I'll be honest from the get-go. I was not charmed by Venice.
The history and the ostentatiousness of Rome astounded me. The beauty of Florence moved me. The atmosphere of Bologna relaxed me.
Venice... Venice stressed me out.
It was ridiculously busy. You set out to see the Rialto Bridge and find yourself riding a wave of tourists (of which you are one) through narrow streets towards St Paul's Square. A giant, beautiful area which is still full.
It drizzled constantly. There were parents with pushchairs everywhere which baffled me. The food was not as good as everyone said.
And someone was shouting for hours somewhere near our hotel.
Rant over, what did I enjoy? I did, of course, enjoy some things.
We stayed at the Una Hotel which was lovely. The free coffee and snacks available all afternoon (with wine in the evening) were fabulous. The hotel was decorated tastefully but with lots of local touches such as Venetian glass chandeliers.
Roaming the back streets and canals of Venice was quite a novelty of course. You have to stop and remind yourself that it isn't just a tourist attraction, people live in Venice. They get out of bed in the morning and hop in their boat. What!?
On the second day we got out of the crush by heading the opposite way. Looking out across the laguna towards Murano was a lot more pleasant. We did the classic touristy thing of just getting lost in the side streets, wandering over bridges and finding dead ends.
We did have a lovely evening at El Parlamento near the Rialto Tre Archi, drinking lots of cocktails and eating cheese, meat and bread. I'll be honest though- I was ready to go home.
Were you charmed by Venice? What did I miss? Should I go back?
Photos by me and Edd.
Everything paid for ourselves.