Firstly, I'd like to thank everyone who assisted (whether knowingly or merely by posting their own experiences) with planning of my Venice trip.
This trip was sprung on my girlfriend on Friday 7th March, the day before we flew out to Venice from Gatwick at approx. midday (and about 15 minutes before she became my Fiancee!) It was a huge surprise for her, but since booking almost 6 months ago my own anticipation was through the roof. I hope that this report shows how amazing our trip was, and isn't too rambling and lengthy!
After landing at Marco Polo and collecting our baggage, we checked in at desk 71 with Bucintoro Viaggi and took the short 5 minute walk down to the docks for our shared water taxi. As we were final drop-off, we were ushered onto the boat first and managed to secure two of the seats outside at the back. I think that our transfer took roughly an hour, and with three drops prior to ours we had a little tour thrown in. The look on our faces as we sped across the lagoon must have immediately given us away as Venice first-timers, but the whole thing felt very special and certainly worth the expense.
After arriving at the hotel, we checked in and sat for almost 2 hours on the dock with eyes like saucers (and a few glasses of wine) watching the scene on the Grand Canal, before getting ready for dinner. Incidentally, I have posted separate reviews about out hotel, San Cassiano, and also of Vecio Fritolin, where we ate on the Saturday evening.
After dinner, we reloaded the wallet (!) and had a gentle wander down to St Marks Square. Being a Saturday night, everywhere seemed quite lively and we enjoyed almost an hours walk before making our way back over the Rialto and standing outside Bancogiro on the Grand Canal with a couple of glasses of wine, before going back to the hotel and collapsing into bed exhausted and enthralled.
Sunday morning we woke to church bells and an excellent breakfast, before getting ourselves ready for a good few hours strolling. We walked from Rialto in the general direction of P. Roma, stopping and taking photos of every little bridge and canal that we came across as the crowds began to thin. From the bus station we made our way through the university buildings into Dorsoduro and carried on towards Accademia and down to Salute, where we sat for half an hour in the wonderful sunshine staring over at San Marco on one side and Giudecca on the other. After this we made our way back through Dorsoduro, stopping for some cicchetti and a drink before settling down in Campo Santa Margherita. As the afternoon passed, the square got busier and busier with dog walkers, kids playing football and all manner of offensively attractive locals walking by, and we spent an immensely happy few hours sitting in the sun drinking Spritzes before grabbing a huge slice from Pizza Al Volo and making our way back towards Rialto. You'll not be surprised to read that we were in bed by 10pm that night!
Monday arrived and we planned to do similar to Sunday, only on the opposite side of the canal. Our walk took us down to San Marco and along the front past the Arsenale, before winding our way through Castello and Cannaregio until we eventually emerged onto the Ponte Scalzi with aching feet and rumbling stomachs. Todays lunch stop would be in Campo Giacomo Dall'Orio at (I think) Al Prosecco, where we had some fantastic little sandwiches and a couple of beers in the sun. We had enjoyed the previous day so much that we decided to cancel Monday nights dinner reservation in favour of another evening in Dorsoduro, so we made our way over there before settling down once again for a few hours of talking and people-watching. The evening was then split between barging our way to the bar at Muro Rialto and sitting outside with the locals and then wandering around to find somewhere warm to sit inside which ended up being the Hard Rock Café! Although prices are expensive, I was happy with a seat with cushions and a little bit of luxury after walking so far! We found Monday evening to be the quietest night of the three that we spent in Venice, and we wandered idly back to the hotel wishing that we weren't going home tomorrow.
After packing early on Tuesday, and with a midday pick-up looming, we went out for a final couple of hours to grab a final gelato and take in the fish/produce markets for the first time (as they do not run on a Sunday and Monday). I genuinely could have spent a fortune there had I anywhere to cook, everything looked so fresh and appetizing. As we said our goodbyes to the hotel and hopped back on the boat, we were left to look back on a perfect engagement weekend in an amazing city, aided by perfect weather and fantastic people. If you haven't been, just go. You'll not regret it and we will have the memories with us (along with the photographs) forever.