The first county I visited was Venice Italy. I flew from Gatwick to Venice, I met a very nice older couple who were celebrating their 40th anniversary and they had travel the world together. They told me all about their adventures; which helped to reassure that there was nothing to fear. Once I saw Italy I fell in love. It looked just like on TV. Italy was breathtaking from the plane.
Alas, I was distracted but the fact that I was in Italy, that I left all my documents & itinerary on the plane. Luckily someone cleaning the plane found then. But the wait for my items felt like years. I was stuck in the airport for 3 hours waiting, because Italians our on-island time LOL… Therefore, when someone tells you that your documents will come in a few minutes they really mean a few hours.
After recouping my documents, I was finally off to Venice, the island. Since I was coming from the airport the cheapest route was to travel by bus and catch a ferry boat to my hotel. (If you’re under 30 years old in Venice you’re not considered an adult and you pay teen prices for transport). When I finally got to the boat I couldn’t pronounce my stop ‘San Stae’. But a nice vaporetto (bus on water) driver helped me with my pronunciation and pointed me in the right direction.
I would be staying at the Hotel San Cassiano Cà Ferretto. You try say that five times fast. Their Website claimed it was about 5 minutes’ walk from the vaporetto stop, it was just as long as you knew where you were going. If you didn’t know, Venice is a maze with no street signs. But by the grace of God, there were two wonderful people who gave me directions and at first I thought they were pulling my leg. They said things like: “Go up the stairs, past the well in the middle of a town center, take a left, go down the stairs, take a right…”. As a Jamaican I thought to myself, these where Caribbean directions. LOL
To tell you the truth, that’s when I fell in love with Venice. A city where I didn’t have to be afraid to be alone has a woman. A city where ‘Buongiorno’ was all it took to get to know strangers, my passport to the city.
So here are my tips to survive Venice, Italy
Don’t be afraid to get lost, there will always be someone to point you in the right direction. Like when I was trying to find my hotel, I got directions form an artisan from France & a local Italian women who owned a small bakery. I also bumped into a couple that helped me in the last leg of my hotel journey. Whom I bumped into again one night at dinner. They were celebrating the closing of their son’s death insurance case which they had won after many years.
Learn these simple words which will help you immensely:
Buongiorno = good morning
Buono sera = good evening
Buona note = good night
Grazie = thank you
Prego = your welcome
Dove si trova = where is
*All “e” is pronouns as “ey”
3. Be patient with the city. Venice is slow, even the Vaporettos are slow. You will get there when you get there. Don’t rush this is not north American. Take your time and get to know the city, enjoy the clean air & take that deep breath. Don’t worry you will get where you need eventually.
4. Don’t over plan, I was guilty of this. I planned every second with museums and tours. I cancelled them all but one and it lasted 5 minutes. Enjoy the city, the people and the culture. There is so much beauty in Venice, find the hidden gardens, fountains and wonderful people from all over the world. Enjoy the peace.
5. Always smile and greet people you meet, because Venice is a kind and multicultural city. You might meet some with whom you will have a life changing conversation with. My first morning in Venice, I walked in to a small shop and were met a man from Morocco who moved to Venice to be with the woman he loved. He owned the small jewelry shop. I said good morning to him. I started speaking to him since I didn’t have anyone to talk to. He told me that people came into his shop everyday no one said hello the just looked at the jewelry and walked out. I was the first person to say good morning to him. We spoke for hours. I had many more encounters as I explored Venice.
I loved Venice and I hope to go back one day. The city has stolen my heart and the kindness of the people was priceless. I hope that if you every decide to take a trip to Venice these tips could help you also.
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