Venice really is unlike anywhere else in the world. No matter how many pictures you see of the famed canals, the experience of walking through this timeless city with its old world alleys and crossing over bridges that only fit a few people at a time is a surprising one.
To get to our last stop in Italy, we took a bus from Siena to Florence Santa Maria Novella station, then took a bus to Florence’s Rifredi station, where we hoped on a train to get to Mestre. Having previously been to Venice, when we couldn’t find a place to stay on the island, I knew Mestre was our best hope. Thankfully where we ended up staying was a quick 15 minute bus ride away from Venice itself.
As we walked over the first few bridges I could see the disappointment in Nick’s eyes but after about 5 minutes of walking, the wide alleys became pathways and the buildings got closer and closer together to create the surreal surroundings of the Venice canals.
When Nick told me he saw someone’s bucket list had said ‘getting lost in Venice,’ I laughed and told him getting lost in Venice isn’t something you choose to do, it’s inevitable. Having a map is completely useless. The only possible way of enjoying yourself is to just walk, and choose to turn left or right based on absolutely nothing other than your first instinct.
When most people start walking they head in the direction of San Marco Square. San Marco is the huge heart of Venice that comes into sight after coming through a tiny vessel of a street. Tourists abound mixing with pigeons and vendors.
After the spectacle that is San Marco, it’s hard to decide what to do next, so we decided to get lost in the quiet (yes, there is one) side of Venice. There are no fanny packs in sight once you reach the slow paced area where locals have a coffee, hang their laundry or walk their dogs along the waters edge.
Back in the tourist center of the city, we spent our time watching the gondoliers navigate their long unique looking boats and wealthy tourists through the charismatic waterways while we snacked on some cookies and coffee from a bakery. The sun began to set casting it’s orange light on the sinking city and we found it easy to believe why Venice is probably the most commonly romanticized city in the world