Travel Diary – Venice: From Postcard to Reality (LOL! We Missed Our Train!)
written by myrra kate
Venice has always been a dream. I can remember looking at a postcard with a picture of Venice a few years ago and thinking about the day when I can finally see its beautiful canals personally. Whenever I’ve got a dream such as someplace I want to go to or something I want to have, I usually spend my nights imagining myself as if I’m already in that specific place or I already have that certain thing I want to have. I’ve always believed in the law of attraction and I think, so far, the universe hasn’t failed me.
When I received the news that I passed as an exchange student in Italy, the happiness in me was surreal. Besides being thrilled about the fact that I will be studying abroad, I knew that it was also my chance to cross off some of the places I have in my bucket list – Rome and Venice, most especially. So when the time came that my friends and I finally had a free weekend without any school stuff (oops, scratch that. I just remembered that Harumi and I actually had readings to read at that time. Talk about the student traveler task of balancing life, eh? ?), we didn’t think twice in booking our trains to and hotel in Venice. Yes, you are right. I was pretty much the most exhilarated person in the world at that time.
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I had such high hopes for Venezia and I put it on such a high pedestal that when we arrived there, I kind of had mixed emotions. From “omg is this even real life?” to “oopsies, it’s so crowded I just want to sit anywhere and not walk”, you can tell that it was different from what I expected it to be. You can’t blame me for being quite dismayed that there were just too many people and quite expensive food everywhere (because I know that after all, it’s a touristic place) but never did I regret going to Venice – not once during and after that trip. There were honestly some “shocks, I spent A LOT in this trip” moments after but I guess, it was a way for me and my friends to learn how to travel in a budget and that not every must-do is a must-do in a certain city. Did I make sense?
So, without further ado, let’s hop on to the things that we did during our 3 days and 2 nights stay in Venice! I’m betting that all my photos aren’t enough to give justice on the beauty of Venice – its canals, bridges, and structures – but I hope that by seeing them, you get the feel of going there with me, yourself!
Venice Day 1
Well, uhm, it wasn’t actually a day sort of. We arrived there by mid-afternoon. However, because the hotel that we booked through Booking.com wasn’t actually on the island of Venice itself but is located in Mestre, one train station away from Venezia Sta. Lucia (main station in Venice), we still took time in settling into our room. We also took a while to rest for a bit after our almost 3-hour train ride. When it was nearly evening, we decided to go to the center of Mestre to grab some dinner. While searching for an osteria instead of a ristorante (my Italian roommate told me osterias serve better food and are the ones where the locals usually eat), we found out that there was a celebration in the main square. People were drinking and cheering. It was really so nice to see.
After an hour or so of dropping by some churches around the area and seeing some local shops, we finally settled in a family-owned restaurant that I consider a hidden gem. Why? It’s basically located in such a narrow alleyway that if we hadn’t gotten lost in that area, we wouldn’t have found it. But the food they served? Indeed a gem – both in taste and price. (Lol, it was so expensive but my friends and I chose to settle there because we were so hungry.) Of course, it’s Venice, located near waters and shores, so one of the few things you must try is seafood. My friends ordered seafood as main courses but unfortunately, I had allergies so I had to stick with some ravioli pasta made with squash (I don’t eat squash back in the Philippines so I consider this as an achievement! Haha!). At some point in our meal though, my friends just cannot stop saying how good their food was. As bothered and curious as I was, I asked them if I could try a teenie tiny bit of their food. They were hesitant at first but for sure, of course, they didn’t want their friend to be left out (and maybe my *puppy sad eyes* was effective lol) so they did allow me. It turned out that indeed, their meals tasted really good. Like, really reallyyyy good.
And so, after dinner and buying some cheap fruits from a local store, we went back to our hotel with full and satisfied stomachs. We chatted for a while and just when we’re about to sleep, my back, shoulders, and arms started to itch. They were really reallyyyy itchy and I was sure that the really-reallyyyy-good seafood was what caused the allergies. Fortunately, even if I had to endure the itchiness since I didn’t bring my medicines and I ended up sleeping so late, I still survived the night.
Venice Day 2
I woke up really early – relieved that my allergies weren’t that bad and thrilled that today was finally the day we explore Venice. From our hotel, we took the train from Venezia Mestre to Venezia Sta. Lucia station. Heading out the latter station, I was immediately in awe of Venice. I seriously had to take gulps of air just to breathe normally. At that point, my friends and I walked and ~battled~ our way through the crowd (take note, it was a Saturday) and stopped by the churches we passed by. I’m honestly confused about what churches we went to already since we visited a lot.
The streets and structures were captivating. There were also numerous leather and souvenir shops, gelaterias, hotels, and restaurants. I made a note to myself to buy a leather wallet for me and my Dad and a leather bag for my Mom. We had to stop by some coffee shop and I tasted their coffee of the day – just to try being the adventurous me – and holy bells, that was seriously the strongest and most bitter coffee I have ever tasted. Hahaha! It’s good though because it gave me energy all throughout the day!
T Fondaco dei Tedeschi
Because we didn’t plan that well for this trip (which is kind of something I wish we actually did), we were just walking around and internalizing the beauty of Venice. Our first stop, then, was the T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, a luxury shopping mall in Venice. Of course, everything cost a lot that buying something there didn’t seem practical for me at all so what I did was just take in the amazing structures of the mall. I wish our malls back home look like this! ?
