Bucket list #66: Ride in a gondola in Venice √
This morning we left Rome at 8am on the coach, to go to a city that I had always dreamed about visiting. On our way to Venice we detoured through Florence where we were reunited with our coach driver Gabi, before carrying onto our accommodation.
Our accommodation was about 30 minutes boat ride to the centre of Venice, and was cabins with three people in each, so I shared with Gemma and Mel. After checking out the campsite, and of course seeing where the bar was, we headed back to the cabin to change, before making our way to the boat to head into Venice.
The boat ride over was in an old rickety boat where we had to sit inside, so I ended up sitting right up the front in hopes that I wouldn’t feel sea sick. This ended up being a good idea as we were the ones who felt the fresh sea breeze the most. The views as we arrived into Venice was absolutely beautiful! After arriving we crossed the bridge over the Grand Canal, and headed into one of the many squares to meet our tour guide. We then walked around Venice, and got to see many tourist attractions. Though, my favourite thing about this city was it’s many canals with gondolas floating through.
We ended our walking tour just over the Rialto Bridge, where we were all given a glass of Aperol Spritz. This is one of the most popular Italian drinks, but was definitely not top of my list. After a few sips I ended up giving it away to one of the boys, before sitting down and taking in the view.
After this, we were left to our own devices to wander around and grab some dinner. A group of us, including our tour manager Jon, ended up at a little Italian restaurant, where I enjoyed a big bowl of pasta and a glass of red wine. After dinner, we headed out into one of the squares where we listened to two young boys playing violin, and the boys decided to buy some light up toys that you flicked up in the air. It was such a lovely evening I didn’t want to leave!
Heading back to the boat, Jon ended getting us lost in the many small lanes and we had to run to make the boat. Back at the accommodation, we headed up to the bar to enjoy some drinks with everyone. There was another Contiki group there, so obviously we crashed it and scared them off with our Blue Coach antics! For some reason that night, the boys decided to pull their mattresses out and quite a few of us decided to sleep under the stars. I slept next to Cam which was fantastic as he kept me nice and warm!
The next morning we woke up early to the bright Italian sunshine, before realising that we got a bit of a sleep in that day. So I headed back into my room to enjoy an hour or so more of sleep. At 10am, we headed back onto the boat into Venice.
First stop: a gondola. Now, this is something I have always wanted to do, and has always been on my bucket list. I think this is why Venice had so much appeal to me. As it was Gemmas’ birthday that day, we decided on a girls gondola. So Gemma, Mel, Sara, Jess, Taylah and I headed onto a gondola, whose gondolier was also celebrating his birthday. It was such a wonderful experience, and we got to see so much of Venice. Definitely something I would recommend!
After hopping off our gondola, Mel and I headed over to the Rialto Bridge. I had planned to meet up with my good friend Mel, who I hadn’t seen in over two years. After walking up and down the bridge too many times to count, we finally found Mel in the crowd of tourists. It was so lovely to be reunited with her again and to hear about all of her travelling adventures.
After walking around aimlessly through the tiny lanes with the two Mels’, we met up with our little group for lunch. A big bowl of pasta and a glass of wine later, the girls decided to ditch the boys and do some retail therapy. We bought masks for our party that night, searched long and hard for the Victoria Secret store, and finished it off with some Italian gelato.
We then had to head to boat, so I said goodbye to Mel. It was so good to have the chance to catch up with her, even if it was only short and sweet. Back at the campsite we headed to the convenience start buy some wine and cheese and biscuits. A couple of us girls bought our towels and pillows out onto the grass, where we sat and ate cheese and gossiped. Next thing I knew Gemma and Mel were waking me up as I had managed to fall asleep.
That night we had our Venetian masks and sailor hats party, so I wore the mask I had bought previously that day. Cam and I decided to buy a bottle of red wine to share, which was gone way quicker then it should have.
There’s not a lot I remember of that night, due to me wanting to block certain events from my mind. I remember sitting on the grass with a friend and chatting for ages. I remember the boys wanting to start a fight with the other Contiki group as they were calling them gay. And I remember a certain someone making me cry, call home and want to leave. Shout out to Teesh, Tyler, Mel and Blake for being absolutely amazing that night.
Though our stay in Venice didn’t end very nicely, it was still so lovely to visit and tick it off my bucket list.
“A realist, in Venice, would become a romantic by mere faithfulness to what he saw below him”.