*Please note: This post was first published on the blog I kept in 2011 while studying abroad*
So after Verona our next stop was Venice. It was either here or in Verona that my little notebook became known as the magic book. Every time I was asked a question about our trip or the city we were in I would consult my notes and find an answer. I didn’t realize this was such a big deal until my friends pointed it out to me.
Venice really is a city (island) of canals! There are no cars, only feet and boats. There are water taxis available and the famous gondolas as well as the more economic water buses. We walked almost everywhere, though.
The first day we arrived at our hostel after only getting lost once briefly. Fortunately, our hostel, Antigo Capon, was located on the island (Dorsoduro) in the residential part of Venice away from the bulk of tourists. We had a private bathroom in our room and shared it with one other girl.
That afternoon we had no specific plan so we started wandering where we found relatively inexpensive gelatto and a pizza place that sold giant slices for 1.70 euros. We then found signs that pointed us towards Ponte di Rialto (Rialto’s Bridge) and St. Mark’s Square. We decided to follow them and were led through a massive tour of Venice that we were not expecting. One of the top things to do in Venice is to get lost which we certainly did. However, every time we thought we were going the wrong way we would see a sign pointing us towards the bridge and St. Mark’s.
We finally reached Ponte di Rialto and it was packed with people! It was much more touristy than Verona had been, but it was fun to stop by the little shops most of which sold Murano glass. Murano is an island just north of Venice famous for its glass blowing.
After we were able to reach St. Mark’s Square which was also packed with tourists. The line into St. Mark’s was insane so we didn’t go in.
Afterwards, we were able to find our way back to the hostel without too much trouble, running across a museum with recreations of Da Vinci’s inventions in it. We just stopped by the entrance since we didn’t want to pay to go in, a fairly common theme throughout our travels.
After dinner we hunted far and wide for a grocery store to buy breakfast. We finally found one far FAR away from our hostel. We also ran into some friends of ours from the CIDE program at Deusto who were waiting for a ferry to take them to a different island where their hostel was.
The next day we continued our wanderings and discovered the Canale della Giudecca as well as Venice’s port. We then saw the Basilica di St. Maria delle Salute, a beautiful church that was unfortunately under construction at the time.
After that we walked to St. Mark’s Square which was across the Canale Grande. After standing in a line for Doge’s Palace, we found out it was 15 euros and decided to take the water bus around the Canale Grande instead. We then wandered around our hostel’s part of Venice and played cards beside the canals.
We also used very expensive internet (2 euros for 20 minutes, I believe) because the day before we left Spain, our ferry to Greece was canceled. I was told that we would be rebooked on a different ferry but had not heard any new information about the rebooking even after being in Italy for several days!
We spent the rest of the evening shopping and playing cards. The next day we were off the Florence!