So this is definitely one we were looking forward to. The magical city of unique canals and alleyways – Venice! We had changed our route in Italy and made a bit of a detour so we could visit Venice now rather than later in our trip. Before we got into this amazing city, we were a little dubious, slightly worried that it wouldn’t live up to our expectations and perhaps be overrun by tourists.
After a really nice drive following a canal though many pretty towns on the way, we arrived at a motor home camp stop a few km’s from the city. It was our first paid camp and nice to be able to have as many hot showers as we wanted and a toilet which was all very clean and well maintained for a busy place. It was a 10 minute walk from the camp to the bus/tram stops, which then took you along a 5 km bridge over the big river into Venice. The Boys experienced their first bus ride and it was fun taking them on public transport with all the other passengers.
When we arrived into Venice it was obviously fairly busy but not as bad as we thought it might be. We headed East planning to do a kind of loop all the way around so we didn’t miss anything. Immediately we were blown away by how surreal the place is, canals instead of roads, tight alleyways and endless little bridges, it really is as spectacular and unique as we had imagined. All of the old Venetian architecture with the buildings built into the waterways is such a rare sight and it all looks just so beautiful. Everywhere you turn is a photo opportunity and as we made our way through the streets and the canals, getting lost in the rabbit warren of alleyways it felt like we were in another world, a movie set or fairy tale, Alice in Wonderland springs to mind, something not quite real.
It was busy with tourists, but not how we’d imagined, we got lucky maybe, and it wasn’t hard to escape the main drag and find quiet alleyways and have a little canals and bridges all to ourselves.
We headed towards St Marks square which is kind of the main touristic area. The bustling huge pretty square was very busy as we’d thought but it was a really enjoyable place to hang out, people watch and take in the sights of the St. Marc’s Basilica. This extremely unique, over the top, intricate mystical building is quite spectacular. After spending quite some time here, we went to the south promenade area where the canals head out to sea. We sat for a while watching the many Gondolas picking up the tourists to take them on their little tour around the city, so many of them back and forth that it was almost a traffic jam trying to squeeze through the narrow canals.
Later, we found a nice quiet square away from the main drag for a rest and some well deserved food and a glass of wine before continuing to get lost on our way through the crazy canals and enjoying the maze of alleyways back towards the bus station. We had spent about 7 hours wondering around in the spectacular unique city and felt satisfied we had seen everything we wanted. Venice was definitely a bucket list place for us and we were not disappointed in the slightest, it really is as magical as you think it will be.