Having a Venetian Ball

I’ve just returned from a long weekend in Venice, and thought I’d share some of the highlights on my blog.  Although Venice is the city for lovers, I went with my fabulous friend, and didn’t long for romance one bit!

We stayed at a gorgeous little hotel, Locanda Al Leon, which was very good value for money, and right in the heart of the city, about 10 steps away from Piazza San Marco.

The room was decorated traditionally, was spacious enough, clean and very comfortable.  The bathroom was perfectly fine with a good shower, and a hairdryer that looked suspiciously like something that had come out of the Ann Summers’ relics – a source of much mirth!

The various people behind reception couldn’t have been more helpful or friendlier.  Breakfast was a simple but satisfying affair, and of course, in true Venetian style – the coffee was good.

We treated ourselves to a night at the opera – a first for both of us.  We went to see La Traviata.  It lasted three hours and was made up of three parts, with two intervals in between.  Despite getting the cheaper seats (still around 70 Eu a pop!), our seats were very good.  We were quite high up but bang smack in the centre in a box that seated four people.

Because we’d bought the cheaper tickets, we were in the rear row, although as luck would have it, the couple in front of us did a disappearing act for the final 30 minutes, and so we got the box – and the first row – all to ourselves!  Either they got fed up with it or thought it had finished.  Either way, we were happy with that.

If you do go to the opera, I’d highly recommend getting the central seats, as everyone else appeared to be looking at a strange angle, due to the way the seats are positioned in relation to the stage.

The famous Teatro La Fenice is a beautiful, and very grand building, and it was very exciting to be there.  Getting in and out, and finding your seats is exceptionally easy.  The ushers are very helpful, and the interval drinks are surprisingly reasonable, and there was no bun fighting either.  There wasn’t even a queue for the ladies!

We were surprised at how simple the plotline to the opera was, and pleased it was so easy to follow thanks to the English subtitles.  Basically, it’s three hours of lamenting about love and sorrow, a third of which is taken up by the lead lady dying.  Having said that, we really enjoyed the whole experience!

The rest of our break was spent eating gelato and pizza, and drinking wine.  Fabulous.  Here are some tips I wish I’d have known at the beginning: We had three gelatos, two of which were disappointing (you can get much better gelato in Worthing!).  A place called SuSo is the place to go, however.  I had the Orient Express flavour, which was AMAZING!

We discovered, through talking to some locals outside a bar, that you can get a glass of local red or white wine at most bars for one or two Euros if you ask for an ‘Ombra’.  Also worth knowing is that most traditional bars have tapas style foods available, known as ‘Cicheti’, which are inexpensive and definitely worth a try if you don’t fancy a full sit-down meal.

Our favourite bar, handy at a few paces from our hotel, was Bacaro Risorto – a tiny corner bar.  We managed to squeeze a drink in there every night.  We found it through Lonely Planet.  We actually found a lot of good stuff through Lonely Planet.  Well, my friend and expert navigator did.  I happily and brainlessly followed.

Everyone in Venice drinks Aperol Spritz – a mix of Aperol (a curious looking bright orange alcoholic drink), with prosecco and soda.  It’s delicious, and most refreshing on a sunny afternoon.  Now I’m back in Blighty, I can’t stop knocking them back, although they don’t taste quite as good.

We couldn’t leave Venice without a trip on a gondola.  At 80 Euros for 30 minutes, it’s not cheap, but it is well worth it.  It’s wonderfully quiet and calm going along the back street canals, and I’m glad we didn’t forgo the opportunity.

On my way back on the plane I devoured in one go the thriller The Venetian Game by Philip Gwynne Jones.  I loved it, and would heartily recommend it – especially after a trip to Venice!

The best thing about Venice is how picturesque it is.  Everywhere you look you is picture-postcard perfect, and it’s by far the prettiest place I’ve ever been.  I would go back tomorrow!

Somewhere good to stay https://www.hotelalleon.com/

Something good to read: https://philipgwynnejones.com/the-venetian-game/

Somewhere good to drink: https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187870-d1088055-Reviews-Bacaro_Risorto-Venice_Veneto.html

One thought on “Having a Venetian Ball

  1. I couldn’t agree more with this – an excellent long weekend. You forgot to mention that we went in the same gondola as Brian May! Although, not at the same time (if only we had, he could have paid half the 80 Eu!). Venice was a fabulous place and going there has given me the travel bug. Where are we going next year?! xx


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