So last month I wrote an article talking about how I had purchased a ‘Mystery Break’ from Groupon and the destination was revealed to be Venice. Well, I’ve just come back from our 3-night trip with Lou and I’m excited to give you the breakdown of how we found it and what we got up to!
ARRIVING IN VENICE
Our flight departed from London Stansted around 6:40am and landed at Marco Polo airport at 9.20am. It was a relatively quick flight and unlike some flights I’ve been on, there wasn’t an agonising wait time standing in a mile long queue to board.
Once at the airport, we bought bus transfers to Mestre train station which is the ‘young and cool’ area of mainland Venice and where we got the tram to the island. From the station we took a 30-minute walk in a straight line through the town to our hotel. On reflection, if we had researched it before arriving, we would have found a bus that would have taken us to the stop right outside the hotel- however, we weren’t that organised so instead opted for the quick march in the pouring rain.
We reached ‘Club Hotel’ around 11:20am and hoped that we’d at least be able to drop our bags as we knew we had arrived before check-in time. The hotel reception was lovely and festive and we were warmly greeted on arrival. Considering we had no say in our accommodation, we were pleasantly surprised on our first impressions. The lady who greeted us was kind enough to find us an available room and we headed straight up to dry off. Our room was basic and perhaps not quite what we had hoped, but we couldn’t complain in the circumstances.
ACROSS THE BRIDGE TO THE ISLAND
Once we had taken some time to sit down and gather a plan, we headed back out, armed with a return bus ticket to the island which only cost 1 euro 50 each. A quick stop at the Lidl opposite for a pastry and we were on our way! The total travel time was probably about 20 minutes. This included a 5-minute bus ride to Mestre Centro and then onto a tram which took us across the bridge, as far as transport can go. We were so surprised with how easy it was to reach Venice and by the end of our three days we were transport pros! It was certainly worth staying on mainland and saving money.
WELCOME TO VENEZIA
When we disembarked the tram and got our bearings, we had a moment to take in our scenery. We had made it to this beautiful floating city. No time to waste, time to get exploring! We had a rough idea of what we wanted to see and over the three days we ticked pretty much everything off. It helped that it was a quiet time of year for tourists. In next month’s Student Life, I’ll share some of the sights we saw!
In Venice there are no roads, just water, tiny streets and alleyways and boats. Lots of boats. Riding a bike is illegal so the only two ways to get about is by walking or getting on a water ferry or taxi. We opted to walk as it was easy enough to get from one side of the island to the other, as long as you braced yourself for getting lost along the way! Our first two days were wet and cold but when the rain stopped on our third day, we took the chance to have a gondola ride, something that we loved and could tick off our bucket list. It’s not cheap and set us back 80 euros for around 25 minutes but there is the option to have other people (up to 6) on the same boat so you could always split the cost.
It’s fairly easy to get around Venice. Most buildings display signs to particular areas and while there are a number of routes you could take; you will eventually come out on the right path. As well as the small alleyways, you constantly come to small bridges taking you over little canals which home the residents. It’s the quieter areas which are the most interesting as you can get a sense of the day to day.
If you get the chance to go, I highly recommend visiting in the quieter months. Next month I’ll give you my sight-seeing recommendations!