I’m trying to get into the habit of writing up one trip before I embark on the next, so before I head to Cannes and Monaco next week, here is my round-up of my solo trip to Venice and Verona…
Twas the morning after the #VeryValentines event where my solo travels began. Being who I am as a person, and sticking to my social media bios, I like to book a 6am flight and come to regret it on the day. Remember that time I went to Milan solo and the cab driver went the wrong way? *sigh*
Anyway, after a rude 2am wakeup call and with my taxi booked for 3am to go to Stansted airport, I was tired *but* excited to head to my favourite European country. My trip was actually meant to be with a friend but it didn’t come to fruition and I had already booked my flights, a solo trip it was meant to be. I’m a strong believer in the fact that if it’s not booked, it’s not happening…
RyanAir have introduced a new way of boarding whereby only those with priority boarding will have a guaranteed cabin bag (at a cost of £5). I am all here for this as the last time I flew RyanAir, there is such a flurry of passengers trying to get to the gate to ensure their bag goes onboard. The only difference is having to wait for your bag at the destination if you don’t choose this option. Being the bouji traveller I am, I paid priority boarding as I wanted to maximise my time in Venice and just get there and go. I managed to grab a window seat too and there is a serenity in just staring out of a plane window admiring the world before you. It makes you realise there is so much more out there waiting to be explored, discovered and documented.
The flight time from London to Venice is around 1 hour 45 minutes and it’s probably quicker than getting across London most days. This is why I will always prioritise European travel over a UK staycation, but there are some gems like Cornwall.
I landed at Venice Treviso airport around 9am to overcast skies and chilly temperatures, but thankfully it was dry. I don’t mind cold weather as long as it’s dry, rain can be, no scratch that, rain is such a mood killer. I was staying in Mestre, which is just outside Venice, so I relied on Google Maps for navigation; the bus into Mestre and Venice is around 6 EUROs (I think) and much cheaper than taking a taxi. However, when I got to Mestre station, I couldn’t figure out the buses (I’m such a novice), so I ended up taking an overpriced taxi for a 10 min journey to my hotel, which came to around €18. This is what happens when you go somewhere where Uber isn’t available. It’s like taxi drivers in foreign countries smell foreign blood and know they need to rip us off. If I ever see the cab driver in London asking me for directions, I will either ignore him or send him the wrong way. …Enough of me being petty, I arrived at my hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn Mestre and was a few hours early for check in but they let me into my room with no problem anyway. One of the reasons I chose this hotel was because it was £45 for a night and the hotels located in Venice were a little dusty for my liking; I like modern and clean versus rusty and dusty.
By the time I got to my hotel, jumped on the bed, unpacked a little, I was starving, so I charged my phone and went in search of food. Thankfully there is a restaurant on site, meaning I didn’t have to meander through the notoriously expensive Venice to feed myself. Before going, I’d read so many things about the food in Venice being overpriced and sub-par, so this was a sign to either not eat there or eat beforehand. There’s nothing worse than paying for a crap meal, I mean all the restaurant has to do is put it in the microwave.
After a bite to eat, I felt like myself again, so using Google Maps, and a little insight from the team at reception, I was ready to explore Venice. I purchased my bus ticket for I’m going to say around €4 which would last 24 hours…
After a 15 minute bus journey, I soon arrived in the beautiful place that is Venice. Thankfully it wasn’t super crowded which reaffirmed my decision to come in the cold month of January. Not only that, the sun was shining, so I knew at points of the day I’d soon be able to feel the warmth of the sun. One thing I hate about living in London (amongst others) is the lack of sunshine, my city seems to be the definition of the word overcast.
Venice is exactly how it looks in the movies, a true postcard. With the help of Google Maps and a few places of interest I’d bookmarked, I begun venturing around this beautiful city.
Venice can be done on foot but I’d strongly recommend comfy footwear but if you’re wanting to head to other islands e.g Murano or Burano, then it’s worth purchasing a river taxi ticket. From memory, I think this was under €10 and gave you a quick way of getting around. I walked around in Timberlands for about 6/7 hours and my feet were sore by the end of it. But it was all worth it. Just look:
If you’re wondering about me walking around alone and if I felt lonely at any point, the answer is no. I really enjoy my own company and I’m the kind of solo traveller who wants to challenge myself, explore without compromising and do as I please. Some say when you travel solo you should meet people in social environments in bars or restaurants (or of course a hostel), but I just want to discover the world in silence.
What I loved most about Venice is the winding alleys, the history and the pure beauty in each and every street. It’s nowhere like I’ve been before and I can only hope it stays around long enough for me to visit again.
After a long day of exploring, I came back to my hotel room, ordered room service and pretended to understand Italian TV.
Gif sourced from GIPHY. All other photos are mine, don’t steal them because that’s just rude.