When my family traveled to Italy for the first time back in 1997, Venice was my favorite city on that trip. It was so different from anything I had ever seen, I had been wanting to go back since. I had been to Europe a few times since as well as Italy again but I hadn’t made it back to Venice. On my first big solo trip around Europe, I knew I wanted to spend longer then the average tourist in Venice, no matter what the cost. I just wanted to experience it!
Since it was the height of summer season when I was going to be there, I booked everything before I left London. I booked through STA because to me at the time, it was just easier that way. Since I was being super selfish on this tour, I booked a hotel in the “suburban” island of Lido because for every 6 days I paid, I got one night free! Originally I was going to do a week in Venice and a week in Lido, but the price of Lido drew me in, plus seeing and staying where the locals live for that long a time was appealing.
I stayed in a lovely place called Hotel Helvetia, which was walking distance from the vaoaretto stop and on the main drag of the island that lead to the beach. I was reading recent reviews of the place and I am glad to see it is still up to par! The hotel itself was fab. Super cute, very quiet, fantastic daily breakfast. Yes, it did get loud on the weekend nights, but it’s Italy and a large town! What do you expect?
During my two weeks there, I didn’t really do all that much. I had done the whole tourist thing with my parents, so I just hung out mostly. I didn’t even go into town every day. A couple of days I just stayed on Lido and hired a bike and road around the island a few times. I went to the beach. I read. A lot. I did make it into town and just wondered around. I went to Mureno and watched glassblowing. I took a tour around the Jewish quarter. I did laundry at a proper laundromat. It was great. At this point now, I am kind of over Venice, but I know if I hadn’t done my two weeks there, I would be itching to go back.
The town has also found itself in a catch-22 situation recently. Old people are dying out but it’s too expensive for the young people to move in, so the whole city seems like an amusement park you can stay in because it’s almost all tourists at this point. Who knows what the place will be like in 20 years. Even though I am kind of over it from a tourist point of view, if it was easier to live there, I so would.
Sorry about my lack of pictures. The first time I went was 1997 and was not even close to getting a digital camera. When I was back in 2003, I kept it klassy with film and scanned these pictures in for a school project, so this is all I’ve got.
Moral: I tell everyone they have to get there soon or the place is going to sink (don’t worry, it won’t in our lifetime). But still, there is no city on Earth like it.