Venice has more captivating beauty, history and tranquil waterways than you can shake a gondola’s rowing oar at so you would think that my visit last year would be enough, but I keep stumbling across the other Venices in this splendid world of ours and I now find myself on an the hunt for more.
The second one I visited was Venice Beach in California – somewhat different to the one in Italy. It was my first stop on my three months trip of the States so it was viewed through a jetlag haze but I fell for its crazy boardwalk and extraordinary murals on its buildings. I also popped along to Naples Island at Long Beach just down the road, another small canals residency but with a much more conservative vibe to Venice beach. At the time it was Halloween and the house decorations were something to behold.
The next one to creep up on me was the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, an almost Disney-esq version of Venice with its miniature St Mark’s square (where I had a very expensive gelato) and gondola rides through the shopping mall, it being Vegas. The bit that made me literally laugh out loud was when I left I went for a stroll over the mini Rialto Bridge and it had an escalator in it, to assist you along your way. Which left me wondering if the real Venice was a bit of a shock to American’s who had experienced the Vegas version first.
The last one I stumbled across was Aveiro, known as the Portuguese Venice. It has canals, art nouveau buildings, colourful houses and boat rides for the tourists. Because of its marine heritage the fish and seafood offerings from the restaurants are amazing and the bars are cool and affordable (due to the student clientele from the University). It is also next to a coastal lagoon so it offers some impressive nature, especially birds. On my first afternoon there I unexpectedly saw some wild flamingoes on the salt flats and was so happy I almost cried. It thoroughly deserves its reputation of being a ‘hidden gem’.
So now my appetite is well and truly whet I find myself on a quest to visit more Venices, if you know of others please do let me know in the comments.