Hey everyone! I hope you’re all doing well.
Today, I am sad and reminiscing. The 21st birthday celebrations are properly, officially over. I mean, my birthday was way over three weeks ago now, but I’m still sad. I like to stretch it out, and it just never seems to last enough!
However, I was extremely, extremely lucky this year to be treated to not one but two surprise trips away, so I truly did milk it this year; the first being on the morning of my birthday, at the crack of dawn to be whisked away to Venice by my amazing boyfriend.
After groggily waking up at around 6am, my boyfriend leapt out of the bathroom in what I assumed to be a French ensemble of a black and white striped t-shirt, straw hat and a red neckerchief. ‘Paris!’ I declared nonchalantly. I didn’t actually realise that the attire was that of a typical Venetian gondola outfit, so I sat a bit puzzled for a good five minutes, calling out random EU cities I knew off the top of my head whilst my boyfriend rolled his eyes, realising he’d started a terrible, failed game of Charades. Time was ticking; eventually, ‘Venice’ came out of my mouth and by this point we were in a rush to get ready after I’d opened my cards and marvelled at my 16th gift of prosecco. My fridge is very well stocked now.
Once we’d arrived in Venice and hopped in the water-taxi to our hotel, we were dismayed to realise that it was foggy – the foggiest Venice has ever decided to be, I think.
So, unfortunately, the magical journey that had been described to us that I visualised to be like flying in on Aladdin’s magic carpet with a sparkling Venice beckoning in the distance was misty and chilly to say the least, and we only got a glimpse of Venice as we were about to pull up to our hotel. Oh well, you can’t have it all!
On the brighter side (which happened to be back in the UK for once) our hotel was fantastic, the staff were brill and it was in a prime location. It’s called the Palazzo Veneziano and I’d definitely recommend you check it out if you’re planning a trip to Venice any time soon!
We were starving by the time we’d got to the room and unpacked, and all that I was thinking about was Italian-style carbs, so we raced out for a bit of sightseeing and some grub.
After going back to the room for a freshen-up, we hunted out a great place for dinner using the trusty TripAdvisor app called Osteria Al Vecio Forno. Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do without this app when I go away. The amount of times I’ve walked towards a restaurant thinking it looks appealing and then realised the latest customer developed a violent bout of food poisoning shortly after their visit is rather concerning.
The next day for us was a full day of sightseeing (not to commence until after loading up at the hotel breakfast buffet) starting with Piazza San Marco and the Basilica San Marco. The Basilica is free to enter, so why not?
I found Venice to not actually have a great deal to see or do, but just really pleasant to simply walk around and take in the sights and views.
Because we were in Italy, pizza was playing on my mind (as it does in any location, to be honest) so we found an amazing place for lunch where they could make any pizza vegan with dairy-free mozzarella.
The pizza was unreal, especially washed down with a cheeky lunchtime glass of wine. I surprisingly found it really, really easy to be vegan in Venice and got a nice option wherever we went.
Because day-drinking can’t legally stop at one beverage, we hunted out somewhere for a nice Bellini before our gondola ride, because… when in Venice, you’ve got to have a Bellini. Oh, and a gondola ride, of course.
Even though they’re expensive, I feel like a gondola is just one of those things you’ve gotta do in Venice. We went down the Grand Canal and a few little side canals too, and you just get to see the city from a totally different viewpoint; that of a local duck or other floating creature. Unfortunately, we weren’t sung to though… or maybe that’s for the best?
We really liked the Rialto Bridge area but were very aware that as it’s ridiculously touristy, the restaurants on the canal side probably weren’t up to scratch, as you’d imagine. However, after a bit of TripAdvisor digging, we found one called Ristorante Florida which had decent reviews – we just really wanted to have a dinner with a view, so were pleased to find one which hadn’t recently given their guests the Norovirus or accidentally served up raw chicken.
We really liked this place and were surprised at how reasonably priced it all was – perhaps it’s because February was low season? Anyway, the main perk for me was that we got a pack of spaghetti with our bill. Forget stale mints, spaghetti should be given complimentary with all bills, even if they’re not an Italian restaurant.
After cocktails and a bottle of wine, we decided to head back to our hotel bar for, err, more wine, obviously.
I’m glad our hotel bar was so nice because it was great having somewhere to such close proximity to our bed after consuming a ludicrous amount of Sauvingon. Despite just beginning to catch that sleepy/dizzy/Idon’tknowwhereIam feeling, I couldn’t bring myself to shriek ‘no!’ when I heard my boyfriend ordering yet another at the bar. It was my birthday celebration, so I was allowed, alright?
The next day we happened to wake up with stinking colds, but after reluctantly crawling out of bed and stuffing myself with anything remotely healthy-looking at breakfast, we headed out for another day.
I had really wanted to go and visit Burano with all its rainbow-coloured houses, but we hadn’t realised how far away it was (1.5 hours by boat) and didn’t have too long before we had to leave for our flight home, so in the end we decided to head to the closer Murano instead.
Unless you’re going for something specific (like the glass blowing) I wouldn’t urge you to rush to Murano – there wasn’t a great deal to see and most of the restaurants/shops appeared to be closed. So, after getting a bite to eat and having a mooch about, we made our way back.
Luckily our water-taxi journey on our way back to the airport had a bit more visibility than on the way in, so we were craning our necks the whole time trying to get our last glimpses of Venice!
So, that rounds up our short but sweet trip! I couldn’t have asked for a more exciting or thoughtful 21st birthday surprise.
Have you ever been to Venice? What did you think of it?
Love, Dayna x
Want some more inspo for your next city break? Check out my posts below!