My first day in Venice was one of pure magic. Ever since I can remember I have wanted to visit Venice. I had read many books that took place there when I was younger and the descriptions of the city were so enticing, so beautiful, I just had to see it for myself. On this trip I finally got to, and it was just as wonderful as I dreamed it to be.
Venice is the only city I didn’t mind getting lost in. On my first day, there was nowhere in particular I felt like I needed to go, so that meant there was nowhere in particular I needed to get to, and that thought took away all the stress and anxiety about getting lost and disoriented, an unbelievable feat for myself. I could just wander freely, not caring where I was going, and it felt good. I think Venice is one of the best cities for that, because even with its many winding and crisscrossing streets and canals, it’s hard to actually feel like you’ve gotten lost. It just feels like you’re exploring the city properly. Eventually you’ll come across a sign that will point you in a certain direction, this way to Rialto Bridge, this way to Piazza San Marco, and you may choose to follow it, or you may not.
I probably wandered the entire main island my first day. I went up and down big streets, little streets, followed canals, crossed bridges both tiny and huge. I went this way, then that way, stopped here, carried on – it was great. My biggest fear about Venice was that I would be disappointed in it, that I had made my expectations too great. The moment I set foot in it though, I knew I would love it. And I absolutely did. I probably looked like the Joker the entire time I was there, I couldn’t stop smiling this big huge grin.
There’s something special about seeing the way Venice functions in its daily life. Of course there’s the gondolas and other boats that transfer people along and across the canals. That’s a given. I was expecting that. But, silly as this is, I had never really considered what it meant to be a city that is legitimately one with water. I saw UPS packages getting delivered by boat, groceries transferred by boat, stock for shops, everything, not just people. It was really cool to witness. And of course, because it’s Venice, even the most mundane stuff you wouldn’t notice in any other city suddenly became super cool and almost romantic in a way. I remember sitting on some steps by the Grand Canal, eating my lunch and watching somebody pumping what I can only assume was sewage from a house onto a huge tank sitting on a boat and even that was fascinating. Sewage!
I got my biggest thrill from seeing the gondoliers. They really do look like you would imagine them to, striped shirts and everything. I never found one singing though, which was a bit disappointing, but I hummed enough as I made my way around to make up for it. Venice really should just be accompanied by music constantly.
There were mask shops everywhere, to my great pleasure, as the one souvenir I absolutely needed from Venice was a real legit, handcrafted Venetian mask. I couldn’t get any of the super fancy ones, with the humongous feathers and ruffles and big papier-mâché noses, for obvious reasons, so I found myself a simple one, delicately painted gold with a little floral pattern rimming the eyes, like it had been made just for me.
My day of exploration ended with some pasta and a Bellini, with a good night’s sleep to follow. I couldn’t wait to see what Venice had in store for me tomorrow.
Until next time, travel bugs, signing off – mwah ♥