A 4am start is not really what you want when heading on your travels, but that we must due to the early flight. So with little or no sleep we headed to Gatwick, bound for our latest Italian adventure. Venice being the first stop on this mini five day tour. Firstly however we had to negotiate the chaos that is Gatwick Airport! What is it with airports and the stresses of travel? Check-in, queue for customs, unpack things, re-pack things, take clothes off because its hot, put them back on because its suddenly cold! The joys of air travel.
Sleeping on a plane
I don't sleep on planes, do you? Today however was the exception, some shut eye was required and that is what I amazingly got. So much that I nearly missed breakfast! Although in truth it wasn't much, falling asleep again soon after. I awoke in time to capture some of the beauty of the Alps. The snow capped mountains jutting their heads above the clouds, can't really argue with the view that's for sure. And without too many bumps we landed safely at Marco Polo Airport, welcome to Venice.
Being on a budget its always hit and miss when it comes to hotels. We where fortunate as this budget hotel was surprisingly good. It's a converted Monastery, giving it a old feel but with a modern interior. Large wooden beams flank the rooms edges and stone floors give it that old feel. It's a simple hotel, with polite staff and close enough to the major waterway stops and the train station. Always a bonus. After settling in, checking the room, bouncing on the bed (well who doesn't when you arrive at a new hotel?) It was all about orientation. Getting to know our home for the next couple of days.
Getting to know you
Top Tip 1: Want to get an idea of Venice without too much walking? Then use the Vaporetto water bus. Think of it being the subway system but on water. Yes it's a little on the expensive side (7 euros + for a 75 minute water taxi ticket. You can however buy daily or 48 hour tickets, which are better value. Best to decide if you're going to do lots of walking and then work on what's best for your needs.) It'll give you panoramic views and an idea of where some of the key attractions are, so defiantly worth doing at least once. On the other hand you could walk towards the main tourist areas. All depends on where you're staying of course. We chose the easy option on this occasion.
We jumped off at the final stop on route 2; Piazza San Marco and explored the area surrounding it. A little bit of Italian pizza (they really do the best ones. No contest), an espresso and our first stroll around the tiny streets were on the agenda. To see Venice at its best, then its a must to just; get lost. More on that to come in Part 2. It all made for the perfect start to our stay. It was whilst strolling and getting lost that the early start finally caught up with us.
So as the sun went down on a long but enjoyable day, we bade Venice goodnight. Happy in the knowledge that we had at least got our bearings. An early night though was called for. Tomorrow we would really get our teeth into Venice and its many treasures.