At 2:50am our alarm went off. Julianna, Baba, and I started getting ready so we could make it to the airport at 4. The airport was far different from the others I have seen. There were a mile of duty free shops we had to walk through, as we were herded like cattle to our gate. We were surprised with 200£ extra in luggage fees and ticket printing costs. (This is why I mentioned to pay attention to the fine print). To get to the plane, we had to walk down a sketchy stairwell, go outside, then up a narrow, steep staircase into our Ryanair plane. The plane itself was a horrendous shade of yellow, and had the tiniest seats I had ever sat in. You really do get what you pay for.
We were checked into our hotel by 10:30am in Mestre at Mestre Marghera Holiday Inn after a 70 euro cab ride from the local airport. Our concierge gave us (rather poor) instructions on how to get to the #6 bus stop that would take us into Venice. Flying over Italy was beautiful, you could see mountains and farm land and vineyards below. I think we even flew over the White Cliffs of Dover and the English Channel. The drive through the countryside near Venice was also enchanting; I especially enjoyed the tall, thin trees that lined the roads. It was a warm and sunny day in Venice.
The bus drove over a lengthy bridge, and arrived at the only bus stop in Venice, next to the Ponte della Costituzione, the newest bridge over to the main island. After crossing the bridge, we realized we had finally arrived. There were so many boats whizzing along the dirty canal, and hundreds of tourists lined the pathways. The beautiful buildings overlooked the water and the little streets. Hungry, we stopped for bite at a little café, Restaurante Al Scalzi, and sipped water with “no gas” (gas or no gas, the difference between bubbly water and normal water). I still think this little place overlooking the canal was the best pizza we had on our trip. The crust was to die for.
After our break, we explored the streets of Venice, always following the signs to S. Marco. The streets wound, seemingly never-ending, around old buildings. The streets would get larger for a minute before returning to a slender passageway. We crossed over countless canals. Occasionally, we came across a square with a statue or a church in the middle that looked like they have been through many ages.
After what seemed like a beautiful forever, we finally arrived at the great St. Marks square, or the Piazza San Marco. The museum, companile, basilica, clock tower, and Doge’s Palace surrounded us. The square was crowded and the sun was shining.