A couple of weeks ago I celebrated my 1st birthday with a surprise party (complete with bubbles and cake!) organised by my friends. I was overwhelmed by their kindness and couldn’t believe it when my photographer bought me a present. Inside it was a note saying I was going on a special trip to celebrate. I couldn’t believe I had such a great birthday and was so grateful for all of the fuss my friends made.
Fast forward to today, and I had an early alarm call (5:15 am eurgh). I got onto a tour bus which would take me to an unknown destination for my surprise. It was quite a drive from Lake Garda, and 1 hour 50 minutes later we arrived. The final part of my journey involved a drive across a long bridge to a car park on an island.
One of my biggest ambitions in life has been to go on a boat, many of you will already know, as long as it floated I was more than happy to sail in it. As I walked across the car park I began to wonder whether today was the day I would finally go on a boat. Tentatively making my way through the crowds of people, there it was, a boat waiting for me!
As I embarked onto the small motor boat, I was lead right to the front. They had reserved a special seat just for me. The boat was very easy to get on and the seats were leather and comfortable. Feeling the swaying of the boat underneath me made me very anxious because I didn’t know what to expect and I had been warned that the current was sometimes very choppy.
The boat slowly made it’s way out of the harbour and turned to go along the side of Guidecca. Once we were out of the harbour the lagoon became less choppy and I began to find the gentle swaying of the boat rather relaxing (I can see why people enjoy cruising).
I could see colourful houses along the waterside, it is something I had never seen before. My destination was still unknown and I was wondering whether I was leaving Italy completely, the only Italian island I had heard of is Sicily which was a bit too far away.
More and more boats were on the water around us, I knew I was coming close to my destination. The view from the boat was beautiful, I couldn’t decide which side to look at. Many beautiful buildings dotted around on different islands with small bridges joining them together.
Finally, I saw my destination …. Venice, it is more beautiful than the photographs. I was so happy and excited to explore!
The boat ride was a great way to see the sights of Venice without the crowds, if you only have one day to explore the sights of this historical city, a boat ride is the perfect way to start. Personally, I think this is the best way to see Basilica di San Marco in all its glory. I love how it stands out against the white buildings.
I loved seeing Venice from this angle and observing the crowds from afar because I didn’t have to worry about being stood on (yes, this happens … a lot). The different perspective of Venice gave me the time to choose where I wanted to visit first, and whilst on the boat I met a friendly Scottish couple and a Danish lady who gave me some great tips of alternate places to visit.
Some of the hotels in Venice were on their own little island, I’d love to stay in one next time I visit! Coming in to dock, the Captain let me drive the boat! Such an incredible experience, maybe I will get a boat on my next birthday.
Sadly it was time to leave the boat, but I couldn’t wait to begin exploring, determined to make this a really memorable day.
And, just when I thought things couldn’t get any better , I was told my birthday surprise wasn’t ending there, a Gondola was waiting for me. The beauty of Venice was incomparable to any other city I have ever visited, even from afar. I’ve decided to put together a photo diary of my Gondola ride, you can see it here.
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We live in a world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. – Jawaharial Nehru