Carnivale di Venezia

I don’t know about you, but I get SUPER excited to travel. Weeks before a vacation I am making a list of what I want to pack in my bag, looking up places to visit, where the most “Instagrammable” spots are, things to avoid, the restaurants with the “best” food, figuring out how we are going to get from one place to the next, making sure the various electronics we are bringing are charged up and ready to go and that I bring the chargers with me, and now, I also get the pleasure of making sure my husband is prepared and has everything he will need because let’s be honest, he would pack the morning we are supposed to leave if I didn’t keep on him to get his stuff together. 🙂 Which would be okay but it would make me incredibly anxious that he would forget something.

What I’m trying to say is that I LOVE to travel, and I love to plan. I have realized over the last few years that I have some very Type A traits. I looooove to make lists and check things off of them and I NEED to know what’s going on in order to feel secure in what I’m doing. Otherwise, I get very anxious because I do not have the control that I think I need in order for things to run smoothly.

Ryan, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. He is very laid back and definitely has the “go-with-the-flow” mentality. This is what makes us work so well together because I get to plan everything we are going to do and he just gets to come along for the fun ride. And I wouldn’t have it any other way! Sure, sometimes I get annoyed because (like a good wife) I try to include him in some of the decision making like asking him what he would like for dinner or what he’d like to do and most of the time I get the “I don’t know” or “I don’t care” or “whatever you want” responses and they. drive. me. NUTS. But in the end, things always end up working out whether he finally decides to pick somewhere for dinner or not.

The reason I’m even mentioning this is because this trip definitely had its ups and downs and I lost control a few times (unwillingly) and it was hard for me! But Ryan (he’s such a trooper) showed me unconditional love and grace, even when I was panicking because I didn’t know what bus stop we needed or crying because I couldn’t figure out how to get from one place to another because it was off-season and everything was on a completely different schedule than I was planning for. It was definitely a learning experience for both of us.

To be completely honest, we got off to a rough start. We left our house about 30 minutes later than we were planning for (which, if you don’t know, being late or behind schedule is one of Ryan’s biggest pet peeves), we did make it to Chicago on time despite our delay, got our car dropped off at the hotel that was watching it while we were gone (which is 10/10 something I recommend looking into if you’re going to be traveling any time soon because you pay way less to do that than to park at the airport AND you get to stay in the hotel for a night (or two if you want) and not have to worry about driving back home immediately after getting off of your 8+ hour flight), and got to the airport with plenty of time to get our bag checked, go through security, and get to our gate. We ate before we got on the plane, which may have been where we went wrong, and the next thing we knew, it was time to board for our adventure.

But the flight sucked. Not because of turbulence or bad flying but because we both felt sick. I HATE puking. I will avoid it at all costs. And so I was fighting my stomach for half of our flight. I was trying anything and everything to get my stomach to settle down, including sipping on Sprite after the first round of the beverage cart and I took some “orange pills”. (Papaya enzymes. They help with digestion and let me tell you, they’re MAGICAL. My grandma has been giving them to us ever since we were little and our tummies hurt and they always seemed to cure our stomach aches.) But neither of those things were working. The flight attendant could tell I didn’t feel well and gave me some tonic water to sip because it had something in it that bananas have that is supposed to help with digestion… I don’t know if you’ve ever drank just straight up tonic water but I was NOT a fan. It was weird carbonated banana water and I did not like it at all. But I sipped and sipped to avoid puking. Ryan also didn’t feel well but he didn’t tell me until after the fact. We didn’t even eat the dinner provided on the flight because we weren’t hungry and we didn’t feel well. Neither one of us ended up getting sick, but I slept for about 5 of the 8-hour flight from Chicago to Munich and Ryan also slept for a couple of hours which was super surprising because he usually cannot sleep on airplanes.

We landed in Munich and we were both starving. We were going to get breakfast but we realized we didn’t have any euros yet. We had some at home from our last trip to Europe…but they were at home, in Sully, Iowa. We looked for a cash exchange place but could not find one near our gate and we didn’t really want to take money out of the ATM just for a few croissants and cappuccinos, so we waited.

