Ahh the floating city… A place Jason and I never imagined ourselves visiting.
If it’s not obvious by now, the pair of us are often attracted to places that are either A.) Full of adventure or B.) Romantic. We have certainly ticked off a lot of ‘firsts’ together during time spent away from home and for that reason, the terms Travel and Holiday hold completely different meanings to us (FYI – travel occurs a lot in our life, holidays not so much. An all-inclusive two week beachfront holiday is about as far from our agenda as my letter is to father christmas). Of course you can always combine the two (trust me, we try) but solely in our experience, we travel to destinations that encourage us to explore as both a local and a tourist; historically and culturally. They are the kind of trips that leave you more tired at the end of it than before you left. We’re also pretty big foodies so to travel somewhere new and not eat at least one traditional or locally sourced meal is unheard of. Holidays in the Hunt household would be described as an extended period of time spent in the same place but away from home or the usual routine, that would involve not much more than rolling out of bed no earlier than 10am and by 10pm would end with a cocktail in hand – anything that deviates from this is definitely travel. Holidays scare me because Jason gets bored (Laughing emoji).
Therefore, I wasn’t quite sure which category Venice would fall into. Despite it’s reputation, we’d never considered Venice to be somewhere overly romantic and I’d already settled on a punt in Cambridge being as close as I would get to a gondola ride, therefore can’t say I ever felt that we were missing out. It was only until we began planning our interrail trip that I decided to add a 3 night stop here as a thoroughfare to Rome.
I’ll admit that my expectations were fairly low and I had been warned to greet an overcrowded space that would often flood, or at the minimum hold a stench of sewage. However, I won’t lie and pretend that Venice was all sorts of roll-around in rose petals and glimmer constantly into each others eyes (although Paris was 😉) kind of place, but I will say that we were both pleasantly surprised with the overwhelming sense of charm and difference that this city had which we’d never experienced before. There’s right and wrong places in every city, depending on the couple visiting it and for us the right places in Venice were 100% the alleys you got lost in, the teenie tiny bars that sold Malbec for €2 and small bites of ‘Chicetti’ or the many bridges over narrow canals that you had to cross. The wrong places often being TripAdvisor’s top 10 things to do. As a person who uses the site to check reviews I am aware this sounds pretty hypercritical of me but of course you still have to visit those places or else you may as well have gone to a completely different city all together, however you’ll soon realise that the true Venice pulled at your heart strings when you took that walk in the opposite direction of St Marks Square or ate in that closet sized restaurant that was nowhere near the grand canal.
If you fancy an alternative side to Venice then here’s all you need for a great time (insert winking eye emoji with a thumbs up and pout that says i’ve nailed it).
- Venice from a height: Take the elevator to the top floor of the T Fondaco Dei Tedeschi, the department store at the foot of the Rialto Bridge. On the top floor theres a small set of stairs that leads you to the rooftop terrace, with no pushy sales advisor, just you and the dusky air of Venice overlooking the waters below for free.
- Chiccetti and Wine: Wherever you stay, ask your host where the best ones are closest to you, or go for a wander down the streets and let yourself find ones to rest your feet in.
- Vaporetto aka. the water bus. Catch it from the train station to get to where your staying and find a standing spot in the open section or try to grab a seat at the very end in the open air – a good way to see the grand canal without the €80 sting for a 30 minute gondola ride.
- Venice’s neighbouring islands either Murano or Burano for culture or colour at its best.
- Grab a bottle of wine and sit yourselves on the canals edge somewhere, we chose the foot of the rialto bridge as it was lit up by night. Dip your feet into the water (everyone wants to do it), chat and drink. cheap. simple. love.
For me, I think Venice is a one-time only stop. Perhaps in the future something will draw me back but I’ve witnessed a good taste of the lifestyle there in the 3 short days we spent here so if you’ve never seen it, I don’t know what else to say except you should.