Gondola? 5 days in Venice.

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to jump on my dad’s holiday with my grandma to Venice. (And just so we get this out of the way now – no, my parents haven’t split – my mum had to stay behind to look after my sister who’s doing her A-level exams.)

I’ve been to Venice before, but it was a while ago and I remember little of the trip other than it was when Obama became president so I was pretty excited to go again – now I’m a mature, cultured young lady…

Anyone who’s been to Venice before, or knows anything about it, will know that it’s not exactly the easiest city to travel to. For one, Venice sits on a lagoon and there are no roads and therefore cars – all travel is by boat once you’re inside the city. This is probably the best and the most irritating thing about Venice. It’s part of it’s charm, yet it’s incredibly inconvenient. However, I do think this is a kind of general characteristic about Venice – it seems to get away with a lot that other cities can’t. The whole place is practically falling to pieces, alongside sinking at a steady 2-4mm a year and yet it is beyond beautiful, rich in history and culture and style.

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This was the courtyard inside the block of flats where we were staying, a mere minute away from the Bridge of Sighs. What you can’t see here, is the couple centimetres of dust that graced the stairs and the exposed wires that could only be acceptable in Italy, but stunning nonetheless.

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It’s incredibly romantic, that’s such a cliche but it couldn’t be more fitting. My parents went to Venice on their honeymoon and with the amount of couples there, it seemed like everyone was. I wish my boyfriend could have come with us, because I think Venice is the kind of place you fall in love all over again.

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Having said that, like every beautiful city, Venice has it’s tourists. In fact, St. Mark’s Square is renowned for it (any time from around 10 onwards, it’s almost impossible to cross.) The streets are littered with tourist stalls and men selling knock-off designer bags and you can hardly walk for 2 minutes without bumping into a school trip or a pensioners tour of Europe. But when you’re there, and you see it all around you – I guess it’s just hardly surprising it’s as busy as it is.

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This definitely was not the busiest I saw St. Mark’s Square, but on the busiest days I couldn’t bare to stay there any longer than I had to. Think Piccadilly Circus, Oxford St and Trafalgar Square on a Saturday in summer – combined.

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Venice is not a place for umbrellas. The Rialto Bridge especially, is not a place for umbrellas. Most of the streets are fairly single-file, add a couple of umbrellas into the mix and you’re poked in the eye and covered in someone else’s umbrella water and have to take part in some kind of joint bobbing action with the person facing you opposite as to minimise damage. In the end, it’s either better to just get wet or swallow your pride and wear one of those hideous plastic bag style festival waterproofs, the kind they give out for free in China and pensioners whack out at the slightest drizzle. You know the ones.

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The funniest thing about this, is that I didn’t even mean to take a picture of this lady – I just knew that there would be one of these overalls in the background of one of my pictures…
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Ahead, the Rialto Bridge (and umbrellas).
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SO MANY UMBRELLAS.

One thing I learnt in Venice is that no matter which direction you try to walk in, all roads (generous word, paths, maybe) lead to St. Mark’s Square. Also, it’s true what they say about the pigeons, I sat down for a mere 5 minutes to enjoy my Nutella and Tiramisu gelato  before feeling a splat of green shit on my jacket… (Not pictured, unsurprisingly.)

The Rialto Bridge is a renowned feature of Venice and quite an impressive thing to behold, unfortunately when I went most of it was under construction – so no pretty pictures for me. Like St. Mark’s Square it’s one of the most popular and busy places in the city, connecting small venetian markets to high street shops.

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This was taken from a cafe under the Rialto of the back view.
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The markets coming off of the right hand side of the Rialto

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My favourite thing about Venice by far was just walking around by myself, coming across beautiful palaces, independent shops and museums. The Peggy Guggenheim is definitely worth a visit (and the queues), so is seeing the horses in St. Mark’s Square – if you can bare the waiting and the people.

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Accademia Bridge

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All in all, Venice was beautiful, eye-opening and I can’t help but say I fell in love with the city just as much as everyone else there. There’s nowhere else like it and I think everyone should get the chance to visit (before it sinks, at least).

Go for the gelato, if nothing else!

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There is no better pudding than a post dinner walk around Venice and GELATO.

I hope you enjoyed this post! I will leave you now with a picture of the beach on Venice Lido, because a city so beautiful just had to be topped off with a lovely beach – just a 15 minute boat ride away.

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Next stop, Paris!

Billie x

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