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We boarded our flight from Munich to Venice, which was BEAUTIFUL by the way. I am now obsessed with the Swiss Alps and want to visit them in person so badly. And soon we were arriving in Venice. We got our bag and then found a cash exchange place….. and we got RIPPED OFF. But we didn’t figure it out until we were long gone from the airport (*facepalm*). We brought $650 in cash to get exchanged. We know that those cash exchange places do charge you a conversion fee…but this lady totally ripped us off. We got 360€ back. We should have gotten 574€ minus the percentage they get for converting it for us. BUT THE LADY LITERALLY TOOK ALMOST 200€ FROM US. We felt sooooo dumb once we figured it out but at that point, we couldn’t really do anything about it. So just a heads up, if you go abroad, make sure you know about how much money you should be getting back and make sure they don’t do the same thing to you. Or, just skip the cash exchange all-together and use an ATM.

Then, we had to find the bus to get to where our Airbnb was located. We stayed on the mainland and not on the island. (Which was perfect by the way! I honestly would have rather done that than stay on the island itself. It’s more expensive to stay on the island, so we made the right choice to just stay on the mainland and pay a few euros to get to and from the island each day.) Google had told me we needed bus 10a to get to our Airbnb but we searched the bus area of the airport and there was no 10a, so finally we asked a man working for the bus company and he helped us get on the correct bus. We got off on Corso del Popolo (the street our Airbnb was on) but we got off about 3 stops too early. We found a cafe to bum WiFi off of so we could get proper walking directions to where we needed to go and then we walked. We found the building we needed but had no idea which buzzer we needed to get in, so we walked down to another cafe to try to use their WiFi so I could message the host BUT they didn’t have any.. so I asked the barista and she, along with some locals that were there eventually figured it out and helped us figure out which buzzer to ring which was based on the surname (last name) of the hosts. (Duh, Aimee, you should have known that.)

We rang the buzzer and David (pronounced dah-veed) met us at the door and helped us with our suitcases. He knew some English but not a lot but his wife, Marcela, didn’t know any English at all so he gave us the tour. He explained that we could easily hop on bus 4 or 4L to get into Venice (10-minute ride and it was only 1.50€ AND the bus picks up and drops off right outside the apartment building so that was super nice) and where things were in the apartment. We could buy our bus tickets at the tobacco shop just down the street, we needed to make sure to ALWAYS validate our bus ticket by scanning it when you get on because they do come around and check and they’ll kick you off if you don’t have a valid ticket, and to make sure to watch out for pickpockets.

I know English (obviously) and Spanish but I don’t know Italian so that made for a little language barrier. But, once they found out that I knew Spanish, we began to chat like long lost friends. I was so surprised by myself at how quickly and easily I just started speaking to them in Spanish and I wasn’t even having to try as hard as I used to to translate from English to Spanish and figure out what I wanted to say! (Shoutout to my study abroad experience, 9 years of Spanish classes, and living with a host family in Spain who only spoke Spanish!!) Suddenly, they were showing us where they kept their secret stash of really good coffee (and if you know me, this was like the key to my heart). You’re probably wondering why this is a big deal or why I’m mentioning it.. Well, when David originally gave us the tour of the apartment he showed us the “coffee” which was instant coffee (barf). I didn’t think much of it other than “yeah I’ll just wait until we get to a cafe for some real coffee” but THEN they showed us their stash of espresso and how to make it in the Moka pot (which is a fancy percolator specifically made for espresso) and I felt SO COOL. Like we were cool enough to know the secret that other guests that stay there don’t get to know. Things were starting to look up!

After David and Marcella left, we both took showers because we felt disgusting after all of the traveling. Then we got ready and headed into Venice.

We didn’t have much planned for that first afternoon, just to wander the streets and see what we could find, eat some gelato, and find somewhere to eat. We were starving because we hadn’t really eaten since before leaving Chicago so food was kind of our first order of business. We finally found a place to eat some pizza and it tasted incredible, probably because we were starving. After pizza, we went on the hunt for gelato. We went to this place called Suso that I had read about on Pinterest. It was good but not as mind-blowing as I was expecting. It was also kind of a far walk from where the pizza place was but we found it eventually.

We stopped for photos along the way because what kind of tourists would we be if we didn’t stop and take a photo by a canal? We also conveniently walked across the Rialto Bridge at the golden hour which made for a perfect photo of the Grand Canal. We stopped in a random church (our specialty) and explored that for a bit but unfortunately there were no photos allowed at this church. We got lost on our way back to the bus station, but that was an adventure in and of itself and then stopped in a local grocery store to buy some shampoo because we didn’t bring any with us.