Just a little more walk from there, we found ourselves in a bridge literally full of people. I realized that it was Rialto Bridge. In that type of moments, I’m actually grateful for my petite size. I was able to scoop myself through the crowds and be able to get a spot on the bridge. And at that moment, I saw the real Venice – a region built on not less than a hundred islands, buildings built on water, and the busy hustle of the gondolas and water taxis. It was beautiful, indeed. I couldn’t even find the words to describe it. I just looked at it and felt so much gratitude pumping through my veins – thankful to have the chance to see its beauty while silently wishing I was with my family in the Philippines especially my Mom.
After that, my friends and I just walked around and I couldn’t help but be amazed by all the bridges we were passing through. Did you know that there are 400 of them serving as roads in Venice? That’s why, when you’re in Venice, you have to be prepared to walk. Do not worry about all the Italian pizzas and gelatos you will get because you’ll eventually burn those calories just by walking around Venice.
We then had lunch in quite a fancy restaurant (because again, we were so hungry and tired) but since the restaurant was full, we had to sit outside. Still, I loved their employees’ service! Their food was also the best! Additionally, the waiter was very friendly to us and treated us with free limoncello drink (that was strong af it got my head spinning for a moment lol) because he said he totally liked the fact that we’re Asians! So nice, right?
(Sidenote: Sorry, I couldn’t remember the names of the restaurants I mentioned!)
Basilica di San Marco and Piazza San Marco
I was absolutely mesmerized when I first saw the Basilica. All the details of it felt like I was taken back through time. The Piazza itself was also so big and crowded that I found myself lost in that moment! Those are actually the moments I live for, you know?
We didn’t have the chance to go inside the Basilica though because it was already closing at that time. However, there are other places to see and do in Venice so we weren’t disappointed. Doge’s Palace and Torre Dell’orologio, for instance, are just around the Piazza so you can definitely visit a lot!
The most awaited of it all! We knew that it was such as touristy thing to do but we have been waiting all day to experience it. The rate was 80 EUR for 30 mins in a shortcut route and 100 EUR for 45 mins in the longer route. It is suggested that we find other tourists to share the fee with since a gondola ride can take up to six people. However, my friend didn’t really seem to be up to it (hey I can see you rolling your eyes lol) and we’re worried the rates will get higher as the evening was near already. So the spontaneous selves that we are, we approached a gondolier and in a few minutes, we’re on with the ride!
It wasn’t THE best experience of it all but it was definitely something. It’s honestly not worth all the money we spent but indeed, we only get to live once so I’m grateful I was able to experience it. What I love most is that, even though our gondolier didn’t sing, he gave us interesting historical facts about the buildings we passed by. You know me – I totally dig learning what made something the way it is. It’s just a lovely way to get to know the world better!
Venice Day 3 (last day)
Burano and Murano Islands
I allotted the day to take more time wandering around the Venetian streets. It was a me-time though since I chose to not go with my friends to Burano and Murano island. Before you panic, judge, and scream why the hell I did not, let me explain. (Haha!) I chose not to go because I realized that everything went by pretty quick yesterday and being the slow traveler that I am, I yearned for more time to see and get to know this beautiful city. By doing so, I got to attend my first ever Latin mass in one of the churches there, check out some more art exhibits, meet a painter who was selling his works on the streets but turned out to be an art professor, and shop souvenirs for my family. It wasn’t as thrilling as the idea of traveling the other islands does but it was good for my mind. I needed some time for my thoughts and it was definitely the perfect time.
However, in exchange for not going with them, I let my friends bring my camera instead. I didn’t want to at first because it’s already like a part of my body when traveling but of course, I had to do them the favor. Also, Earl just couldn’t stop bugging me and my conscience! Hahaha! Here are the photos they took though!
Time to leave but here’s the funniest part…
Because my friends came back pretty late from their separate adventure, we didn’t have so much time before our return trip. But of course, we still wanted to see the church on another island. We took the water taxi going there but we didn’t realize how long the ride will actually be. It was such a beautiful church though and I did not regret going there even if the ride going there took us so long to go back to the station.
By the time we went back to the Venezia Mestre station, we only have a few minutes left before the train was going to leave. We ran so fast with our luggage. Picture this – three people with suitcases running at the speed of light – but at the exact second they reach the platform, that’s also the exact moment the train departed. Such an epic fail! I’m pretty sure we all wanted to run after it but since we all knew it was impossible, we just basically stared at it going in the opposite direction. I was actually tempted to wave goodbye at it. Hahahaha! So yeah, there goes our train back to Trento – my first ever experience to miss a train I was supposed to get into. I didn’t know it was quite heartbreaking, huh?
But anyhow, we bought ourselves new tickets again and ate something in the station cafe while waiting for our next train. Though late, we still reached home safe and sound and with memories to treasure from our spontaneous Venetian weekend.
That’s it for my Venice travel diary, loves! If you’re still reading up to this point, congratulations! That means your focus isn’t that of a typical millennial. Hahaha. If you liked this post, it would mean a lot if you share them with your friends and family in your social media accounts! Tag me by using the hashtag #YoursTrulyMyrra so I could see your posts! They make my day!
Thanks for reading and see you in my next travel posts!
WHAT I WAS WEARING: Skirt: StyleGenie / Sunnies: Sunnies Studios / Sandals: Primadonna
Is Venice also on your bucket list? What city in Italy would you like to visit, too?
I'm Myrra Kate.
I help female entrepreneurs scale their income and impact by launching transformational online courses.
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