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I am so excited to share my trip to Italy with you. I'll be sharing all the good, bad, and the ugly. So often with travel blogs, it's easy to share only the beautiful and amazing. While there's certainly plenty of astounding things that come along with visiting a new place, there's also the difficult, gritty part of travel. I like to share that part to spare you those difficulties if possible.
I'll be splitting this all up into several posts...otherwise it will turn into a novel. So, I'll be starting with our first stop, Venice!
I had heard lots of negative stuff about Venice: it smells, the water's gross, there's garbage everywhere, etc. Let me start by saying that that is completely wrong!
In any city of size, particularly on the water, you will occasionally encounter unsavory smells. Which was true, but the smells I came across where more often the sweet smell of flowers that are growing from nearly every window, and the delicious smell of food all over the city.
People in Venice do leave their bagged garbage outside their buildings on the street, but first thing in the morning, there were men and women carting it off and sweeping all the streets. It was actually a very clean and beautiful city.
Venice was one of our favorite stops. One tip that will make your trip to Venice spectacular is to explore early in the morning or in the evening. The picture of St. Mark's square above is at about 7:30 a.m.
We got up and started roaming the city at about 7:00, and until about noon, we hardly saw anyone. It was just us, and the sounds of pigeons cooing and water lapping, it was amazing!
Venice is a port city for cruise ships though. When one of those disembarks (as two did when we were there) the city will be flooded with thousands and thousands of tourists. The city went from peaceful and quite to booming and bustling. So, we just ducked in for a panini, and enjoyed the view from our apartment.
After a while, we saw the ship leaving and the city was ours again. Which is great, because it is so incredible.
I will be honest, we didn't go for a gondola ride....what's wrong with us, right? This is one thing that didn't seem as magical in real life as you might imagine it. When the city is quite and it is at its most romantic, I didn't see any gondoliers giving rides. But, at the peek of the day, when the crowds had descended, that's when I saw them out offering rides. At that point it seemed too crowded to be relaxing and romantic...more like bumper boats to me. So, we skipped it. Why pay $85 a person for that, right?
There are few things as lovely as strolling the quite streets of Venice in the morning though.
I would recommend renting an apartment while there. The hotel rates in Venice are astronomical! We stayed with this Airbnb host. They arranged to have someone meet us at the boat stop, which was so nice because after 40 hours of traveling, and being in a new city, I would have gotten lost for sure. It was lovely, close to everything, yet you feel tucked away in your own magical world. The windows of our apartment gave us views of a little private courtyard filled with flowers, and you could hear gondoliers singing and bells chiming...it was so heavenly.
As for the water. The canal water didn't seem like something I would want to swim in...but it wasn't gross by any means. And like in many Italian cities, they have public water fountains, like the one below with clean drinkable water. We filled up our water bottle with water from here...delicious. I wasn't sure what to expect, and it was actually really good. Venice is full of surprises!
Venice is also very walkable. We walked pretty much the entire city from end to end in both directions. Just getting happily lost and meandering through the maze of streets. Shortly after commenting to Pat that Venice has basically no grass, we stumbled upon a huge park, with lush grass and it was a nice little retreat from the labyrinth of streets. I would have never guessed that it was here.
I would happily return to Venice any day. I could spend ages discovering all the cafes and shops down all the little alleys. Every corner you take opens up into another world to discover. To see any of our other photos, check out our Travel Photos page.
If you're thinking of traveling to Venice and have any questions about getting around, or are looking for suggestions, let me know in the comments. I'll be posting more soon about the practical side of getting around Italy, getting cash, eating out etc.
Until next time!
Hi there! I'm Skeeter. I grew up moving a lot and that makes me a bit restless for travel and exploration. I started this blog with my husband Pat when we decided to backpack New Zealand for a year. We are always looking for the next adventure and are loving life. We're just your average couple with two sassy dogs and a love for travel. We're sharing our travels and the tips we pick up along the way.
Hello! I'm Liz. Blogging is very new to me, but I'm so excited to finally write as much as I talk!
"Don't forget to travel happy"-Skeeter & Liz