I’m finally in Italy! Visiting Italy is special to me not only due to my Italian heritage, but also because I feel as if I’ve been trying and failing to get here for years.
We flew into Venice from London and took a waterbus into the city. From the bus dock we walked to the hotel through the winding alleys and over canals. I got a little disoriented attempting to get to the dot on my map, but we eventually made it to the right tiny alley for the entrance to our hotel.
The hotel was gorgeous and quirky. To get to our room we had to go up to floor 2, turn, go up a ramp, down a separate set of steps, take a few more turns, and another ramp… Or something to that affect.
After dropping off our bags, we went out to explore as we had limited time here (a theme of this trip).While planning this trip, I read that Venice was expensive and that it’s typically more of a day trip/one night deal. I agree that the hotels in the area and the public transport are a bit more pricey than the other places we have/will be visiting, but it wasn’t as expensive as I was led to believe. Like anywhere, there are expensive and cheaper restaurants, bars, and shops, you just need to be able to take some time and explore.
We found dinner on the Canal Grande with a view of the Ponte di Rialto. This place was pretty well priced and had options for everyone in the group (and gelato to boot!) We always try and find places that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters on this trip (you know who you are).Splitting up, my sister and I decided to wander the alley ways to see what we could find. We shopped at small stores looking for deals and came across Piazza San Marco. We got there when everything was closing down, so it was fairly empty.
My sister learned a lesson here: beware of pigeons. She loves animals and when we entered the Piazza San Marco she saw individuals with pigeons all over them. Next thing I know, she’s got her arms out trying to do it as well. Some men stuck bird seed in her hands and hair. She had a great time, and I was given bird seed as well. Afterward, however, the men wanted (more of demanded) 10euros a piece. It’s a typical tourist trap which we both fell into due to proximity and excitement of being in a new place. My sister has now learned to examine the situation a bit more before running into things like this as she rarely carries cash around. Now every time we see pigeons we make a joke… We will tire of this soon, Venice has lots of pigeons.
We later found a small bar to have a drink and tried to find our way back to the hotel, once again bypassing the Piazza San Marco. I hardly ever look up places to eat or drink and rely on reading menus outside and whatever is near when we’re hungry. Like any place, there are many places to eat in Venice, so if you’re not happy with one menu keep walking. Many places will have waiters outside trying to convince you to come in, but those ones can be more pricey. Even our travel books said that most of the time it’s better to keep walking.The next day, we set out again to explore before catching our midday train. I took the other members of our group to Piazza San Marco to see the architecture of St. Mark’s Basilica and it was much more crowded than before even though it was a Wednesday. I can’t imagine what it’s like during the weekends or summer… People were feeding the birds again, but my sister informed me that others were now doing it for free.
Venice has many shops, but the best ones were in alleyways and a bit hidden, so make sure to leave the Canal Grande and main tourist areas when exploring. My favorite part of Venice was just walking around the area and finding new places. I usually mark my hotel on my Google maps while I have wifi then leave to explore. If you leave on your location on it will still track you through the city and it’ll be easy to find your way back as you wander freely. This has saved me from being completely lost many a times. If you’re like me and don’t want to pay for international phone service then try this method!No matter what time of year you’re going, if you plan to visit churches or other sacred areas, bring proper clothing. Many will turn you away if you’re not dressed properly (shoulders covered and no knees showing). Almost all the churches in Italy are free to enter, but prepare for lines.
Venice was definitely worth the wait! I plan to come back here and continue to explore…maybe when my Italian is a little better.
Antico Panada– Venice is pretty small, so almost anywhere within the city is a great location, but I really liked this hotel. The price was great for 4 people and the decorations/architecture gave it a nice feel.
-There’s a lot to do in Venice if you are out exploring. Two members of our group did the gondola ride (be prepared to spend 100 euros!), we shopped, and we all found good places to eat/drink. Don’t be afraid to take detours!
***WordPress and my phone are not getting along at the moment so please excuse any formatting issues!
Also, any photos that we finally get off the cameras will be posted to Instagram***