Exploring the City of Venice
After arriving to the central Venice train station it’s almost as if we were arriving to a new planet, it is totally different to anything else we’ve seen before – taxi boats (vaporetti) gliding around everywhere as if floating through the air, that is until you walk forward to find the waterways being populated as if they were streets.
It truly does play with your mind for the first few hours before you realize that this is the norm through the old town of Venice and is one of the reasons it’s one of the most visited tourist destinations in Italy.
Once we gathered our thoughts we set out for our accommodation which was an in city camping village known as Camping Jolly, run by the Plus hostel group. They run a modern, self sufficient village with bungalows, dorm like tents and powered tent sites as well as a fully functioning restaurant, bar and supermarket which makes for a great budget option for both backpackers and families alike.
After enjoying the camp atmosphere we set out to explore the enigma that is modern Venice -the summer sun pelting us with sweat drawing rays but we powered on walking down the alleyways that scatter across this myriad of romantic waterways.
We stopped all along our walk towards the famous Piazza San Marco for the many photo opportunities, as well as wheeling and dealing through the local markets where you can haggle your way into a bargain. The main item of interest here are the numerous beautifully crafted Venetian phantom masks which line stores and market stands alike.
The markets are also filled with clothing, leather goods, fake Prada sunnies and all touristy nick naks you could ever want. To help cool us off we decided to indulge in the world famous Italian gelato ice cream that is readily available in the streets of Venice.
We weren’t disappointed as our refreshing peach and passion fruit gelati lived up to their reputation, absolutely jam packed with fresh fruity flavor.
Into the Night
As the sun finally decided to set, the town of Venice turns into a hopeless romantics dream as the accents of light fade and shimmer off the canal water into the buildings which lie at rest beneath the surface.
All you need to do is peruse the multiple restaurants for a desirable menu, order your wine and enjoy your lovers company as twilight sets in. Once we finished our fresh pasta and local wine it was time for a romantic venice gondola ride with our charming and immaculately dressed driver who had it all including the classic Venetian hat. It was like a scene straight out of a film, an idyllic balmy night with my fiance by my side and not a worry in the world, absolute bliss.
The following morning we hit the town again for some more exploring.
Although as with most newbies city exploring turned into more like getting lost which wasn’t too bad as everyone we talked to suggested just wandering around and getting lost is the way to go in Venice. When you wanted to get home just ask a local, which is exactly how we played it and it worked out just fine.
Through our aimless stumbling we managed to visit the famous Rialto bridge across the grand canal and see the intricacies of the St Marco basilica. Venice was one city you really could get caught up in the romance and character of the place, potentially spending a lot of money but is still very accessible to those on a budget provided you keep your wallet in your pocket.
**This post is written by Jamie of D n J Go Seek – a buddy of mine who I met in Peru. Along with his partner Deb he blogs over at DnJGoSeek.com, tweets via @dnjgoseek and uploads the carnage to their Facebook page.**
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