Trip Recap Part 3: Venice

Thanks for joining me once again for another installment of my trip to Italy. I promise to wrap it up today. Just in case you are new here, in March, my husband and I joined our best friends for a tour of Italy with Globus tours (our tour was called Italian Escape). Of course we didn’t see the whole country but we did visit Rome, Florence, Assisi, Pisa, and Venice. It was a great trip and one that I am thankful I was able to take. I am by no means a world traveler, I have no bucket list of must see places but when these opportunities arise I am saying ‘yes’ and going for it! This kind of attitude is also helping me understand a lot about myself and what truly brings me joy (turns out it is NOT travel!).

Trip Recap Part 3: Venice

Turns out Venice is quite a distance from Florence. Thank goodness we were on a comfortable tour bus and didn’t have to drive. We stopped in Pisa – which is absolutely not on the way – but I was glad we got to see the iconic leaning tower of Pisa!

Thursday, March 21

We loaded the bus and made our way to Pisa! Our guide let us know we would be there about an hour – which was plenty of time – and gave us some shopping advice. Aside from the tower, Pisa held little else that interested me. The shops were touristy and everyone seemed to spend their time there trying to get a shot by the tower! I’ll be honest, it kind of stressed me out. I felt like all we were doing was taking picture after picture trying to look like we were holding up the tower rather than enjoying the place.

After that nonsense was over we loaded the bus and started the long drive to Venice. We made a stop for lunch at restaurant on the highway but I took zero photos – it wasn’t anything outstanding but the food was cooked freshly. I had a steak and it was very good!

Once we arrived in Venice, our bus dropped us off and we had to walk to a boat to take us to our hotel. There are NO vehicles whatsoever on the island of Venice. Everything is delivered by boat and the canals are fairly narrow. Keeping that in mind we understood why the furniture in our hotel seemed a bit outdated! Our hotel was Carlton on the Grand Canal – it was lovely!!

After we checked out our room we set off to check out the city! We had free time until the next morning so we were free to discover all that Venice had to offer. There were loads of places to sit outside and eat and enjoy a drink so we settled on one. Actually, one of the waiters called us over. What a ham he was – he looked so much like the lead actor on Peaky Blinders! He kept posing for photos and I kept snapping away – ha!! We had a cocktail and some chips before heading over to a tine little grocery store to buy some bottled water.

Dinner that night turned out to be the best pasta dish I had in Italy! It had mushrooms and shrimp, it was delicious. My husband had fish. For dessert we stopped at another spot and I had a cannoli (pistachio). After a long day we called it a night!

Friday, March 22

The hotel had a lovely breakfast buffet and after stuffing ourselves we took a boat to our first destination with the rest of the group. There are over 400 bridges on Venice Island – some are quite small. We toured San Marco’s Basilica, Doges’ Palace and the Bridge of Sighs. The bridge of sighs is named that because it is the bridge prisoners would take on their way to the prison. They’d catch one last glance at Rio de Palazzo and sigh. We finished with a tour of a Murano glass factory complete with a master glassblower. Photos were not permitted in the museum/glass factory but trust me – Murano glass is beautiful and pricey!

Once we finished the group tour we had free time! We set about walking the streets and bridges of Venice. We had lunch at a restaurant that had the best pizza as well as lots of other dishes. I had two pieces of sausage pizza and took zero photos. I think I was just tired at this point.

The afternoon consisted of more walking and exploring but we also did a 30 minute Gondola ride! There are gondolas all over and you can go for 30 minutes or 90 minutes. We did 30 which was plenty and we also chose a smaller canal rather than the Grand Canal (where our hotel was). Since the Grand Canal is very busy the ride would have been a bit more rocky and we wanted a quite, peaceful ride.

That night we had a farewell dinner with the group at the hotel’s restaurant. The dinner was just okay, there were multiple courses with the main course being some type of chicken and cheese sauce. After dinner we walked around some more before heading to bed.

Saturday, March 23

Since our tour was technically over (most of the group left early to fly home) we could sleep in and have a free day! It was nice to take a break and get up at our leisure. We had decided to take a boat to Burano. Our tour guide was helpful in making suggestions and recommendations for how to get around and that took a lot of stress off of us.

We walked to the water taxi/ferry. The line was long and we weren’t entirely sure if we were supposed to buy tickets before getting in line or once we were on the boat. Turns out we were able to load on and then purchase tickets. The boat was jam packed for the 45 minute boat ride to Burano.

Burano is a small little island known for it’s brightly colored houses. Apparently the houses were painted brightly so sailors could find their homes upon their return and the colors are family colors.

We spent the day walking around and exploring. Burano has lots of linen shops so we enjoyed browsing. Since seafood is their thing, I had a combo seafood platter for lunch that included shrimp and calamari (the rectangular white thing is polenta btw). For dessert we stopped in a pastry shop and I got a pistachio cookie.

Burano is a small island so once we had walked the whole place, we got in line for the boat back. It was standing room only on the boat. Once we returned to Venice we walked back to our hotel rested before heading out to dinner.

Our final dinner was steak! I think I ate more beef than pasta on this trip which was just fine by me. After dinner we walked back to the hotel and eventually went to sleep.

Sunday, March 24

Globus had arranged for a boat to pick us up at 8:45 to bring us to the airport. Yes, we went to the airport by boat! It was so cool, I felt like we were in a James Bond movie!

The flight home made Sunday, March 24 officially the longest day of my life! Ugh, the flight was long and the seats were small. If it wasn’t for my compression socks and my leg slings I would have gone crazy! I watched movies but even that gets boring after awhile. I think the flight home is so much worse because you are flying during the day rather than the night. Basically you’re spending your entire day sitting in a seat and that is one thing I don’t enjoy. We flew to JFK where we went through customs, had dinner, and then eventually boarded a plane to Orlando. I was never so glad to arrive in Orlando! We got our bags, called an Uber and finally arrived at home!

Final Thoughts

I am so grateful for our trip to Italy! Globus did a great job and Italy was beautiful! We made lasting memories and had experiences I hope I never forget. Photos could never do what we saw justice.

But all that being said, I have decided that I’m ready to take a break form international travel for awhile. At the end of the day, there is truly no place like home. True joy in my heart comes from being with people I love and care about, not visiting places. We are all different and there’s nothing wrong with that. I used to think that maybe if I just traveled, I’d feel like my friends who have bucket lists a mile long! One of my best friends wanted to wake up in Australia on her 50th birthday so she did. I admire that! But it’s not really me.

Maybe this sounds crazy to you. Maybe this sounds familiar to you. You know what? Either way is okay! I say find what bring you joy and chase it, make it happen no matter what it is. Have you ever really asked yourself what brings you joy?

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