Well it’s been a quiet few weeks here at And Possibly Dinosaurs, but I promise it’s for good reason! On May 15, Sean and I left for an excellent adventure in the Eastern Mediterranean. We spent a week and a half throughout Europe and Asia, and it was absolutely amazing. Because it was such a long vacation with many places and details, I’m chopping the trip up into easier-to-digest blog posts. Here’s a sneak peak:
First up: Venice, Italy.
We arrived in Venice a day before the cruise was scheduled to leave. Sean’s parents just made it in time for the cruise thanks to flight delays, so Sean and I were on our own. It ended up being a great time despite the hiccup. We figured out how to use the public transportation and took a bus to our hotel. Once we got all settled, we came up with a plan.
There was only one place either of us really wanted to go to. My friend Meg posted a picture of a quaint bookshop she found in Venice a few weeks earlier with her girlfriend Jake. She sent me the address, which we showed to the receptionist at the hotel. The receptionist circled the street on a map and told us how to get close using the vaporetto, or water bus. The vaporetto ended up taking longer than we wanted, so we got off at the Piazza San Marco, the main square in Venice, and wandered until we found it with the help of the map.
If you go to Venice, that is exactly what I recommend you do. Take the vaporetto to Piazza San Marco (preferably with a map in hand) and wander the streets in the rough direction of your hotel. Get some gelato and look in some shops on the way back, but mostly just take in the sights (and, unfortunately, smells) of Venice.
Some of my favorite sights of Venice were found in quaint alleys that we wouldn’t have found if we had taken the vaporetto most of the way.
We finally stumbled upon the bookshop and I loved it. The selection wasn’t the same as a typical bookstore; there were some souvenirs and trinkets, but mostly it seemed to be reference books. I didn’t end up buying a book, but I got some things for my mom and sister and a cool Venice poster for myself.
The only downside: mosquitos. It’s on a canal with relatively stagnant water, so there were mosquitos everywhere. By some miracle I walked away with only one (quite large) mosquito bite.
The other highlight of Venice: the gondola ride. We took it early Saturday morning, before it got too hot. We again took the vaporetto to Piazza San Marco, but we ignored the gondoliers who crowd the vaporetto station right at the Piazza. From our experience wandering the previous afternoon, we decided to walk down some alleys until we found a gondolier. We figured this would get us more views of the alleys and architecture of Venice, while the gondoliers in the open water would stick to more of the main routes. We wanted quaint Venice, as opposed to high-traffic Venice.
Note: I have no idea if our theory is correct, but it didn’t do us wrong.
We still went out in the Grand Canal and went under the main bridge (which used to be the only bridge connecting the two sides of the Grand Canal.The original purpose of gondoliers was to bring people to the other side of the canals), which was awesome.
If you’re planning a trip to Venice and want to take a gondola ride, expect a steep price. Our ride was about 30 minutes and cost 80 euro (roughly $120 US). I think it was worth it because I really wanted to have the stereotypical Venice experience, but if it’s not high on your list, I would spend the money on something else.
After we wandered back to our hotel (making sure to grab some gelato on the way), we took the People Mover to the cruise port and were on our way!
So what’s the tl;dr if you’re going to Venice?
My Recommendations for Venice, Italy
- Take a vaporetto to Piazza San Marco, map in hand, and wander back to your hotel. (Or, if your hotel is near Piazza San Marco, take a vaporetto to the other side of Venice, map in hand, and wander back.)
- Go on a gondola ride (but only if it’s important to you; it’s a really cool experience, but it’s also really expensive).
- Gelato, obviously.
What do you think? Did I miss anything?