Venice Shortbreak

Sally-Jo Asser on 24 March 2022
It’s two years overdue but finally I made it to Venice with my friend Caroline for my (now belated) 50th birthday celebrations….. I thank her for her patience in waiting to celebrate with me!!

We booked the Hotel Serenissima for late March 2022, Thursday to Sunday, just a perfect 3 nights getaway. The journey was easy, Easyjet flights from Gatwick, Alilaguna Water Taxi from Airport to Venice. If you’re staying in San Marco district as we were, I’d recommend taking the Blue Line Alilaguna into Venice as the approach into St Marks Square pontoon is just breath-taking….. I was reminded of scenes from Bond’s Casino Royale, next time I’ll take ‘my’ Daniel Craig with me!

Our hotel was tucked away in one of the back streets of San Marco district, surprisingly affordable given it was just a very short 4 minute walk to St Marks Square. A perfect location for us.

Our aim for the mini break was to walk, explore and see what we stumbled across (much as we did in London if you read that blog). Just to roll with the day with little plan other than to soak up the atmosphere. We made a nod to tourist sightseeing by popping into St Marks Square & Basilica which was well worth the 5minute queue time and 3Euro ….from what I understand this is an unusually short wait time, possibly a post pandemic thing, I would have been prepared to wait longer and pay more to see inside The Basilica, well worth it.

As we meandered through the ancient narrow alleys, we happened upon many piazza’s… as they screamed out to us to stop, we took the instruction, found a café, ordered an Aperol Spritz and just embraced the ‘continental pavement café culture’, moment in time.

In advance of our travels, we had looked into buying weekend passes for the river taxis. I’m glad we didn’t as we would have missed out on so much of inner Venice, the beautiful little courtyards sprinkled amongst the residential districts, stylish doorbells, ornate clocks and hidden shrines. We had no interest in hiring a gondola, but instead spent a leisurely lunch dangling our legs over the dockside of a busy Gondola junction, watching them pass by and playing an impromptu game of Gondola Roulette….. if you want the game rules, you’ll have to book a trip with me!

Whilst there we booked a boat trip to the islands of Murano, famous for its glasswork, and Burano for its pretty coloured houses and lace making history. I’ve wanted to go to Murano since I visited Atlantis The Palm in Dubai in 2017, in the lobby is an immense ornate Murano glass volcanic eruption of twisted glass prongs. I really enjoyed this daytrip, it gave me a taster, but if I were to do it again, I’d probably just catch the local ferry (rather than a set excursion) so I can move at my pace, make a longer day of it and stop for lunch in one of Burano’s stunning canal side café’s. At £31 each for a 4hour excursion, this was a very good value for money excursion, I would recommend it.

We found some lovely places to eat Cicchetti (similar to Tapas) during the day and very reasonably priced restaurants for our evening meal. I think the rule of thumb here is to stay off the beaten track, stick to the back streets and you will find many wonderful restaurants at what I would describe as normal ‘London’ prices. I certainly didn’t experience anything massively over inflated in price.

In the evening we enjoyed great food, good wine, a cocktail or three (thank you Bra Bar). Our whole break was further enhanced by bumping into local friends from home as we passed each other in an alley way…. what are the odds!!!

Our departure, again with Alilaguna water taxi, we chose to take from Rialto Bridge on the Orange Line. A great way to depart the city as you travel a good length of Grand Canal.

I love Venice, I would completely recommend it for anyone loving history, architecture, food, drink, cultural experiences, or just to sit, soak up the atmosphere and reset the mind and body.

Venezia e molto bella!