Day 17 – Venice

Sunday 25th September

This morning we got a bit of a sleep in – we had a 9.45am departure on the bus which would drop us at the port to catch our ferry to the main island of Venice. It was gorgeous weather today – sunshine and no clouds to be seen.

We all jumped on our private boat which dropped us near St Mark’s Square. We had free time for about an hour before we would be meeting up again for a free glass-blowing demonstration. We spend the time wandering around the shops in St Mark’s Square before heading to the glass-blowing demonstration. We saw the astrological clock, St Mark’s Basilica and St Mark’s Campanile (the bell tower).

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The demonstration itself was amazing – he made a horse in about 10-15 minutes. After the demonstration, we went into the shop – so many amazing items for sale but they were all very expensive – and I was too scared they would get broken in my suitcase during the rest of the trip!

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We had more free time after the demonstration so a few of us found a restaurant for lunch. I had pizza with fried potatoes – which turned out to be pizza with fries on it. It was hilarious and we all had a good laugh.. sadly, it was a gross pizza.

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After lunch, we walked around the shops – there were so many cute boutique stores along with the massive designer brands. We still had time before we had to meet up with the group again so Kate and I decided to go up the bell tower. It cost 8 Euros and there was a lift that would take you to the top – no stairs! I highly recommend doing this – the views from the top of the tower were incredible! It surprised me that you couldn’t see the canals from the top but the views were still amazing, especially because the weather was so good.

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At 3.30pm, we met up with the rest of the group who were doing the gondola ride – this was an optional excursion offered by Contiki. The gondola ride was a little pricey, but it was worth it – it’s one of those things you just have to do when you go to Venice. There were so many good photo opportunities and it was just a fun experience. Our gondolier was a bit rubbish though – he just spent the whole time talking on his phone, so that kind of ruined the experience a little bit – especially when we saw other gondoliers singing to their passengers!

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Next up after the gondola ride was our walking tour – we headed back to St Mark’s Square to meet up with the tour guide and then we headed out on the tour. The walking tour was great – a great way to see some of the sights in Venice without getting lost (as it’s very easy to get lost in Venice, it’s like a maze!). We saw some amazing buildings, some really cool stairs and the Rialto bride (which was under construction at the time).

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We finished up the tour next to the Grand Canal where we were given an Aperol Spritz and some snacks. It was beautiful next to the Grand Canal and a great way to end the tour.

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After the tour, a group of us went to find a really nice restaurant for dinner – we wanted somewhere nice for our last night in Italy. We found one right next to the Grand Canal and I indulged in some Prosecco, bolognese and creme catalan – it was all amazing. Then we strolled back to St Mark’s Square to meet up with the rest of the group. We had to leave at 9pm, so I spent the rest of the time face-timing my mum to show her Venice and looking at the art that was on sale by some street vendors – I ended up buying a few paintings to bring home. At 9pm, we jumped back on the boat and then headed back to the mainland where we got on the bus to take us back to the hotel.

After such a long but busy and exciting day, I was exhausted so I went straight to bed. Venice was an amazing last stop in Italy and I really really loved the city. I definitely want to come back to Venice and to Italy as well – this was one of my favourite days on the tour so far.

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