|Gondola ride along Venice's Grand Canal|
I first visited Venice when I was almost 20 years old. Back then, I left with two regrets. I never rode in a gondola, and we took a daytrip from the mainland instead of actually staying in Venice. There was also a garbage collector strike going on which lent a rather rubbishy aroma drifting around the famous canals. Upon my return to this watery city — older and with more money to spend — I was determined to not walk away a second time thinking of what might have been.
Dream Come True #1: Gondola RideRiding a gondola is the quintessential Venetian experience. We floated along as the gondolier propelled the boat through the narrow waterways between the buildings. Some were so small that they were deemed one-direction-only since it would have been impossible to pass another gondola in that tight space. I was impressed by our gondoliers ability to crouch down and not bang his head whenever we went under one of Venice's many bridges. Bursting out into the bustling Grand Canal, the onslaught of crowded vaporettos, speed boats and other gondolas really emphasized that water was the way to get around. Everyone was doing it.
The official rate for a 40-minute ride between 8AM-7PM is €80 for up to 6 people. After 7PM, it is €100. Since there were 5 of us, the daytime price was not too bad per person for a bucket list item. While our guide book suggested that we chat with a few gondoliers to determine if the route was what we wanted and if he would be giving commentary, we threw caution to the wind since it was 10 minutes until the price increased. That's how we ended up with a gondolier who spent most of the time exclaiming loudly in Italian into his mobile phone or shouting across to his buddies on other boats.
Dream Come True #2: An Apartment overlooking a Canal
|Our apartment window is just above the greenery spilling forth towards the canal|
Whenever I look at this picture, I will sigh in happiness and remember the dream-come-true apartment we rented in Venice. The windows of the living room and kitchen are just above the greenery spilling over the wall. A canal and gondala sit below it. If we left the windows open, we could hear the gondolier singing to entice new customers to hire him. Flower boxes line the railing next to the sidewalk cafe where my kids are sitting and eating breakfast on the left. At night, the voices of other patrons wafted upwards reminding us how alive this city is even after dark. La Mela Verde, one of the best gelaterias in Venice, is located next to the cafe along with a costume shop that will have you dreaming of Carnevale. Since it was just 5 minutes from St. Mark's Square, it was convenient to go back in the afternoons and rest before continuing our explorations at dinner time.
Take a look at this view from the apartment.
|The view from our window: San Giorgio dei Greci church at blue hour|
This iPhone photo has had absolutely zero editing other than adding a frame and watermark. As day turned into night, the white stone of San Giorgio dei Greci church took on the cobalt hue of the surrounding sky. It was the blue hour at its finest.
While I claim that this place was simply dreamy, hubby would like to point out that the lack of elevator and the 41 steps from the street to the apartment made carrying up four 23 kg (50 lb) suitcases a nightmare. Pardon our excessive luggage. We're in the midst of moving from one continent to another.
Have you ever departed a destination with regrets?
Did you have a chance for a Do-Over?
I'm so glad I got a second chance.
Explore Venice by Boat
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