I have never liked early starts. I can’t sleep because I am always absolutely convinced that my 3 alarms won’t go off and I’ll miss my flight. Thankfully, my alarms (and my boyfriend’s back-up alarms) successfully managed to get me out of bed and to Heathrow in time for my 8.45am flight to Venice. As soon as my bag was dropped off, the excitement began building. I have wanted to visit Italy for years, and I was finally on my way.
A mostly smooth flight later, we began to descend for Venice airport. I could see the island as we passed by, and even the turbulence couldn’t dampen my spirits. That is, until the air steward felt that that was an appropriate time to remind everyone to check where their nearest emergency exit was. So reassuring…
Minutes later we were off the plane, and I managed to rip my coat with a violent swing of my arm. Ah, not a great start. Never mind, I had landed in Italy, and was stepping off the bus in Piazzale Roma in no time, hunting for a water bus to get to the hotel. The journey along the Grand Canal was the perfect introduction to the city – the buildings were glowing in the early afternoon sun, the canal was fairly quiet and I could not have been happier.
After a brief ride, we jumped off at the famous San Marco Square, where we attempted to follow our hotel directions through the rabbit run of streets to the hotel. As can be expected there were a couple of wrong turns, but soon made it to the hotel, where we trekked the millions of stairs to our room.
Considering I hadn’t done much but sit on a plane, then sit on a bus, then sit on a boat, I was absolutely shattered. Not wanting to waste the first day in Venice, San Marco Square was on the to-see list. I’m sure it has a different feel to it in the summer, but all I could see were the birds. Everywhere. As someone who isn’t the biggest fan of birds, I spent the walk to the Campanile ducking and diving, hoping one wouldn’t fly into my face!
€8 later, and a thankful lift ride to the top of the Campanile, I stepped out on to the viewing area and instantly froze. So, so cold, and ridiculously windy, the scarf that hadn’t been needed at ground level was now greatly appreciated. As soon as I spotted the views though, I almost managed to forget the cold. Almost. Words cannot describe how stunning Venice is as the sun is setting, so I took a ton of photos to try and capture it to show my parents. The already beautiful city just glowed, and the view gave me that inner, peaceful happiness that is so hard to come by in day to day life.
The Rialto Bridge was next on our sights-to-see list, and it was a surprisingly short walk through the charming streets from San Marco Square. Although not entirely sure what I expected, the bridge was something completely different. Shops line either side of the bridge, and the side which was not under renovation was crammed with tourists and their wildly swinging selfie sticks. While the view is lovely over the Grand Canal, I feel the bridge was best appreciated from a distance where you can really see the whole bridge.
Despite not doing a great deal on our first day, we’d managed to get a real taste of the city and couldn’t wait to really explore on the next day. After meeting with some family members also in Venice on a city break, we turned in early, picking up a couple of slices of pizza, calzone and cannoli to enjoy for dinner. When in Italy…right?