the venetian islands

30 Oct 2023

On a bright and sunny day, I boarded a ferry for my trip to the Venetian islands of Mazzorbo, Burano and Torcello. Somehow I thought I'd be the only one, but the crowd waiting for the boat to Murano soon put an end to that thought. It was standing room only on the ferry both there and back.

First stop was the island of Mazzorbo to visit the Venissa wine resort

The grapes planted with their traditional companion, beautiful full bloom roses.

It was love at first sight and I snapped away happily. The only people there were guests of the resort and an Australian couple I met on the ferry.

Mazzorbo is connected to Burano by a bridge so I walked across the bridge and happily snapped away at the multi-coloured buildings for which Burano is known.

There were a few other people around but not many or so I thought until I rounded a corner to find the main street of Burano jam packed with tourists with hordes of new travellers being disgorged from the ferry. 

I'd been to Burano before and it was nothing like this. I felt so sorry for the locals who have to put up with this 7 days a week during the summer months. 

I also acknowledge that my presence meant I was part of the problem.

I hopped on the ferry to Torcello, my next destination, then discovered the ferry had changed it's route and instead of going to Torcello was returning to Murano. That added an hour to the journey so by the time I arrived at Torcello, it was midday, the sun was high and the island relatively unsheltered and hot! Thankfully I had a hat and water.

I'd planned to have lunch at Torcello but the food at the place I'd bookmarked looked underwhelming so I walked on to see the church for which Torcello is famous. 

Part of the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta was covered in scaffolding, and I was a bit grumpy from the machinations of the trip there. One does get a bit of church fatigue in Europe so I used my last few euros for a bathroom stop instead of seeing the church interiors. 

I'm guilty of doing insufficient research on Torcello and in retrospect I should have seen the mosaics for which the church is famous. Hopefully there will be another trip to Venice in the future. 

That's the last of my holiday snaps. My black and white films scans have arrived back from the lab so I'll post a few of them when I have time to edit them.

See you all again soon.

Bye for now,



23 Oct 2023

I first visited Venice when I was 15 and I can still remember the name of the hotel in which we stayed. It was the Hotel Commercio & Pellegrino and it's still in operation today. The room we stayed in was tiny and the bathroom was literally a hole in the wall.

The hotel was very close to the Piazza San Marco and after spending some time in the Piano Lounge at the Hotel Danieli we used to spend our evenings in the square around the boarded up fountain. I don't think I'd have the chutzpah to waltz into the lounge at the Danieli these days.

It was the depths of winter and there were few visitors and I found Venice with it's dead ends and canals a bit eerie but I loved it. I've been back twice since then but not since 2005, when I stayed in Dorsoduro. Dorsoduro was a pretty quiet location but even in 2005, Piazza San Marco was crazy busy - but not like 2023.

At the recommendation of a friend I stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast in Cannaregio near the Jewish ghetto. 

Cannaregio was also crazy busy, but the spacious apartment on the 3rd floor was a lovely refuge from the crowds below. 

I arranged a full itinerary and walked my shoes into oblivion days one and two before I purchased a 48 hour ferry pass so I could visit the islands. I discovered a very convenient ferry stop just around the corner from the apartment and from then on I tootled around the canals on vaporetto's.

Now here's the thing - I do not like crowds, so my time in Venice was always going to be a bit stress inducing. I knew it was going to be busy but it was a level of busy I had not expected. The streets were so narrow and so crowded one was swept along in the throng. 

I soon learned to go out by 7.00 am to avoid the crowds and to get a mostly clear view point for photography, but not at at the Piazza San Marco. 

The Square is a mess of scaffolding at the moment, so it is not looking it's best. I found many historic buildings both in Venice and on Torcello in the same state of restoration. 

I found couples having pre-wedding shoots; a film crew blocking the view of the Bridge of Sighs and most annoyingly, a (male) instagrammer clogging up the colonnade of the Doges Palace for 10 minutes + posing for his female friend, whilst looking to get the best shot. 

I did my best but returned to Cannaregio a bit frustrated. Maybe I need to return to Venice in Winter.

