A Trip to Venice

Hey guys, hope you're all well?

If you follow me on instagram then you've most likely been bombarded by my numerous holiday posts (sorry, not sorry?).  Before I dive into the details , here's a brief backstory about how this holiday came to be.

So the original plan was for Nnenna and I to go to Disneyland Paris for a couple of days- I had done all the necessary research, compared prices and eventually found a reasonably good deal. So there I am at 2am about to pay for our trip when something tells me to double check the details and guys.....
That's when I realised that I had NOT clicked the eurostar* option but rather the eurotunnel* one. What's the big deal you might ask? Well, for starters we can't drive (not legally yet anyways) and even if we could, we don't have a car!!

* the eurostar takes you from London to Disneyland Paris via a fast train, whilst the eurotunnel is a shuttle service that takes road vehicles across the channel tunnel which is an undersea tunnel linking southern England and northern France.

Anyways despite that devastating blow, I was still determined to go on holiday so I started searching frantically for cheap holiday destinations which led me to lastminute.com. They were having a flash sale on a number of holiday destinations, including Venice. This concludes my backstory and now onto the details!



COST: For 4 days and 3 nights it was £187 each (flight and hotel included) but we also added a breakfast option which brought the total to £220 each which I thought was still pretty good considering the holiday was booked last minute.

STAY: We stayed at NH Laguna Palace Hotel which isn't actually in Venice. It's located in Mestre which is a short bus ride (15 mins) to Venice. I was a bit nervous about staying there beforehand as I had read a number of reviews from previous guests who had many complaints but upon my arrival I found it to be the complete opposite of the bad reviews. The staff were very friendly and helpful, our room was perfect and cleaned daily (contrary to a bad review I had read) and the breakfast was good value for our money.

GETTING AROUND: We got everywhere by bus, vaporetto (water bus) or foot (I was really hitting my 10,000 steps everyday). We got a 72 hour pass which was valid on all bus and vaporetto lines and cost €40. Being the nerd I am, I did a great deal of research before hand on where to go, main attractions and more importantly how to get there. This is how I stumbled upon the best site ever- it's called Rome2Rio- this site shows you how to get to your destination either by foot, bus, train, ferry, car and also gives you an estimate of how much it will cost. It kind of reminds me of Tfl journey planner. It was especially helpful with how to get from the airport to our hotel as it saved us a lot of money- if I didn't know about this site we would probably have spent a lot on a cab.






SPEND: I was almost put off going on this holiday because of the reviews I read about Italy being very expensive. One reviewer even said they needed about €400 spending money for 2-3 days! I took over €300 with me and ended spending just under €200 over my 4 day stay and this included food, travel and souvenirs. Since breakfast was already covered that saved us a bit of £££ with regards to our meals. Furthermore, we found that we didn't need to eat both lunch and dinner as the portion sizes were decent and the food was filling. To be honest, if you go/ shop/ eat at places that are heavily targeted at tourists then of course you'll be charged extortionate prices and in my opinion you don't need to break the bank to have an authentic Italian experience.
VIBE & ATMOSPHERE: As a black person entering predominantly white spaces, one can sometimes feel slightly anxious about how you will be received. Is it with open arms or nasty looks? Well that was not the case for us during this trip as everyone we encountered was really friendly. We even got quite a few compliments and admirers (I guess they're fans of the chocolate haha). Being that it is a popular tourist destination, Venice attracts people from many parts of the world so the crowd of people was a diverse one anyways.


ATTRACTIONS/ THINGS TO DO: Venice is a stunning city brimming with so many things to see and do and places to go. I had noted down a number of such places for us to visit however, upon our arrival we decided to throw caution to the wind and explore aimlessly instead and we still had a lot of fun and found some hidden gems in the process. That being said, our trip would have been incomplete without a journey to Burano, an island on the Venetian lagoon which is well known for its brightly colored fishermen's houses. The best way to get there is via the line 12 vaporetto from Venice and the total journey time is about 45 minutes. In the past, families used to paint their houses in bright colours as a way of distinguishing where their houses ended and their neighbours' began and this has been the tradition ever since .

Although there were many souvenir stalls/stores in Venice they didn't catch my eye as much as the ones in Burano did. It was in fact in Burano that I bought all but one of my souvenirs (got my hat from Venice). I mainly bought jewelry which were all made from Murano glass (another island on the Venetian sea, famous for its glass making). Furthermore, I paid less for them than I would have in Venice.  Our day trip to Burano was a lot of fun (despite getting lost on the way back to our hotel) and I 100% recommend you making it part of your list of things to do during your visit.

It seems Italy was a top holiday destination this summer- if the numerous instagram posts on my explore page are anything to go by.  Seeing people in their swimsuits living their best lives on the beach, I had to add that visit to our itinerary.  So it was off to Lido (another island on the venetian lagoon) we went. There is more than one beach in Lido but the one we went to was called blue moon beach and more importantly it was free. The more private and exclusive beaches that are linked to hotels require payment upon entry. That being said we still had to pay to use the changing rooms, lockers and showers but the prices were more than fair ; approx. €2 for each service. From Venice, Lido is a 20 min journey via the line 2 vaporetto and our beach was a 5 min walk from where we got dropped off.



EXTRA TIPS/ADVICE: 
 (for anyone who plans on visiting this summer)

  • Be sure to wear sun protection because the weather in Italy makes London's seem like child's play in comparison. It was HOT and my face burned slightly because I didn't have any sunscreen on. It was actually the main reason we both bought those cute hats.
  • Stay hydrated-  like I said it was really hot and most of the sightseeing was done on foot (we were doing between 10,000 and 13,000 steps a day) so we were drinking a lot! Find a supermarket and get yourself a couple bottles of water or juice and keep them in your bag. Also water fountains can be found around Venice so that tourists can fill their water bottles up- helpful isn't it?
  • Wear comfortable shoes- because of all the walking that you'll be doing. Funny enough you don't even feel like you've been walking for ages, I guess because you're having fun. However at the end of the day your feet will be screaming for mercy if you walked all day in non supportive shoes.
  • Set out early so that you're able to do a lot of things before it gets over crowded with other tourists.

Although it was a short holiday, we managed to do quite a lot and pack a lot of fun in that period of time. This was the first holiday that I planned completely by myself so I was kind of nervous and just kept thinking of all the things that could go wrong like "what if we miss our flight?" or "this deal seems too good to be true, what if it's a scam?". But we thank God that everything went well and according to plan and I'm also grateful for journey mercies. Some people think you need large sums of money to go on holiday but honestly with the right planning and sensible budgeting, anyone can get away from reality for a short while. And, it's always nice to get away and to pretend for a moment that real life and all its stress doesn't exist, isn't it?

Thanks a lot for reading guys, hope you enjoyed it and perhaps feel a little inspired about your next holiday destination ?


Until next time, take care and God bless xoxo








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