I was stuck on what to get Scott for Christmas, I knew I wanted to get him an experience as opposed to ‘stuff’, which is why when I came across a Groupon mystery holiday voucher which entered us into a lottery style draw of holidays, I thought that could be fun. When we ‘won’ a two night stay in Venice, I was slightly disappointed at first because I visited Venice last February but then I thought that actually, Scott would love Venice. Besides it would be a different hotel, we were flying into Treviso instead of Marco Polo and I went with an old friend last time, perhaps this time it would be filled with lady and the tramp style spaghetti scenes (it wasn’t, but that’s fine).
Take a look at some of my photos below and a rambley summary of our trip to Venice!
I was worried about a lot of different aspects of this trip, I was worried about it being four days together and maybe we’d get annoyed with each other, I was worried that our hotel (Hotel Piave) was actually in Mestre and how would the commute into Venice be, I was worried that we were flying into Treviso, I was worried about my budget post-Christmas, I was worried about my incredibly basic Italian (read: I can say hi, how are you, thanks, bye), I was worried about flying with Ryanair. I worry a lot.
However… we didn’t get annoyed with each other – at least, I didn’t get annoyed with him… the hotel was absolutely fine (despite the terrifying reviews that we read), it was a five minute walk to the train station and then an easy 10 minute journey that cost just €1.30 each (plus, it was lovely to travel over the bridge into Venice). Treviso is a tiny airport, so we navigated it pretty easily and straight away found our way onto a bus to Mestre train station. Plus, the buses at Treviso are actually scheduled to line up with inbound flights – smart! – as opposed to arriving at Stansted where we just missed a train and then had a bit of a wait. Budget turned out to be fine and we didn’t spend *that* much money. Ryanair was fine… or it will be once I get over my annoyance of having to pay to sit next to each other as on both flights we were sat at opposite ends of the plane. On our flight out, the flight was only half to two thirds full, so that was realllllly annoying, but it’s fine, I’m almost over it now. Almost.
We caught an early morning flight so we were at our hotel by 10.30am; we were too early to check in and surprisingly perky, we left our bags in the luggage room and ventured back to the train station to navigate our way to Venice. We stayed at the Premier Inn at Stansted Airport the night before, I thought that as it would be a hassle to get to Stansted for a 6am flight, why not start the holiday off all fun with a hotel stay. It meant getting up at 4am as opposed to travelling through the night and those extra hours of sleep were so worthwhile when it meant that we were able to wander around Venice for 5 hours on our first day and not feel totally destroyed. Plus, it made us feel fancy too. I totally recommend.
For Venice, I had a bit of a plan, I thought that we’d do a walking tour, Piazza San Marco and St Mark’s Basilica, Rialto Bridge, maybe a gondola ride and generally lots of stopping for coffee and pastries and nice things to eat. I did not plan the kidney infection that I began our second day with (I had tonsillitis when I went to Venice last year, I am cursed). The second day was definitely a challenge, I felt really rubbish and we had to take it really slowly, however it was also lovely. After I took some painkillers and hoped they kicked in asap, we left the hotel in the early afternoon to try and still enjoy our time in Venice and actually, that second day was lovely. We literally had no plan or end goal, we arrived at Venezia Saint Lucia station, we turned left out of the station and we just followed pretty photo opportunities – there are millions, Venice is stunning. We wandered around for 4/5 hours, just taking photos and weaving through Venice’s narrow streets and generally winding in the direction that we thought was towards San Marco, plus we followed our noses and bought pasta in a take out box to go! The second night, we stayed in the hotel, watched Catwoman and drank a bottle of prosecco from plastic cups (probably didn’t help the kidney infection).
Our third day was also travelling home day but not until 10pm, so we had an entire day for exploring. I was a little concerned that twelve hours of wandering around when I was feeling pretty awful was going to end badly but we took it slowly; we must have stopped in four little cafes, as well as having lunch somewhere. This day had a bit more of a plan, we wanted to head to San Marco and see inside the Basilica, especially to the terrace. As well as take lots more photos and make it to the airport in one piece. Surprisingly, saw a lot of stranger’s genitalia on this final day! (Ok, exaggeration… I saw one man’s penis and a lady’s pants… still, it gave a surreal element to our last day that I wasn’t anticipating!)
Getting back to Treviso was so easy, we went to Piazzale Roma and caught the same airport bus, it took about an hour and cost €12 each, the same as on the way out despite getting off in Mestre. We had a bit of time to kill in Treviso Airport but by the time it came to catching our flight, we were shattered and happy to just sit in the airport. Our gate was chaos (no one was queueing properly!!) and everything felt like a fight, however, we made it onto the plane and Scott was a gentleman and let me sit by the window, even though it was his turn. He initiated some really deep conversations in order to get us through the two hour flight where I truly felt awful and we landed safe and sound back at Stansted.
You know when you’re on holiday and you make jokes about never going home or moving there, you even wistfully look in the windows of estate agents and convert the price back to pounds where you then 4% consider it and sigh. Maybe this is particularly common when you’re from London and about a lightyear away from the possibility of buying. I love Venice and would love to go back again and again and again, I’d love to go for a longer time, Scott and I both work as freelancers and as we wandered, we envisaged a scenario in which we booked an airbnb or something similar for a few weeks, where we worked in the mornings or evenings and spent our days exploring, taking the high-speed train to Florence or Rome or travelling even further out to Tuscany and I’d love that. There’s something so romantic about being on holiday, not in a relationship or love way, but in the way it takes you outside of your day-to-day routine where you can actually consider alternative realities, where you can really think about what it is you want and need. On holiday, you have the chance to step outside of your head and think out loud about plans and aspirations that maybe you’re only semi-serious about, but still, the space to actually wonder: what if? That is pretty magical.
I would love to reach a point in my work and freelancing career where I really can travel at will. Not that I exactly have much willpower when it comes to travelling, Scott and I arrived home Friday evening and my sister and I have already booked a getaway to Prague for March… But hey, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to discover somewhere new every month of 2018 and I’m just trying to achieve my goals 😉
Have you been to Venice? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!