We've been threatening to do Venice for ages, but never got round to it. It ended up being a bit of an impulse decision when we came across cheap flights. We had to rearrange flights because Katie ended up spending a couple of weeks in Florida with Childflight. It was boss that we did because the weather we ended up getting was amazing! Although I was fuming to have to miss the trip to Seville to watch Liverpool!
We didn't have a clue about the city at all, and whereas I'd usually do a lot of reading up on the place we're going to in advance, I didn't have time to. The trip sort of just crept up on us. Thankfully Katie was slightly more prepared and booked the boat from the airport to the island, otherwise I wouldn't have had a clue how to get there.
If you've never been, it's probably the best journey from an 'airport-to-destination' going, where you basically wait for speed boats like you would a taxi in a regular airport. It's so well organised and makes the trip dead interesting from the start. It's dead well organised and really well kept etc, but it did make me wonder what the experience must have been like decades ago! (Particularly on a moody day). Venice is mad in that sense. Once you're on the island, in the same way you'd wait for a bus regularly to get about the place, you have to make your way to the nearest dock to board a boat which will sail along the Grand Canal through the city.
We only spent 3 full days there (which in one way, is a perfect amount of time) but we got to see a lot in that time. Unlike most other cities I've ever been to though, it was the actual place itself which was so enjoyable and fascinating. In most other places you might travel to, you make your way to the landmarks, museums, galleries, landscapes and tick the boxes. Although there are plenty of places to check out, in Venice, the walk around the city is the most interesting way to spend the time. Every new street is dead interesting and picturesque. It's managed to do what most other 'famous' cities struggle to do and modernised what's necessary while maintaining it's traditions and mystique.
Apart from the obligatory gondola ride, there's no need to use any transport. Everywhere we felt to be within walking distance, and even if you do find yourself walking for any longer than 20-30 mins, you've got hundreds of restaurants and cafe's to visit. Between us, we made a list of about 30 places we'd have liked to go back to. Basically... you're not short of stunning places to enjoy.
It's a mad experience navigating through the streets and alleys. It can feel like you're lost and turning down a shady alley... but it seems that every time you wander it to a gorgeous side street every time. I said to Katie as we were enjoying getting lost (genuinely), that in most other cities we've visited there'll always been a main area (or a few) which is built up and interesting... but if you're not careful you can wander it empty spaces where you feel very lost or as if you've stumbled into the areas even the locals would never particularly want to find themselves or there's nothing to take in. In Venice, every 2 mins you're wandering into somewhere attractive or 'occupied'.
With a camera, it feels like every street (and everything on it), the rustic architecture, along with the unique Venetian characteristics, and the colours... everything seems photographable! We were really fortunate to have amazing weather which meant that the light and shadows (from narrow streets) brought everything to life, and as I've mentioned, everything is picturesque! I brought an ND filter with me for the first time on a holiday and it was a good job I did with all the water and the low sun. It just meant that I was able soak up all the colours I'd have usually lost because of the glaring light!
If you've been before, I'm sure you'll know what I mean. If you haven't, you definitely should!