An early morning on Saturday last weekend consisted of empty buses and train station cappuccinos. My LA native housemate Vahna and I had a 9:30 train to catch, and we were determined to do so in a calm and collected manner. (Like women of class, okay? No more running through Roma Termini for us! Those days were hopefully very far behind us.)
Before we knew it, we were on our four hour, cross country Venice-bound train. It was a smooth ride. I devoured the book one of my Hope friends gifted to me for my travels, and Vahna happily updated her Rome Instagram account. (@romewithmeinitaly if you were curious.)
Soon enough we were at the station and absolutely ravenous. After tossing our bags in our hotel room (very elegant and very small, perfect for a one night stay), we took to the streets. Roman streets are busy and cobbled, and the people walk as much on the street as they do the sidewalk. Venetian streets are tight alleys, only big enough for two people to walk side by side. At night, the world fades away, completely shrouded beneath the cloak of nighttime.
But, we had one of my favorite Italian lunches yet. After jealously people-watching a young woman eat a flatbread panini, we asked her what she was having. “You’ll have to ask my father,” she said. Turns out her parents ran the place! So we got ourselves hooked up with the best of the best and in minutes the food was gone.
Of course we went on a gondola ride and it was amazing to get out of the frigid shade while sailing down the grand canal. To do something so iconic made you sit there and think, “Wow. I’m really doing this. I’ve really come all this way on my own.” It definitely puts things in a satisfied perspective.
We also tried cichetti, a Venetian delight, for dinner. Think of it as their version of bruschetta, but a little spruced up. We laughed when we found ourselves thinking—“This bread kind of reminds me of Bagel Bites!”
What can we say? It’s the little things.
Our second day was spent on the little island of Burano. Burano is known for their extremely bright colored buildings. As legend says, they were a beacon for fishermen to find their ways home in conditions of great fog. It was so beautiful! Though it was definitely a half day trip, as we quickly learned. We walked the perimeter of the island about twice during our first hour there.
Something to prepare for in Venice: Most of the souvenir opportunities, particularly on the smaller islands, are hand crafted specialities. So, if that’s your thing, prepare your bank account. I definitely spent much more than I expected, to say the least.
In Burano, we met a woman who didn’t mind speaking freely with us about her experience there. She told us that despite its immense beauty, it’s a hard place to live. There’s “nothing to do” unless you travel to the mainland or the main islands. Surprisingly, there is a large teenage population, even on Burano. “They take the water bus to school everyday. The only high school is on the main island.”
Overall, Venice is beautiful and an absolute marvel. The entire time you’re there, you’re thinking: “How did they do this? How did they make a city on the water?” You might also be thinking: “Hey, isn’t that tower leaning?? Is Venice actually sinking?” (Which, yes, it is.) It simultaneously feels like a real Atlantis and also maybe a little cramped and smelly.
But, go in the summertime (or late April through early June for the peak time) and enjoy a Spritz! Venice is truly one of those places that earns the expression “What’s not to love?”