Venice was a city of contrasts. It was laid back, with empty town squares while the entire city slept in on an early Sunday morning. But it was also bustling with tourists, shopkeepers and gondoliers as Venice woke up and the day got started. It was a maze, with streets that led nowhere except canals. But it was easier to navigate than any other major city we had visited on our trip. It was the most colorful city we got to experience, with houses in an array of colors and styles. But it was also the most worn down, with extremely old buildings in disrepair.
Visiting Venice was our last destination on our honeymoon. We were happy to have made it that far, and to have survived all 37 truthful travel lessons that had come before. But we were sad to be writing the final pages of our European adventure.
Our time in Venice was short, but of course, like usual, it was filled with unexpected moments. We witnessed hardwood floors breaking apart and sweating, and we had a gondola ride that we could never have planned for. Venice is unlike any other city I’ve been to, and it was just what we needed at the end of a three week whirlwind tour of Europe!
Here is a more detailed Itinerary to Italy!
Truthful Travel Lesson #38
Hardwood floors can sweat
We arrived in Venice in the early afternoon, after taking a train from Naples. We got set up in our Airbnb, which was centrally located, and realized that for the first time in a long time, we had no plans. Visiting Venice was our time to wind down. We figured our best bet was to travel through the streets and get ourselves intentionally lost trying to find Ponte De Rialto (one of the city’s most famous bridges).
After our successful adventure we ventured back to our accommodations to escape the heat and take a rest before heading out to find dinner. As we entered into the main room, something caught my eye. The hardwood floors looked strange. Upon closer inspection I realized it had ripped along various seams and was damp and expanding. That could not be good. Our Airbnb was right on a canal, with us having a view straight into the water from our windows. I started to become worried that because I left the windows open, humidity had crept in and ruined someone’s floors. Would this be our worst travel mishap yet? I immediately sent pictures of the floor to our host, and anxiously awaited her reply.
The verdict? It was a normal occurrence. Everything in Venice is super old, and built upon wooden platforms. Due to being submerged in water, these platforms have never rot, but the high levels of the water make everything super damp in the city. The already damp atmosphere and the brutal humidity of the Summer combined to create sweating floors. It is probably not good for the floors in the long term, but it was not an urgent crisis.
Truthful Travel Lesson #39
Not all gondola rides are romantic
The gondola. The unofficial mascot of Venice. What is more romantic than being “driven” through the many canals of Venice in a fancy boat? Nothing, at least that’s what I thought before we took a gondola ride. Since it was our honeymoon we agreed we had to take one. We set out on our second afternoon in the city to find the most perfect gondolier.
It was a quiet time of day. Too early for sunset rides, but too late for people just visiting the city for the day. We found a lone gondolier and asked him for a ride around the city. Our gondola was beautiful. Unlike many others we had seen, this one had wooden chairs, fancy cushions and even a rug. I was so excited. We started in smaller canals, and our gondolier was able to navigate tight turns, and effortlessly maneuver us underneath many bridges.
We started asking him about life in Venice, and this is where we ran into trouble. He proceeded to tell us that tourists had ruined Venice. I was not sure how to take that, as I was a tourist. He grumbled about how the low season meant the city basically shut down, and how he could not wait to escape the city and move to China. This continued for the duration of our thirty minute ride. It was a very odd experience.
Our ride was not romantic in a traditional sense: we did not have him singing to us, or telling us tales of love. But it was unique. Not many other gondolas were out, and at times it felt like we had the canal to ourselves. It was perfect in the most imperfect way. Kind of like our entire honeymoon, kind of like all of our truthful travels that had come before. It was a fitting end to our adventure.
Truthful Travel Lesson #40
Venice is Disneyland for adults
Venice really is a unique city. Our last full day there we took a walking tour which included entrance to St. Mark’s Basilica and a tour of the Doge’s Palace. As we started walking around the city there was hardly anyone out, and most canals were empty and quiet. Visiting Venice during the early morning is a must; as is visiting at night when the “day tourists” have left the island for the evening. It is a completely different experience when you seemingly have it to yourself.
In Venice I heard someone compare the city to being like Disneyland for adults. It really is. Where else is there a major city where you can you walk around streets without any cars, and have to travel over foot bridges and through tight alleys to get to where you’re going? There is nothing like waking up to the sound of small boats and gondolas riding past your windows, and nothing like looking out at the water from Piazza San Marco and finally internalizing that you’ve actually been staying on a group of islands. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to stand on a bridge that spans the Grand Canal, at night, listening to an accordion playing. It feels surreal, and so charming. I can honestly say there is nowhere else I have been in the world that is anything like Venice.
