What comes to mind when you think of Venice? Nine times out of ten it’s the winding canals and beautiful gondolas. But if you explore a little further, you’ll discover that this city on water, with an atmosphere fit for the romantics, has so much more to offer.
You know those dramatic train station scenes in movies where someone is racing against the clock, sprinting through the crowds to board the train before it departs? Well about ten minutes ago that was me!
Standing at the door of our carriage, backpacks on, Luca and I were first in line to exit the train. After multiple delays before finally approaching the station, the look on Luca’s face told me we were cutting it close to get our connecting train. We had two minutes to get from platform ten to platform one, which was pretty much impossible.
As we got off the train and navigated our way towards the exit, the crowds of people around us were making it impossible to go faster than a snails pace. Thinking we had missed our connection, I was trying to come up with another solution when I noticed Luca’s pace begin to quicken. Following his lead I started walking faster. Suddenly without warning he starts into a full on sprint! This is a guy who runs 11km average every two days, whereas I can barely last five minutes on a treadmill. I had no idea why he was running but I knew I had to keep up. Weaving through the crowds I was doing ok, until he decided to take a sharp right turn, again without warning. I tried to follow but I was blocked by a family with small children and by the time I squeezed my way through, Luca was a good 100 meters in front of me. My immediate thoughts were, there is no way am I going to catch up to him.
The more I ran, the further away he seemed to get. By the time I reached the platform, Luca was seconds away from getting on the train. The worst part of it all, the train wasn’t even positioned at the start of the platform, it was halfway down! As I continued running, my lungs now burning, all I could think was the train was going to depart with Luca on it, and me still trying to catch it.
Finally approaching the first carriage, I thought yes, I made it! Only to see that the carriage doors were closed. You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought. Luckily carriage two still had its doors open and so I ran, faster than I’ve ever run before and somehow, by some miracle, I made it. I jumped through those open doors with literally seconds to spare. So here I am, now comfortably seated, still catching my breath as I type away. I’m still stunned that I actually made it and seriously regretting not going to the gym more!
But now that ordeal is over, let me recap on our amazing time in Venice.
when to go
Venice is busy all year round. Crowds of people visit daily whether it be for travel or to see one of the cities famous art exhibitions. Visiting outside of summer and during non event periods is key to avoiding the mass crowds and enjoying a little quiet as you explore the streets.
what to see
Libreria Acqua Alta For book obsessed me, this is by far the most interesting, unique and incredible bookshop I have ever seen. The second you step inside you’re surrounded by an abundance of books stacked inside gondolas, boats, canoes, wherever they’ll fit! Most people who visit the shop find themselves drawn to the back courtyard. A colourful and vibrant space where the owner has turned old unused books into a staircase that looks like it came straight out of Harry Potter or Alice in Wonderland. My favourite part of the shop however, was a reading corner I found tucked away in the back. It was the perfect spot to sit and relax.
Fontego dei Tedeschi A historical building once housing the cities German merchants, but today, is a busy shopping mall with rooftop views that won’t disappoint.
The Ponte Chiodo After a while, all the bridges in Venice start to look alike, so I was excited when we came across The Ponte Chiodo. The last free standing bridge. Sitting on the bridge, soaking up the sun and watching the locals go about their day, it was the perfect way to take in the beauty of Venice.
If I was on my own in Venice, I think I would have been lost the entire time. To get around, it took a combination of Google maps, Luca’s navigation skills and Demar’s local knowledge (Luca’s friend who joined us for the day). But I think if you go to Venice and don’t get lost at least once, then you haven’t truly experienced Venice.
Now it wouldn’t be a trip to Venice without some Italian gelato. I LOVE GELATO! Well anything sweet for that matter. Luca and I both love Pistachio and this one was incredibly delicious!