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Along the way, we stopped in a couple of souvenir shops and browsed prices and I bought a cheap Carnival mask as we were there during Carnival and there were a bunch of people walking around in masks and big renaissance costumes and there is confetti everywhere. Carnival is a religious festival held every year in Venice during the weeks leading up to Lent. Ryan and I kept saying it was their Tulip Time, but religious. People were in costumes, there were parades and other festivities going on, it felt a lot like Tulip Time in Pella to us, but obviously, it was different. Carnival also caused a lot of things to be more expensive than normal because they know that tourists will be there during that time, so we ended up spending more money than we were hoping to when we were in Venice, but it’s alright. Our bank account will refill eventually. 

We got back to our Airbnb and decided we were going to go to bed early because we were exhausted from traveling and we were going to sleep allllllll through the night so we would be super well-rested and energized for our first full day the next day!! Lol. BIG MISTAKE. We went to bed at 8 PM and woke up around 11 PM and our bodies basically thought we just took a 3-hour nap and so we were WIDE awake. We tried to watch Netflix on the TV in our room but the hosts needed to re-pay for their subscription so we couldn’t watch anything. So we surfed the local channels but they were all in Italian (obviously). Local Italian TV late at night gets WEIRD. There were a lot of channels featuring either male “enhancement” pills or sexual hotlines and almost naked women waiting for “phone calls” but really random and unrelatable songs would be playing in the background like Beautiful Soul by Jesse McCartney and Far Away by Nickelback…. it was super weird but it did make for a good laugh for two delusional Americans on their first night in Italy. We ended up settling on an Ashton Kutcher movie (whoop whoop Iowa boy!) but it was in Italian so it was basically just background noise until we could fall back asleep, which we did around 3 AM.

The next morning we woke up around 8:30 AM and made some of the secret espresso and drank it out on the balcony (even though it was only 39 degrees). It was a slow start to our morning but that’s okay. Once we were showered and ready to go, we went to a cafe down the street from us for a cappuccino and a croissant for breakfast. Ryan got a chocolate croissant and I got a honey one. From there we caught a bus into Venice where we went to another cafe for another croissant and another cappuccino because we are Americans who eat way more than just one measly croissant for breakfast and we were also still trying to get back to a normal eating schedule.

We had planned to go to San Marco’s Square but we were in no rush so we enjoyed our time strolling through the streets of Venice, including a few wrong turns down some dead ends but hey, it happens. We went to two random churches. When I say ‘random churches’ I mean churches that aren’t necessarily on our “must see” list. We paid to go into the Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. It was really neat and very large. At first, we thought no photos were allowed but it was actually just no flash photography allowed so we could take photos. Catholic churches are so interesting to me because they’re so decorated and there’s something to look at almost everywhere.

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We eventually made it to San Marco’s Square and it was packed. There was a Carnival presentation going on where they were interviewing people about their costumes and where they were made and how long they took to make, etc. Again, it reminded me a lot of Tulip Time and the stage presentations on the Tulip Tower and the one float my grandma always rides on that showcases the different costumes of the different provinces in the Netherlands. We watched it for a little bit and then headed back towards Saint Mark’s Basilica.

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We waited in a longish line that moved along pretty quickly, but what we didn’t know until we got to the front is that no backpacks were allowed and that we had to go around the corner and to a building to drop our bag off and then come back and get in line again. So we did, but we didn’t grab any money out of the backpack before we dropped it off so we could only do the bare minimum because everything else costed money (aka climbing up to the terrace and some other things) but the cathedral itself was free. We weren’t allowed to take photos inside but the outside of the basilica was very interesting looking.

After visiting the cathedral, we went to find some lunch. We made the mistake of eating next to the Rialto Bridge along the Grand Canal and ended up paying 70€ for a very subpar lunch. Ryan had salmon and I had spaghetti carbonara. In Italy, especially in big touristy areas, they charge you to sit down, they charge you a cover fee (because you don’t tip the waiters/waitresses), they charge you for the basket of bread they conveniently put on your table, they charge you for side dishes…..they charge you for anything and everything. Ryan’s salmon didn’t come with a side but they asked him if he wanted some rice with it and he said sure, so obviously we had to pay for it but in America, meat dishes usually come with a side included in the price. We also tried Aperol Spritz for the first time, but they weren’t cheap either. They were really good though and reminded us of an Old Fashioned. They became my new “go to” drink on the trip while Ryan mostly stuck with beer.

