3 DAYS IN VENICE
After one 10 1/2 hour flight (with the loudest people sitting behind us :)) and another 2-hour flight, we finally arrived at Marco Polo airport in Venice! I got lucky and sat on the right side of the plane, which gives you the view of Venice while landing and it's absolutely amazing.
When we had arrived we were told we had to take a water taxi from underneath the airport to our hotel, which absolutely blew my mind. It took about 30 minutes to get from the airport to our hotel (hotel name). Honestly, I wish it was a lot longer. I thought that we would just be going through side canals to get there, but when we turned the corner into the Grand Canal it was absolutely jaw-dropping. Being surrounded by other gondolas, water taxis, and the amazing architecture of the buildings around us was something out of this world.
For the most part after arriving we just sat down and recovered from the long day. Knowing that I could possibly not be back for a long time I ventured down the canals without any plan. Two turns later I was in St. Marks Square and was in absolute awe. There's a certain feeling you get when you witness something so amazing, you just stop and try to take it all in.
Surprisingly I experienced no jet lag, so sleeping wasn't a problem. All of my friends question why I always get up at 5 AM, or even earlier, today was a perfect explanation for why. Walking out of the hotel, pitch black outside and hearing the water wash up and down the canals was so serene and calming. I walked back over to St. Mark's Square and sure enough, I had one of those moments again.
Seeing this place without a single soul (besides the hundreds of pigeons that always lurk around there for some reason) was something unforgettable. The sunrise on top of this made it that more special. Being there when there were hundreds of people there compared to this moment humbled me and grew my appreciation for places like this.
Later in the day, we went off to the island of Burano. Now there are two ways you can take: take 2 different water taxis or walk to the main station. We decided to take the walk, it took a solid 30 minutes in the scorching heat, but well worth it. We found so many cool little side canals, seeing things we would've never seen if we took the other way, so it was well worth it. One gelato stop and an hour later, we had made it to Burano. The whole island was so colorful and really livened up the whole island, everyone was so happy and welcoming.
After a long and hot day getting lost in the canals and alleyways, we went off to Hardrock Cafe to watch the World Cup with France vs. Belgium. It seemed like I was the only one in the place rooting for France but once I was a few cocktails in, it didn't matter. Experiencing the World Cup in a continent that takes football so seriously and gets so electric was something else.
The dreaded last day. The two days that had felt like months had to come to an end. We still had a solid half-day to soak in the rest of our time in Venice. What better way to do that than shop and eat tons of pizza and gelato. Around every corner was a little place selling gelato, each better than the last. Safe to say I'll be having serious withdrawals when I get back home.
The day began again at 5:30 AM, where I got drenched in an unexpected rain shower. I only had brought polaroid, windbreaker, and a phone with no connection. My plan wasn't the best looking back on it, which was get lost in the canals to find the perfect polaroid shot. I managed to get about 20 minutes away from the hotel when the rain first started coming down. Luckily by some stroke of luck I had found the main street to get to St. Marks Square and followed that all the way back. Got a half decent polaroid shot that turned up all blue somehow. Shooting with this polaroid taught me two things. 1: You actually have to think about your composition and everything to get the perfect shot, because you only have one chance to nail the photo. 2: Cherish the moments you experience. The imperfect shot I got will always remind me of that adventure, even though it wasn't the best, it was still something that I will always remember and look back on.
Even after that, there was something incomplete about my stay in Venice... Something you have to do, the ultimate tourist trap but you can't go home without doing. A Gondola ride.
Going down each canal was like the 405 during rush hour. Gondola drivers yelling at each other, figuring out how to shoot the gap between each other. It was absolutely hilarious. We caught it right outside the Hardrock Cafe and lasted about 30 minutes for 80 euros. It was well worth it, we got to see pretty much every part of Venice, including going under the Rialto Bridge and through the Grand Canal. It's just something you HAVE to do if you're in Venice.
Having to pack up was super sad, but looking back it was probably one of my favorite experiences in my life. I learned a ton, met tons of new people, and fueled my motivation to see more of this planet.
Onto the next adventure...