I have always wanted to go to Venice. The floating city. It wasn’t really on our route but I had to see it. We took the train in from Vicenza then took a water bus to La Giudecca, an island across from the main part of Venice.
Our hostel was located right on the water.
The building was originally a grain house. This was our view from our dorm room window.
The island was really quiet compared to the main part of Venice crowded with tourists.
We spent the rest of that day exploring La Giudecca.
Said to be one of the most romantic cities in the world, I thought it quite fitting that there’d be scattered roses along the water.
After seeing the city across the water it was exciting to head over the next day. I will say that it is the most confusing place I have ever tried to navigate. Since the cellular data is turned off on my phone the map only works if we’re lucky and it was a bit tricky navigating all the canals and alleyways. It took us a while to find our next hostel. The address on the website was wrong and the plaque on the door was so tiny we walked by it a million times, but alas, we made it. The view was delightful so naturally we stuck our heads out the window and drank wine and watched the Venezian life pass by. People sitting outside cafes, musicians playing for them, families coming out of the market, the lost touriststs…
We spent the next two days exploring.
And drinking wine.
And eating ice cream.
And window shopping.
You can feel the history around you; it’s rich in the details of the old architecture and streets. Even in such a touristy place as Venice you can feel the secrets that have lasted there for centuries. It’s like Disneyland, except it’s all authentic. It wasn’t put there and staged to make you feel a certain way- it’s all real. People have lived their lives- worked, loved, learned, created, and died there. It’s a tremendous honor to get to visit other places and be overwhelmed by the beauty of life there.
From the Ventura harbor to Venice, Italy, since I met Jason he’s always been trying to hitchhike onto a boat. It hasn’t happened (yet), but it’s always funny watching him try.
I have always loved water, the ocean in particular. It was great to be surrounded by it again. I loved seeing the reflections of the city in the water. It looks like its own world that you can swim down and visit- as if going through a looking glass and entering a similar, yet backwards world.
We visited every church we saw. It felt incredible to stand inside churches that were older than the entire USA. They were all filled with art, tall, slightly cold, and all together breathtaking.
As I already mentioned, it wasn’t easy to find places. We spent a good part of the day trying to find this tower:
We would go down an alley or bridge we thought would lead there, and then it would disappear from sight completely. We finally found the canal that it was on the other side of. It appeared the only way to get there was by boat or through the long church that it was attached to (that you had to walk all the way around to get to).
Jason asked at every church we went to if visitors were allowed in the towers. They all said no. The last church we visited was this one, and curiously, without us even asking, we were lead up to the bell tower. I made a separate blog post for this amazing experience which you can read about here.
Venice was crowded and expensive and alive and gorgeous and I’ll think about my time there for the rest of my life. Instead of taking the train out we decided to walk. There is a walking/bike lane that runs along side the road on the bridge back to the mainland of Italy.
When we got to the other side we kept walking. We went a total of over eight miles that day with all our backpacks on. The day ended at a camping village that was difficult to find. We got there late and asked what their cheapest dorm room was. Instead of putting us in one of those the lady gave us one of the little cabins for much cheaper than two of the beds in the dorms would have been. I don’t know why she did it, but we were very grateful and slept soundly, rested and ready the next day to put on our packs and walk to the next place, wherever that would be…