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After lunch, we got lost some more. I had read somewhere that that was the best thing to do when in Venice anyway, just get lost. We did. A lot more than we’d like to admit, but it’s alright. It was cool to wander down some of those streets with no destination in mind.

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We eventually decided we were going to try to find “the bridge with no parapet” (a bridge over a canal with no walls or sides) but we got too tired halfway there and decided not to go. My feet were killing me and we weren’t used to walking as much as we had been so we thought it would be best to not walk clear to the other side of the island just to see a bridge with no walls on it. We decided to do the DFS store instead. The DFS store is a huge department store but it has a free rooftop terrace that gives you a beautiful 360-degree view over Venice. But, it requires an online reservation. We almost witnessed a fight because this one lady kept budging in front of everyone and this lady behind us was PISSED that she kept trying to budge and they started yelling at each other and I’m pretty sure the lady behind us wanted to hit her for being a budger but her boyfriend held her back.

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Espresso and gelato were next on our list. We were doing literal shots of espresso to combat our jetlag and the sugar in the gelato was also helping with that. I learned how to say “1 scoop of the coffee” kind in Italian, but I forgot shortly after. (I must still have “bridal brain”. Can I still use that as an excuse? No? Okay. I should’ve written it down.) Anywho, we got our gelato and sat down by some steps next to a canal and ate it there. It was nice to sit and relax and people watch while we enjoyed our gelato. Then we headed back toward the bus. It was sunset and the sun was setting beautifully over this canal on our walk so I stopped to take a photo of it but then we kind of wanted our photo taken with that in the background so we asked a couple if they’d take one for us and then we offered to take one for them. The boy took it for us and Ryan immediately said after we walked away “they must’ve been together for a while because he knows how to take a picture.” Lol. As we got back to the bus station and we heard sirens. We saw an ambulance boat go by, which was cool to see but also scary.

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We got to our bus stop by our Airbnb and I noticed the streets were even decorated for Carnival. I noticed a couple of differences between Spain and Italy right away. One is that drivers in Italy are nice and will stop and let you cross the street at a crosswalk as opposed to the Spanish drivers who don’t care and will run you over if you’re in there way. Another being that the local buses are packed with people (which makes it easy to get pickpocketed). I couldn’t help but think about my time in Spain since we were “living in Italy” for the next two weeks.. I miss living in Europe. Or maybe I just miss living in a bigger city.. Either way, the nostalgia was running high. My study abroad experience was helping us a lot. My Spanish helped us to communicate with our hosts which led to the secret espresso (big win), I knew where to search out WiFi when we needed directions (because we had no cellular data), I knew how to work public transportation (which I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t study in Spain because I’m from Pella, Iowa where the most public of transportation I ever took in my entire life was the school bus), how to say no to beggars and be on the lookout for pickpockets, know it’s better/cheaper to walk (no matter how badly your feet hurt. Side note: did I mention how I felt like a pill popper because of how often I was taking Advil because of how much my feet were killing me?), know how to somewhat (I have to say somewhat because we fell into a tourist trap that first day and I knew it but I was hangry…..) avoid over paying in touristy areas, and I know to wear certain shoes (even though mine must have been too small or something because I ended up with lots of blisters). If I wouldn’t have studied abroad in Spain, I wouldn’t have really known any/much of these things and I would have been an anxious mess the whole time. My study abroad experience is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. Not just because I got to live in Europe and travel all over the place and see a lot of things a lot of people don’t get the chance to, but because of how much I learned and grew as a person when I was over there. If you’re reading this and you have the opportunity to study abroad or to even travel anywhere, DO IT. Traveling is the best way to learn and it’s super fun. You won’t regret it, I promise. Travel now, work later. Your money will come back, your time won’t.

That evening, Ryan and I went to a restaurant not far from our Airbnb that our host had suggested to us. We got kinda lost trying to find it but it was hidden behind a huge mall and down a back road so it wasn’t completely our fault. Near the restaurant was a plaza where they were having a concert for what we assumed was for Carnival. We didn’t get close but it was cool to see from a distance. We got to the restaurant, and we found out that they specialized in buffalo meat…………. we opted for pizza instead.

