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!
Our train from Venice to Milan was delayed, which meant we’d be cutting it close getting our connecting train from Milan to Arona. Standing at the door of our carriage, backpacks on, we were first in line to exit the train. After a few more delays before finally approaching the station, the look on Luca’s face told me we had already missed it. We had two minutes to get from platform ten to platform one, which was pretty much impossible.
So as we got off the train and casually made our way towards the exit, I was trying to think of a solution to our missed train situation when I notice Luca’s pace begin to quicken. Following his lead I started walking faster, until 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 we were suddenly running but I knew I had to keep up. Weaving through the crowds I was doing ok, well, that was until he decided to take a sharp right turn, again without warning! I tried to follow but I was blocked by a large group of tourists. By the time I squeezed my way through Luca was a good 100 meters in front of me. My immediate thoughts were, no way am I going to make it.
The more I ran, the further away Luca seemed to get. He was almost increasing in speed whilst I felt like I was decreasing. I’m so not a runner and the struggle was real. By the time I got to platform one, 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 the platform. I mean who does that! As I continued to run, my lungs now burning, I kept thinking ‘what kind of train stops halfway down a platform!’. I could see in my mind the train pulling away with Luca on it and me still running to catch it.
As I finally approached 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, catching my breath back as I type away. I’m still stunned that I actually made it and seriously regretting not going to the gym more!
Now that ordeal is over, let me recap on our amazing time in Venice.
What comes to mind when you hear the word Venice? nine out of ten times it’s the winding canals and gondolas. Venice is full of them and as we explored and got lost, down streets that looked identical to each other, we came across one beautiful gondola after another. We decided not to take a ride on one, 80 euros for 30 minutes seemed quite steep to us, so instead we found ourselves a nice little quiet spot away from the crowds, and enjoyed a picnic as we watched them go by.
When I travel, I’m not really one for shopping. I prefer to focus my time on exploring the area opposed to trying on clothes. Venice however, was the first place where I really felt like I wanted to shop. From clothes, to masquerade masks, handcrafted glass blown items and jewellery, I loved it all! It was surprisingly cheap too, which made shopping all the more tempting. I purchased a cute autumn hat and then refrained myself for the rest of the day as there was so much of Venice I wanted to see.
So the one place I just HAD to visit whilst in Venice was a bookshop called Libreria Acqua Alta. For book obsessed me, this is by far the most interesting, unique and incredible bookshop I have ever been too. From the outside it doesn’t look like much, but the second you step inside you see thousands of new and used books stacked inside gondolas, boats, canoes, wherever they’ll fit! There’s even oars and poles laying around to add to the aesthetic.
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. As I picked up a book and made myself comfortable in the chair that was perfectly positioned in front of the large opening to the canal that ran behind the shop, I was in heaven. Especially when I looked up to see a gondola go by. My highlight of Venice? This for sure!
If I was on my own in Venice, I think I would have been lost the entire time. To get us 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 really experienced Venice.
Luca always takes such amazing photos and video footage when we travel, so to help him out I always like to find the best location to get incredible views of the city. In Venice it was Fontego dei Tedeschi, a historical building once housing the cities German merchants, but today, is a shopping mall with rooftop views that won’t disappoint. We got there literally minutes before a bus load of tourists arrived, which I was so grateful for, because had we arrived after them, our wait time in the queue would have gone from 10 minutes to 40 minutes.
As we continued to explore Venice, after a while the bridges started to look the same to me, so I was excited when we found The Ponte Chiodo. This is the last standing bridge with no railings. Sitting in the middle of the bridge, staring at the water below and watching the locals go about their day, it was the perfect relaxed moment where I was able to truly take in the beauty of Venice.
Now it wouldn’t be a trip to Venice without some Italian gelato. I LOVE GELATO! Well anything sweet for that matter. The first thing I do when I go to a restaurant is look at the dessert menu. I’m always disappointed when they have a separate menu for desserts because that means I have to wait until I’ve finished my main to see it.
Luca and I love Pistachio, so that’s always a guarantee when we order gelato and this one was sooooooo delicious!
So that pretty much sums up our day in Venice. Right now we’re on our way back to Arona where Luca’s mum is waiting to pick us up. Tomorrow we have a busy schedule of breakfast, lunch and coffee catch ups as well as an aperitif, before we fly back to London. Another day of food galore!