Sometimes all a girl craves is a bit of peace and quiet and I went on the hunt for exactly that. Spontaneously booking a ridiculously cheap flight to Italy for a long weekend away could easily be one of the best things that I’ve done this year. I finally decided to embrace all those #bossbabe quotes I was scrolling through on Pinterest and actively got up and did something that I wanted to do without even mentioning it to a soul!
As the days to my long weekend away drew closer, it started to hit me that I was travelling alone again and I wasn’t going to be surrounded by my usual travelling squad. The fact that I hadn’t been away in a while due to returning to university, also made sweat droplets form on my brow, but with a few inspirational what’s app conversations between myself and one of my best friends who is continuously abandoning me to travel the world (and is also currently lying on a hammock, sipping a cocktail in Central America somewhere) reminded me that I totally had this! Plus it wasn’t like I was going far, I was only two hours away in Italy.
When I originally planned the trip, I was due to stay in romantic Verona. However, I then realised that Venice was only an hour away. Arriving Stansted in the earlier hours of Friday morning, I took the mandatory airport selfie tagging my destination. It didn’t take long before I was inundated with eye emojis and people asking me who was the lucky gentleman taking me on this trip. It felt rather liberating telling people that I was simply spoiling myself. The flight itself was really quick. I jumped off the plane, got on an airport transfer bus into Verona Porta Nuova, then straight to Venice.
Stepping out of the train station, I paused with my suitcase to literally take everything in…you know how they do it in the movies! Totally like that! Anyway, I managed to use my minimal Italian linguistic skills to get myself a waterbus travel card for under 29s which enables unlimited access on Vaporetto’s for 3 days plus discounts on all the museums for 26 euros. Extremely handy!
Me being me, I managed to board the right Vaporetto to my accommodation, but obviously in the completely wrong direction. I soon came to learn that getting lost in Venice is basically standard behaviour and for tourists it’s the best way to explore the beautiful city.
I really wonder why it took me so long to go to Italy because it’s one place that takes huge pride in my 3 P’s (Prosecco, Pizza and Pasta). The food was mouth-wateringly good, the Prosecco and Wine was so smooth and literally as cheap as water! Once getting over the initial awkwardness of ordering a table for one I was well and truly in my element.
Dining by the canal right by Rialto Bridge, people watching became a good pass time. I soon realised that I was thoroughly enjoying being in my own company. The waiters are always friendly, sometimes too friendly especially with the way they poured drinks, but I wasn’t complaining. Getting on a Vaporetto home, drunk was something I won’t forget. I was convinced I was going to fall overboard, but I’m still here telling the tale, so it’s safe to say that didn’t happen!
If you really want to take in the beautiful sights and history of Venice be prepared to walk! There is so much to see you’ll easily find yourself walking for hours on end. Whether you’re admiring the Saint Mark’s Basilica in Piazza San Marco, explore Doge’s Palace, appreciating the city views from the top of San Marco Campanile, cruising the through the grand canal on a Gondola or getting lost in the hustle and bustle of Rialto, it’s literally impossible to get bored.
Living Venetian life for a weekend was great, I even decided to give the Aperol Spritz a try just for the culture. But soon realised it wasn’t for me, so I stuck with my wine and Prosecco, not complaining! If you’re a foodie, can appreciate fine art and desperately searching for a quick escape I would highly recommend Venice.
So what did Rahima learn from this experience?
1) Google Translate is a ridiculously helpful tool
2) It’s ok to travel by yourself, you can still have fun!
3) Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, you’ll thank yourself later