I hope you’ve had an awesome and relaxing weekend in the best of health because this past week I was recovering from a nasty cold I caught thanks to the Highland winds up in here in Scotland and lemme tell ya, it was a brutal 5 days but I made it out alive!!!!! I’m finally well enough to write a post about my trip to the beautiful city of Venice! My husband and I were actually treated to this trip by his brother and bestie so the whole experience was super meaningful to us.
We flew out on a Monday, it took about 2.5 hours (perks of living on this side of the world) and we made it in time to watch the sun set on the Laguna Veneta; the body of water surrounding the city of Venice. It was truly a magnificent sight and the weather was an immaculate 17 degrees so it wasn’t too warm or too cold…just right. Hubby and I looked into each other’s eyes and thought this was a great start to our vacay. Little did we know what was going to commence very soon after getting off the first inter-airport bus.
The English signs stop as soon as you leave Marco Polo Airport. Also ‘free wifi’ wasn’t so “free” (major shout out to Pearson International Airport for providing reliable internet for all… more reasons to love Toronto) so you’re pretty much left to ask locals how you’ll be getting around. Luckily we at least knew that our hotel was less than ten kilometers away from the airport so we hopped onto a bus with really uncomfortable seats and were off to our home for the next 4 days.
As we rode to the hotel I immediately took in the outdoors and was reminded of Pakistan. Not the main city Lahore type of Pakistan but the tall blades of grass and big houses with grill balconies and massive driveways type of Pakistan. It brought me back to my mother’s land but I later learned we were actually in a small municipality located on the mainland of Venice called Campalto. After being dropped off a block away from our hotel, onto a scary main road with dirt for sidewalks, and deep ditches (LOL) we dragged our luggage and arrived at the gorgeous Antony Hotel. After paying a strange tourist tax of 30 Euros, which is apparently a law set by the City of Venice for all tourists, we headed upstairs to our room.
If you don’t already know about this hotel, it is rated a generous 4 stars and that is exactly the kind of setting we saw when we stepped into the room. Decorated elegantly with modern interior design, the room had clean gray tiles and a huge window (it literally took up the whole wall) displaying magnificent waters. The decor gave it a very minimalist inner city feel while still being on the outskirts of town away from the hustle and bustle.
So that’s how it all began… and although we went through some ups and downs trying to figure out the best way to get around the city with a river running through, we managed to master this metropolitan in a matter of days and had an amazing time doing it. I’m going to end this post off with some travel tips you can apply either to this charming city or any other European wonder you choose to discover!
- Travel light…seriously.
I know you want to look cute and have 483793 outfits set out for cute dates and walking about strutting your stuff (so did I) but damn if there is one thing I’ve learned after this trip is to pack less and actually brainstorm how you can make the most ensembles out of the least articles of clothing. You want to pack less so there’s more room to take goodies home ;).
- TAKE YOUR TRAINERS!
Not for morning jogs but you might need to run after a bus or a boat (this is the main method of transportation in the city of Venice!) so please please please do not forget to bring them!!! Or else you’ll end up like me having to stop between your excursions and bandaging feet blisters. Even if you’re punctual as heck and aren’t ever late for buses, you will be walking all day here. The only time you’ll be sitting is when you’re eating at a restaurant. Just save your precious feet the pain and look sporty chic instead. You can’t ever go wrong with that look.
- Buy a bus pass, it will save you time
Venice is usually a city crowded with tourists so that means waiting in line a long time to exchange currency and to buy bus tickets. Buy a pass that will allow you to travel for 24, 48 or even 72 hours without having to worry about buying more tickets. There are even 10 day tickets you can buy if you’re planning to stay for that long. My hubs and I only learned about this trick the next day so constantly buying tickets was a bummer until we bought this pass, we were boat and bus hopping and never felt better!!!! The transportation system in Venice is pretty neat and takes you far and wide to several nearby islands. Plus the main train station Santa Lucia or referred to as Ferroiva on the bus stop, is smack dab in the heart of Venice so you don’t need to go too far if you want to take a day trip somewhere else. So there’s no need for cabs (plus they’re way too pricey). Just make sure you keep any passes or ticket cards safe in your wallet because it’s just paper and easy to misplace…plus you’ll get fined if an inspector comes around and it’s not on you. Italian officials are not lenient on tourists.
- Wander, it’s okay to get lost
Yup, you read that right. Whether you’re roaming the lively streets of Venice, strolling past fine glass shops of Murano or walking along the river surrounded by bright colored brick houses in Burano, take out time to weave through buildings and end up in back alleys to discover what it’s really like to live there. You’ll come across such scenic views and experience surreal feelings. You’ll also come across gemmy eateries! We purchased actual Italian Focaccia from a local supermarket instead of our usual Lidl fix (lol) and it was HEAVENLY. We decided to buy a few to snack on as we travelled around, it was the best idea we’d made all day. Nom.
- Early to bed, Early to rise and Enjoy
Last but not least just get back to your place of stay at a decent time and plan your next day before going to bed. Have an action plan, and get ready to kick start the next day bright and early when less people are swarming the streets. Get to St. Marks Basilica early to take some fire pics and visit the picturesque islands of Murano and Burano during the day time because it’s best viewed in the sunlight. Venice does come alive in the night time but everything starts to die down around 9PM because busses only run for so long so you want to make it back to mainland in time to get home!
In conclusion, take of yourself while you’re tripping it up, eat LOTS of gelato, cannoli, pasta, pizza and try new things! That’s what travelling is all about. Honestly just have a freaking radical time because Italy itself has so much charm it sweeps you off your feet. You’ll fall in love.