyone. Mom, Kayla and I went into Louis Vuitton and then made a group decision to just window shop at the rest as to not torture ourselves over all of the pretty things we could not buy. Next time I go to Venice, I’m going with a bigger pocket book. (On that point, while Venice is one of the most beautiful cities, it is also one of the most expensive. They have to import everything from Coca-Cola to hotel laundry, so the price goes up significantly. My Diet Coke habit would not last long in Venice.)
Glass-blowing demonstration – I was much more impressed by this than my siblings were, but if you have a glassware obsession like I do – go see a glass-blowing demonstration. Tip: If you are going to buy real Murano blown glass from these places pad your wallet and be prepared for the onslaught of pushy Italian men.