It has been my dream for some time now to visit and explore the beautiful island of Venice and last weekend, my dream at last became a reality.
My hubby and I booked the trip several months ago and so you can imagine how excited I was, as I counted down the days, like Christmas was coming. Eventually the day arrived and after I told just about everyone I knew about my impending trip, it was time to hot foot it down to London, ready to embark on our long awaited journey.
After a one and a half hour delay at the airport (not great, but not too disheartening) we eventually touched down on Venetian soil and made our way to the water taxi rank (we booked the water taxi before we left and collected our tickets there) ready to be transported to our hotel on the Grand Canal. Our hotel was the Antica Locanda Sturion, situated right near the Rialto Bridge, so the location couldn’t have been better. The hotel itself is situated on the top floor of an old Venetian Palace building and is only accessible by a flight of stairs, which certainly kept us fit and I like to think the extra exercise counteracted all the delicious gelato we had eaten throughout our stay. The staff were extremely friendly and the best room of the hotel by far was the breakfast room, which overlooked the Grand Canal. Enjoying a croissant and a cappuccino with a perfect view, it doesn’t get any better than that!
My friend said to me before we left, ‘Just get lost in Venice’ and that’s exactly what we did. There are so many bridges to cross, alleyways to walk down and canals to gondola on, that getting lost was pretty good advice and definitely the best way to see Venice.
Did I mention the gelato? Wow, heaven in a cone or in a tub as I prefer to eat it. So many delicious flavours to chose from, shall I have two scoops or three? Definitely three, the Italians sure know how to make good ice-cream. The fresh fruit was so delicious too and after a full day exploring, tasting the refreshing and juicy fruit was just what was needed.
The sites were just spectacular, from walking around Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square, which was packed with just about everybody) and discovering the famous Bridge of Sighs, to exploring the back streets (or should that be back canals) of Venice by gondola and admiring the Doge’s Palace. There was literally something to see or cross around every corner.
The gondola ride was a fabulous way to see different parts of Venice. It costs 80 euros for half an hour during the day and 100 euros for half an hour at night. Personally, I felt it was totally worth every penny, you can’t go to Venice and not go on a gondola, that’s like going to the seaside and not having fish and chips, it just has to be done!
I was told shopping in Venice is very expensive and I suppose if you go to the more exclusive shopping area then it’s going to cost you, but just between you and me, I discovered some slightly cheaper shops and came away sporting two new tops, both costing just under 10 euros each! Bargain or what? So if you fancy something new to take home with you, search around, it’s definitely worth it.
Eating out, that’s another topic of conversation. Yes, it can get expensive, especially if you want to sit next to the canal, as the restaurants charge a premium for this luxury, but there are many ways around this. Firstly, you can still sit near the canal (the next row of tables away from the water) this is slightly cheaper and you still get a great view, or you can get take-away food from many delicious food outlets including pizzas (naturally), baguettes, pastries and lots more. There are also many supermarkets and gorgeous food shops dotted around, so if you fancy a picnic, or want to take some food back to your hotel, you can get all your chosen goodies there.
We also found time to visit the beautiful islands of Murano and Burano, which were both simply stunning and I’ll be writing about these gorgeous places over the next week, so keep a look out for that.
As the saying goes, ‘All good things must come to an end’ and so all too soon it was time for us to leave this special place and head off back to Blighty. We had a wonderful time and I can’t recommend this lively, vibrant and spectacular city enough, Venice is truly magical.