Ryan and I both noted the next day that we were already feeling like locals. To me, Venice felt a lot like Alcalá de Henares. Maybe it was taking the local bus every day and knowing exactly which stop to get off at or maybe it was my attempt to look like a local as opposed to a blatant tourist. I’m not sure. I try my best not to look like a tourist as much as possible because I would like to NOT make myself a bigger target to be pickpocketed or for the locals to be rude to me because they know I’m a tourist. I try my best to fit in and show that I’m trying to learn about them and their culture instead of expecting them to speak to me in English and cater to me. Their culture is half the reason I’m there anyway! If I wanted to speak English everywhere we went, we’d just go somewhere in America. Anyway, we just felt…at home in Venice. Both of us did. If we were to become nomads, quit our jobs, and move and live somewhere in Europe, I could see it being Venice. At least for a little while. But we would live on the mainland because the Venice island is very touristy and there’s only so much to do there unless of course, we were to find jobs there.

The next day we went on an adventure to two small islands just off of Venice. We took the Vaporetto (water bus) to the islands. That was fun for us because we didn’t want to pay 80€ for a 30-minute gondola ride (it’s a ripoff), so this was our chance to be on the canals in Venice but actually have some sort of purpose to it and it was cheaper. We purchased day passes which were 20€ each and they allowed us to ride the local buses, trains, trams, and water buses as many times as we wanted for 24 hours. A one-way ticket for the vaporetto was 7.50€ and we would have taken 4 vaporettos just to visit the two small islands, which would have been 30€ each just to visit the places we were already planning on going, so the day pass was definitely the way to go. Plus, when we got back, it worked for us to go back to our Airbnb for a little while and then go back into Venice for dinner AND to take a few more vaporettos around the island that evening. If we didn’t have the day pass, we would’ve walked but taking the vaporetto was really nice because it saved my feet from more walking (they were killing me at that point) and we got to relax for a little bit…well kind of.

Vaporettos are cool in the fact that they are water buses (aka ferries) BUT the boats themselves sound like they’re crashing every time they go to a stop. To be fair, the vaporetto drivers aren’t very careful when they get to a stop and a lot of them tend to just crash into the side of the dock. It was scary!! I thought for sure our boat was going to sink a couple of times just based off of how much the driver slammed into the stops and how horrible the sound was. But they didn’t seem to think anything of it, they just loaded the next group of people on and off we went to the next stop. I will say though that all of the boat drivers in Venice are highly skilled. Some of them go so fast through the bigger canals and turn around corners quickly but we never saw any collisions. It was impressive to watch. Anyway, enough about being on boats.

The first island we visited was Murano. Murano is famous for its glass-blowing. As far as things to do on that island, there’s not much other than to go to a glass museum, watch glass-blowing, participate in a glass-blowing class, or buy some handblown glass at one of the local shops. Our first stop, however, was at a cafe for breakfast. The barista taught me that if you’re ordering one cappuccino, it’s a cappuccino, but if you’re ordering more than one then you’re ordering “cappuccinis”. So we ordered “due cappuccinis” (pronounced “doo-eh cap-pu-chi-ni-s”) and sat out on the “patio” which was right next to the canal. At that point, we knew we would be paying extra for that, but it was a beautiful morning and we were in Italy so screw it. What’s a couple extra euros every now and then? (Just kidding, after the airport money exchange scandal we were being cautious about our spending because we only had so much money allotted for this trip but this was one of those “treat yo’self” moments.)

From there we just walked around the small town. We went in and out of a few stores filled with glass-blown figures but we didn’t purchase any because they were more expensive than we were willing to spend. We stumbled upon a local cathedral after a little bit of wandering, but only after seeing it was on the other side of a Christmas tree made of glass. We went into the church and looked around for a little bit and then continued on our way.

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We did catch a glimpse of a guy working on something glass through a cracked door as we were walking. We watched him just for a brief moment before he moved out of our view and all I have to say is I was mesmerized by the 4 seconds we watched him and I can’t imagine what it’d be like to actually watch someone create something from start to finish.. it would’ve been really cool but probably out of our price range. I also fell in love with this sea turtle figurine with a jellyfish in its shell. This whole thing is completely glass-blown! No paint involved. That’s nuts to me. I wanted to buy one so bad, but they were 90€ and like I just mentioned, we were “ballin’ on a budget” so I didn’t get one.

