Venice on a budget.

We were armed with a 1960s phrasebook which I personally think equipped us with all the essential sentences we’d need to get along. That’s the ticket!

So, not having a job is really nice when you have things like editing photos or blog-writing to do, or when London is covered in a layer of snow (I have nothing to leave the house for at all this week. Score.). HOWEVER, when there’s a beautiful, unknown city stretching out in front of you, hundreds of trinket shops and all the pizza/pasta you can eat, it’s pretty depressing. Basically I do not advocate not having a job. It is basically not that much fun. Basically. I think we did fairly well money-wise on this trip though, so I thought I’d share the way we avoided spending buckets of money in Venice. I’ll shove some kind of exciting photos in here and there so it doesn’t get too boring and word-y. Okay you’re welcome! Enjoy!

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^ the most bizarre ‘trinket’ shop we came across. To be honest this was the one that made me wish I had brought loads more euros along. Who doesn’t want a big Ming-inspired ceramic fox-thing or a terrifying driftwood fish? No one, exactly.

The actual trip was a lastminute.com deal, I think it was just over £300 (it was a birthday present from my fabulous boyfriend so I’m not entirely sure), but for 3 nights and almost a whole day either side too, it was a pretty good deal. Our hotel was nice enough (3 stars), really eccentric decor but I kind of loved it. Here’s a photo of us against the exciting fabric wall-covering pretending that we’re in a Wes Anderson movie to keep you interested. Or maybe repel you entirely. I’m willing to take the risk.

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Wonderful.

We were offered a transport ticket for something like €25 each for 72 hours, but it totally wasn’t necessary – past the boat (!) from the airport in to the main island, we only ever walked places. Venice is so small that you can pretty much walk everywhere, which is handy, and even in January you don’t want to spend too much time inside because it’s all just so picturesque. Don’t get me wrong – once you’ve seen one street complete with canal, bridges, teracotta buildings, you have basically seen them all, but they never get any less lovely. If you like walking and pretty cities, you could probably get away with just spending your entire time just taking in the city by foot, if I’m honest – I definitely wouldn’t have minded! Here’s a photo of Simon attempting to tell where the hell we were – it’s something that happened a lot.

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We didn’t go in a gondola. I know that’s controversial or whatever but to be honest we saw enough of the city by foot that taking an expensive boat trip around seemed pretty pointless. I didn’t enquire about prices, but the internet tells me that it’s about €80 for a 40 minute trip. So yeah. Ouch.

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We did have a guidebook, but didn’t really refer to it for tourist-y places to be honest. As far as sights go, we basically didn’t do much more than just wandering around. The only sites that we spent money on were the museums – we got some kind of combined ticket (€48 for both of us, our biggest extravagance) which got us one visit to each of the 12 (or something) main museums around the city. We did the museum of modern art (nice, small), the Doge’s Palace (stunning),  the ‘Museo Correr’ (which I am unsure how to translate, it was basically a large stately home (…I think) full of paintings held together by masking tape and sculptures and bits of architecture, very nice), and the museum of natural history (which is going to have a photo post of its own, as it was h’amazing!). The ticket was definitely worth it, if a little pricey, but you could absolutely go without it. Also we gave the Guggenheim a miss as it was quite expensive and alotofmodernartmakesmethrowupinmymouthalittlebit. Don’t hate me. To make it up to you here is a photo of a pigeon judging a woman with a digital camera. He prefers to work in film.

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St Mark’s is free to get in to and wander around, there’s a little museum in there, and I *think* they do free tours as well! Well worth checking out, if you can dodge the street vendors shoving things in your face all around the square! That’s probably a good tip actually – a lot of those guys kept trying to forcibly give me roses, and kept saying ‘gratis! gratis!’ when I refused. I don’t know why they would give anyone a rose for free, but I was highly suspicious. Here is a photo of Simon in St Marco’s Piazza wondering why they’ve decided to put the largest Versace billboard you’ve ever seen up over this beautiful landmark. Who made that decision? Like “I know what we should have mirroring the beautiful and infamous St Mark’s cathedral – a massive pile of ugly brainwash!” “Yeah what a good ide- Oh HANG ON…”

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The most money we spent was on food and drink – it was all pretty darn expensive, so we just ate in restaurants or whatever in the evenings, and tried to pick a up sandwich or something for lunch to keep us going. Keep in mind that table service will cost you extra at most places, so if you aren’t too proud to walk and eat then do that. The first night we asked for a bottle of house red wine instead of the wine list and it set us back €28, we didn’t make that mistake again! Also a bottle of water will cost you €4, so maybe try and do without that if you can. Obviously not ordering alcoholic beverages will make a large difference to your bill too, but we were not that restrained. The hotel did breakfast, so I employed the method of trying to scoff as much as I possibly could in the morning, and stash a banana for later. Here’s a photo of a sparrow that looks pretty well-fed.

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Ah! Also a good thing to bear in mind, hotels charge ‘city tax’ on the first 5 days of your stay, I think it’s something like €3 a day? Not an incredible amount, but you might want to put a 20 aside so you don’t end up spending more than you’d like at the end of it all. We also gave in to the minibar. Whoops. A good tip for saving money is er, not to do that. Have this photo of a padlock, being used here as a metaphor for love. Nothing says ‘love’ like something that forcibly locks on to something else and never lets go. A beautiful gesture, I think.

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We got about €300 out between us, and did have to withdraw an extra 50 to stretch till the last day, which considering we bought nothing but food, drink, the museum ticket and the airport-city ticket (€27 each – bit steep, but it’s a nice journey), and no souvenirs is probably quite a lot, I’d say you could definitely do it for less! I guess £150 each isn’t too bad for 3/4 days, though. Here’s a photo of some stone guards that are so scared of the prices in Venice that they are having to cling to one another in the hope that it’ll make all the bad thoughts go away.

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Okay I hope this helped I don’t think it did but I wrote it anyway because I don’t care a fig hooray okay byee!

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