Friday, March 8, 2013

A Weekend in the Sun: Venice

If you couldn't tell from my last post I (and the rest of Germany) have been suffering from the winter blues. Heralded as the darkest winter in forty odd years, the past few months have been dark.

Sunshine hours hover around 0 and that kind of grey-ness can really start to wear on you!

Last weekend though I had the privilege of being whisked off to a sunnier place.


Simply put, Venice is beautiful. I thought that perhaps the droves of tourists might diminish that beauty somewhat but I was pleasantly surprised. All you have to do is step off the beaten path to discover the other side the Venice. The Venetian side.

St. Mark's Square is an attraction that's not to be missed. Be prepared for all those tourists though. And the 6 euro espresso shot.

We had the most fun when we were wandering away from the heart of the city and tourist hot spots.
And found the best food.

We spent Friday evening in a great little cafe eating the best offerings from the sea. I had the pasta seppia which was deliciously briny and satisfyingly decadent. Squid ink is tossed with al dente spaghetti and fresh squid. It's simple but really fantastic! Don't let the color scare you, it's worth having black teeth for the rest of the evening...

Public transportation in Venice is just as unique as the rest of the city. Water buses come regularly and provide a convenient and relatively fast trip through the canals. Ironically it took me until after being in Venice for a day for me to realize that there are no cars in Venice! If you're lucky enough to count yourself as a Venetian than you probably have your own boat :)

We spent Saturday afternoon on the island of Burano. Smaller and less famous perhaps than it's glass-making neighbor Murano, Burano is a colorful little community with great little cafes and a renowned reputation for handmade lace.

Back on the main island we spent the evening in the Dorsoduro district. Home to many of the students and young people of Venice the Dorsoduro district offers cheaper prices and and a less touristy atmosphere. You find yourself the only tourist in the room, something that I find refreshing and a wee bit scary at times.

The Aperol spritz is the drink of Venice, and certainly the Dorsoduro district, where you can get one to go for 2.50 euro. Sitting in the sun on the piazza drinking cocktails and munching salty potato chips was the closest  I've been to paradise in a long time.

There was also pizza.

I generally try to avoid mid-bite photographs but for this pizza I couldn't be bothered.
It was that good.

We got our "family" pizza to go (feeling slightly conspicuous as there were just the two of us) and did as true Italians do,  we sat in the piazza and wolfed down that pizza. It was huge so in the end Tim had to pick up the slack and finish it off. I don't think he minded much.

So all in all Venice was my tonic. When we arrived back in Germany the sun was shining and I could finally hear a little whisper of spring in the air. I feel like everyone's perked up a bit and the heavy darkness of winter had passed. Until I can go back to Italy I'm filling my apartment with fresh flowers and am dreaming of cocktails in the sun.

Stay tuned for some real German cooking next week. It's going to get meaty. 

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