We hopped on another vaporetto that took us to the second island, Burano. This ride was 40 minutes long as opposed to the 15-minute ride we took from Venice to Murano. And we had to stand the whole time because it was PACKED. This was not ideal for the sake of my feet but I survived.

We arrived in Burano, which is known for its lace, but it has now become more known for its colorful homes and buildings that line the streets. They say the buildings are so bright and colorful so that the fishermen know which house is theirs when they come home from being out at sea. I don’t really care what the reason is, I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. Being the artsy-fartsy kinda person that I am, I loved all of the colors and patterns we found throughout the island. I definitely made Ryan stop and pose in front of different colored homes so that I could put the photos together in a collage.

We wandered the streets of Burano for a couple of hours, just taking in the different colors as we went (or at least I was, I think Ryan probably could have cared less but oh well). And then we wandered the shopping area a little before finding a restaurant (aka a bathroom) to have some espresso before heading back to Venice. We had to take a vaporetto from Burano back to Murano and then another one from Murano back to Venice.

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When we got back to Venice, we took a bus back “home” (to our Airbnb) and hung out for a little bit. Ryan took a short nap and then we went back into Venice for dinner since we had the day pass. We hopped on the vaporetto right away from the bus station and took a water bus to San Marco Square. We noticed some lights flashing near San Marco Square and couldn’t help but wonder what was going on there. The vaporetto conveniently stopped near the famous ‘Bridge of Sighs’ which is known for the “loud sighs heard from prisoners as they crossed the bridge and took one last look out at Venice before going to prison” so we got to see that. Then we headed for San Marco Square, where we found a free concert going on for Carnival. We were hungry, so we didn’t stay but we saw it from a distance.

We found a place to eat dinner, which was somewhere where I could get some cheesy pasta (which was surprisingly hard to find… it was either seafood pasta or tomato sauce pasta everywhere we went and I’m not a big tomato sauce person. Cheesy pasta must be an Americanized Italian thing.) So, Ryan had a pizza (anybody see a common theme here?) and I had Fettuccini Alfredo, to which the waiter laughed at me about when I ordered it and all I responded with is “I know, I’m sorry.” And I have never felt like more of a disgrace for ordering Fettuccini Alfredo in my entire life. Oh well, I was craving it and I finally found somewhere that had it so I have no regrets. It was JUST what I had a hankering for so it was worth it.

After dinner, we found some gelato and browsed the souvenir shops some more. I wanted to purchase a small glass-blown turtle to add to my collection of turtles at home, but I was price-shopping because the same exact thing at various shops were different prices, so I was trying to find the cheapest version of the same thing. We decided to wait to buy one until we went back to Venice the night before we flew out to buy one because we didn’t want to risk breaking it during our travels.

Then we walked back to San Marco Square to take the vaporetto back to the bus station but we stopped at the concert. It was an 80s cover band and so we watched the end of the show before going to the vaporetto stop. It was fun to experience! I wish we could have seen more of the show but that’s alright, at least we got to see the end.

As we were getting on our vaporetto, some big waves hit and caused the boat and the dock to rock quite a bit. There was another couple from London getting on to the same vaporetto as us and when the dock started to rock pretty intensely, the husband got scared and grabbed for his wife’s hand, but ended up grabbing Ryan’s hand instead! LOL. He was embarrassed and quickly pulled his hand away and apologized but Ryan just laughed and said “no worries”. After we got back to the bus station, the couple ended up taking the same bus as us back to the mainland and so the guy and Ryan shook hands as Ryan and I walked by. Then I heard his wife ask him, “who was that??” and the husband goes, “that’s the guy who’s hand I accidentally held because I thought he was you!” It’s memories like this that will stick with us forever.

Counting all of the public transportation we took that day, we would have paid 102€ to take 6 vaporettos and 4 buses to and from Venice. The day pass saved us 62€ so hooray for finally making a good decision financially! We needed this small victory after the rough start to this trip. Overall, we loved Venice but we were glad we had only allotted the time we did to be there because after a couple of days, we were over it and ready to move on to the next place.

Next up, Florence!


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