I was excited and a little nervous to go to Venice. I’d been looking forward to this stop for months as I’d heard so many amazing things about this city. But I was also a bit apprehensive about the type of people that I might meet after my disappointing and uncomfortable visit in Milan. Fortunately, I had a very pleasant experience.
I couldn’t find a place to stay on the island and ended up booking a room on the mainland. Fortunately, I could use my Eurorail pass to jump on a train for free and would be in Venice 10 minutes later.
Walking around Venice is one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had. It’s a quaint little city and I loved being in a place with so many canals. It’s also a confusing labyrinth where maps are completely useless. After a couple times of turning a corner only to find the end of a path, I finally figured out how to navigate myself by the signs painted on the sides of buildings.
My guidebook had mentioned that many residents had fled the island to live on the mainland and discussed that the narrow streets were crowded by tourists. I quickly realized exactly what they were talking about. The streets are indeed very narrow and I was amazed at how many families I saw clogging them with their Cadillac strollers. While tourism can be great for the economy, I can only imagine how frustrating this would be for locals. Especially since many of these families seemed completely unaware of the fact that they were blocking everyone else from passing. Travel tip: to be a respectful traveler, always pay attention to people around you. Don’t walk 4 people across taking up an entire sidewalk. If you want to stop to take a photo, try to step out of the path of other pedestrians. If you need to stop to look at your map, again step off the main path. After 4 years of living in New York, I can honestly tell you that nothing is more frustrating to locals than bumbling tourists who are completely unaware that they inconveniencing everyone else on the street.
I absolutely loved the food in Venice. It was, by far, some of the most amazing food I had in Europe. I’d heard that it was difficult to find affordable options in this city, but I didn’t think that the food was that expensive. I ate mostly at restaurants on some of the less-traveled streets and found the pasta to be reasonably priced. I even splurged at lunch most days and got myself a glass of wine.
I took a boat ride around the canals, which provided another view of the city.
I really wanted to take a Gondola ride but they were pretty expensive, especially for a solo traveler. If I ever come back to this city on a romantic trip, it will definitely be at the top of my list.
A trip to Venice isn’t complete without stopping in Piazza San Marco.
I also did a fair amount of shopping while in Venice. I bought myself a glass blown necklace and pair of earrings.
There are a few other islands that you can visit off the shores of Venice. I took a day trip to Murano where I was able to watch some artisans blowing glass. I bought my Grandma Izzy a beautiful glass blown fish. It was about the size of my hand and very heavy, but I fell in love with it the minute I saw it and I knew she would too.
Have you ever been to Venice? What was your favorite part?
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