Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Venice: A floating city full of life

(Travel Day 36)

June 4 (Day 1)  
Unfortunately I have no diary entries to reference for Venice, so I am relying on photos and my memories to explain how much I loved it. 

We arrived at the Camping ground in the late afternoon, it was hot, and the city was a bus ride away. So we spent  most of the evening in and around the swimming pool. Bliss. We were staying in a camping ground quite a distance from central Venice, which was a much more affordable option in an expensive city. Now, when I was picturing a camping ground I wasn't expecting separate cabins with proper beds and basic facilities, so that was a nice surprise. 

June 5 (Day 2)
Chris and I caught a local bus which runs near our camping site, into central Venice. We spent the entire day exploring the floating city and all it's little winding streets. Getting lost and finding new areas. Eating good food and in general really enjoying ourselves. I have often heard complaints about Venice being crowded and smelly and I can't say either of those things really bothered me. The smell was not unusual as far as Europe goes and although there were tourist around we still could find areas off the main streets that we were alone in, but then we didn't go right in the middle of peak season.

Venice is one of those cities, where it seems like every corner you turn there is a hidden gem waiting for you. Whether that might be a family run store, or hand crafted goods, a perfect little canal with a gondola drifting through or a marvellous scene that just feels so iconic of Venice. These little focal points are also a good way to get your bearings. We probably walked past the same shops a good few times, going around in circles. It's easy to get a bit lost.
We wound our way through the streets to find Piazza San Marco (otherwise known as St. Mark's Square) and St. Mark's Basilica, although because the line to go inside the Basilica was crazy long, we decided to spend our time other ways.
Finding some shade at St. Mark's Square
Outside St. Mark's Basilica

Pretty much what we were both wearing that day. Oops!

Please stop feeding the pigeons and letting them climb on you! Ew. There are enough of them already!
Instead we visited a Gelatiera, got some Gelato and watched the crowds and gondolas float by.

Venetian masks
Traffic congestion, Venice style.

Another square, another slightly crooked clock tower.
Building support
Venice was everything I had hoped it would be, in fact I think it was better. It was a great introduction to Italy for us, and I hope to visit again.

Sick of gondola pictures yet? Ok, this is the last one.

On our last day in Venice we visited Murano and Burano.
(I have decided to break our time in Venice into two different posts. You can find my travels to the Venetian islands in this link Venice: Day trip to Murano and Burano.)

Quick Summary

Duration of stay: 3 nights
Was it enough time?: Just, maybe. I can't quite decide. I saw a lot and loved it, but then there is always more to see and revisit in a city like Venice.
Where we stayed: Camping Village Jolly
Time of Year: June
Best memories: Actually being in Venice, I had heard so much about it and often couldn't believe I was finally there.
Worst memories: Chris getting sick and missing one of the best days.
Top tip: Venice is expensive, pack food for your lunch or buy at local supermarket.
Next time: I would go on a gonadal ride, spend more time in central Venice and take Chris out to the islands.
Venice in a few words: Unique, colourful, picturesque 
Recommended?: Yes, but try not to go in peak season.
Overall experience: 9/10
Next destination: Rome, Italy

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