Venice was like being in a magical, alternate universe. The beauty of 118 small islands joining together by crescent bridges and winding canals makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a dream. Venice is often referred to as The Floating City after being built on the Venetian Lagoon, but I think it’s because you leave with your heart floating on a cloud.
As soon as we arrived in Venice, we were quickly shuffled across the islands by our fearless tour leader, Stacey. I have absolutely no idea how she remembers where to go. Within the first three turns, I was completely lost. Before I knew it, however, I was standing in St Mark’s Square and around the corner from the Bridge of Sighs. After all of this time, it was right in front of me. Surreal Moment #574 with Topdeck.
Us Topdeckers visited two demonstrations while in Venice, and they were so beneficial in understanding the culture behind this beautiful city. The first was a lace demonstration. Venice is known around the world for their lace, and after examining it up close, I can see why. I couldn’t believe that mere hands made such delicate creations. The second was a glass blowing demonstration. The glass maestro was incredibly talented, and it was so fun watching a glob of glass turn into a dainty horse in under three minutes.
The biggest thing on my Venice Topdeck To-Do List was to ride in a gondola. It’s been on my bucket list since I was fourteen, and I couldn’t possibly leave without going on one. I went around noon, and the waterways were bustling! There’s a camaraderie between gondoliers, and they often laugh and exchange quick words as they pass one another. Some gondolas even have musicians playing classical guitars and accordions while on board. The noises mixed together and bounced off of the tight waterways and walls to give a truly sensational sound.
Once the morning was over, the Topdeckers had the whole afternoon to get lost on the islands (which was super easy to do). Our first mission was to find food. We were extremely eager to find some classic Italian pizza and pasta. We sat down at a cute Italian Ristorante, and I ate my fill of ham and mushroom pizza. Once our bellies were full, we set off to explore tight alleys and leaning buildings. We didn’t have to look far to find them.
The one thing that fascinated me about Venice was how they adapted their life to living on water. People work and live there, and they have real city needs. They actually have people with trolleys transferring goods from boats to shops across the islands. I passed by one tied up boat with men unloading lighting equipment for a concert. What a strange water world!
The hostel we stayed at was a favorite for many. When I first heard the words “camp ground,” I was skeptical. But when we pulled in, it was a haven. The cabins are small, but I preferred to call them cozy. They were very clean and overall rather modern. The camp grounds had a fantastic pool, a restaurant during the day / bar at night, and a wide selection of goods in their convenience store. The best part, however, was that our group of Topdeckers were all neighbors. We often just left our doors open and hung out. Community has been the best part of traveling with Topdeck, hands down.
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