Our Venezia Unica transit pass got a good work out as we island hopped our way around from Piazza San Marco to the islands of Murano and Burano. The sun was out and if you could manage to stay in it, took the edge off of the bitter cold and humidity but as the sun fell into a glorious sunset on Burano, we knew it was going to get cold.
The next vaporetto
We had timed it well and reached the dock for the next vaporetto back to Venice at dusk. Taking the last two seats along with the other cold and weary travellers the boat quickly cast off and we chugged out into the night. Inside, the cabin’s windows were streaked with condensation and quiet, with a few folks nodding off in the now dimmed lights.
More frozen souls
Another stop to collect a few more frozen souls, desperately looking for a seat to rest. Politely, we offered our seats to another couple more in need and ventured outside as we made our final jaunt to Venice.
With the darkness, the fog had rolled in heavily hanging on the frigid humid air. We huddled together peering into the night looking for the next light or buoy in the fog. Suddenly the boat lurched into reverse, revving its motor to slow for the dock which seemed to appear out of nowhere. With a solid bump, we hit, as the deck hand roped us to the gangway. It was hard enough to wake everyone up as the cabin lights flickered back on and we walked off into the foggy alleys of Venice
We had come prepared to take pictures and our camera batteries still had some life in them but the first order of business was to refuel.
Not more than 100 yards up the main alley from the dock is a tiny hole in the wall called Bar Puppa. It was aperitivo time and the last thing we had to drink was coffee so we pushed open the door and sat with our bums against a heater.
Venice is the home of the spritz and it is offered in many variations almost everywhere. Luckily for us, we have long had a love affair with a well made Aperol spritz properly garnished with a large skewered green olive. Even in the freezing cold we were spritzed back to life and ready to hit the streets, cameras in hand.
Smart people were warm inside, some with their apartments lit up offering you a sneak peek into some amazing Venetian palaces. Their lights flickered off the water of the canal and filtered once again through the fog setting a scene like an epic movie.
Bacarando in Corte dell’ Orso
Stomachs rumbling and the cold creeping back in, we made our way across town to Campo S. Bartolomeo and one of Venice’s ridiculously hidden spots Bacarando in Corte dell’ Orso. They offer a great spread of Venetian “cicchetti” (small appetizers) along with a fantastic bar, mixing up some serious cocktails. We were in Aperol spritz mode so stuck with two of those and a selection of goodies to eat. Mozzarella alla Carrozza is a lightly battered mozzarella sandwich which is then fried to a golden brown. Polpettine (little meatballs) are a staple cicchetti and available made with meat, seafood or vegetables. To balance out the fried we also picked a grilled artichoke puff and you can’t miss having a few stuffed and fried olives.
As we finished up our drinks we made a plan to cut back into a neighbourhood that we thought would offer some great witching hour photo opportunities. The second part of the deal was whenever the cold started to bite again we would slip into the closest cool place we found to warm up.
Every corner offered something to try and catch on camera as we moved slowly through the alleyways hunting out the day’s best picture.
Standing on a bridge, gondolas silently slipped down dark canals with their tiny dim lights bobbing in the fog. Old street lights and shop windows beamed light out into the streets sometimes forcing us to stop one more times to try and capture the moment.
The cold was finally starting to win and forced us to point in the direction of the main bus terminal so we could head to our apartment in Mestre.
It had been a super long day but one that we will not soon forget. Frozen to the bone with our camera batteries both now pretty much dead, we dragged our feet, slowly getting closer to the bus. Neither of us really wanted our night in Venice to end and if we were not starting to lose feeling in our toes we would have definitely forged on well into the night.
Hosteria Vecio Biavarol
And then, as if the answer to our prayers, there it was, the tiniest, cutest little bar begging us in for one more spritz. Squeezing inside Hosteria Vecio Biavarol, we shared a stool cozied together in a corner near the bar. The place was minuscule with enough room for ten people inside.
The bartender ran a one man operation serving drinks and putting together plates of wonderful cicchetti while bantering with the regulars and playing DJ. We rubbed elbows with college students meeting after class and sang along to some classic Kiss that the bartender turned up over the loud voices of a group of girls.
The scene was perfect and if the camera was on us it would have panned out from our stool in this tiny packed bar into the dark foggy streets and canals of Venice like the end of a Woody Allen movie.