Do you ever have that one song that instantly takes you back? Mine came on my Pandora station yesterday and I almost started crying. Oh how I miss the care-free travel life I lived this summer!
Five days after I returned to the states, I went to New Orleans for a conference, and the night I landed back in sweet ol’ North Carolina I drove from RDU to my new apartment in Wilmington. Then a week later senior year started. Talk about a whirlwind!
As you can imagine, I have quite a bit of recapping to do in order to catch up on my travels. If I remember correctly… I only made it through blogging about like a week of my trip. Whoops!
But thanks to Below My Feet by Mumford & Sons I’m back to recapping my glorious adventures, and today starts with Venice, Italy!
We took the train from Florence to Bologna (a stop we made purely for sandwiches and giggles) and then another from Bologna to Venice. Upon arrival in Venice, we got off at the wrong train stop. Our hostel was on the Venice mainland, Venezia Mestre, and we got off at the last stop… the actual island of Venice. We quickly realized our mistake when we noticed the view outside our window change to turquoise water. Sorry not sorry at all because that meant an extra hour of exploring the city!
|Because it didn’t happen if I didn’t Instagram it…|
Literally, when you walk out of the train station, there is a huge set of stairs that leads down to a beautiful plaza – right on the freakin’ canal. BOOM there’s the water. Maybe 50 meters from the train station doors. Fun fact: Venice is made up of 148 interconnected islands. There were gondolas, taxi motorboats, masquerade masks, and the most stunning view of the church of San Simeon Piccolo across the canal. Absolutely. Breathtaking. We had no words to describe this unexpected change in plans, but simply stood there are the top of the train station steps, just soaking it all in. We were in VENICE. What?! The emotional moment ended and we sprinted down the stairs (more like wobbled with our huge backpacks on) screaming at each other with excitement, like the American travelers that we were, and took way too many pictures of that one teeny piece of Venice.
That night we had wifi in our hostel that actually worked and was free (whoa!) so we got on social media, shared our excitement, talked with our parents, and uploaded our photos from Rome and Venice to Dropbox for safekeeping. We shared our hostel room with a sweet girl from North Korea and two American girls from Minnesota with impeccable fashion taste.
Day one in Venice (well, it should have been day one if we had gotten off at the right stop the day before) started like most of our days: sharing hostel bathrooms, trying to get the wrinkles out of the clothes in our backpacks, making sure the camera was ready, filling up our water bottles, and circling our “to do list” on our maps. Ready to go!
We took the standing room only bus to the island, and stepped foot onto the island with giddy excitement! Our first order of business was food and coffee, as usual. So we detoured away from the touristy places to eat by the train and bus stations and wound through the tiny streets to a little cafe. There I got a delicious cheese croissant. Yum to the max. We kept walking and found a cafe with seating, so I got a cappuccino there and we sat next to the strangest woman I met in my travels. She spoke american english and graced us with her “epic” (but clearly made up) life story the second we sat down. Apparently, the entire island of Venice hates her, she is in a love triangle, she is going to “burn this place to the ground”, and she and her secret lover are planning to run away… Ummm ok? We could not leave fast enough.
|1: hostel sweet hostel. 2: our dramatic new friend… that I obviously had to take a creepy picture of (side note: how weird/scary would it be if she found my blog?) 3: the view from breakfast, casual.|
After 983154145 failed tries at using our map to navigate the teeny twisty streets of Venice we gave up and stashed it. It’s an island after all, how lost could we get? * cue huge pile of photos *
After the first day in Venice we saw most everything that we wanted to, and did everything that we wanted to! It was such a small city relative to everywhere else that we had traveled that one day was definitely enough.
After an incredibly long day of walking, we headed back to our Home Sweet Hostel and fell asleep to a lullaby of american pop and rapid Italian conversations blasting out of the nearby club.
Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my second day in Venice and our epic night train experience! Get excited!!