13.10.2016 - 15.10.2016
The final stop on our Italian tour was to the world-famous city Venice. We got the train from Florence into Venice, which was a great way to enter the city. You could see the water becoming more and more until you are surrounded and then suddenly buildings appear on top of the water – it is a great view!
Upon leaving the train station I got my first real glimpse of Venice from the inside. I must admit, I was very impressed! The place is unlike anywhere I have ever seen before and everything really does appear to be floating on water – there is just so much water! It is the most unique place I have seen and I was instantly impressed with the place.
We got on one of the water buses (yes – the buses and taxis are all boats!) and made our way a few stops down the Grand Canal and headed to our hotel. We bought a three-day pass that could be used on all water buses and worked out a lot cheaper – highly recommended! We left our bags at the hotel and went for our first wander around. It is great to walk around a city that has no roads, just canals, it was very peaceful and quiet.
The Grand Canal goes right through the centre of the city which is lined with Renaissance and Gothic buildings, all of which look great! There is a lot going on along here, with restaurants, bars, hotels, shops, and, of course, the Rialto Bridge. The Rialto Bridge is one of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. It is the oldest bridge across the canal, and was the dividing line for the districts of San Marco and San Polo. It is also the place where my friend got engaged, so I was very keen to see it. It is a lovely bridge and the view when standing on it is fantastic, it was just a shame that when I was there the bridge was under construction, so it had a lot of scaffolding over it which covered half of it and kind of ruined the magic of it. Still, you get the idea of what it would look like and it is an impressive-looking bridge.
The central square, Piazza San Marco, contains St. Mark’s Basilica, which is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, northern Italy. It is the most famous of the city's churches and an impressive sight. Drinks and food on the central square cost a small fortune so I wouldn’t recommend eating here, there are plenty of places out of the centre that are much more reasonable.
We decided in the afternoon to make the most of our bus passes and get a boat out to one of the surrounding islands. We wanted to head to the one that we had heard was full of coloured houses but got it wrong and instead ended up at Murano, the Glass Island. The island is famous for its glass making and the streets are lined with shops selling the glass products, however, we were not looking for glass products so found it a little boring and it was so cold! The weather was taking a turn so we decided to head back, but to be fair the best part of our trip was the boat ride. It was great to see Venice from a distance and to see the surrounding area.
On our second day in Venice, the heavens opened. I am not talking about a little drizzle but a full- on, all-day downpour. We stayed in the hotel for most of the morning hoping it would pass but when it came to around 11am and it had not eased off we decided to face it and get out. However, after walking around for a while having a look at the sights and nice buildings, we gave up due to being wet through, bought a load of food and drinks and went back to the hotel to watch films.
My one regret about Venice is not going on a gondola! Adam did not want to do it and, for the two of us, it was expensive, around £80/£100 for about 20 minutes. If there were more of us it would have been do-able but not just for the two of us on a budget. Then, when the rain came down, we had no chance of going on. If I went again I would certainly make sure I went on a gondola and completed the full Venice experience!
Venice is a truly unique place and one I would love to go back to (in the summer with more money!)