Exploring Venice Part 1
A little over a year ago myself and three fellow students (Shane, Caroline and Simon), won a travel bursary with Midhusrt Rother College. The bursary was set up a long time ago by the founder of the school (Gilbert Hanamh) and was open for anyone to apply for.
The conditions were that there could be up to four people in a group and that the trip had to be educational. Needless to say some of the groups attempted to pass up a trip to Tenerife as educational….. As you can imagine they weren’t successful.
After a lot of determination and many hours of research (mostly conducted by Caroline) we were successful and were awarded a near week long trip to the city of elegant decay, Venice.
In the beginning of September last year, three unorganised teenage boys and one organised teenage girl set off to the airport to begin our adventure to Italy. I recall a conversation I had with Shane, about neither of us having travel insurance and how we would have to be extra careful not to get injured or maimed! After one of the quickest plane journeys of my life we arrived at Venice Marco Polo airport. We quickly received our luggage, I remember everyone laughing because I packed so light but it worked to my advantage later in the trip. We soon found ourselves literally running to catch one of the late buses to Venice, we even had to convince the bus driver to wait for the last member of our group.
Then about half an hour on a European ‘bendy bus’ we arrived in a beautifully lit Venice. Our first job was to find the hotel rep to show us to our home for the next few days. We walked in search of a bridge where we were meant to meet our rep, after about half an hour we noticed the single massive bridge into Venice…. We all felt a little unobservant but were all happy we found her before it got too late. Once she showed us around and gave us the keys we all chose a bed and began to unpack. We then started to set up a rough idea of what we would be doing the next day. We had to buy food to self-cater and the rest of the day we wanted to explore the beautiful decaying city.
The next morning we woke up early like children on Christmas, we had a light breakfast and were straight out the door onto the streets of Venice. I remember Caroline was the map reader as the rest of us didn’t have a great sense of direction. After circling a few times we found the local shop and bought our food for the next few days, we were all taken in by the European snacks and amazing deals on offer.
I remember buying the biggest watermelon I’v ever seen! We then rushed back to our room to unload the food and get back out, after a few more hours of wondering we stopped at a local coffee shop and ordered some ‘tramezzino’ (toasted sandwiches) which were some of the tastiest toasted sandwiches that I’ve ever tasted.
After wondering for a little longer we returned to our little flat to chill out. We all agreed that we had just enough in the budget to go out to dinner and enjoy the Venetian night life on the first and last night of the trip!
So once again we set out, searching for somewhere to have dinner and celebrate our first night out in the unique city. Eventually we found a place that seemed to scream Venice! I remember ordering a bolognaise with spaghetti and my taste buds came to life it was simple Italian food at its best. I recall that Simon and I also ordered a tasty European beer.
Then we went for the final walk of the day and stumbled upon a large set of concrete steps with a street performer playing the Chello, where everyone seemed to sit and take in the atmosphere that Venice had to offer. This would become our favourite spot over the holiday and one I will remember for the rest of my life. It was so memorable to watch all the gondolas gently float past while she played to us, as we sipped some home brew beer, that we acquired from a back street Venetian shop.
When we returned to the room, we began playing sh*t head (an Irish card game) which provided hours of entertainment each night, along with a mind boggling game ‘bananagrams’ which was also very entertaining. The next day we went out to explore the photogenic streets of Venice once again. We found ourselves stepping into shops containing all types of expensive Venetian glass, masks and even more masks! I don’t think any of us could have left Venice without one of its famous carnival masks, we all took great care in choosing one or more that really stood out . I believe Caroline won the battle of the masks in the end as she bought around 4 or 5!
There's no ice cream like Venetian ice cream
It was around this time we discovered the best in Venetian sweet treats… Venetian ice cream!! It hands down has to be some of the best ice cream I have had to date and the only thing I can think to compare it to is Jersey ice cream. Although i think Venetian ice cream still takes the cake... (ice cream cake!) there were so many flavours and it was so soft, nothing like the crystallized rockhard ice cream we're used to in England. I was told that the reason it tastes so good is that it's made with cream in a special process as apposed to using milk.