More often than not I find myself consumed with my day-to-day life (which I actually really love) and I sort-of forget where I am. There are moments that it hits me that I am living an amazing adventure in Europe with my best friend and the five coolest kids ever born. It shocks me just how close we are to other amazing countries, and that we can just hop a plane and find ourselves in Venice in an hour.
Leading up to our trip, Matt and I watched a handful of movies that were either set in Venice or had major scenes filmed there. When picking activities to do while there we found, on AirBnB, a Movies-Set-in-Venice tour. We booked that, as well as a photography tutorial that would teach me a few new skills using Venice as the subject. I was not passing that up! And the final activity we booked ahead was a skip-the-line deal at Hard Rock Cafe. With those activities as our anchors, the rest of the trip was go-at-our-pace, see what we want to see, and do what we want to do.
On our way:
Our flight was shortly after lunch and Matt and I were eager to start our trip so we decided to take the bus to the airport early enough to have a sit-down lunch before we needed to check in. We picked the biergarten and ordered Schnitzel and Flammkuchen. I was pleasantly surprised and have to admit that it was the best flammkuchen I’ve had! I definitely didn’t expect to say that about a restaurant in the airport!
Our flight left about 30 minutes late but it was uneventful. We got a few pictures of the Austrian Alps which still have snow on them.
When we arrived in Italy our bus ride took exactly 40 minutes from the airport to Tronchetto (SP).
I had a few non-negotiables in mind when selecting our place: First and foremost, I wanted a water-view. I wanted to look out my window and see gondolas ride by. Second, air-conditioning. (These were close-enough to consider them a tie… and I am very thankful for the AC looking back, as we happened to visit during the hottest week so far in 2019.) The apartment itself wasn’t much to look at and I call the style, “Great-Grandma’s left-over antiques that no one really wanted” but we there for the aesthetics of the city, not the apartment.
From Tronchetto (after getting our 7-day passes from the machine and validating them) we boarded the vaporetti and made our way to our AirBnb.
In the slideshow below, you’ll see a really cool “Banksy-esque” bit of grafitti. I don’t condone graffiti but I do respect artistry. Not sure if this is his, but we did get to see an original Banksy while we were there. More on that in a later post.
The graffiti posted below is at the gondola stop that was near our apartment. You’ll see a photo of the arch at the end of our alleyway as well as a photo that shows our two windows. In the previous slideshow you can see that arch and the boat from inside the alleyway.
If I were to make another trip, I’d pick the same general location but pick a prettier apartment with or without a water view. That turned out to be less important than I thought it was going to be.
We picked a place near the Rialto Bridge. This turned out to be a very good choice as it was fairly central to the whole city. We were able to walk places very easily and found that most of time it was faster to walk than take public transportation. Another benefit to staying near Rialto bridge that I couldn’t have predicted was that in the evenings, when we were tired and just ready to get back to the apartment, we just had to follow the signs to Rialto. The signs were everywhere! If you look at the picture below, on the wall just to the left of the red/white striped gondola pole a sign points to Rialto.
There were just as many signs to San Marco so it would be easy to find as well, but it’s on the far end of the city and Rialto is central. I would definitely stay near Rialto again.
Once we got in the apartment and got settled in we headed out for dinner. We selected a take-out pasta place someone on Facebook recommended. It was really good! (It was called Dal Moro’s Fresh Pasta to Go if you’re interested.)
Below are the details and tips for those who are planning to go to Venice. Things we learned and hope to pass on to make life easier for friends planning their trips.
Click here for Day 2 and to skip the boring travel tips.
THE DETAILS and TIPS:
Flight to Italy from within Germany:
RyanAir has its some really GOOD aspects and some really irritating ones. On this trip, I’m happy to say, we had only positive experiences. Both flights were delayed in leaving, but as we didn’t have connecting flights to worry about, we weren’t stressed at all. We could have flown for less than $100 total, but we both wanted to be able to take a suitcase. Round trip, the price of our tickets combined was $249.
Bus to Venice:
We flew from Stuttgart’s airport to the Treviso Airport 40 minutes outside of Venice. We pre-booked bus tickets from the airport and then back to the airport on a tour bus by Terravision and even with all the other options available, (city bus, car-for-hire, taxi) I’d choose this option again. Fine print states that you have to have your receipt TO Venice printed and the FROM Venice on a separate page, because you have to give those to the drivers. Just keep that in mind, and all is well. When booking things like this, read all details before you book. (On this one, the TO/FROM trips have to be within 10 days. Easy to fix if your trip is longer than 10 days… just book two single-direction tickets…making sure that the tickets for different days are on separate pieces of paper.
These busses are known as a vaporetti (plural). Not knowing how often we’d need the Vaporetti (public water bus system) I decided to purchase the week-pass. These were 60€ each and after doing some math, that means that we needed to use the vaporetto system 9 times to get our money’s worth. I think we did! If not, it was pretty close. They (strategically) have 1-day, 2-day, 3-day, and 7-day passes. We were there five days so I went for the 7-day and looking back, I think it was a good purchase. (While there I felt like maybe I should have just paid the 7€/per ride…. I think it’s a toss-up. It’s expensive either way.)
At Tronchetto I scanned the Q-card at the Vaporetto stop and it printed our paper ‘bus passes.’ This is important for anyone visiting: when getting on a vaporetto you have to scanthe pass every single time (this is called “validating” your card. The machine will beep and some have swinging doors that fling open to walk through. In our five days we were asked for ours and a uniformed officer checked that we had scanned our cards three times! We even saw a family from India being ticketed for not validating before they got on. This system is confusing at first, so I felt bad for them as they had been expecting someone to stand at the bus stop and literally “punch-validate” their bus tickets. They had paid for them, they just hadn’t scanned them before boarding the boat.
This ends the “details” part of this post. Stay tuned for my journal on Day 2!
Click here to read the first installment which talks about our honeymoon photo-disaster and why we picked Venice for our 20th.