I had spent a semester abroad in London in 2003 and had the opportunity to travel all over Europe. One of my favorite trips was visiting Venice. My friends and I took a 2hr flight from Gatwick to Marco Polo airport via Easyjet. We (unfortunately) didn’t have to travel far to get to our hostel:
This is the classic tale of “You Get What You Pay For”. I believe we paid $15 a night for a cabin. It was so close to the airport you could smell jet fuel as well as listen to the planes take off.
This is how I slept.
The place still haunts my dreams…
But Venice, oh beautiful sweet Venice, you were everything I could have hoped for – AND MORE. I had the best meal of my life there…more on that later.
The one bright spot of the “hotel” was that there was a shuttle that took you in and out of town – what with it being on the outskirts.
Once there, we set off and explored a little slice of heaven.
We even took our very own gondola ride. Yes, they can be pricey. But you are in VENICE people. It is worth the splurge. You might never get that opportunity again.
Here is our fearless gondolier. Singing was a requirement for us and bless his heart he politely obliged our request.
This is one of my favorite pictures of the trip. It was a little alley where locals hung out on the bridge. I felt like we were snooping on a private conversations but they waved and smiled as we floated on.
After our leisurely gondala ride, we continued exploring the town – one stop being the iconic Rialto bridge overlooking the Great Canal in Venice.
Here is a view from the bridge. Do you see those red tarps on the right? That is where I ate my favorite meal of all time. It was dinner time and I had mushroom ravioli in a delicious cream sauce. Dessert was a tartufo ball in a cup of coffee. Mmm…
Close to the bridge was a statue of the Blessed Mary. I saw this old man praying to her and I found it so touching, I took his picture. I wonder what he was praying for…
We then strolled into Saint Mark’s Basilica.
The Piazza San Marco had several restaurants with live entertainment.
This was hands down my most favorite trip while studying abroad. I would visit again in a heartbeat, however this time staying in a nicer hotel! Some complain about the smell and it’s true at times it can flood. But we went in September and had no issues. If you want a lovely read, check out my quote page for A Thousand Days in Venice. One of my favorite quotes is:
“If I could give Venice to you for a single hour, it would be this hour, and it would be in this chair that I would sit you, knowing I would be close by, checking on your comfort. Knowing that the night that comes to thieve that lush last light would also be off with your heartaches. That’s how it would be.”