Day 8 was our last one in Italy. We were up bright and early, ready for the next road trip – this time our destination was Venice, how exciting!! Venice, the ‘floating city’, ‘city of masks’, ‘city of bridges’, ‘city of canals’ – just to name a few.
We left Rome straight after breakfast – at about 7.30am – for the 7 or so hour trip to Venice. After a couple of rest stops including lunch, we arrived at the hotel we were staying for the night – Quality Hotel Delfino, Venezia Mestre. It was almost 3pm.
After checking in and refreshing, we rushed out to a supermarket we’d seen right next to the hotel. We needed to buy an extra memory card for the camera – something we forgot to pack when we started out on the adventure – too much excitement, I guess 😁 Unfortunately for us, the supermarket wasn’t selling memory cards. We found coconuts though but didn’t buy any 🥰
We then joined the rest of the group at a bus stop, opposite the hotel, where we caught a bus to get to the island. The scenery while travelling to the island was beautiful – I just love the smell of the sea. It was reminding me of home, a little seaside village called Tubusereia in the Central Province of PNG.
It is a good 15 minute trip by bus to get to the island from the mainland. And, me oh my! Nothing prepares you for the beauty of Venice – you can read about and see pictures of it in a thousand magazines, books etc – and still be completely awed by the unfolding charm and sophistication right in front of you. They say its man-made, but didn’t look it, well, not to me anyway.
For me though, if it wasn’t for the Swiss Alps – Venice would have been my numero uno i.e. top favourite place of the tour. And so began our tour of Venice, initially on foot. We crossed the 1st bridge and canal, in search of San Polo, our 1st stop.
It wasn’t too hard to find our way into San Polo. Just as Matt pointed out – there are markers on every building, showing directions. And he told us that just in case any one from the group wandered off. So what’s in San Paolo? It houses some of the most historic and beautiful churches and also one of the most photographed bridges in the world, the Rialto was in San Polo!
We zigzagged on cobbled footpaths, between buildings, over bridges and canals, on our mission to find Rialto bridge and all along the way there were little shops & big shops, selling souvenirs, jewellery, glass trinkets, clothes, food and masks! Lots and lots of masks shops, we noticed. Another thing we noticed was that there’s lots of churches in Venice as well.
During that walk, we managed to find a camera shop and bought a memory card straight away. We were set for Rialto bridge and beyond! We turned a final corner and wowww! the Rialto! Honestly I’d never heard of this place so I was completely blown away by it. And we took loads of pictures on both sides of the bridge, on it & beside it – it’s magnificent and has beautiful views of the Grand Canal.
We continued on our walk towards San Marco, home of St Mark’s Basilica and tourist hub of Venice. We didn’t get to tour the Basilica but we arrived just in time to witness a flag lowering ceremony, in the square, directly infront of the Basilica.
After the flag lowering ceremony, we had some time to spare before the next activity, so Matt, our tour leader allowed the group to venture out, explore some more and buy souvenirs. So we did just that, making sure not to venture too far from San Marco Square as we were meeting back there. Venice like all other Italian cities is a shopper’s haven! We bought a few souvenirs then rushed back to meet everyone. Then the best part of the day, gondola ride! What an amazing experience ❤🙏
After the gondola ride, we all met up again outside the basilica, this time to go for dinner, at a quaint restaurant in San Marco. It was lovely – I thoroughly enjoyed the fish, reminded me of ones back home, fresh & very tasty.
After dinner, we caught water taxis back to the central transport hub for the ride back to the hotel. That was day 8 for us, even though a little rushed – it was a day well spent in one of the most beautiful places in Europe! And if given the opportunity to visit again, I’d stay a little bit longer, pay a little more and stay in Venice rather than on the mainland 🥰