Jan 4, 2012

Buon Anno! (Happy New Year!)

For the past six years, New Year's Eve has meant more to me than just a fun excuse to party. It has a special place in my heart, because six years ago, on New Year's Eve, is when I met my husband. Of course, at the time I didn't know I would marry him (he says he knew...); I just thought he was a cute boy! It turns out that boy turned is now the man I love. 


We decided to make this NYE memorable since he was deployed last year and will be deployed next year. I set my sights on ringing in the new year in Venice since I heard they throw quite a party. My eager ambitions to spend the night there quickly fell to the ground when I saw how much hotel rooms were for the night of December 31. As one travel agent told me, "The entire world celebrates New Year's Eve, so expect a high mark-up on everything." Her warning was very much appreciated and prepared me for sky-high prices.


The place I found, Hotel Ca' d'Oro, had good reviews and included free cancellation and free breakfast (two criteria I like), but the only room available was their junior suite with a "canal view."

I can't tell you how excited I am to own a wide-angle lens some day!
I've had "rooms with a view" before and have always been disappointed. Usually you get a sliver of whatever view you're expecting and have to crane your neck out the window just to see it. I'm sure you can imagine my surprise when we opened our window and saw this view:







Well hellooooo, Italy! After I picked my jaw off the floor I started taking pictures. I hope I never get tired of visiting Venice, because it's truly beautiful around every corner. Once my fingers were too cold to take another shot, I gave in and took a nap, knowing we'd be up late celebrating. (I also wanted to get our money's worth for our room by sleeping in the bed twice...)

This is supposed to be a "before" picture, but we clearly need to work on our photo-taking skills.
We had a couple hours to spare till dinner, so we leisurely strolled through Venice's labyrinth to get to the restaurant. If I thought finding a hotel in that city on NYE was difficult, then I should've prepared myself for finding a place to eat. My husband decided that if we were celebrating our "meetiversary" (as he kept calling it), then we were going all out. He wanted a good meal that included wine in the price. 



I did my homework trying to find a place weeks before NYE. I read reviews and even emailed eateries asking for their NYE menu and price, but I was blown away by some places—several charged more than €500 a person...FOR DINNER! If I paid that price I'd expect to go home with gold and diamonds! I finally found a place (Taverna San Trovaso) that had an extensive-looking set menu, good reviews, included wine, and only set us back a little bit. 


Dinner started promptly at 8 pm and I immediately loved the festive energy in the restaurant. Our table had a place card with our name on it, along with two party hats and two noise makers just for us. SCORE! The owner, Marcus, greeted every table wearing a fun party hat and promptly brought us wine (red and white). As our waitress poured us each a Bellini, we settled in for a delicious dinner. Before we knew it, the place was packed and the courses started to arrive.

I haven't translated the menu yet, but left to right (from what we think it was): pumpkin soup; some sort of seafood soup (so good); mixed seafood plate (lots of raw fish), and thinly sliced beef with cheese.
Yes. I said "courses." It was a set menu and when I made the reservation I had to pick either the meat or seafood menu, so I ordered one of each. When the food started arriving we looked at the menu again and realized we had absolutely no idea what we were eating—we could pick out a few words here and there (scampi, salami, artichoke, etc.), but that doesn't really explain much if you don't know the context in which the ingredient is cooked! Luckily, the food was good, so it wasn't an issue.

half a lobster; three different kinds of salami (I need to find out what kind they were, because they were delicious) and spicy cheese sticks (I want to recreate them); another type of mixed seafood with a shellfish we've never seen before, and a puff pastry with Gorgonzola sauce filled with zucchini and proscuitto.

We only had one issue with our long, drawn-out meal: around the fifth plate of food that graced our table, we started getting sleepy. And when that sixth dish to land before our eyes was a nice, big bowl of creamy risotto? Forget it. All I wanted to do was curl up in my seat and take a nap. Instead of snoozing, I pushed the risotto aside (after a few bites, because I couldn't let something that tasty go to waste), had some more wine, a few gulps of water, and was ready for more food. 

tortellini filled with duck and pheasant (all I could translate!); a seafood crepe; and risotto (seafood and a meat variety)

All in all, dinner was exactly what we wanted. It was fancy schmancy, but without being pretentious. We were also the only Americans in there and had a great table so we could be all romantic and make googly eyes at each other.

Sea bass with pistachio and veggies; veal with zucchini, eggplant, and an artichoke souffle; panatone (dessert).
Dinner ended up lasting four hours (yes, four), and we found ourselves quickly sipping a shot of espresso and downing dessert so we could get out of there and over to San Marco's Square for the countdown.  

Not San Marco, but I'm not sure what it is, exactly.

Finding the square was pretty simple—we just followed the crowd! Somehow we made it there in record time ended up in the perfect spot! 





Before we knew it, it was time to countdown! 



 HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!


After we rang in the new year with a traditional kiss, we made a silly decision: to seek out fireworks. We were told they were pretty cool in Venice, so we started making our way to the water. Everything started out fine, but before we knew it, people were closing in all around us. 


I've never been surrounded by more people in my life! At one point my husband yanked me to one side and we somehow found a spot to watch the fireworks. It was a fantastic show and actually worth the crowd of people. 







It took us more than an hour to get back to our hotel that night, because of all the people, but there was so much excitement and energy flowing throughout everyone that it was a fun trip back! I'm so happy we experienced NYE in Venice together! 

15 comments:

  1. That looks like an awesome trip!! The food looks amazing!!! Glad you guys had a great NYE together!

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  2. It looks like you had a wonderful New Year's Eve! Everything looks great, from the hotel (and wonderful view!) to the dinner, and fireworks. The pictures are great! Thanks for sharing New Year's Eve in Venice!

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  3. Please tell me you've read the book or see the movie, Room With a View - the beginning is set in Italy!

    What a wonderful NYE - and great use of the many photos :)

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  4. Looks like so much fun! I love the fireworks photos and the confetti falling down at midnight. I'm glad you walked to see the fireworks because they look magical!

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  5. Now THAT is how you ring in the new year.

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  6. Wow, that looks like a wonderful way to ring in 2012 AND celebrate your meet-iversary :) Glad the food, countdown, and fireworks all worked out!

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  7. What beautiful shots! May you carry all the wonder of that special evening throughout the new year. :-)

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  8. Beautiful photos! Happy anniversary & happy new year!

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  9. Beautiful! So excited for you both. I hope to one day travel there too. My husband is Army and we hope to make ot out if the U.S. and travel while he is inlisted. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Beautiful! So excited for you both. I hope to one day travel there too. My husband is Army and we hope to make ot out if the U.S. and travel while he is inlisted. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. What a magical trip! I love all the pictures. :-) Especially those fireworks! Happy New Year!

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  12. I can't wait to visit Venice!! Looks lovely! And that food! Good gosh. They would have had to roll me out the door!

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  13. I can't add anything to the wonderful comments above except to say ditto, ditto, ditto. Loved every bit of it! Any way I can get a "hard copy" of the view from your hotel window? I would love to share that with everyone. Happy belated New Year!

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  14. Wow wow wow! It looks like you had an absolutely spectacular evening! That dinner sounds to die for....mmmm

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  15. It looks like an absolutely perfect way to ring in the New Year!

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Thanks for leaving some love! I read every single comment and appreciate your kind words :)