Venice is the kind of place that you dream of going, simply because you’ve heard about it your entire life. The good news? Venice is just like all those photos you’ve seen and parts of it even better!
After having a hard time figuring out how to get from Florence to Venice the cheapest way possible, I found a five hours bus with a change in Bologna and I was ready to get this city off my bucket list.
I was lucky enough to have two drivers until I got to my destination. The first one drove the way to Bologna with only one finger which got me to believe I would never arrive in Venice as we were going to have an accident for sure because of him.
We then stopped in Bologna and were ordered to get off the bus. I had been told we would have to change to a different bus there, what they forgot to tell me was that this “change” was in fact one hour standing in the cold as the two drivers smoked some cigarettes before getting back on the exact same bus, this time with the mean driver. I got my backpack in the luggage compartment until I noticed I had it on the wrong side.
I went to the new driver and asked for help to move my backpack, to which he yelled in Italian “I’m from Sicily, I don’t speak English“. I insisted one more time for help and that was when he kicked my backpack to the other side. Yes, really. Apparently not being able to speak Italian gives me the amazing gift of getting my backpack kicked. That man was called so many bad names in Portuguese that I’m not even going to write it here.
Getting the cheapest mean of transportation to Venice left me in a place called Venezia Tronchetto and once I got out of the bus I had no idea where I was, where to go, or how to get to my accommodation without a map. All I knew was I needed to go to Piazza San Marco and from there my B&B would be close by. If it weren’t for all the signs pointing to the Rialto Bridge and San Marco square I’m sure I would have never found the place, specially after arriving to the B&B and realizing I had just walked 4km in city in form of a maze. It took me as much as three hours to get there.
I stayed in a B&B called Bed & Venice – Casa per Ferie la Pietà which was only an ok choice for its location. The wifi didn’t work in my dorm, so I would have to be close to the entrance of the place to have access, and in my room there was only me and two guys who didn’t say a single word to me the entire time.
To top it all, one of those guys was over fifty years old, had a back in which I could fit, he had the worst feet smell I ever felt in my life and during the night he snored in a way I can’t describe in words, but trust me it was terrifying in a very very weird way.
Being on a city where there’s water everywhere and getting the worse possible weather for two days didn’t really help me explore Venice on my own terms. Still, I was not going to let that ruin my stay in a city I had dreamed for years.
Join bad weather with the fact that I had nothing planned after leaving Venice and you get the crazy state of mind I was caught in. I can’t explain to anyone how stressful it is to be on a long term trip and knowing that two days from then you have no idea where you’re going to be and you have so many options that you will loose your mind for a second.
One thing everyone told me before arriving in Venice was that it was impossible to find cheap food. Ever since I can remember, I’m the kind of girl who always takes everything as a challenge, and every time someone tells me something is impossible I make it my mission and I won’t rest until I achieve it.
On my first day in Venice, while I was wandering around completely lost trying to reach my B&B, I passed by a small restaurant with take away fresh pasta for as little as 5€. I knew I would have to go back there and eat that pasta (because I wanted to show that you can eat cheap everywhere if you have the patience to look for the best place), the only problem was how to find it again, being impossible to navigate the city map.
There was only one way to do it and so, on my second day I had the mission to do the path back from where I come out of the bus. It had to be the exact some path or I would never find it, one wrong turn and I would be lost in the maze.
Now, I don’t know how I did it, but the truth is I actually found the place! After trying to leave San Marco square for three times and always ending up in the same place, I managed to walk all the way back and I got to eat my amazing fresh pasta with pesto sauce and I can tell you it tasted like Heaven and accomplishment. Bigoi gives you six different sauces to choose from and for the price of Venice, paying 5€ for fresh pasta in such an expensive place is almost like screaming at your face that you must go there!
Only a day before my reservation ended in Venice, did I finally got a plan after leaving the city. After a very stressful couple of days, I talked to a friend of a friend who lived in Bologna and who could give me a place to stay for a couple of days so I could plan things better from then on.
As i’m such a lucky person, he was not in Bologna at the time, so I would be staying with some friends until he was back in the city. Oh boy, I’m going to stay with total strangers, what the hell am I doing to my life? – Remember that I had never traveled alone in my life, so every decision would lead me to believe I was a little suicidal or something because I didn’t think too much about the consequences, I would just follow my gut.
On my last day, I walked to the other point of the island again so I could by my train ticket in advance and avoid paying more on the day. Turns out I could have bought it before departure as it was a regional train and the prices are always the same.
Well, at least I got an idea on how to get there the next day and I knew the time it would take me to reach the train station, counting the possible amount of times I would for sure get lost on the way. I seriously need to improve my sense of direction because I keep getting lost wherever I am and I don’t think I ever got anywhere, while travelling, without getting lost.
Venice turned out not to be on of my favorite places visited. Still, getting there made me incredibly happy and I felt accomplished by finally making my way to Venice. I am now one those people who can say I was in Venice once, instead of trying to imagine how it is in real life after seeing thousands of photos on the internet.
If I wasn’t on such a tight budget and trying to see as much of Europe as I could, I wish I had taken the time to visit the islands of Murano and Burano, but at the time paying an extra 20€ (when I had a 10€ budget for food and activities) seemed dumb and the only thing I thought was that twenty euros could give me one more day of travel, one more day away from home, so I decided to save it for some other place.