I had a vision that I would have a heavy rucksack slung across my back, tired feet and I’d follow the alluring smells of cooking food to an open bistro, sit down and indulge in wine, pasta and gelato for the afternoon while the sun dipped behind the bridges.
It was in the heart of Venice, hidden in a maze of alleyways and bridges, nowhere close to the more touristy spots right by the water’s edge - and that was one of the things that was so great about it!
We were split into groups and had such good fun slipping around in the sludge and mud – it was here that one of the guys on tour, Fin, broke my toe.
I stupidly decided to play the game without shoes and had this idea that I was the best tackler possible, but I think I got slightly too cocky and confidant and ended up walking away with a broken toe. But Fin became such a good friend to me throughout the course of the tour that all was forgiven and forgotten. When he saved my life later on in the tour, that was when I stopped giving him a hard time about it, to some degree ;)
Other things I did while in Venice was go to this absolutely fascinating glass expo where we watched this traditional Venetian man make a beautiful glass horse statue in about two minutes flat, from nothing more than a RED HOT clump of glass!
We did this in Venice as Venice is famous for its glass making - more so than any other place around Italy.
The glass making factory we visited was situated just down an alleyway off of St. Mark's Square, so if you ever get a chance to get there just ask a local where it is and they will point you in the right direction!
As I had been to Venice already and the Contiki group were all feeling slightly knackered from our continuous drinking sessions night in and night out.. we spent our day in Venice in this gorgeous little park with a few bottles of Prosecco.
We lazed out in the sun, toasting to good times and bonding while catching some rays. It was such a wonderfully relaxed time.
I also finally rode a Gondola! Something that has been on my list of things to do since I can possibly remember.
It wasn't exactly romantic - I was on a boat with five other guys from my Contiki group but they were such fun! We opened two bottles of Torre and played Mozart from YouTube on my iPhone until our Gondola 'driver' started singing for us! What a show.
We stumbled off of the gondola half an hour later feeling extremely merry before heading back to the campsite, swarming with the most ginormous mosquito's I have ever seen!
It is such a happy, vibrant place. The locals are incredibly helpful and welcoming. The pasta is to die for. The smells are amazing, besides walking down some of the alleyways that reek of fish and sewage but in a way that only adds to the effect of the place!! It didn't bother me in the slightest. In fact, it only made me like it even more.
I would move there tomorrow - if you have not been, please do yourself a favor and book a ticket today!!