V is for Venice: 10 Things To know before heading to Venice
Since forever I’ve dreamed of visiting Venice. I imagined myself on a romantic gondola ride with roses and sweet songs that I couldn’t understand, then I woke up! There’s nothing like a mid-life crisis to help you quickly reevaluate life. Waiting on someone else to fulfill your dreams is a joke especially if you’ve been single for 5 years like myself.
A few days ago I jumped on a train ride from Bologna to Venice. I didn’t make any plans nor research any tourist activities. I just went and this, by far, has been one of the better choices I have made. That isn’t to say that there weren’t a few hiccups along the way! So here are a few tips to avoid making the same mistakes: Venice Train Station
1. Get off at Venezia St.Lucia
Venice train station is Venice St. Lucia, the last stop. This is not to be confused with Venice Metre which is the stop before it. You’ll see water as you approach Venice and that’s how you’ll know you’ve arrived.
2. Get a map of Venice
Many people sell maps for 2 – 4 euros. If you don’t have a cell phone carrier that supports international data, get a map. Not good with directions? Still, get a map. I walked around for 1 hour trying to get back to the train. I kept thinking for once in my life, I needed a map ?
Be prepared to walk! Taxi? Yea right. Venice is made up of a ton of mini islands. They’re connected by bridges so be prepared to cross them.
4. Gondola rides are expensive!
80 euros expensive! That was a hard pill to swallow but since it was a “must do” for me, I made the sacrifice. Before leaving the train station I saw a sign for $40 rides, I have a feeling it was for a group gondola ride; but if you’re heading to Venice check it out.
5. Buy Round Trip tickets
Don’t fear round trip train tickets as they’re cheaper and you can adjust the time at the station.
6. Prepare yourself for the Venice crowds
Even in early April, the streets are crowded. I would definitely have to mediate before a summer visit.
7. Beware of the theft
I could buy a Prada purse if I had a $1 for all the warnings I’ve received. I appreciate them but they’re scary. People have literally reenacted common robbery scenarios for me. The most common, the distraction: a kid or a person may come up to you confused, fake hurt or lost and ask for help, and while helping them their partner tries to rob you. Theft is so common that I even stopped to tie my shoe and 2 different people told me to watch my bag. It was across me! Scary indeed.
8. Have lunch
Be mindful that lunch is from 1 pm to 4 pm. If you don’t eat within that window, be prepared to go to a touristy restaurant or McDonalds until the stores and restaurants reopen for the next serving of the day. (Resturants also have wifi)
9. Drink wine
Public drinking is looked down upon so grab a 4 euro bottle for your commute. Also, smoking is allowed at restaurants (outdoor seating) and in the train stations.
10. Buy some leather!
The price can always be lower remember that. Don’t leave without some Italian leather.