Truthful Travel Lessons: The End
On August 6th, we packed our backpacks up one last time. Twenty one days had flown by, and we carried 40 truthful travel lessons home with us.
We had overestimated our ability to fight through exhaustion in Edinburgh. In Great Britain we had taken the road less traveled, and found some of the most charming English towns. London proved to be a challenge, with a series of unlucky events dampening our time there. We traveled to Paris, where we fell in love with the city, but commenced our chain of transportation failures. In Normandy & The Loire Valley we learned that France was so much more than just Paris, and that even castles can get crowded.In the French & Italian Riviera we finally got a taste of the hot summer heat. Florence took us back in time to the Renaissance. Rome almost melted us in its heat wave. And Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast came with a whole lot of Italian charm, and a whole lot of crazy.
Our time there was exhausting but exhilarating, and reliving it through writing this truthful travel series has made me appreciate it even more. I have had a chance to internalize these lessons, and share details of my travels with friends, family, and strangers that I never would have otherwise.
If you read along with this series, if you read about the main cities, or even if you’re just reading this one article, I want to thank you! I would love to hear your favorite parts, and what brought you here in the first place. Leave me a comment in the section below!
This has been a journey for me, and I cannot wait to start creating my next big project!
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With all the gratitude in the world,
A Truthful Traveler
30 Comments on “Truthful Travel Europe Series: Visiting Venice”
Thanks for the post! I loved your honesty, it’s refreshing!
Thank you so much! My hope is to be refreshing in the world of travel blogging!
Your beautiful photos are giving me feelings of wanderlust. I’ve been to Europe twice now, but it’s time for me to return again to continue exploring and going on adventures. My daughter Brooke vacationed in Venice this past year. She loved it!
I am so happy your daughter loved it as well! You should definitely return to Europe, there are so many countries to explore (Eastern Europe is quickly gaining popularity!)
Fun post. I love all the details on some of the buildings.
I loved the details on the buildings as well! Thanks for stopping by!
Venice truly is amazing! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for reading! Venice is a beautiful destination!
Thanks for reading! Venice is beautiful!
Venice is such a cool city, & like you mentioned, it’s full of unexpected moments. I love the architectural detail! :]
Thanks for the comment! I never noticed I had added in lots of architectural detail but thinking about it, I usually take a lot of pictures of building details. Thanks for sharing that insight!
I do hope to make it to Venice one day, I love all your ‘truths” about it! Your pictures are fabulous too!!
Thanks so much! I hope you get a chance to visit Venice! It’s hard to take bad pictures in a beautiful place like Venice!
This is me and my husbands dream trip since we never went on a honeymoon. I love all your pictures.
You should definitely visit! The pictures are only a snapshot of an area that is so so so beautiful to see in real life!
I never really thought about going to Venice before, it looks beautiful though. May need to add it to my want to do list.
You should definitely add it to your list! Venice is like no other city in the world!
My boyfriend has been wanting to go to Venice forever, but we’ve never gotten round to it. He really wants to go on a super pricey gondola ride, but I’m just not interested. Your story puts me off even more!
Haha, I can say that I am the only one I know of who had a super weird experience. Taking the water taxi is a good & cheaper alternative to the gondola, and you still get time on the canal but not have to pay all of your money towards it!
looks like you had an amazing trip. I miss Venice I must go back.
I went to Venice with my husband almost a year ago! I loved reliving it through your photos.
It is so fun to relive a place like Venice! I am so happy you got to also see it in real life!
I haven’t been to Venice in almost ten years and this brings back so many memories! Can’t wait to go back again! Congrats on your marriage/honeymoon!
Thanks so much!! I am happy to have reminded you of Venice, it is definitely a special place!
I haven’t met a city in Italy that wasn’t beautiful! I found Venice lovely when I visited years back, but I also haven’t felt the need to return since my one visit. I think once is enough – there are far more charming parts of Italy to explore in my eyes 😉 . I loved your account of your trip though, so thank you for sharing! Lovely photos too ❤︎
I can totally see why it would be a once in a lifetime city, especially when the country has so many more areas to explore. Thanks so much for reading!
I loved reading about these quirky experiences! Definitely not the typical travel blog, but that’s a great thing 🙂 I hope to visit Venice one day, too!
Thanks so much for stopping by! My hope is to have a unique travel blog, because travel is never perfect! I hope you get to visit one day 🙂
i love this post and i LOVE venice! Sorry to hear you didn’t have the best gondola ride, but hopefully the magic of venice made up for it!
The magic of Venice certainly made up for it! I am happy you enjoyed the post!!