Last week we decided to make an escape from the dreary London climate to the beautiful Italian island of Venice. Our trip started super early in the morning to catch the train to Gatwick airport in order to catch our flight. Annoying as early morning flights are – I like them because then you’re not wasting the entire day travelling. We were in Venice, checked into our hotel and ready to explore by 10am!
As always, before arriving in Venice, I had sought advice from everyone I know about what not to miss out on. The hot tip from everyone I spoke to was simply to walk around for hours and get lost. I didn’t fully understand what they meant until we arrived and set off on our mission to get lost in the city.
We began walking along the main river, although pretty quickly ran into a dead end and had to make a turn into the narrow maze of cobbled streets. And just like that we were lost, in Venice. Luckily, as recommended, Venice is a great city to be lost in!
With patisseries almost everywhere, we stopped to grab some snacks (pastries and some of the best liquorice I’ve ever had. We bought some pieces that must have been about a metre long!). I was blown away by how beautiful everything looked. On every corner there were shops selling Commedia dell’Arte masks which I learnt about in high school drama class. These elaborate masks are used for the Carnival of Venice.
Venice is a city with an incredibly rich history. It was founded in 421 AD, and was once one of the most prosperous cities in Europe. Venice has since changed hands many times, resulting in interesting and beautiful architecture.
After walking around and taking it all in, we eventually stumbled upon St Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco), Venice’s famous town square. Unfortunately, it had started pouring rain by this point, so we couldn’t fully appreciate it. We sought shelter in a cafe so Chris could have a coffee and I had a hot chocolate. Hot Tip: check the price of coffee before you sit down! We must have sat in a tourist trap, as a cappuccino was €5, and hot chocolate €6. There were places you could get hot beverages for much cheaper.
After the rain died down, we kept walking and got super lost and hungry! We stopped at a restaurant on the river and had spaghetti with seafood which is making my mouth water thinking about it! We were so lost by this point that we had to ask our waiter if he could point out where we were on the map which had been given to us by our hotel. He laughed and took the map off us, telling us it was useless. He then produced a better map and showed us where we were – which wasn’t even on the first map! Venice is actually quite big, especially when you manage to get lost.
We worked out the Vaporetto system (public transport but on a boat!), and got back on track to find our way back.
On our other days, we walked around with more purpose. We visited St Mark’s Basilica, which is in St Mark’s Square. There was a massive queue to get in, but I have a good tip for you to skip it! You can utilise a free bag drop service if you have a backpack – simply go around the left side of the church to the obscure bag drop office and they will give you a ticket. You can then use this ticket to skip the queue and go in faster! It’s free to go into the church, but costs if you want to go upstairs.
Many people go for rides along the canals in the famous Venetian gondolas, but we heard that this was a massive racket. They were right as it was crazy expensive to go for a ride in them and not worth it in our opinion.
We also visited the Ponte dell’Academia; the famous love locks bridge. We considered putting a padlock on, however the street hawker was selling them for 20 Euros! We laughed and left.
Venice is a very romantic and beautiful city and we would love to return one day.