I always dreamed of going to Italy. It probably has something to do with my obsession with Italian food. My favourite food is still Italian food. My trip to Italy was booked at the last minute. I saw the advertisement on a Tuesday and by the Friday of the same week, I was off to Italy. I booked my trip through pm 2am student trips a German bus company that provides trips to students and young people. Given that I didn’t plan for this trip I had no one to drag along so I went on my own. I caught the bus in Cologne which is pretty close to Essen where I lived. But, whilst waiting on the bus to come I met two girls who happen to be South African just like me. The two of them were both from Johannesburg and I quickly clicked with them. I ended up befriending them and we spent the entire trip together. We visited Venice, Pisa, Florence and Milan together in 3days. I will blog more about that later. First things first and Venice was the first Italian destination we visited.
We arrived on the Saturday 14 May 2016 we got close to Venice we were told by our bus tour guides that we had to purchase a ticket to get into Venice. This was fairly easy to do. Once we got to Venice we bought a public transport ticket which allows you to travel all over Venice for one day. My travel buddies wanted a tour boat ticket and accidentally boat the wrong ticket. I, however, didn’t want a tour boat ticket as I discovered that tour boats don’t sail out to Burano Island. Burano was my number one place to see in Venice. I, therefore, have to confess that I was relieved that my travel friends bought the wrong tickets.
Once we go to St. Marks Square we took photos amongst the hordes of tourists and pigeons. However, we skipped visiting the inside of the church because of the winding lines to get inside. Instead, we took photos at the Bridge of Sighs and ate the best gelato I ever had. The weather was stunning and we walked around admiring the elaborate Venetian masks sold at various stalls. We had just gotten to Venice and already I felt over the moon. I was elated to have finally made my dream come true. Sadly, I noticed the pollution and saw tourists throwing dirt into the canals. I saw a local man picking up dirt and throwing it away into an overflowing bin. I felt bad that tourists and travellers were not respecting the city. But, then my travel mates and I spotted a gelato shop and I got sucked in. I had two delicious scoops of the best gelato I ever had in my life. After our gelato was greedily gobbled up we talked about what we should do next.
Given that the girls had no set places they wanted to go to in Venice I suggested we to San Giorgio Maggiore and Burano Island. San Giorgio Maggiore is home to a stunning church and it is far less crowded than Venice central. It also happens to be the perfect place to get a shot of the gorgeous Bell Tower and the turquoise water. My friend Brenda took lovely photos of me if I must say so myself and she had so much patience. She took so many great photos. All of us walked a bit around the island and then we travelled to get to Burano Island.
Whilst on the boat to Burano I noticed how smartly Italian people dress. I got to sit at the window seat as Brenda and Tammy didn’t want to see the water below whilst on the boat. I adore boat trips and the many boat trips added to my joy. If you ever go to Burano try to sit at a window seat. If the weather is sunny then open the window hold on tight to your phone or camera and take photos. Try to get a shot of Burano Island as you are approaching it. Don’t forget to take a photo close up just before you have to get off the boat. Most people only take photos once they are on the island itself but, I don’t mind sharing my photo tips. Taking photos from a different angle will make your photo stand out. Once at Burano we all took many photos. I bought a pretty ring which was sadly broken in South Africa. I’m going to have to go back one day to replace it. I bought a magnet for my mom. And we had fish and chips in a plate made out of bread. I didn’t really like the bread but, ate almost all of it. As our time was limited and my big lunch would have to cover my supper meal. After spending quite a bit of time in Burano we travelled back to Venice Central.
Once there we managed to take a gondola tour each of us paid €11. Gondola tours can go for much more and we negotiated the price. It was also a bit later in the day and that’s why we paid less. It was pricey but still worth it. And I remember a man who wanted to share the gondola with us but, his wife got angry about the price and refused. The price made her argue with her husband. So here’s another trip if you are going to travel as a couple be sure to discuss what you are going to do before the time. Draw up a budget together with your partner and save for things you want to splurge on like a gondola ride. If you plan on going on a trip with a group of friends do the same thing. The lady, in this case, made a public scene and embarrassed her husband over a few Euros.
But, back to my amazing gondola ride. We went through the back canals. I made a video and photos were taken. I also had time to just sit without capturing the moment to fully enjoy the ride. I got to see the luxury hotels of Venice added to my bucket list for when I do make it rich. It was one of those unforgettable experiences of travelling that I will always cherish. Going on a gondola ride is a major tourist trap but, I don’t regret falling into the trap at all.
After the gondola ride, we made our way back to our bus. I shared a hotel room with Brenda and Tammy. Our hotel was located in Bologna and we arrived at 11pm. I wish I had gotten to explore Bologna but, I was tired of all the walking around in Venice the long bus trips and didn’t feel like walking around at night. The hotel room wasn’t fancy but, it was clean, warm and neat. And I rested well the next day we set off for Pisa and Florence but, more about that later.
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Wishing you happy travels through the journey of life!
xxx Nikki xxx