14 Jun A Visit to VeniceMy lovely travel companion Gemma has decided to try her hand at writing a blog post. Read what she has to say about Venice below!
Next on our trip was the idyllic Italian city of Venice. We were really excited to visit this popular tourist destination, whose canals and winding streets attract visitors from across the world. Venice has long been high on my list of places to visit, the beautiful scenery seen on photographs seemed almost too good to be true so I hoped it would live up to my high expectations.
Staying on the main island of Venice is very expensive so instead we opted for an apartment in Mestre – a short 10 minute train journey from the island. After a long day of travelling we were really looking forward to seeing our apartment and were delighted to discover that it had a Jacuzzi bath and some plush towels! As we arrived quite late in the evening we decided to have an early night. We bought some food from the local supermarket to cook dinner and enjoyed the luxury of the jacuzzi before heading to bed.
The next morning we were refreshed and ready to explore the city! At St Lucia we purchased a water boat ticket for a hop on hop off tour which, at €27 for 48 hours, wasn’t as expensive as we thought it would be. Before catching our boat to San Marco Square we wandered round the streets near the Santa Lucia station. The scenery was stunning and certainly did not disappoint.
We had a look round the stalls and after a feeble attempt at haggling I bought a new hat. We boarded the boat to San Marco and sat out on the back of the boat to admire the view. Feeling summery in my new hat I decided to be vain and pose for a boat selfie. I was soon brought down a peg or two by the wind and had to watch as my new hat flew off into the water as I flapped about trying to catch it. Caitlin was a very sympathetic friend and laughed hysterically as it floated away from me. Note to self: do not wear hats on a boat.
At San Marco we wandered to the main square to see the impressive Saint Marcs Basilica and Bell Tower. Unfortunately the queue for climbing this was huge and with the sun beating down we decided to just walk around the city instead, with a stop for gelato of course! The gondola tours looked inviting but were very pricey – €80 for 30 mins and our backpackers budget would not stretch that far! After some more walking through the city we stopped off for a relaxing drink of wine to rest our feet before heading back to the apartment in the late evening.
On our second day we decided to venture out to some of the smaller islands surrounding Venice. Our first stop was Lido, a small seaside town. Although still touristy it was a lot quieter than the main island and had more of a relaxed vibe. We wandered down to the beach and enjoyed a few hours swimming in the sea and sunbathing before heading back to the boat.
Our second stop of the day was Murano, a small picturesque town famous for glass making. It was much more residential but still catered for tourists with more glass making shops than there is gondolas in Venice. It was lovely to wander through the streets and take in the beauty of the canals and buildings however, as it was very small, a short stop off here was enough. We headed back for the boat and from our next stop wandered back towards San Marco for some dinner – lasagne and calamari, yum!
Although we both enjoyed our trip to Venice we did feel that in comparison to other places it was not as welcoming. There seemed to be a certain animosity from some locals towards tourists. Some staff in the shops and cafes seemed very unfriendly and blunt. We also felt that as young tourists there wasn’t much to do in Venice and as it was extremely crowded there wasn’t much of a relaxed atmosphere to match up with the idyllic surroundings. Overall we are still very glad we stopped off at Venice as it really was beautiful and definitely worth seeing however we probably wouldn’t go back for another trip.