The halfway point of a 10-day tour is bittersweet. You’ve been gone long enough to be in full holiday mode and you’ve gotten to know your tour companions well enough that you’re hanging out like old friends, but the end of the tour is in sight, and that’s a little sad.
Well don’t be sad. Just be where you are, and enjoy it as much as you can.
Venice was the midway point for my G AdventuresRome to Prague trip.
I often get tired of visiting cities. Across Europe, North America and Australia I’ve found that most cities are about the same, with slightly different cars, restaurants and amounts of litter. But they almost all have Starbucks and McDonald’s and the newest movies and the same songs playing in the same H&Ms.
Venice is not that city.
Aside from the fact that there are no Starbucks in Italy, there are also no cars here. There can’t be because the streets are constantly interrupted by canals and stairs and bridges. It’s completely fantastic.
Yes, it’s still touristy, but not in an obnoxious way. They haven’t bulldozed any old buildings to make way for a shopping mall. The streets are small and windy and sometimes impossible to find on a map.
And they have water taxis and buses! A few of us got a day pass for the bus and enjoyed a ride over to Murano Island, famous for its glass.
There are free glass blowing demonstrations and then approximately 862 shops (give or take 100) that sell glass. You can get glass jewelry, glass serving spoons, glass animals, glass vases, drinking glasses, pretty much anything that can be made from glass.
Within Venice you can get gelato and enjoy it in front of the building where Indiana Jones discovered the big X in his Last Crusade. You can visit the Jewish ghetto and try to remember lines from Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice.”
And you can ride in a gondola. An hour ride runs more than 100 euros, but because we went as a group and had 4-5 people per gondola, it came out to a reasonable price per person. And if you’ve gone all the way to Venice, you can’t *not* ride in a gondola.
Venice was easily my favorite place in Italy and I’d love to go back. But Vienna was calling our names.