When I wasn't doing my best to avoid the crowds I visited the most beautiful supermarket in Venice, the Despar Teatro Italia, a mere 4 minute walk from the flat and the Rialto food market

Everything in the markets looked wonderful but without a kitchen in which to cook, I really couldn't buy much. Instead I frequented the local osteria, Al Mariner, for bowls of seafood pasta

A letterpress shop I wanted to visit was closed for lunch so I walked around the district to fill in the time. I stepped into one of the most beautiful churches I've every visited, the Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta 

There was no queue to enter and I paid one euro upon entry which was used towards renovation costs.

I was blown away by the interiors.

The surprise package was the convent next door, which had been converted into a hostel, the Combo Venezia.

I could only visit the public areas which included 2 beautiful quadrangles.

and the staircase, complete with marble flooring and frescoed ceiling.

I did a day trip the islands but that deserves a separate blog post, so look out for that soon. 

On my last full day in Venice I visited the Fortuny Museum and the International Gallery of Modern Art and passed this beauty in my travel, the Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti.

The final flourish was the rooftop view from the Fondaco dei Tedeschi Department store. 

Yes you do have to book your spot on the terrace 3 weeks in advance and you only have 15 minutes on the terrace, but the views over Venice were amazing and well worth the effort of waking at 4.00 am to ensure my slot.

Before I made my way to the Airport I caught a vaporetto along the Grand Canal just as the sun rose.

It was such a beautiful experience with an almost empty Rialto Bridge.

And just like that the holiday was over and I was heading to the Airport for my flight (s) back to Sydney. 

I'll be back soon with my visit to the Venetian Islands.

Bye for now,


the lakes, slovenia

12 Oct 2023

You've all seen photos of the picturesque Lake Bled, but have you ever heard of Lake Bohinj? Well before doing my research for this trip neither had I.

Lake Bled is very beautiful but also very popular. I'm not a fan of crowds so I decided to stay at Lake Bohinj and as it's only a 30 minute drive from Lake Bled, I knew I'd be able to visit both places.

I drove to Lake Bohinj from Kobarid, along very narrow winding roads that one couldn't really describe as a highway. Slovenians tackle these roads by driving very fast down the centre of the road and they expect you to get out of their way (which I did). When I arrived at my destination I was told the locals never tackle the highway, instead they put their cars on a special train which takes them through the mountain to a nearby railways station. Good news for me if I ever  return to Lake Bohinj.

Once I'd parked the car and checked into my accommodation at the Hotel Majerca, I made a booking for dinner. 

Once again the restaurant was full but they managed to squeeze me in for a 7.00 pm booking. I then walked down to the lake which is about a 10-15 minute walk from the hotel.

The lake was very full, filled with ducks and altogether very peaceful and calm. It's a popular swimming venue, though it was all a bit too chilly for me. 

I walked home past the Church of St John the Baptist. The bridge is normally crammed with tourists but I was there very early in the morning I managed to take a fairly tourist free shot.

The church is famous for its frescoes and why I didn't go inside to view them is a mystery to me.

Lake Bohinj is within the Triglav National Park, the only National Park in Slovenia, so of course I had to go on a hike. I decided to do the
Rudnica walk but trying to find the trailhead was tricky. 

walked for an hour and visited 2 information centres before I was given the correct starting point for the walk, a mere 5 minute walk from the hotel.

I set off towards the Pec Lookout then retraced my steps for the walk to Rudnica. 

The view from the Pec lookout (I think).

There are quite steep parts to the walk which then opens out onto meadows and views over the lake.

Rain was threatening so I hurtled down the hill in record time to avoid the weather. 

The next day I reluctantly left Lake Bohinj and the Hotel Majerca (comfortable room with beautiful views, excellent service and delicious food) and drove to Lake Bled. 
I parked my car near the Cafe Belvedere, and clambered up a steep hill for the classic view of Lake Bled, Bled Island and the Church of the Mother of God all overlooked by Bled Castle. 

The cafe looked closed but when I peeked through the window I could see a few patrons, so I stepped inside. 

The interiors were gorgeous. 

From there I walked through the gardens of Villa Bled, Marshal Tito's former summer home which is now a hotel, down to the Lake and back up again. It was my favourite part of my visit to Lake Bled.

Next stop, Venice. See you all again soonish with photos from my time there.

Bye for now,

© DELICIOUS BITES • Theme by Maira G.