Last week I celebrated my 20th birthday, followed by a trip to Venice with my partner. I booked the tickets whilst I was in recovery and it was the perfect thing to look forward to when I was twiddling my thumbs away at home. Venice has always been somewhere that I have had a really big urge to visit, mainly because of the originality of it. When I started to tell people I was going everyone raved about it and couldn’t wait to tell me more. It made life so much easier with all the advice people had given us and the places we simply had to see. They were not at all wrong – it is one of the most amazing places that I have ever been and I simply cannot wait for the chance to get back.
Venice was the perfect way to celebrate entering my 20’s. It was the perfect place to relax and unwind, whilst also discovering the history and culture of the magical city.
My actual birthday was the day before we went to Venice, so I opted for a seriously chilled day. The first part was a lovely lie in, which actually was kind of different. My boyfriend had work that morning, so he woke me up early and gave me my presents. It was the perfect start to my birthday. I had giant balloons, my gifts and a delicious cinnamon roll cake with birthday candles. He really did pull out all the stops and it was perfect. In the day I then spent the day at my grandma’s house with my family, having a really chilled out lunch, lots of delicious pink Champagne and time to spend with everyone. In the evening I had to pack, which takes me a very long time regardless of where I am going, and had a lovely dinner. It was nice to just have a really chilled day before heading away.
On the Sunday our flight wasn’t until 3pm, so we had the morning the get organised and sort nelson the kitten out. He went to stay with my grandma, who I think found him a real handful! I am so not down for the early 4am flights – they make me feel so ill! Anyway, so we landed up getting to a very wet Venice at around 7pm. It was absolutely pouring and the streets were literally flooded. It wasn’t the best start to the trip, however once we were dry again and had food in us it was all good. Even though I hate the early flights, a part of me does really wish that we could have got there a little earlier as it would have been much less stressful figuring out where we were going in the light.
So we basically had two full days to explore the city, of which the first one was to go a little further afield and explore one of the islands just off from Venice. Once we had left the hotel, after breakfast, we walked to San Marco square which was only a convenient 5-minute walk from the hotel. The square itself is absolutely breath-taking, with the incredible architecture and views of the water. However, it was so busy with tourists, which isn’t particularly my favourite thing in the world. We then went to Murano, which was recommended by my boyfriend’s mum who had been there before. Murano is where they make the most beautiful glass, from fantastic vases to the most incredible chandeliers. The island itself is small and a real extension of Venice. The minute we got off the water bus we stopped for lunch on the island, where we landed up having a delicious meal and trying the most delicious balsamic vinegars. It was a real treat to learn so much about the history behind the gorgeous food, including vinegars, truffle oils and different kinds of pasta. Once we had eaten lunch, we walked around the island and went to have a look in the glass museum where we learnt about how they make the glass and the whole history behind it. It was such a mesmerising place to visit and somewhere I am now really glad I have seen. That afternoon we walked back through San Marco square to get back to the hotel, again taking in the beautiful views and buildings.
Late in the afternoon we decided to have a bit of a rest and go out a bit of a late dinner. Since my operation I am really not able to be walking around all day and seriously need an hour or two to recharge in the afternoon. It makes me feel like a complete old lady! Although, seeing as the holiday was also about having some time to chill, I didn’t feel guilty about my power nap. That evening we decided to just have a quick dinner, which consisted of red wine and tomato spaghetti which I had been craving for so long! I find it so hard to find really good tomato spaghetti.
The food in Venice was really good; I don’t know exactly what I was expecting but it was so nice to eat some proper Italian food and not feel guilty about eating all the carbs. The main thing I had learnt from other people’s previous experiences of Venice was that you need to be careful about where you eat and always check the prices. To be honest, we didn’t find it a problem at all. We stayed away from the squares and main tourist attractions and there was no problem at all. It was nothing like eating in Paris or Geneva. We stayed well within budget every day and I didn’t feel at all ripped off at any point. I had been told that the dish of the city was Spaghetti with Clams, which I can’t eat as seafood just doesn’t sit right with me. I am sure it is amazing though!
On the second day, we decided that we wanted to get lost in the city. Everyone had told us that the best thing to do is just to walk around all the little streets and see where you land up. So that is exactly what we did. We headed off over the Rialto bridge and just kept walking and walking. It was so magical to explore all the little streets and I couldn’t believe just how narrow some of them really were. We had lots of coffee stops enjoying the Italian espressos and stopped for lunch early in the afternoon and even managed to sit outside. I think everyone thought we were a little crazy but it was warm enough with coats on and there was a cover which was great for the two minutes it decided to rain. That day I had a beautiful Salmon dish, as well as lots of red wine which was perfect whilst watching the world go by. It was so sunny on the second day, which made walking around even more enjoyable. I must admit, I don’t think I would want to go there in the middle of August. The heat and the crowds would definitely be a bit much for me.
So again, after my inevitable afternoon nap, we decided to find somewhere really nice for our last dinner in the city. We looked on TripAdvisor and found somewhere really good which was luckily only two minutes away from the hotel. We had the most incredible dinner, lots of wine, a delicious steak and a crème brulee which was served on fire. I can actually say I have never seen that before! This place was so well placed in the city and an amazing place to really enjoy what food Venice has to offer. This was by far the best meal we had on the whole trip.
Overall I couldn’t rate Venice enough. It as a must see destination to visit and really was the perfect place to celebrate my birthday.